There’s an easy way to ease the constant pain of rheumatoid arthritis. It’s free, requires no visits to the doctor, and can be done just about anywhere.
All you have to do is get yourself moving again — but the latest research shows that four in 10 rheumatoid patients are almost completely inactive.
This isn’t by some exaggerated self-reported measurement, either. In this study, 176 RA patients wore accelerometers to measure their activity — and 42 percent of them never got even 10 minutes of sustained movement over an entire week!
Many of them said they didn’t move because they didn’t believe it would help… while others told researchers they just didn’t feel motivated.
Moderate activity relieves rheumatoid arthritis pain
Here’s some motivation that I hope will make a believer out of you: Moderate activity — and we’re not talking about pumping iron or training for a marathon, mind you — has proven time and again to help ease the pain of rheumatoid.
Now, I get why so many sufferers won’t try it — and if you’re among them, I can hear you shouting at the computer right now: “It hurts too much to move!!!!”
I get it.
But believe it or not, once you start moving that pain often goes away and then some — and it’s perfectly OK to keep it light, because even simple stretching exercises can bring real relief.
Studies show gentle movement can relieve swelling and pain
One study found that tai chi — the slow Chinese movements often practiced in parks in the morning — can decrease pain, increase function and give RA patients the confidence they need to keep moving.
Another study conducted by Johns Hopkins found that eight weeks of yoga can decrease swelling and tenderness in the joints of rheumatoid patients.
And if yoga and tai chi aren’t your thing, you can try any number of activities — from a brisk daily walk through your local park to gardening. Just pick something you enjoy and keep at it.
Food allergies can trigger rheumatoid arthritis pain
But while getting more movement can help ease the pain of RA, it won’t cure it. RA is an autoimmune disorder — and the only way to stop or reverse it is to find out why your immune system is attacking itself.
In many cases, it’s a food allergy — and simply finding the foods that trigger your arthritis and learning to avoid them can end the pain for good. A naturopathic physician can help you with that.
Dr. Jonathan Wright has also found that many RA patients suffer from low levels of hydrochloric acid and pepsin in the stomach.
To find out how to check your levels — and boost them if you’re running low — read his Q & A on the unexpected culprits behind rheumatoid arthritis.
Edward Martin is a health journalist who writes about today's most pressing health issues. He chronicles the most cutting-edge alternative methods for beating everything from diabetes to cancer and reports on the latest FDA foul-ups and Big Pharma conspiracies.