Rheumatism is a debilitating condition marked by inflammation, pain, and stiffness. This chronic disorder can manifest in a variety of ways, affecting various parts of the body, from joints to muscles and bones.
One of the greatest challenges of dealing with rheumatism is preserving mobility, as the nature of the condition can make simple actions such as walking, lifting, or bending difficult.
Fortunately, there are many joint protection strategies that can help patients living with rheumatism maintain their independence and quality of life.
5 Ways to Preserve Mobility and Reduce the Impact of Rheumatism on Daily Life
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity is one of the most important joint protection strategies for people living with rheumatism. Exercise can help reduce inflammation, maintain muscle strength, and improve flexibility. Even low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling can make a significant difference and support healthy joints. However, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, as they can provide guidance on suitable activities and design a program tailored to your individual needs.
- Apply heat and cold therapy. This is a simple yet effective way to alleviate pain and stiffness in joints affected by rheumatism. Applying a warm compress to the painful area can help improve blood circulation, relax muscles, and reduce inflammation. Cold therapy, on the other hand, can numb pain and soothe sore joints. It is essential to use the right temperature and duration of therapy based on personal preference and advice from a healthcare professional.
- Use assistive devices. Devices such as braces, splints, and canes can help those with rheumatism manage their daily activities with more ease and less pain. These devices can provide extra support, reduce impact, and distribute weight more evenly. It is important to select the appropriate assistive device, depending on the joint or body part affected and the degree of disability. Physical therapists or occupational therapists can help patients choose and learn how to use assistive devices effectively.
- Take medications as prescribed. Rheumatism management often involves medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), or biologic agents. These medications can help reduce inflammation, control pain, and prevent joint damage. However, it is crucial to take these drugs as prescribed by a healthcare professional and attend regular check-ups to ensure their effectiveness and safety. Patients need to report any side effects or concerns to their healthcare provider.
- Practice ergonomic habits. Simple activities such as maintaining good posture, avoiding repetitive movements, and adjusting your work environment can make a significant difference in reducing joint stress and minimizing pain. For example, using a comfortable chair or standing desk at work, taking frequent breaks, or using voice-activated technology can reduce strain on joints and support mobility.
Rheumatism Treatment Near You in Syracuse, New York
At the Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Division of the Department of Medicine at SUNY: Upstate Medical University, we treat patients with joint diseases – such as rheumatism – that occur with systemic inflammation.
We provide the most effective, state-of-the-art diagnostic and therapeutic joint injections and infusion services to help alleviate pain and maximize mobility. In fact, recent advancements in this field have provided a greater understanding of the causes of arthritis, which has led to the introduction of new medications that have revolutionized the treatment of many previously debilitating joint diseases.
To schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained specialists, please call your rheumatology provider directly. You can also contact the Department of Medicine at SUNY: Upstate Medical University at DeptMedicine@upstate.edu for more information.