Know These Joint Pain Triggers That Make Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse

For people with Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), mobility does not always come easy. Why? This chronic condition is a form of arthritis that occurs when body’s immune system mistakes healthy body tissues for pathogens and destroys the bones and joint cartilage causing inflammation. The result is pain and discomfort in the joints especially during movement. Why the body goes awry like this is still unknown.

According to The Arthritis Foundation, RA affects more than 1.5 million people in the United States alone. More often than not, the disease often goes undetected until it is too late. However, when caught early, bone and joint damage can be prevented enabling patients to maintain their mobility. It helps to know the joint pain triggers that make rheumatoid arthritis worse so as to avoid further progression of the condition.

Below we outline a few:

1. Smoking

Findings from a study published on the, suggests that 50% of smokers are susceptible to Rheumatoid arthritis. Not only does smoking increase their risk of RA but also worsens joint pain.

Also, smokers with RA do not respond well to RA medication such as methotrexate, which is a known regiment for treating RA.  So seek medical help to stop smoking.  It will go a long way in protecting you from developing not only RA but other related condition such as lung cancer.

2. Not eating enough Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids fund in cold water fish such as salmon are great for fighting tissue inflammation. However, eating a lot of Omega 6 fatty acids found in red meat and corn can do quite the opposite. According to a research article published in the US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, an imbalance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can make the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis worse. You should cut back on omega 6 fatty acids and increase more Omega 3’s.

3. Skipping Medication

Sometimes you may be tempted to skip your daily dose of RA medication especially when you a feeling better. This is a mistake. Why? Some drugs need to stay in the blood stream for a period of time for them to be effective. If you cut back on the dose, their effect is reversed. This can flare up your RA effect. If you happen to forget to take your medication, do not take a double dose to cover up for the last one. Instead, consult your doctor.

4. Doing heavy duty Exercise

Although exercise is recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis patients, it should be mild. Exercise helps to build muscle strength and power your joints. However, it should not be overdone. High impact exercises like weight lifting and sprinting can increase joint pain during RA flares. However mild exercises like yoga, walking and jogging are recommended for patients to strengthen their joints and bones.

5. Stress

Stress can have far worse impact on RA patients. Because of their inability to move around like they did before, RA patients can develop depression. Due to these physiological effects, patients may perceive their conditions to be much worse than it really is. Some may even refuse medication and this affects their recovery and treatment regiments.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recommends the use of stress relieving methods such as Yoga and Tai Chi. Counseling and attending group sessions with other RA patients is also a good way of reducing the stress of feeling alone.

6. Obesity

According to a study by the University of Liverpool, obesity increases joint pain among RA patients. Not only does being overweight add stress to you already weak joints and bones making RA flares worse, but it also increases a patient’s susceptibility to other diseases such as heart disease.

A study published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases in 2014 found out that RA progresses rapidly among people with obesity than among non-obese persons. This shows there is a correlation between weight and development of RA. However, maintaining your weight can reduce the amount of inflammatory proteins in blood and reduce the side effects. The best way to go about this is after consulting your doctor. He will know what weight loss treatments’ will worse for you according to the stage of your RA. Avoid using other people’s weight loss programs.


Although there is no known treatment for rheumatoid arthritis disease, there are available treatments and regiments that can help patients live long painless lives. In their review article Iain B. McInnes and Georg Schett emphasize the need to develop homeostasis and immunologic resolution to repair damaged bones and joints so as to relive the pain and damage of patients enabling them to live long happy lives. In the mean -time, you can keep in mind the above named joint pain triggers to avoid the discomfort and flares that come with rheumatoid arthritis.


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