Can this bookcover claim be upheld? “Good Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis Is More Possible Now Than Ever Before!”
I’ve been putting off this book review post because I am afraid I’ll sound negative. Why do I feel like I am obligated to praise the book because it is published by the Arthritis Foundation? Is it a sin for an RA-er to criticize the Arthritis Foundation?
Whoever wrote the cover certainly flattered the writers. Wish I agreed. Here is what they claim is inside:
Front cover: “Find the Tools You Need to Ease Pain, Reduce Joint Damage, Improve Mobility, Relieve Stress.”
Back cover: “In this book you’ll discover… Easy ways to improve your flexibility, reduce pain and stiffness, and manage stress.”
Here’s what I did not like:
The tone is impractical: I felt like the writers have not met anyone living with moderate to severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (a large percentage of RA-ers).
Some information is already outdated since science moves fast and the internet keeps up better than books can.
They gave too much print to the notion that Rheumatoid Arthritis pain is subjective and can be controlled by techniques like mental imagery and self hypnosis.
They presented an unrealistic view of exercise, even using the dreaded phrase “Use it or lose it.”
Have you ever heard of “rheumatoid personality”? Some doctors believe it is the source of Rheumatoid Arthritis pain, would you believe?
There’s more, but I want to keep this short. So, just one more thing: it’s printed on really heavy paper, so it’s too heavy to hold in our hands.
Here’s what I did like:
They expect doctors to talk to patients like real persons, even providing forms to prepare for appointments. However, they do not come with any guarantee of doctor cooperation.
They approve of the use of narcotics for Rheumatoid Arthritis pain which is not controlled in other ways. This has been a controversial topic over the years. Perhaps that is related to some of the concepts discussed in the last section. What is controversial about pain control? Nothing, if the alleged pain is seen as actual pain.
I infer that they envision RA-ers as managers of their own RA treatment programs. Although there is much resistance to this idea in the medical community also, it is the only legitimate basis to “Good living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.”
The book includes a few short vignettes from actual RA-ers. This is probably the best part. It is almost like getting a little page from a blog. They are more realistic. One nurse even tells how RA made her blind in one eye and affected the adjacent ear.
Of course, I also like the promises on the book cover. Too bad they could not really deliver on them. They should not feel bad about that; “Easy” answers for RA would be impossible to deliver. They do not exist. That is not the fault of the text writers. They just need to find more accurate cover designers.
All I can say is, I wouldn’t want to be a lawyer defending those cover claims in court.
Post-Blog: If the comments on exercise were startling to you, please read this post on Exercise. And coming soon: Should RA-ers Exercise? Part 2. If the comments that RA is a serious disease sounded surprising, you might read Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Kill You? If you are adjusting to life with RA, I suggest Shifting Sand.