Can any of you recommend some alternative treatments for RA?

Danielle - posted on 08/30/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I am 29, I was diagnosed 5 years ago, I have been through so many meds, none of which have provided any real relief. My doctor has been pushing the shots, Humira, Enbrel, and another. I am not ready to take that plunge just yet. I would like to exhaust all of my options first, due to the long list of side effects and long term effects that come along with those shots. I have been anemic for the past year, and my doctor never suggested we treat it, now my numbers have hit an all time low, and it is a huge feat just to get out of bed, my pain has gone through the roof and I am feeling very hopeless. I have started treating my anemia myself with plant derived supplements, but I am told it will take about 6 months to get my numbers back up to a normal level. I should also let you know I was in a car accident in July, which has brought on my RA flare if I had to guess. Do any of you have any Natural alternative treatments you can recommend? I have done alot of research of my own, but would like to hear others suggestions. I feel very alone in this, and my family seems to be fed up! My condition has been a strain on my relationship with them! Anything at this point could help. Thank you. Sincerely, Danielle

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Jamie - posted on 04/30/2011

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I was diagonosed with JRA when I was in 8th grade. We treated it with a few different meds since some didn't seem to work as well as others and I had isues remembering to take them since (I recently found out) I was apparently suffering from ADD as well. The med that worked the best for me was Relafen. It was only once a day so easier to remember. I quit taking it when I was pregnant with my first child since it wasn't advised to take it while pregnant and my Rhumatologist told me the body kinda naturally goes into a remission while pregnant anyway. I went to my Rhumatologist for a 6 wk postpartum ck up and he told me I was in remission and haven't taken any meds for it since! If I have any pain I take Advil etc. and that seems to do the trick! I was told it could reoccur in later years and full blown RA but I am almost 31 and been in remission since I was 24 so I have to say so far so good. Oh, I was also supposed to be doing strenghening exercises but often forgot to do them. When I had a swelling flare I would ice it and use some free weights like they did at Physcial Therapy for my flares. Hope some of this was helpful!

Lizz - posted on 03/20/2010

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Hi Danielle. I was diagnosed nearly 8 years ago after my first daughter was born. Each pregnancy has brought mush needed relief with a severe flare during the transition after. I found a great chiropractor who is gentle and uses breathing, relaxation and massage with his chiropractic practice. I find that routine visits (twice a month once you've gotten on target) help reduce the severity and frequency of the flares for me flare would last 10-14 days and come every month or so, even on meds. And now my flares are 3-4 days every 3 or so months. Trying to minimize processed foods and high sugar foods (white flour, etc.) also really helps. I find that all I want just as a flare is starting is sugary cereal and white toast (it's a big red flag). I also try to move every day, walk, stretch and on good days walk, stretch and strength train. I also have a great doctor who's approach to this disease is not to come at it all guns unless needed, a slow elevation of meds to keep my quality of life and my health.

Mindy - posted on 03/02/2010

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Hi Danielle.......I am 31 and was FINALLY diagnosed 3 years ago, though had been having problems for years. I also have anemia and take over-the-counter iron supplements for it. I am on injectable methotrexate and that does help some. I use several different herbal remedies. Stress affects my RA greatly, so I use Lavender oil in the bath to help relax. I use Mandarin oil as an aromatherapy to help with fatigue (Bath and Body Works has a GREAT aromatherapy line). I also have Fibromayalgia so the fatigue and pain are compounded by having both auto-immune diseases. I use a book called "Prescription for Nutritional Healing" which I strongly recommend if you want to go the herbal/alternative route. It has lists of herbs and natural treatments for just about anything, including RA. Fish oil or flax seed oil capsules have also been very helpful for joint pain. Whatever you decide to try, BE SURE to check with your pharmacist to make sure that any herbal remedies won't adversely interact with your medications. I will be happy to look up the list of herbal/natural remedies in my book for you, just send me a message. Best of luck to you and don't lose hope!!! Remember, flares do end or get better sometime, so hang in there!!!

Melissa - posted on 11/10/2009

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I know how you feel! I did not want to start taking drugs either, but when your pain gets so bad you cant take care of yourself let alone your children! I had to cave in and start drugs! I started on prednisone and it helped the pain tremendously, but made me gain weight, then I got depressed, developed high blood pressure, stomach problems, ect. I have tryed everything under the sun untill I finally gave into the shots, I just started Enbel and I think they are helping! I had alot of problems with Vitamin D defincency and potassium, and low glucose we are working on! Stay strong and do not give up! Take it one day at a time is the only way to handle this disease!

Jennifer - posted on 09/15/2009

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Sorry to hear you have so much going on at once Danielle.....I will say (from a nursing point of view)...you HAVE to correct the anemia.....that alone can cause horrible fatigue...throw RA into and I can't imagine....I think if your numbers are that low, your doctor should be making recommendations, as well as looking into WHY your counts are so low....I have heard a lot of people say they tried the Natural route....but they may feel better for a short time, then are back to square one.....I was only diagonised almost a year ago, and have done a lot of research, I really think the treatment of RA has come a long way, and it may just take time to find the right medication or combination of meds to work for you....but the anemia REALLY needs to be addressed...as far as your relationship...I understand...my only advice is to include them.....don't keep them in the dark.....let them know how you feel....my husband is in the same boat as Tina's.....there are many nights I just want to sit and cry because I feel AWFUL and wonder how do I get thru the day with my kids (a 4 year old and 17 month old) and feel ok....then I get them to bed and it is downhill.....I really think it is my kids that keep me going!!! My husband gets so frustrated that he can't do anything for me....but he is always there to listen!!!

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I am so sorry for what you are going through!! This disease is such a hard disease to deal with...I've been on FMLA leave from my job for the past 5 weeks and thought that I would be antsy and ready to go back to work, but I haven't felt good enough to WANT to go back. I have been going to have acupuncture and it is really helping. It will take several sessions before you can tell a difference, but if you can afford to do it along with either chiropractic treatment or massage therapy, it is even better. I did have to finally give in this summer and begin Enbrel injections...I had reached the very end of my rope on dealing with the pain. As for the anemia, any other type of imbalance in your body is going to make your RA feel worse. If you can do something to correct that, it may be easier to get the RA back under control. I can completely sympathize with the "fed up family"! I would sit and cry at night because I was in pain and then cry even harder because I thought my husband was mad at me! He wasn't mad at me...just mad that he couldn't do anything to help me.



I hope you are feeling better soon.

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