My Tips and Tricks to manage active Rheumatoid Arthritis

These are the tips and tricks that helped me manage active Rheumatoid Arthritis during the first and a half year, before I started getting better.

Tip 1: the 1 to 10 scale

I use the scale of 1 to 10 the other way round most people do. I think it’s more positive to give oneself a good rating when performing well.

Is how you used to feel before declaring Rheumatoid Arthritis.
You can have a normal very busy day. You have no joint affected. In the evening, you may feel tired if you did too much and have pain in some place.
You can have a reasonable busy day. You may have 1 or 2 mildly affected joints.
You can do a few errands but will rather stay home and try to rest. You may have 1 or 2 very painful joints and others mildly affected. You will be compelled to take a painkiller to ease the pain.
You will stay at home and not do much. You will go out only if you have to and if your feet are OK. You have 3 or more very painful joints. You will be compelled to take painkillers at least twice daily and will want to tweak your treatment if it doesn't go away after 2or 3 days.
Same as 6 but you will stay home and prefer to stay in bed, you need help from others for simple things. You're in pain, and will take an emergency appointment with you physician.
Same as 6, you're in a lot of pain and will stay in bed.
You will call an emergency doctor or go to hospital.
Can this still be called living ?
The ultimate boundary, you have have probably passed out.

Tip 2: using excel sheets to keep track

Coming soon

Tip 3: exercising

Only when possible and with moderation. It’s important to keep our bodies moving when we can afford it. The best for me was cycling. Swimming was not bad, although it gave me cramps in the feet especially in the middle of the night grrrr! As also very humid days do.

I always feel angry when I read somewhere that people with RA should exercise doing this or that. I mean come on! Who asks from a person with a broken limb to hop or run? Same when seeing in social media people supposedly with RA lifting heavy iron or doing spectacular yoga poses. Some of us cannot even sit on the ground by themselves.

Tip 4: soft massages and stretching

Coming soon

Tip 5: guided meditation for pain management

Coming soon

Tip 6: diets, this tip may not help if you have active RA

I find simple life changes to healthier eating habits are great. Diets in my opinion are bad. If they worked, there wouldn’t need to be so many books about them, trends and obsession, for such poor results in people’s lives, physically and mentally.

But during the course of the period I lived with active RA, out of desperation, I came to try some, as many people seem to think it may help.

I found fasting on water worked. I did one in the beginning of the onset of RA. It made all the symptoms go away. It was just incredible. BUT it lasted only for a few days, until I started eating again. AND it can be dangerous if not properly done with a professional follow up. So yes fasting on water worked for me but unfortunately I can’t sustain my body on water and thin air.

I tried intermittent fasting, grape fasting, papaya fasting, and a spectrum of diets ranging from vegan to keto. None of which worked in reducing the symptoms.

Then in the period of getting better, I tried another diet that was really interesting. It was a mix of Paleo and Keto diet. A friend nutritionist here in Bangkok had designed it for me. I would not eat any processed food or anything with added sugar or grains or starchy foods or dairy or too much fruit. It was quite harsh. Well back then it really changed my energy levels and overall well being, it also made me lose weight quite a bit. But when my husband came back from a shooting 8 weeks later, I could not sustain this regimen further, it was too complicated to plan 2 different meals twice a day. This is what I mean by diets don’t work and only life changes do.

Recently, some 4 years later, I changed my eating habits to suit my current lifestyle and age. I found that during the Covid pandemic, my digestion and energy were increasingly getting worse. So I am now on a somewhat Mediterranean diet. The difference with the above is I introduced fruit and dairy. So it’s just no processed food or anything with added sugar or grains or starchy foods. It’s much easier to manage daily and I feel really great. But as the title says, this will probably not help if you have active RA.

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