This is Rheumatoid Arthritis

“Imagine having all your joints slowly pulled apart.
Now imagine that you’re not imagining it.
This is Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

This quote by someone using the name RA Guy struck us as we were reading about people’s experiences with Rheumatoid Arthritis. 19-25 June is Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness week so we are looking at what Rheumatoid Arthritis is and how we at Holisticare can help those living with it.

We’ve all heard of Rheumatoid Arthritis and most of us know it causes painful joints but there is much more to it than that. It is a challenging, painful condition which often progresses to have a debilitating impact on your daily activities.

It is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in multiple joints, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. It typically affects joints symmetrically and can cause problems in any joint in the body usually starting with the small joints in the hands and feet. The throbbing, aching pain is often worse in the mornings or after a period of rest. Linings of the joints become inflamed causing the joints to swell, redden and become hot and tender to touch. Eventually your joints may become so severe that your hands and feet, in particular, become misshapen. Stiffness, like pain, and stiffness from osteoarthritis, is usually worse in the morning or after rest, but unlike osteoarthritis, the stiffness persists for a significant period of time, usually more than half an hour. Stiffness in the hands can be so severe that you can’t form a fist, or fully bend or straighten your fingers.


Symptoms often develop gradually over several weeks but some cases can progress quickly over a number of days. They vary from person to person, can come and go, and may change over time. You might experience flares when your condition deteriorates and symptoms become more severe.

RA doesn’t just affect your joints. It can cause a high temperature, poor appetite, weight loss, sweating, depression, irritability anaemia and fatigue. It can also affect the eyes resulting in dry, painful or inflamed eyes, as well as rheumatoid nodules around the elbows or on hands and feet, and can even, rarely, affect the lungs and heart membrane.

There is currently no cure for RA but there is a range of treatments that can help to reduce pain and limit the impact it has on a sufferer’s daily life. Of course painkillers can help but, as time goes on, the strength of medication often has to be increased. Some patients are offered surgery under certain circumstances and many find it helpful. Myofascial Release Treatment also helps to reduce pain, can help to maintain or improve mobility and even assist in recovery after surgery.

Carol M Davis, DPT (Doctorate of Physical Therapy) was a Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine with a specific interest in researching scientific foundations and clinical outcomes from the use of therapies such as MFR and she studied the use of MFR in the treatment of various conditions including RA. In 2011 a study showed that Myofascial Release Treatment three times a week for 2 weeks can relieve pain and other Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. The techniques used in the study included arm and leg pulls, manual cervical traction, transverse plane releases and cross-hand techniques. Dr Davis explained that using the extended pressure of MFR (more than 3 minutes) to targeted areas on the body helps to change the underlying structure of connective tissue (the fascia) and corrects areas of restriction that could be contributing to the pain.

If you, or someone you know, has Rheumatoid Arthritis and would like to either give your liver, stomach and kidneys a rest by reducing your painkillers, or have had surgery and need a boost to recover, call us at Holisticare to make an appointment.

Don’t Forget!

12-24 June Father’s Day Offer. Call between 12 & 24 June to book and pay for a 1 hour treatment for your father and get £25 off his treatment PLUS £10 off your next treatment. Quote FDO17 when booking.

Workshop for Horse Riders. Part Two 28th June. Attridges Equestrian Centre, High Roding, CM6 1NQ. Part 1 only £20, both parts £35. Call us on 01279 718331

Holisticare Quiz Night for St Clare Hospice. Friday 30 June. We are now full for this event. You can still join in and help us raise more for St Clare by entering our raffle. Please drop in to buy your tickets.

Free Yourself Hour Classes. Week 3, Thursday 22nd at 6.45pm. If you have missed this round of classes don’t worry, our next set will begin in September.