7 Ways to Ease Every Day With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Even the smallest adjustments to your lifestyle can make all the difference. Read on for simple tips and tricks on how to tame RA pain each day.

Lori Murray

1. Start your car (and unlock doors).
Buy a wide plastic holder designed to slip right over your car key. The holder not only makes the key easier to grip, but provides more leverage to twist the ignition starter. A cheap key holder can also be placed over other keys to make locking and unlocking doors easier. Find them at online retailers.

2. Swap your diet soda for water.
This simple change may keep your hunger in check, reducing the temptation to have a second helping. Seems that a chemical in diet soda may increase your appetite, or that by drinking a diet beverage, you’ll feel justified in making unhealthy food choices, according to researchers at the University of Texas.

3. Trouble opening medicine bottles?
Remind your pharmacist not to use childproof caps when you go to fill your prescription.

4. Ease swelling with DIY ice packs.
Fill small disposable cups with water and stick them in the freezer. Next time you want to ice a swollen joint (like your knee or elbow), take the cup and tear off the top third of it to expose some of the ice. Now you’ve got a smooth, cold block that’s easy to hold and rub on an inflamed joint (just be sure to keep a towel nearby for when the “ice pack” starts to melt).  

5. Opt for satin sheets and pajamas.
You’ll be able to slip in and out of bed more easily without fighting the covers.

6. Make twisting off bottle caps a cinch!
Thick rubber bands can be used as impromptu bottle-opening aides. Take one or two wide bands and wrap them around the edge of the plastic cap. The rubber sides will be easier to grip and provide a nonslip surface to twist open the container. Another option: Buy a plastic, cylinder-shaped bottle opener to remove caps. Place the cylinder over the cap, push down quickly and off comes the cap!  

7. Choose the right hook. 
Switch to ones that are easier to grip: Look for hooks that are flexible, flat and square. You can also buy soft tube-like holders that slip over your hook.


April 2013