Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease and the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the body begins to mistakenly attack its own joints instead of foreign substances like viruses and bacteria, causing inflammation, pain and swelling. It’s usually experienced in the wrists, hands, elbows, feet, knees and ankles, and can damage the cartilage and bones if left untreated for too long.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis are still not yet fully known, but it’s believed that genetics, hormones and environmental factors can play a part. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include tenderness, pain, swelling and stiffness, usually felt in the same joint on both sides of the body. Some people also experience slight fever, loss of appetite and fatigue. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, like the eyes, mouth, skin, lungs, blood vessels and blood.
Currently there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but treatment includes medication, steroids, physical therapy and surgery. Here are 10 home remedies for rheumatoid arthritis.
Exercise should be a common component of any healthy lifestyle. Physical activity benefits the entire body, including our mental and emotional states, by improving self-esteem, boosting the immune system, aiding in weight loss, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and much more.
Generally, exercise should involve a combination of cardiovascular exercise like walking or jogging, strength training to tone the muscles, and stretching, to support healthy range of motion. However, in today’s fast-paced world it can be hard to fit all that in, so don’t feel guilty if it’s not always possible. Instead, remember that some exercise is better than no exercise at all. To slowly introduce more physical activity into your life, make some simple changes like taking the stairs instead of the lift and walking to the shops instead of driving.
For those that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, exercise can be difficult due to pain and stiffness, but it is an important, effective treatment. Exercise encourages better movement, alleviates stiffness, boosts endurance, combats fatigue, strengthens muscles and improves quality of life. Exercise helps keep your joints and muscles strong, and a lack of physical activity will actually weaken the muscles, putting more stress on already-stressed joints.
Before you begin exercising, it’s best to discuss with your doctor or physical therapist first to decide which exercises would be most beneficial. The activity doesn’t need to be strenuous either, with simple, gentle body awareness exercises like yoga, tai chi and pilates suitable for arthritis sufferers. If you join any classes at the gym or health club, be sure to tell your instructor about your condition. This will allow them to keep an eye on you and make sure you aren’t doing anything that could cause further injury or muscle distress.