Rheumatoid arthritis help groups

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

From the Arthritis Foundation

Diagnosing and treating rheumatoid arthritis requires a team effort involving the patient and several types of health care professionals. A person can go to his or her family doctor or internist or to a rheumatologist. As treatment progresses, other professionals often help. These may include nurses, physical or occupational therapists, orthopedic surgeons, psychologists, and social workers.

Studies have shown that patients who are well informed and participate actively in their own care have less pain and make fewer visits to the doctor than do other patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Patient education and arthritis self-management programs, as well as support groups, help people to become better informed and to participate in their own care. An example of a self-management program is the Arthritis Self-Help Course offered by the Arthritis Foundation. Self-management programs teach about rheumatoid arthritis and its treatments, exercise and relaxation approaches, communication between patients and health care providers, and problem solving. Research on these programs has shown that they help people:

• understand the disease
• reduce their pain while remaining active
• cope physically, emotionally, and mentally
• feel greater control over the disease and build a sense of confidence in the ability to function and lead full, active, and independent lives.

Some communities have organized help groups for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Online groups may be an option people might want to consider.

More information may be obtained at the Arthritis Foundation:


I believe patients should choose self help groups, message boards, and forums wisely. Oftentimes, one person will try to dominate the group. And I've seen that on many occasions, the groups degenerate into a bunch of complaining people. A self help group should offer encouragement and advice.

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