3 Non-Medication Ways To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted on: 5 February 2020

Different types of medications are essential for many people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Not only can medications reduce pain and swelling, but it may slow the progression of the disease. Beyond taking your medications, there are other non-medication strategies that may ease some RA symptoms.


Some people find changes in their diet help their RA symptoms. For example, eating an anti-inflammatory diet might reduce pain and swelling, while reducing the intensity and duration of flare-ups. Foods that are often considered inflammatory included processed foods. It is better to eat all or most of your diet from basic, non-processed foods, such as organic, lean meats and whole grains. Dairy and gluten are other pro-inflammation foods. Although most vegetables are considered good to reduce inflammation, some people find the nightshades like potatoes and tomatoes make them feel worse. Adding anti-inflammatory spices to your food regularly, such as garlic, turmeric, black pepper, and ginger is another component of anti-inflammatory diet.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) is another important part of managing RA for some people. Some specific forms of PT, such as hand therapy, might be useful in helping you adapt to hand deformities or in the early stages of deformities, PT may prevent deformities from becoming fixed. Since RA not only affects your joints, but also affect the soft tissues that support your joints, making the soft tissues stronger is also important. People with RA that have weak soft tissues may suffer partial or complete dislocations of the joint. Strengthening the supporting structures can help keep the joints from dislocating. Some PT regimens may also help you restore lost lean body mass that may have occurred in the early stages of the disease.


You may not think of counseling as important for RA management, but for many people, it is critical for helping them adapt to changing needs. It is normal to deal with changes in mood after the diagnosis or as you experience different challenges, such as chronic pain or decreased mobility. Sometimes talk therapy is a good way to verbalize your concerns and avoid keeping negative emotions bottled up. Your counselor may have suggestions for helping you deal with both the mental and physical aspects of the disease, since depression and anxiety can both make pain worse. Some people may find antidepressants are also beneficial and some of these medications also ease chronic bone and joint pain.

Medication is just one part of managing the symptoms of RA. A well-rounded treatment plan will also include non-medication options to address your mental and physical needs. To learn more, talk to a doctor and physical therapist in your area.