It is a common occurrence during the earlier stages of the rheumatoid arthritis disease that the patient with the new diagnoses will try to resume their previous tasks, roles and habits as much as possible, in a bid to return to normal. Often they end up trying too hard and injures or aggravates their affected joints.
Energy conservation, at all stages of rheumatoid arthritis is important, and when combined with the joint protection program, will result in better preserved and protected joints for the patient with rheumatoid arthritis.
Energy Conservation Program
1. in between tasks and activities for the waking day, at least 60 minutes should be purely for resting. This is best when scheduled right in the middle eg work 9 am to 1 pm, rest 1 - 2 pm, continue work from 2 pm - 6 pm.
2. the needs to be a balance struck between activity and rest, we can call this microbreaks eg working for 20 minutes continuous before taking a short stretch for 1-2 minutes to rest the joints and muscles
3. scheduling and pacing work, that there is an adequate mix of heavy and light work at a time, not a pure stretch of 2 hours of heavy work etc
4. whenever possible, use leverage to help. This can be in the form of technology such as using the computer to type instead of using pen and pencils, using a car to travel instead of walking long distances, or even asking for manual help when required to carry heavy objects
5. plan and arrange the physical environment eg at home or at the work place for equipment, materials, items to be within easy reach, waist height, not overly high or low to minimize climbing and crouching
6. it would be best if the patient with rheumatoid arthritis be allowed to continue her past occupations in a seated manner rather in standing manner, to preserve and protect her joints and energy as much as possible
7. patient should educated and understand that they should accept help whenever possible or necessary especially when it is heavy and difficult to maneuver
8. and to maintain focus primarily on the most important tasks of their jobs or roles, and to remove and eliminate tasks or activities that are not pertinent for them to do eg being a mother doesn't mean she has to help her children (assuming they're young) with their school work or carry their heavy bags or books