If you’ve been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, it’s important not to give up on living a long and healthy life. While bed rest and pain medication were the treatments of choice just a few decades ago, arthritis sufferers nowadays know that a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying all of your favorite activities.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
The word “arthritis” basically means “joint inflammation,” and RA is often used in reference to rheumatic diseases. While there are more than 100 conditions that fall into this category, the main culprits are:
- Psoriatic arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a rheumatic disease that affects about one percent of the population in the United States. More than two million people cope with RA, and while the majority of sufferers are in their middle age or older, it can also affect young people.
Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA shares many of the same symptoms as other types of arthritis. Swelling, stiffness, pain, and a loss of joint function are the hallmarks of arthritis, but rheumatoid arthritis features can also include:
- Swollen, hot, and tender joints
- Pain and stiffness that last for more than half an hour upon waking
- Fatigue, fever, malaise and a feeling of being unwell
- Symmetrical pain
- Pain localized in the wrists and finger joints
- Neck, shoulder, hip, knee, elbow, ankle and feet joints may be affected
The important thing to note about rheumatoid arthritis is that it’s highly individual. Some people may only have mild symptoms of arthritis that last for a few months or years before vanishing entirely. Others with moderate conditions may suffer from periods where their symptoms are worse than others (referred to as “flares”), before recovering. Some people with severe rheumatoid arthritis can suffer from pain nearly all the time. This pain can lead to joint damage, disability, and other health problems.
How Chiropractors Can Help
If you’re dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, there’s no reason for you to go at it alone. Your chiropractic team can aid you in several ways. In addition to providing you with adjustments that may be able to help reduce pain symptoms, your chiropractor can help provide you with nutritional and exercise advice that can help restore the lost function of joints, improve your endurance and flexibility, and increase your muscle strength.
Too often rheumatoid arthritis gets labeled as an “older person’s disease” that’s almost expected as we age. Fortunately, we’re beginning to understand that RA affects people of all ages and activity levels, and how important it is to stay active while treating the symptoms.
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