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Rheumatoid arthritis pain can be managed by avoiding stress on the joints. Since arthritic joints cannot tolerate a lot of stress, pulling, pushing and twisting can be painful. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are ways to manage rheumatoid arthritis pain:
1. Each day, move each joint through its full pain-free range of motion. Some days, you may be able to move the joint further than others. Take care not to make any sudden jerking or bouncing movements.
2. Pay attention to the types of pain you feel. Know the difference between the discomfort of rheumatoid arthritis pain and the pain felt from overusing the joint. If you notice that you feel pain from overuse, in the future, avoid the actions that caused that pain. Try to figure out a way to modify the action, so the task can still be completed.
3. If the rheumatoid arthritis is in your finger joints, watch how you use your hands. Avoid putting your fingers in stressful positions, such as positions that push your fingers towards your little finger or any task that requires prolonged gripping or pinching. A good example is brushing crumbs off a table. Use the side of your hand instead of brushing with the palm of your hand flat on the table.
4. Watch body position. Work surfaces should be 2 inches below the bent elbow. Have good back and foot support when sitting. Use wrist and forearm supports for long periods of typing. Increasing the height of the chair decreases stress on hips and knees, as it is easier to stand up from a higher sitting position.
5. When you have a choice of joints to do a certain task, use the strongest joint. Carry things on the palm of your hand, instead of between the fingers and thumb. For larger items, use your forearm to balance and support heavier and larger items.
6. Do not allow joints to become stiff. If you are writing, flex your hands every 10 to 15 minutes. For long car trips, at least once an hour, stop and stretch. If you are sitting at a computer all day or watching TV, get up every half hour and stretch.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|