The Month Ahead: RA and Pain Awareness

  • Does your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) give you chronic pain? How much does it affect your life, your work, and your relationships? Are you coping well? Do the people in your life understand what you’re going through?


    September is Pain Awareness Month. It gives all of us who live with chronic pain the opportunity to show the rest of the world what it’s like to have pain every day and keep living your life anyway. It’s an opportunity for us to learn more about the condition and how to cope with it. It’s also an opportunity for those who do not have chronic pain to take some extra time and learn about pain. Here on HealthCentral’s RA site, the team will focus on RA pain and how to manage its impact on different aspects of your life.

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    To start off the month, I’ll write about pain and pain awareness, including the Women In Pain conference. Some of you may be attending the conference virtually, but others may be traveling to attend in person or perhaps traveling for other reasons. Traveling can be a challenge with pain and fatigue of RA. Later this month, we’ll bring you tips on how to make it easier to get from where you are to where you’re going.


    After the more leisurely pace days of summer, September is a time where many of us buckle down and start building our to-do lists again. Working with RA can present some unique obstacles, but there are resources that can help make your job easier on your body. Later this month, I’ll write about doing your job with RA.


    This month, we will focus on how to manage your physical pain, as well as the emotional aspects of living with RA. We all use different coping techniques and will take a closer look at a variety of ways to deal with the physical and emotional pain of having a chronic illness. Brad will look at coping mechanisms for pain in both body and soul and Vanessa will write about how her faith helps her to cope with RA.


    Staying physically active is important when you live with RA, as it can help keep your joints active and therefore in less pain. Many people swear by gentle forms of exercise that can be called meditation in motion, such as yoga or tai chi, to help them stay mobile, as well as manage stress. Lisa will look at the physical benefits of yoga and what it can do for you mentally, as well.


    Whether it’s from work, balancing your family life or living with a chronic illness (or all three), stress is a part of almost everyone’s life. As stress can be a trigger for RA flares, finding a way to reduce stressful situations and manage the stress you do have can be a crucial aspect of living well with RA. Marianna is also known as Auntie Stress and is just the person to teach you how to cope with stress and find more peace in life. Look for that post early in the month.


    The reality is that RA can be hard to live with. Sometimes, very hard. People with RA have a higher risk of depression and many of us have experienced moments where suicide seems like the only way out. We have several posts in our archives that deal with depression and suicide prevention and if you are having a hard time, we encourage you to take a look at these posts. This month, we’re going to add to that collection of posts when Lisa writes about what loved ones can do to help in such a situation. Until then, if you are having a rough time and is starting to look at suicide as an option, please ask for help. I can tell you from personal experience that there is a way art of the darkness. Reach out. Tell someone. Keep fighting. It will be worth it. If you don’t know who to talk to, call a suicide hotline.


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    Deliberately looking at the painful parts of life can be scary and uncomfortable, but doing it together can make it easier. The September, we are committed to helping you have less pain, both physically and in your heart. Please share your stories and what has helped you in the past here on the site or on our Facebook page. Let’s get through this together.


    You may have noticed that two of our team members, Britt and Leslie, will not be writing in September. Both are on a break due to events in their lives requiring their attention. Please join us in expressing our condolences to Leslie, who lost her father a few weeks ago.

Published On: September 01, 2014