Though we tend to think of arthritis as a condition that sets in later in life, that’s not always the case. Unlike osteoarthritis — which is caused by wear and tear on your joints over time — rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that can occur at any age. It can also impact more than just your joints, causing damage to body parts including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels. According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors aren’t entirely sure what triggers the autoimmune response that causes RA, but we do know that it affects more women than men.
There are a range of symptoms associated with RA, including joint stiffness (which is usually worse in the mornings or after a period where you haven’t moved much), fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and swollen, warm or tender joints. Like most conditions, each person with RA tends to have certain symptoms that are worse than others. In fact, approximately 40 percent of people with RA also experience pain in parts of their body that are not joints. In other words, if you’ve been diagnosed with RA and are noticing aching in parts of your body, it’s not your imagination — it could be the autoimmune disease at work.
For women with RA, not all treatments are created equal. For example, after my mother was diagnosed with leukemia and began chemotherapy, she had to stop taking her prescription medication and rely solely on other products to help with the pain and discomfort associated with her RA. We tried several different topical creams and gels, and found that this pain relief spray worked best for her — especially when combined with some of the other products included on this list that involved heat.
So whether you have RA yourself or you are caring for someone who lives with it, here are eight products real women with the condition swear by.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
An Instant Cold Pack
“These instant cold packs are perfect for relief on-the-go. You just shake and pop them to make them cold, so there’s no need to put in the freezer. They are ready whenever you are and provide quick relief.” — Helen M., 62
A Cooling Vest
“The Thermapparel cooling vest that really has made it more comfortable to move around in the warmer times of year — JP S., 42
Fingerless Arthritis Gloves
“Skineez fingerless arthritis gloves are a lifesaver! The compression aspect plus five essential moisturizers built into the fabric, soothe my hands in every way. I wear them everyday, from driving to gardening, to around the house!” — Jené L, 42
A Cooling Blanket
“This cordless heated blanket from Cozee that comes in handy while I’m at my desk, watching TV or sleeping.” — JP S., 42
Microwavable Heating Mittens
“These mittens hug your hands with warmth which feels very soothing. They can be thrown in the microwave and used over and over again.” — Melanie M., 36
Lavender Aromatherapy Cream
“I was in so much pain from RA that I could barely move and was considering moving to an assisted living facility. I started using Aromalief Cream and seeing a holistic medicine doctor and my pain is almost gone. This has really changed my life and has let me stay independent.” — Patricia P. , 74
A Knee Brace
“This knee brace helps keep me stable while I’m walking and is adjustable, so I know it will always fit.” — MaryAnn P., 55
Pain Relief Cream
“Mineralgia Pain Relief Cream helps my arthritis. I use it on my shoulder, my back and knees. I have tried others, but this works the best.” – Maribel P., 47
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