If you have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, your first thought might have been swollen, painful wrists and hands that made any movements difficult. However, since rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, as it is also known, is an auto-immune disorder that impacts joints, its symptoms can manifest in many places other than your wrists and hands, such as your neck. That means that if your chronic neck pain doesn't improve with a new pillow or hot bath, it might be attributed to your RA. Therefore, it is a good idea to be sure you have a clear understanding of your disease and know some easy, drug-free ways to manage your symptoms.
Understanding The Dangers Of Rheumatoid Arthritis When It Is In The Neck
It is important to note that RA can inflict significant damage to the joints in your neck if it is left untreated. Specifically, it may force joints and bones out of place, which can then allow painful and unnecessary pressure to develop on the spinal cord and nerve roots. It can restrict blood flow to your lower extremities and although unlikely, has been known to result in paralysis.
Therefore, it is essential to understand that living with undiagnosed neck pain when you have RA is not recommended. Before making any changes to your RA treatment plan, including new exercises, it is best to discuss the feasibility of doing so with your health care provider. The following are just a few options that might help to slow down the progress of your illness or reduce your pain.
Treating Your RA With Dietary Changes
Although there is no cure for RA, it is often treated with pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and even anti-depressants. However, one method that appeals to many people who don't want to spend the rest of their lives popping pills is the anti-inflammatory diet.
An anti-inflammatory diet can include healthy portions of fish, such as salmon, anchovies, and tuna, that contain powerful omega-3 fatty acids. Those fatty acids have naturally anti-inflammatory properties, as do walnuts and flax seeds. In addition, recent studies have suggested that sour cherries and pomegranate both have anti-inflammatory properties that could help with your symptoms of RA, including neck pain.
Consider Alternative Therapies For Your Symptoms
Although it is common practice to prevent and treat the symptoms of RA with medications, other options, such as alternative therapies, exist. For instance, many RA patients have used acupuncture to manage their symptoms. In addition, even though how it works is not yet clear, the use of strong magnets around the affected area has helped some patients. Yoga and similar low-impact stretching exercises may also be able to help you to enjoy a better quality of life as an RA sufferer.
In conclusion, neck pain is a common event that many people experience at least once in their lives. Unfortunately, if you suffer from RA, your discomfort may be more common. Since living with any kind of pain is never a good idea, you need to understand your disease and be aware of the above drug-free treatment options for treating your RA.