How One Woman Outsmarts Rheumatoid Arthritis

When RA threw a monkey wrench into model Grace Broderick’s life, she fought back with guts, determination and a hand from her doctor.

Katie Alberts
More Sharing +

Listen to your body. If you’re in pain, stop what you’re doing, says Grace. Although she’s devoted to her exercise classes, sometimes her joints “scream” at her. When that happens, she takes the day off or modifies her poses. “I wasn’t feeling right during one yoga class, so I spent the entire time in Child’s Pose, where you’re kneeling on the floor, with your arms stretched out in front of you.”

Reach out to friends and neighbors. “I ask my neighbors for help with things I can’t do, like changing a light bulb,” says Grace. You may not feel comfortable doing this initially, but you might be surprised by how willing people are to assist you.

Switch buttons. Have a favorite shirt, but the buttons prove a challenge? Have a tailor replace the buttons with Velcro versions. The buttons look like normal buttons on the outside, but they fasten together with Velcro on the inside. Find them at online retailers and craft stores.

Let the light in. Light switches on table lamps can be tricky. Look for on-off switches that work with a pedal—you just attach them via the power cord, then you can easily turn them on with your foot.

Take a hike. Numerous studies show that mild exercise can ease arthritis pain, and now a study from Johns Hopkins University has found that viewing nature scenes can provide additional pain relief. Think a hike would be too strenuous? You can find a list of easy-on-you accessible nature trails from the National Park Service at, or just go for a walk around the block!

April 2013