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Handling Rheumatoid Arthritis During the Holidays
Because stiffness and swelling in the joints of the hands are common discomforts of rheumatoid arthritis, patients with RA can be challenged by tasks such as cooking, chopping vegetables, and handling pots and pans. While there’s no known cure for RA, treatments are available to help alleviate symptoms enough for you to fulfill your holiday expectations.
At the first sign of symptoms, using anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen is recommended because they pose the fewest side effects and can be bought over the counter.
Medications to reduce more severe pain are also available, but these drugs can cause unpleasant side effects and must be prescribed very carefully.
In the early stages, RA tends to affect the smaller joints in the wrists, hands, ankles, and feet. As the disease progresses, shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, jaw, and neck joints can also become affected.
In combination with doctor-monitored medications, patients can also do their part to help relieve symptoms. Gentle but regular exercise, while maintaining a healthy weight range, can help strengthen muscles and relieve pressure on joints. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.