Rheumatoid Arthritis Self Care Guide at Home

rheumatoid arthritis self care


Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) presents many daily challenges. While there is no cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), people can take control of symptoms through dedicated self-care and management at home. This comprehensive guide provides ten practical tips to help manage Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, stiffness, fatigue, and inflammation and improve your life quality.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis ?

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease affecting the joints that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy joints. This leads to painful swelling, redness, warmth, and joint stiffness. Rheumatoid Arthritis most commonly impacts the hands, feet, wrists, and knees. Inflammation causes damage to other body organs. While the exact cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is unknown, genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a role. There is no known cure, but early diagnosis and treatment can control symptoms and improve outcomes.

Here are the Rheumatoid Arthritis Self Care Tips that will help you feel better at home:

1. Rest for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Listen to your body. When joints feel tender or painful, take a break. Take short breaks regularly throughout the day to get off your feet and rest painful joints. Limit activities requiring repetitive hand and wrist motions, such as typing. 

2. Sleep for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Prioritize getting 8-9 hours of sleep per night to allow joints to recover. Quality sleep is important. Sleeping better is associated with less pain. 

3. Exercise for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Aquatics in warm water is the best for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, you may also try yoga, stretching, and low-impact aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, and cycling to improve joint mobility and strength. Avoid high-impact exercises that can damage joints, like running and jumping. Start any exercise regimen slowly. 

4. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory, Nutritious Diet

Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, have been shown to fight inflammation. Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, such as berries, spinach, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, provide essential nutrients that support joint health. Spices, including turmeric, garlic, and ginger, also have anti-inflammatory properties. Probiotic foods like yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha contain beneficial gut bacteria that improve digestive health. Drink plenty of water. Avoid inflammatory foods like fried foods, processed carbs, and added sugars. 

5. Use Hot and Cold Therapy

 rheumatoid arthritis self care

Alternating hot and cold therapy offers simple, effective relief for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Heat therapy increases blood flow to relax muscles and loosen stiff joints. Options like warm showers, baths, heating pads, and hot packs can provide comfort before activity.  A sauna is a great option for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Cold therapy numbs nerve endings and reduces inflammation in swollen joints. Wrap ice packs in a towel or try cold gel packs to avoid burning skin. 

6. Use Assistive Devices

Assistive devices allow people with Rheumatoid Arthritis to perform daily tasks with less pain and strain.  Consider using splints, braces, walking canes, reachers, grabbers, and Kitchen tools (jar openers, padded handles). Check out my video on my YouTube channel to learn about these options.

7. Practice Mind-Body Techniques

Meditation, guided imagery, and deep breathing exercises promote relaxation and reduce stress and pain in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Mindfulness training teaches patients to focus on the present and detach from pain sensations. Tai chi improves flexibility and balance through flowing motions. 

8. Massage Sore Joints

Massage stimulates circulation around painful joints and increases blood flow to deliver healing nutrients and remove inflammatory waste products. Massage also relaxes surrounding muscles You should seek a professional massage therapist experienced in working with joint pain issues.

9. Quit Smoking

Rheumatoid arthritis patients must quit smoking due to associated health risks. Studies show smoking worsens inflammation and may trigger the development of rheumatoid arthritis in genetically susceptible people. Smoking also appears to increase disease activity and reduce the effectiveness of Rheumatoid Arthritis medications. 

10. Find the right support team

You are not alone! There are millions of people experiencing Rheumatoid Arthritis. Join a support group where you will share your success and huddles and learn from others like you

Find a rheumatologist who can help you, understand and respect your wishes, and will be part of your team, not against you. Your rheumatologist should teach you about the disease, have a comprehensive view of your nutrition, mind, and body needs, and treat you as a person, not a patient with a disease. You should be able to build a trusting and respectful relationship with your physician and feel comfortable in this relationship. 


While living with rheumatoid arthritis is challenging, a multifaceted approach combining rest, exercise, diet, hot/cold therapy, self-massage, and stress relief will provide the greatest benefits. Working closely with a rheumatologist that is supportive is essential. 

If you seek a comprehensive approach incorporating nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, and cutting-edge therapies, consider calling us at Rheumatologist Oncall. We specialize in treating patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and we also offer prompt, affordable, high-quality medical consultations from the comfort of your home.

What self-management tips have helped your rheumatoid arthritis? Please share your experiences in the comments.



All content shared on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This site and its services do not constitute the practice of medicine. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment regarding your specific medical needs. We don’t represent that any of the products or services offered through this site are safe, appropriate, or effective for you. We advise you to always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider regarding personal health or medical conditions. If you know or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a qualified healthcare professional immediately. If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

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