Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term disease and one that there is no cure for. In most cases, patients will have
to learn how to manage their pain as well as to keep the joints and surrounding muscles more flexible. After a diagnosis
of rheumatoid arthritis, it is a good idea to make an appointment to see a rheumatologist doctor and have a complete
rheumatology workup that may involve blood tests and other tests.
Before starting an exercise regimen
Patients who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis should not start any exercise program without checking with
their rheumatologist. Exercise may cause additional pain and inflammation which means that patients must use caution
and get a clearance from their doctor. Some rheumatologist doctors will recommend that patients undergo physical
therapy which can help them exercise safely and most effectively.
The best exercises
While all of us should exercise, those who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis should attempt to exercise on
a regular basis. In many cases, exercise will help patients combat feelings of being tired, keep their joints more
flexible and may also help lessen pain. Regardless of the type of exercise that you undertake, at the first sign of
any unusual pain, patients should stop.
Walking is always good - While walking can cause extreme pain when you have rheumatoid arthritis, walking is an
all around good form of exercise. When starting out, take it slow and try to walk in an area that is largely flat. Speak
with your rheumatologist doctor about what you should watch for as you walk and do not overdo it. Take your time and
make sure that you stop if you have any unusual pain.
Water exercise - Swimming and water aerobics can be very beneficial to those who have rheumatoid arthritis.
However, make sure before you undertake even the simplest exercises that you speak with your rheumatologist. Patients
can inadvertently cause more pain by undertaking exercises without proper preparation and understanding what they should
be aware of.
While a good exercise routine is helpful to everyone, those who are suffering the effects of rheumatoid arthritis may
find mild exercise very helpful. In addition to treating aching joints with heat or cold as recommended by your
physician, regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joints. Because of the natural
generation of hormones that occur when we exercise regularly, RA sufferers may find they are less fatigued as well.
Remember, that no exercise program should be undertaken without specific clearance from your doctor. Patients who suffer
from rheumatoid arthritis should ensure they have a complete rheumatology workup and find out what level of exercise
is recommended by their rheumatology doctor. Exercise should be stopped immediately if unusual pain develops and if
exercising causes additional pain or swelling, it is important to check with your doctor before resuming regular
exercise. Your rheumatologist should be able to provide some guidance regarding what forms of exercise are best for
your individual lifestyle and needs.