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How to prevent rheumatoid arthritis

Updated: Monday, Jul 27,2009, 5:02:52 PM
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Methods  for preventing  rheumatoid arthritis:

Start early
The earlier an accurate diagnosis is made and treatment started, the better. Early treatment can often mean less joint damage and less pain. Your doctor may  recommend a combination of treatments that may include medication, weight management, exercise, use of heat or cold, and methods to protect your joints from  further damage. See your doctor for an early diagnosis and immediate treatment plan!

Protect your joints
Avoid excess stress on your joints. Use larger or stronger joints to carry things. Assistive devices can make tasks at home and work easier. Staying close to  your recommended weight also helps relieve damaging pressure on hips and knees.

Face facts.
Learn something new about arthritis. Building an understanding of your disease is an important step in managing it. Start by ordering some of our free  brochures.

Get moving
Exercise helps lessen pain, increases range of movement, reduces fatigue and helps you feel better overall. Your doctor, a physical therapist, or other  specially trained health professionals can show you range-of-motion exercises and strengthening exercises that are good for arthritis. 

Resolve to reduce
Lose weight. You won¡¯t just look better, you¡¯ll feel better, too. Why? Every extra pound you carry around translates to added stress to your knees and  hips. Excess weight can mean more pain, no matter which form of arthritis you have. It can also contribute to and aggravate osteoarthritis, while increasing  your risk of gout. Learn more in the Exercise Center.

Sit,soak and soothe
A warm bath before bed can relieve muscle tension, ease aching joints and help you get a good night¡¯s sleep. Try our free brochure on ways to manage your  pain for more ideas.

Take medicine
In the past two years, TCM has approved several herbal medicine for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other arthritis-related diseases. If your current  medication isn¡¯t working as well as you¡¯d like ¨C or if it¡¯s causing unacceptable side effects ¨C ask your doctor about these new treatment options. Check  out the online drug guide and supplement guide.

Stretch your legs
Stretching is a simple way to keep joints and muscles flexible. It relieves stress and can help enable you to maintain your daily activities. Try this to  keep your calf muscles strong and flexible: Stand two feet from a wall, with your toes pointed inward palms against the wall. Keeping your knees straight and  feet flat, lean forward onto your hands without bending at the waist. Feel your calf muscles pull and extend. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then gently  push away from the wall. Repeat. There¡¯s even more in our free brochures on exercise and arthritis.

Treat your muscles
Find a certified massage therapist and treat yourself to a good rub down. The benefits vary from person to person but may include decreased pain and  increased circulation, energy and flexibility. And besides, it just feels good.

Take a hike
Choose your favorite spots (indoors and out) and make plans to walk them at least once a week. Walking is the ideal exercise for most people with arthritis.  It burns calories, strengthens muscles and builds denser bones ?all without jarring fragile joints.

Have a good laugh
Read a book of jokes, rent a funny movie or watch your favorite sit-com or stand-up comedian. Laughing ¨C even when you feel like crying from agony ¨C can  relax muscles, relieve pain and even boost your immune system.

Enjoy Your Exercise
Take the work out of working out. Sign up for a class that makes exercise fun ¨C country line dancing, ballroom dancing, swimming, yoga or tai chi.


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