Patients With RA: Do’s and Don’ts To Function at Your Best

April 29, 2011

Patient Guide for patients with rheumatoid arthritis

DO rest for at least 1 hour in the afternoon when you begin to feel fatigued.

DO wear any orthotic device prescribed for you.

DO use an ice bag to reduce pain; apply a heating pad or take a hot shower to relax muscles before exercise.

DO perform muscle strengthening exercises once inflammation diminishes.

DO use available devices to help you with dressing, bathing, cooking, working, and other activities.

DO make adjustments, at home and work, in your pace in completing tasks, to conserve energy.

DO apply for disability benefits you are eligible for if you can no longer work.

DO NOT stay in bed longer than necessary.

DO NOT continue to wear an orthotic device that is uncomfortable or does not fit.

DO NOT overdo exercise. Daily exercise in small amounts is best.

DO NOT continue exercise if you are sore for more than 2 hours following exercise.

DO NOT exercise a joint that is acutely inflamed.

DO NOT forget to exercise regularly when disease is in remission.

DO NOT stay home all day; if you don’t go out to work, be a volunteer or join a club.

DO NOT keep your fears and concerns about your health, or feelings of sadness or depression, to yourself. Talk to family, friends, or your doctor.

This guide, which appeared in The Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine in 2003, was prepared by Joseph J. Biundo Jr, MD, and Gordon M. Hughes, MD.