8 Effective Ways to Deal with Rheumatic Diseases, a guest post
You will be shocked to know that musculoskeletal and rheumatic conditions are responsible for over 150 diseases. In broader terms, we can easily categorize them as joint diseases, spinal problems, physical disability, and trauma.
These conditions occur when your immune system acts weirdly and starts attacking your own tissues. Doctors are still working to find the causes behind this but some of them attribute this condition to your genes.
If you’re suffering from any of the rheumatic conditions, you must know that you’re not alone. Around 50 million people in the United States belonging to all ages and genders are in the same boat as you are in.
While you can always get treated after a neck injury or for the back pain after car accident, there is no permanent cure for rheumatic disorders. They can only be controlled to a certain extent but cannot be averted.
Let us share with you some lifestyle modifications which will help you in living with this disease:
There are plenty of medications for the treatment of rheumatoid with some of them providing short-term relief whereas other working in the long-term. Unfortunately, none of them provides a permanent solution to the problem which stays with you as long as you live. Its intensity can be decelerated but it won’t ever go away.
There are certain medicines which slow down the course of the disease by correcting the abnormalities which exist in the immune system. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, biologics, and corticosteroids are also available which reduce the pain, decrease the inflammation through a genetically engineered process, and treat the involved hormones respectively.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Extra weight will put excessive pressure on your knees, hips, and other weight-bearing joints. Hence, it is important to eat only healthy food items which will not cause your disease to worsen. Instead, they’ll help in improving your condition and give you a way out of the pain and discomfort. Eating a balanced is not an option but a necessity.
There are studies which have proved that fish oil supplements can also play a huge role in reducing pain and stiffness in the joints. However, you must check with your doctor before adding these supplements as they can react with certain medications. People who take them have complained of belching, nausea, and a bad taste in the mouth.
Incorporating Exercise in Your Routine
Many people think that once your joints have stiffened and lost their flexibility, it becomes impossible to carry out any physical activity let alone exercise. This notion is false in entirety because exercising and stretching helps in keeping the flexibility of the joints intact. It reduces pain significantly and contributes to the health and strength of your body.
This doesn’t imply that you can do intense cardio as that will definitely do more harm than good. Choose a group of exercises which will help your muscles and joints, such as water aerobics, swimming, walking, dancing, or bicycling. Once you get started, develop a routine but you must get these exercises approved from your therapist or physician first.
Heat and Cold Therapies
For the occasional flare-ups, it is recommended to apply cold on the joints or painful areas. Cold has a numbing effect and will dull the sensation of the pain for a couple of days. You can either use ice or a cold gel pack for this treatment. However, do not rely on this technique if you already have numbness or poor circulation.
Another way out is to apply heat in the respective areas as this also helps in reducing the pain and increase the flow of blood to different parts of the body. The easiest and most effective way to apply heat is to take a 15-minute hot shower, especially before exercising. Other options include an electric heating pad, hot pack, or a radiant heating lamp.
Taking Ample Rest
Getting enough sleep is important for all us if we want to remain healthy but for rheumatoid patients, it is an absolute necessity. They should not compromise on their 8 hours of sleep every night. If it is not possible then change your routine to incorporate an afternoon nap so that you don’t feel restless.
If your sleep is being affected by anything including pain, stress, or work, you must try deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation techniques to help alleviate stress from your muscles. Consult with a specialized doctor in case of insomnia because you definitely need to be out of this problem to ensure a stress-free environment for yourself.
Going through a Surgical Procedure
Through a surgical procedure, it becomes possible to correct the deformities in the joints and bones and help in reducing the pain which comes with these diseases. The most common is joint replacement surgery which also includes knees, hips, and shoulders.
There is another type known as the reconstructive surgery in which the surgeons repair the damage to the tendons. They also relieve the stress on the nerves and reduce the inflammation on the joint linings. These medical procedures are very expensive but they can prove to do wonders for your health and in getting rid of the continuous pain.
Avoid Stress in Life
While it might be difficult to stay positive and avoid stress when you’re suffering from such a painful disease, there is no other better option available than to do so. Your stress will not bring any positive change in your life rather, it will contribute to the pain and suffering. So one should put their best efforts to avoid it.
Excessive stress and anxiety can change the chemistry in your body and makes the symptoms worse than before. It is better to use antidepressant drugs or relaxation techniques to get rid of the depression caused by the symptoms of the disease.
Talk to Others for Support
For your personal reinforcement, you must find support groups where you can let your heart out. These groups provide an opportunity to share, talk, and interact with others who might be going through the same things in life as you are. You can not only gain the confidence to lead a normal life through these gatherings but can also prove to be a ray of hope for others.
You can even join Advocates for Arthritis Program which is run by the American College of Rheumatology. It is such a network of patients who are informed about the steps which are being taken by Congress to help the people suffering from rheumatoid conditions and to raise funds to increase research on rheumatology.
The most important thing is to maintain a positive approach to life. Irrespective of what has happened or what the future holds for you, one should never lose faith in life. People recover after the most brutal car accident injuries so there’s definitely hope for those suffering from rheumatic conditions.
Avoid jobs or activities which require repetitive motions and there should be no stress on the joints. Overuse of the joints is also not advisable as it may lead to pain and inflammation. By only bringing a few changes in your lifestyle and by being more careful, it is possible to lead a life without pain and stress.