I, too had a heck of a time with diagnosis of the disease - apparently it can easily be missed. Rheumatoid arthritis can come in “flares”, meaning that it will have periods of greater pain and then it will subside for a while. It can also attack one joint and then move along to another, or it can “go everywhere” all at once. It is not fun! When I was diagnosed with a combination of rheumatoid and osteo arthritis it was a relief. My rheumatologist recommended exercise (both aerobic and weight lifting), glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, and several different pain meds. I blew past aspirin and ibuprofen, took Vioxx, then Celebrex, and when they took that off the market, Mobic. For the rheumatoid arthritis I have taken methotrexate once per week for going on 3 years now. I take Folic acid every other day to ameliorate the effects of the methotrexate. I have had very good luck with the Mobic; however what has made the most difference is the exercise. I was diagnosed 3 years ago, but started working out on a regular basis (3 times per week) about 13 months ago and no longer take pain medication regularly. I was taking some kind of pain medication every day, but the working out seems to keep the pain at bay. I will take an aspirin, ibuprofen or a Mobic when the barometric pressure changes (I can predict the weather quite accurately), and my range of motion has improved as well.
Here are two links that may help:
There are several web sites with good information about managing rheumatoid arthritis. They all seem to stress the exercise and good diet for the best results and that has seemed to make the difference in my case. There are some good medications out there to help manage of the disease. The methotrexate is a kind of first line defense and if it doesn’t work, then there are several others (Enbrel, etc.) which may help.
As for wholistic, a co-worker swears by Blue Stuff and organic cherry juice, but I have tried both and they did nothing for me. The glucosamine/chondroitin supplements have been tested and one of them does seem to have an effect on stiff, inflamed joints.
I’m sorry she has to go through this. Please PM me if there is anything else I can do for you! I will pray for you and your mom and the post-er and her husband!