3 tips to handling stress In Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. Stay as active as you can In Rheumatoid Arthritis
Exercise and physical activity such as walking and swimming help:
- Reduce the stiffness that comes with rheumatoid arthritis
- Control weight, which reduces stress on joints
- Release the “feel-good” endorphin hormones, which can both improve your mood and block pain.
Dr. Model offers the example of one of her patients: Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, she was active in a hiking club, often spending three to five hours at a time out on the trail. “She got braces, learned how to cope and it hasn’t stopped her — she’s doing great,” Dr. Model says.
2. Keep pain in check
Talk to your doctor about drugs to the help reduce the pain. There is no medicine to the cure arthritis but nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help control your pain. And, as mentioned above, keeping your arthritis pain in check can help reduce stress levels and vice versa.What type, how much and how often you should take an NSAID will vary depending on what type of the arthritis you have (there are more than 100 types) and your symptoms.For instance, your doctor may prescribe higher doses of NSAIDs if you have rheumatoid arthritis, while lower doses are often enough for osteoarthritis that the affects only one joint.
3. Eat right to fight inflammation
Eating healthy, especially foods shown to improve arthritis symptoms, can help reduce stress and pain.
Three types of anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet are:
- Wild salmon, olive oil and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids
- Broccoli, cauliflower and other fresh or frozen cruciferous vegetables
- Cherries, blueberries and strawberries
Limit foods containing omega-6 fatty acids, which boost rather than reduce inflammation. Omega-6 fats are common in red meat and vegetable oils such as corn and sunflower oil.As patients learn how to cope with arthritis, they often report a reduction in stress, Dr. Model says. “If they believe in a healthy lifestyle, are mentally strong and able to stay active every day, they will do so much better,