Britt Johnson: Motion is Lotion

Britt J Johnson | May 28th 2014 Feb 16th 2017

1 of 7
1 of 7

Who is Britt?

Britt Johnson has had RA and spondyloarthropathy since she was a child. For years, she lived with pain without a diagnosis. Finally in college she saw a rheumatologist, got a diagnosis and started taking medication. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and is an advocate, writing on HealthCentral and on her blog The Hurt Blogger. This is her story of regaining function. For Britt, Motion is Lotion.

2 of 7

Rough time

A year ago, Britt Johnson was in a bad way. Her medication wasn’t working, she couldn’t use stairs without help and she was very depressed. She wore compression braces on her knees and could hear the fluid moving around in the joint. She says “one day I got really mad, put my compression braces on and went for walk. I iced my knees afterwards and realized I felt better. Getting out had helped.”

3 of 7

Surprise hike

“One day, I decided to run to the end of the block and there was no significant backlash. I decided to see if running would help me. I combined walking and running and used compression braces when I exercised. My husband gave me some brightly colored running shoes. They were very motivating!”

4 of 7

Staph infection

“I got a combination fungal/staph infection, ran a solid fever for two months and had to go off my meds. I decided to do a 5K after the infections cleared. Having something else to focus on helped me get through that. It didn’t sideline me the same way it would have in the past. My doctor made sure I had good pain control and it helped me to keep walking. When I started back on the meds, I responded quickly and did a 5K 3 months later."

5 of 7

Swimming

“I exercise four times a week for 30 to 45 minutes. That’s the most my body can handle. Finding a running and hiking club helped keep me motivated.” Britt has trouble with her knees, so she only runs two times a week and hikes one or two times a week. Swimming aggravated the arthritis in her spine, so these days, she uses the pool for aqua jogging.  “It’s about finding your fun.”

6 of 7

Bad days

Britt isn’t a superwoman. She has bad days, just like everyone else with RA. “I have flared since and when that happens, I back off on activity.” She believes it’s important to pay attention to your body and listen to what it tells you. When she exercises, she wears compression braces to protect her knees and is ready to stop if her body has had enough.

7 of 7

Rock climbing

Britt has gone from not being able to walk up the stairs to running 5K races and going for long trail hikes. Gradually pushing herself to do a bit more while respecting her body’s messages has brought her to a better place, both physically and emotionally. “I have learned how much of a mental game this is. When you put your mind to something, it’s pretty damn powerful.”

NEXT: What People with Rheumatoid Arthritis Should and Shouldn't Eat
More on this topic

Living Well with RA: Turning Points

What People with RA Should and Shouldn't Eat

Lene Andersen

Turmeric and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lene Andersen

10 Reasons to be Grateful for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lene Anderson

Self-Care for the Holidays with Chronic Illness

Lene Anderson

Protecting Your Kidneys with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lene Anderson

Managing Your Money with RA

Lene Andersen

Best Ways to Manage RA Treatment Side Effects

Lene Andersen

Cooking Doesn't Have to Suck with RA

Britt J Johnson

Must-Read Tips for RA Hospital Stays

Marianna Paulson

10 Things That Make Life with RA Easier

Lene Andersen

Top 10 Challenges of RA the Invisible Illness

Leslierott

The Green Light to Better Health

Marianna Paulson

Is Your RA Treatment Working?

Lene Andersen

Hot Weather and Pain

Anna Legassie

How Living with RA Can Affect Your Sex Life

The HealthCentral Editorial Team

Cleaning Tips with RA

Marianna Paulson

The Pursuit of Happiness with RA

Lene Andersen

RA and Eye Health Complications

Lisa Emrich

Tired of Being Tired

Lene Andersen

Relationship Tips for RA

Lene Andersen

Who Can Help with Your RA?

Leslie Rott

Planning Your Future

Lene Andersen

Can You Work With RA?

Leslie Rott

Adapting to Life with RA

Lene Andersen

Friendly Health Habits and RA

Marianna Paulson

Early Signs of RA

Lisa Emrich

7 Exercises for People with RA

Seth Ginsberg

11 Frequently Asked Questions About RA

Lene Andersen

How to Stay Active with RA

Lene Andersen

How to Make Life Easier with RA

Allison Tsai

11 Tips for Getting Through The Work Day With RA

Marianna Paulson

5 Smoothies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

Healthy Diet and Exercise Plan with RA

Britt J Johnson

How to Make Your Office RA-Friendly

Anna Legassie