With the expansion of social media and internet speeds that are faster than ever before, connecting with other arthritis sufferers online has never been easier. If you are the only person around you suffering from arthritis, or if you live in a rural or ex-urban community that keeps you physically isolated, connecting online is a great way to build connections, find support, and keep up with the latest treatments and research on arthritis.
Starting with a forum can be a great way to jump in. Pain Doctor has an active community forum with posts on chronic pain that include not only arthritis but also neck pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, and more. You can tell your story, ask for advice, or see what treatments have been effective for others. Message boards serve the same function as forums and can be used to connect with others as well. As always, practice safe browsing online. Don’t give out personal information readily, and make sure to report any interactions that feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
If you prefer to browse with less interaction, Pinterest may be the place for you. These online bulletin boards help you locate and “pin” information to the cloud. Unlike the old system of bookmarking on your computer, you can access your pins from any computer or smartphone. The Arthritis National Research Foundation maintains a Pinterest account with inspirational messages, links to arthritis research, and information on arthritis awareness.
For its recipes and nutritional information (among other things!), another great Pinterest board is the one maintained by Arthritis Today Magazine. This Pinterest board also features great articles on weight loss (which helps take stress off affected joints), exercise (including yoga), and everyday living with arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation is another great board with tons of information. None of these boards strike your fancy? A quick search of the term “arthritis” gives even more options of boards to follow. Happy pinning!
Need just a bit more interaction, somewhere between telling your whole story and staying quiet? Twitter helps you tell your story and get information in 140 characters or less. The Arthritis Foundation also maintains a Twitter account and tweets several times a day. They post articles on things like sudden increases in arthritis symptoms, making resolutions for arthritis sufferers, and free educational opportunities.
Arthritis Today Magazine tweets as well and offers arthritis sufferers smaller bits of information many times a day. They also ask questions and engage followers in discussions about symptoms and treatments. Their 11,700+ followers can send pictures and videos and feel support from a large community of fellow arthritis sufferers. This account is also the electronic version of the print publication and provides access to all of the print articles every month.
A final Twitter page to check out is Arthritis Care. With 33,900 followers, this page is active and engaged in the battle with arthritis. This account is focused on the UK but offers support and information for the whole world. They are currently in the running for a Lloyds Community Grant that will help them to continue to spread information and research throughout the arthritis community.
Sometimes the best support online comes from the hearts of people going through the same things you are. In this case, blogs are plentiful and varied and offer something for every type of writer and reader. Healthline named its Best Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogs of 2014, and here are a few of our favorites.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior: Kelly was just diagnosed in 2006, and in that time she has managed to create a blog that is both fierce and fabulous. She offers advice for people living with people living with RA, as well as a rundown of research and daily tips.
- All Flared Up: Amanda of All Flared Up has been suffering from RA for 14 years since she was diagnosed at 32. She has remained very physically active and aims to debunk the myths of RA. Her blog community is also active, with many comments on each blog and lots of lively discussion.
- A Figment of Fitness: A Figment of Fitness continues Amanda’s rallying cry to get out and stay active; this blog’s author has run two marathons since she was diagnosed!
- Attitude of Gratitude: Blogger Julie doesn’t shy away from the tough times those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis can experience. Her blog is an honest, open reflection on daily life and struggles with an underlying current of gratitude for all that life has to offer.
- From. This Point. Forward.: One of the hardest parts about the struggle with rheumatoid arthritis is that it is hard to see any progress when you are in the middle of it. Mariah Leach has kept careful track of her progress in this blog, and her profile picture clearly illustrates her tagline: “I have RA. It doesn’t have me.”
- Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis: One of the few male bloggers on our list, Andrew writes about not only his own struggles with RA but also manages to translate new research and studies in language anyone can understand. He also offers links to his own treatment plan and other useful blogs.
- itis: The author of itis suffers from Reynaud’s Disease and chronicles daily life with humor and clarity. Her list of blogs and resources on juvenile arthritis are a valuable resource!
- RA Adventure Rider: Terry is a motorcycle enthusiast who chronicles his journey with rheumatoid arthritis right along with his adventures on the road. In one blog, he talks about going gluten free and riding to the Ozark National Forest. This is one blogger who doesn’t stop because of RA!
Facebook and Google+ also offer communities of support for arthritis sufferers. You can tailor your search results to local groups only and build an online support system of like-minded people. This can be an invaluable weapon in your daily arsenal for the fight against arthritis.
With so much information on the internet, it can be hard to find a few reliable online sites for arthritis support. What are your favorite places to get support online?
Image by mkhmarketing via Flickr