Is there anything else that can help RA other than drugs?

I'm on Humira, MTX, Sulfasalazine and Meloxicam. I've just had my check up and my specialist is reducing my mtx as he was concerned that I'm on a very high dose. I appreciate that the drugs are doing the job and that I am so much better than was. However, I still get stiffness and joint pain most days as well as fatigue. As I tend to give the "I'm fine, really" response, my husband gave me strict instructions to be honest about how I was feeling. The specialist listened and was very kind but apart from assessing my DAS score and checking I wasn't having side effects that was as far as it went. My feet are the worse part but they don't get assessed on the DAS. I'm a 35 yr old teacher and don't really fancy feeling a bit rubbish everyday for ever - is there anything else that people do to make themselves feel better (tried chocolate, of course!!).

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  • Hello, there should be pain management/ counselling from your local hospital make some enquiries to see if your hospital offers this service.

    I do tai chi.. helps to keep the joints mobile it is v gentle and recommended for arthritis, it also helps with stress/ depression/ blood pressure it is a flowing form of moves with also calming/ meditation like porperties

    Find something you like may be as trivial as the occasional choc bar, or trip to your local pool, try to have somethig nice to look forward too! I am having friends for lunch today, I enjoy social activities so having friends round fits the bill.

    Comfortable shoes are a must and there a couple of blogs/ questions on foot ware on here!, I still dream about elegant strappy sandals oh well!

  • Hi Catherine

    Yes most definitely! There are loads of ideas on different blogs on here. But I must admit it all gets a bit lost sometimes. First thing I did was be kind to myself.

    Find a relaxation technique that works for you. Tell your hurty bits how much you love them and treat them to warm baths, soaking feet, massaging, and oiling and generally being nice to you. Even if it is only for a few minutes at a time, the more you do the more you want to do it, because it makes you feel better.

    I also find planning out what needs to be done and writing it down and making sure you can "fit" in what needs to be done, and leaving out other things that you can leave helped me get through the day. It is hard to let go of some things.

    I am going to try Tai chi like Alison, but I have only just learned to stand on one foot again, so it has taken some time!.

    Good Luck

    Julie xxx

  • Hi Catherine. So sorry you are suffering. I do find even on MTX and anti tnf that there are days of stiffness and painful joints regardless.

    Also I have trouble with my feet - why they don't measure feet at the clinic is beyond me - after all they are pretty important! They have to take all our weight and not complain. I see the Rheumy clinic in Sept so am going to ask why they ignore the pain in the feet.

    I also have plantar fasciitis in both feet which is very painful. Might be worth getting that checked out just in case.

    You do need to put yourself first - hubby is quite right - tell it how it is. I think we all say when asked that we are fine as we don't want to bore people with details of how ill we are. You can see eyes beginnning to glaze over!

    Why not book a pamper day at your local beauty salon. I find that works for me. A really nice back massage, facial, manicure and pedicure really does make you feel good.

    Comfortable shoes are a must - I use Van Dal loafers in different colours as well as sandals from Hotter. If I am going out and not going to be standing, then out come the fancy shoes for the evening. Our shoemender is very good and will put slightly thicker soles on for me so I don't feel the ground so much.

    Perfume is my thing - so I have 2/3 of my favourites on the go together with body lotion/cream to match. I find a splash of perfume always lifts my mood.

    Hope that helps. LavendarLady xx

  • As an ex-teacher myself, I do believe in 20 minute zizzes if you can manage that. And I've just re-started tai chi which is about identifying your energy source and keeping your joints supple. I have found that this is very good.

    Does your work make you stand a lot? That's something I would home in on. I had to sit while giving lectures, which wasnt brilliant, but it did help.

    XX Cathie

  • Thank you all for your kind thoughts and helpful hints. I shall certainly take the pampering advice....book in a day at the Bath Spa I think! Yes, Cathie, I do have to stand alot but I could certainly make sure that I take the opportunity to sit at regular intervals (on an adult size chair too, not the infant sized ones!)LavendarLady - I do try to keep to sensible shoes; I find Birkenstocks really comfortable. Thanks again for your support xx

  • Hi Catherine,

    If you go back to Tiasteph's blog last month about her diet, you might find that what you eat affects level of the joint pain and fatigue you are feeling? For me cutting out dairy foods seems to be working wonders just now but then I'm not properly diagnosed yet and not on any DMARDs. Trying to eliminate certain food families from you diet and keeping a careful note of the effects, if any, might be a good way of self managing your condition if you haven't tried it already.

    I've heard that the Deadly Nightshade family - tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, chili etc- seems to be the family that's most connected with joint pain although I haven't tried cutting these foods out yet because we grow our own tomatoes and potatoes and they are too lovely to miss out on! Also someone told me the other day that the combination of drinking good quality cider vinegar with Manuka honey had transformed their RA suffering neighbour's life. Worth a try perhaps experimenting carefully with diet as this certainly can't harm you and might just do a lot of good?

    Good luck.

    Tilda

  • Hi Tilda, just read your blog. Interestingly enough what you say about the Nightshade family seems to be correct. My late father found tomatoes made his osteo arthritis worse. May be something in it after all. LavendarLady x

  • Hi Catherine

    Although so far I am in early stages, my Rheumy said that the only non prescription thing that had been proven to work for RA was Omega 3.

    The NRAS sent me a very interesting report on pdf but I can't forward it to you here, it is called 'Complementary_and_ Alternative_medicine_1.pdf'.

    Perhaps you could get in touch with them.

    To save you reading 70+ pages, the summary chart is from page 76.

    Most of the success refers to Osteoarthritis but does say about Omega 3 and also Borage Oil (not tried it though). I do take Omega 3 every day, also Goji.

    In terms of shoes, many of us find that Fitflops work well - so comfy you want to wear them everywhere - spongy soles, no restriction to toes - and a tight bottom to boot!

    Hope you find some help from all the suggestions.

  • There are certain foods which can cause inflammation as the immune system often attacks them and considers them bad. There is also some research saying that RA patients who were not coeliacs nevertheless found relief thru a gluten free diet. So it's worth considering in consultation with doctor/ dietitian. Especially if you find beneficial effects. Plus casein (protein in dairy) as you mention is also good for some people to avoid. Avoiding coffee/ alcohol/ chilli can also help. Lots of green tea, meditation has been useful. Some people find accupuncture good. I'd rather have a nice massage!

  • ps. a friend who now lives in Thailand has read that Wheatgrass is good for RA. Does anyone know about it or tried it?

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