Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joint pain and damage throughout the body. It is a chronic condition marked with flare-ups and remission. Treatments for flare ups work best when applied as soon as symptoms begin to exhibit themselves. If your parent struggles with rheumatoid arthritis, he will probably have a specialist that will help him find the right medications to help him manage the pain and inflammation. However, you may want to help your parent find additional remedies to bring relief during a flare up.
- Hire a Home Health Care Provider. A home health care provider can perform lots of tasks that your parent may not be able to do when his rheumatoid arthritis is acting up. Not only can a home health care provider help with household tasks and outdoor chores, a home health care provider trained in physical therapy can help your parent practice exercises that will keep his joints flexible.
- Set up a Regular Exercise Program. Exercise can help your parent strengthen his muscles and increase the range of motion in his joints. Exercise also improves sleep quality (much needed for managing RA pain). Help your parent find exercise routines that don’t stress his joints, such as swimming, walking, and water aerobics.
- Make Dietary Changes. Your parent should work toward increasing the number of foods he eats that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Some great foods to have him get on his next grocery visit are fresh vegetables (eaten raw or lightly cooked), spices such as turmeric and ginger, fresh fruit and yogurt.
- Try New Activities. Mindful exercises such as Tai Chi and Yoga bring relief to rheumatoid arthritis sufferers from combining gentle exercise, stretching, and breathing. Your parent could find an outdoor class somewhere or look for an online class or video to follow along with.
- Follow a Regular Sleep Routine. Poor sleep quality influences levels of pain and a person’s ability to move easily. Talk with your parent about what helps him sleep best and then work together to help him follow a regular pattern that will help him to consistently get a good night’s sleep.
- Try Acupuncture. This treatment based on traditional Chinese medicine is often used to help relieve pain. It uses thin needles to activate certain parts of the body. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis have found that it reduces their daily pain level and increases their quality of life. If your parent is willing, it might be worth it for him to give it a shot.
- Join a Support Group. Your parent may find comfort in talking to others who are also battling rheumatoid arthritis and finding ways to live with it. While many groups still are not meeting in person, most have the ability to meet online via Zoom or other video conferencing site.
If your parent has just recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or if he has lived with it for years, there are many approaches to improve his quality of life and reduce the disease progression.