Energy Conservation for a Person with Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Use the STRONGEST/LARGEST JOINTS Available for the Job

      Instead of using your fingers, use your wrist; instead of using your wrist, use your elbow; instead of your elbow, use your shoulder.
      Lift objects by scooping them with both hands, palms up.
      Push heavy objects using the weight of the body, rather than pulling or lifting.


      Add leverage to items to reduce the force to operate those levered faucets, door handles.


      Gather all items needed before starting an activity or job.
      Spread heavy and light tasks throughout the day and week.

  • PACE YOURSELF and Avoid Fatigue

      Plan your day to allow for a balance of rest and activity.
      Don’t wait until you are tired before you stop and rest.

  • SIT when Possible

      Sitting eliminates considerable fatigue.
      Use a seat in the shower and when dressing.

  • Apply WORK SIMPLIFICATION strategies

      Select an activity to improve. One that takes too long, increases fatigue or pain.
      Determine if the activity is necessary and if you are the best person to do it.
      Break down the activity into steps.
      • Getting ready
      • Performing the activity
      • Clean up

What is the best way to perform the activity using the energy conservation and joint protection principles?

  • Use Good Posture

      Sit and stand straight.
      Proper body alignment balances muscles and decreases stress.

  • Use Good Body Mechanics

      Push or pull, rather than lift.
      Slide objects along the counter.
      Stand close to the object to be moved.
      Carry items close to the body, keeping your back straight.
      Avoid bending, reaching, twisting.
      If you must lift, you should do so with your leg muscles rather than your back.

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For further information please contact the NY AgrAbility Project, Cornell Agricultural Health and Safety Program, 777 Warren Road, Ithaca New York 14850 or by phone 1-877-257-9777. The New York AgrAbility Project can not guarantee the effectiveness of any suggestions, solutions or recommendations. The New York AgrAbility Project is administered by Cornell University through funding provided under the United States Department of Agriculture CSREES project number 2002-41590-01372.

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