Managing RA

How in the world do you manage something like Rheumatoid Arthritis? It doesn’t seem like there’s one solution…here’s what I’m doing now…

The more my husband and I read about the side effects of the various medications I’ve had: Prednisone, Methotrexate, and Enbrel, the more we realized that we had to get off these medications.

I’ve tried many different things, but I’ve pursued what we’ve come to call a hypo-allergenic/alkaline diet with exercise.

We’ve eliminated a lot of things from my diet and have replaced them with more natural foods.

The gist of it is we avoid foods that are highly acidic, sugary, or are common allergens.

Managing RA Through Diet

Things we’re avoiding for now:

  • Tomatoes
  • White potatoes
  • Wheat (Gluten)
  • Foods with Yeast
  • Dairy Products
  • Corn Products
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup’
  • Products that contain corn and corn derivatives: table salt (dextrose), types of toothpaste (xanthum gum), etc.
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Deodorants that contain aluminum
  • Fast Food
  • Processed food and meats

Food we’re enjoying:

  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Organic, Range Free eggs
  • Almond Milk
  • Olive Oil
  • Almonds
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Berries
  • All natural salad dressings
  • Green Drinks
  • Smoothies with fruits and greens

We’ve been pretty consistent at making juices (at least one every other day, and sometimes we mix in a fruit smoothie too).

We had an oooold juicer that worked, but you know, if we were going to be making juices every day, we wanted a quality juicer.

The industrial strength Breville Juicer caught our fancy, and we bought it and use it a lot.

A frequent juice we make contains the following:

  • Some Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • 3 Carrots
  • Apple (sometimes when we want a little extra flavor)
  • Cabbage

My husband and I were reading up on juice fasting as part of the elimination diet and were about to start one when I learned I was pregnant. So we decided to postpone the juice fast until after the baby is born.

I’ve been happy with our diet so far and believe that it has helped a lot. I’ve been off Methotrexate since August 2010, and I stopped taking Enbrel once I learned we were pregnant.

We were concerned I’d I have a flair up, but things have been good and getting better.

Managing my RA with Exercise

Rebounding

I’ve been exercising a little using a rebounder. I don’t jump since I’m expecting, but I do walk-in-place on the rebounder, and it’s a good to keep the lymphatic system moving.

Jumpsport fitness trampoline rebounder

The Rebounder we Bought

What I like is that I can exercise while watching TV or a movie. It’s quiet because it doesn’t use metal springs.

With this exercise, I can get the lymphatic system moving but still go at my own pace.

We had a gym membership, and I had hoped to use it a lot to go swimming, but it just became too hard. My RA was acting up when we had the membership, and I just wouldn’t feel like going to the gym, so we decided to go for an easy on the joints exercise.

Yoga

I’ve found Yoga to be helpful and have purchased some and got others from the library. There are varying levels of difficulty out their in Yoga exercises, but I try to take it easy.

Stretching

Stretching has helped me and is an important part of waking up my joints and muscles.

The Good Part…Managing my RA Through Lymphatic Massages

My husband gives me lymphatic massages which help a lot too.

The lymphatic system is the part of the immune system comprising a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha “water”) unidirectionally toward the heart.

Lymphoid tissue is found in many organs, particularly the lymph nodes, and in the lymphoid follicles associated with the digestive system such as the tonsils.

The system also includes all the structures dedicated to the circulation and production of lymphocytes, which includes the spleen, thymus, bone marrow and the lymphoid tissue associated with the digestive system.
Lymphatic system. (2011, April 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:50, April 21, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lymphatic_system&oldid=425074261

In essence, the Lymphatic System helps the body get rid of waste, but there is no central pump for the system. It’s based on muscle movement.

The rebounding and massages have helped me feel better and I believe help stimulate the lymphatic system to help get rid of cellular waste faster.

Good Sleep

I wish I could say that a good night’s sleep is part of what I do to manage my RA…but it’s hard! I need to do better about getting to bed earlier and not cheating my sleep hours.

Live gets busy though, and it can be tough at times. I definitely notice a difference when I don’t get enough sleep.

Relaxation and Meditation

I need to work on this one. We’ve done a little bit of simple breathing exercises, but it’s been a while, and I need to get back into it.

I believe stress affects my RA as well as diet, so I need to do better at relaxing and managing stress.

I’ve heard about EFT from a friend that used it for emotional distress and have read of others using it for RA, so I’ve bought the official EFT Manual and I’ll update how it goes.

More than Just a Pill or Shot

It is so sad that our society looks for pills and drugs to make us better when we should be looking at the underlying causes, and lasting fixes.