What Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis Means

What Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis Means

By Rebecca Evans.

What comes to your mind when you think about rheumatoid arthritis?

Probably incurable discomfort, unexplained pain, limited mobility and throbbing joints. But what is this disease, precisely? The Arthritis Foundation defines rheumatoid arthritis as an autoimmune problem. Scientist and physicians still don’t know for sure why or how it’s caused but it’s clear that is has to do with the immune system at some level. The immune system usually keeps your body safe from infections and biological intruders but when it breaks down it can start to go against the body’s joints. This causes swelling, pain, and lack of mobility. This happens most often in the smaller (hands, feet, wrists, and ankles) unlike other kinds of joint pain.

Is it a hereditary disease?

Rebecca Evans

Science has been researching this for years but it does not have a final answer yet. It’s recommended for you to lead a healthier life (not smoking, going easy on unhealthy fats, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress) if any of your closest family members have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the past. These measures are preventive and they can’t guarantee you won’t suffer from rheumatoid arthritis if it is present in your family’s history. But even if you end up suffering from rheumatoid arthritis that kind of behavior will lessen the symptoms and make the condition easier to deal with.

How does rheumatoid arthritis start?

It usually starts with pain and tenderness. Also redness and swelling (but they’re not as common in the beginning). rheumatoid arthritis’ symptoms include:

  • Joint Pain. Most commonly on the smaller joints (hands and wrists). It can start as daily morning stiffness that lasts around half an hour.
  • Fatigue. Feeling tired for no apparent reason.
  • Lack of Appetite. Inflammatory processes make it harder to enjoy or wish food, they often cause nausea.
  • Low-grade Fever. Also a consequence of inflammation. It can cause head and body aches.

How long can each episode last?

Knowing what to expect will help you face the symptoms successfully and keep your life going on.  The time frame has to do with how quickly you get treatment and with the kind of treatment you’re getting. Untreated, flares can last for weeks of months. Treatment makes them significantly shorter (weeks to days). Always get treatment, that is key, always address the flare as best as you can.

How Do You Relieve Arthritis?

The first line of attack is to get yourself mentally ready. Know what will happen and what you can do about it. This is true about all chronic conditions. You can’t avoid them but you can learn how to live in a way that won’t make your life misery. Chronic means that western medicine knows no way of curing them (the best it can do is to treat some symptoms), but western medicine is not the only game in town, so go for alternative medicine. Some holistic treatments include:

  • Physical therapy. Get the right exercises, strengthen your joins so you can lessen pain.
  • Natural remedies. Heat and cold therapy helps with swelling. osteoarthritis and meditation have also been known to help and they help with rheumatoid arthritis’s stress. Try Tai Chi as well. If you relax your mind you relax your body and you get away from pain.
  • Eat right. Superfood and supplements will help a great deal. Start with fish oil. Always go for whole and healthy foods (fish, nuts) with a high Omega-3 content that lubricates your joints and reduces rheumatoid arthritis’s inflammations.

You can also try a cream like Super Blue Stuff OTC. It’s natural and it relieves pain. It smells good, it’s very soothing which is more important if you sensitive to scent or color. It’s all natural and available over-the-counter. It provides relief in a matter of minutes. And it will bring you benefits without the nasty side-effects included by traditional treatments for this condition.

Keep in mind that most treatments for immune system diseases usually involve the use of steroids. They will help the condition and alleviate many of the symptoms but they also have lots of very serious side-effects, especially if you need to use them long-term (and you will, this is a chronic disease that can’t be cured, only treated).

Rebecca Evans is a nurse and a health writer. Her work can be seen at geriatricnursing.org.

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Rebecca Evans

newest oldest
Notify of

RA is caused by Vector-borne disease. Borrelia infection.


My dad had RA afternoon and a fall. He suffered greatly Lynn from on it until someone told him to trying Yucca. I am not big on supplements but to see the difference in him after a couple of months was to me miraculous. He went from needing help tying his shoes and bathing to the no symptoms at all.

Lisa Hess

Hello, I have been diagnosed with Zeronegative RA since a bone marrow edema was found in my cervical spine from the brainstem covering the c1/c2 vertebra in 2015 and all regular PCR tests (5 over a 15 year period) came out negative for the RF Factor in my blood. I was told both conditions are rare. Last July the BME magically disappeared and all my spinal fluid returned to normal even though it left quite a bit of RA in the area covering C1 and C2, but as of this past February, new MRI shows it is back and there is no spinal fluid at all between my brainstem from my spinal cord. I have 6 other autoimmune diseases all risen from Late Stage Lyme Disease and Bartonella so I am not willing to go on conventional medication because of the risks of infection since my immune system is already so compromised. The RA is in all my joints and I know when I’m having an RA flareup versus an Osteoarthritis flare up with Fibromyalgia at the same time because I either have both joints burning and swelling including elbows, knees, hips and shoulders besides the smaller joints mentioned in your article or sporadic single joints hurting and swelling and my entire body pain from the Fibro. The joint pain and swelling began after I finished the Lyme treatment, but I’d had the Lyme undiagnosed for 9 years before treatment so the damage had already been done. I also have severe spine issues separate from anything of the immune system so I cannot excercise or walk long distances. And, just as you said, my appetite just isn’t there so I don’t eat much at all but take Omega 3 supplements w/ Vitamin D for early onset of Osteoporosis (also from Lyme). I cannot take multivitamins because of other medications I have to take. I eat Salmon at least once a week and I use medical cannibis topicals all over that help with the pain. I’ve been to the Rheumatologist, but she only “knows conventional medicine” and suggested I see a Functional Medicine doctor. Has anyone ever heard of Functional Medicine and know what it entails? Any other foods you might suggest? I know what I “SHOULD” stay away from and it’s all my favorite things that is hard to give up if it’s all I do eat, so I’m at a loss. Any help will be appreciated.