Everyday life with rheumatism: ten tips for patients

Rheumatism changes life: work and leisure have to be reorganized, treatments have to be integrated. It is particularly important to counteract the illness with positive experiences.

A few rules help to make everyday life harmonious.

Accept rheumatism – that's easy to say. But what does that actually mean? Above all, it means overcoming the consequences of the disease. In concrete terms: How can rheumatism therapy, work and leisure be reconciled? How do you succeed in finding the necessary balance between stress and rest? How does a rheumatic sufferer motivate himself anew every day in order not to give up? There are no patent remedies, only one thing is certain: The drive to cope with rheumatic complaints must come from the patient.

Partners, family, friends and work colleagues can support him – but the person concerned has to pull himself together. After the diagnosis, many find it difficult at first. Everyone should give themselves as much time as they need. But: in the long term, nobody can run away from the effects of the disease. It makes great medical sense to start rheumatism therapy quickly.

Working despite rheumatism

Many patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases bravely suppress their pain and try to appear fit and resilient at work. This may work in the beginning, but not in the long term. If, on the other hand, the rheumatism is dealt with openly from the start, the course can be set at an early stage for remaining at work.

Thanks to early diagnosis and modern treatment options, incapacity for work is much rarer today and rheumatism patients can ensure their financial independence for much longer.

Together with the company doctor, options for adapting the workplace can be examined and implemented. Both the sick person and the employer can claim the costs for aids and the redesign of the workplace. If necessary, retraining to another job can also be considered.

Tips for a fulfilling life with rheumatism

In order to lead a full life despite rheumatism complaints, satisfying tasks at work and leisure are just as important as good social contacts and a harmonious partnership. They create a positive counterpoint to illness, give strength and joy. Everyone should critically examine their living conditions to see whether they are good for them – but this is even more important for a sick person.

  1. Avoid overwork and fatigue. Pay attention to body signals and take some rest. Overexertion can trigger a disease flare-up!

  2. Accept help from others. Always say exactly what you cannot do alone. This prevents excessive demands from the household and family.

  3. In the partnership it is important that the disease does not gain the upper hand. Joint ventures are important. Affection and tenderness make dealing with the disease easier. The prerequisite for a fulfilling love life, however, is openness towards the partner.

  4. Check job satisfaction. Discussions with colleagues and superiors increase understanding of handicaps. If the professional situation is unsatisfactory, you should change something or quit if necessary.

  5. Learn to say no. Don't let yourself be pushed into anything. This also applies to appointments that you have to cancel at short notice because you are feeling bad.

  6. Distinguish important from unimportant. Avoid unnecessary stress; Reduce house cleaning, for example.

  7. Prevent stress. Reduce stress, do relaxation exercises, take care of yourself.

  8. Improve collaboration with doctors and therapists. Consciously prepare questions, describe complaints precisely and follow the instructions of the practitioner.

  9. Deal with fears. Find out about the rheumatic disease. Discuss problems with loved ones and accept handicaps.

  10. Don't let it get you down. Self-pity is of no use. Consciously doing something every day that is fun. Promote creativity and happiness.

  11. Establish contacts. Participate actively and confidently in life.

A rheumatic disease brings numerous changes with it. In order to compensate for stress, patients should consciously do good for themselves. What increases well-being and zest for life? To make resolutions a reality, it helps to write them down and make a contract with yourself. Such an agreement becomes even more important when it is concluded with another person.

Help for self-help in the group

In everyday life, it is not always easy for rheumatism sufferers to encourage themselves. Self-help groups are a great support here. Patients can motivate one another, seek advice, or learn from other people's experiences. Some still shy away from self-help groups, for example fear that the topic of "rheumatism" will be promoted. This contrasts with positive experiences: Members of self-help groups cope with their illness much better than other rheumatics. Patients find a suitable group e.g. by the Federal Association of the German Rheuma League. Often the treating doctors and therapists can also help.

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