Online Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Groups
What can online rheumatoid arthritis support groups do for you? Are they worth your
time and effort? Studies show that online support groups fill a gap that is missing
for arthritis sufferers when their only support is their primary care physician.
Those with rheumatoid arthritis who see a specialist such as a rheumatologist rank
their support higher than those who only see a primary care physician. But even
those who see a rheumatologist benefit from support groups.
Prior to the 1990s finding support from people who also suffer from rheumatoid arthritis
was very unlikely. The distance between people sharing the same problems from the
same disease was too great to make contact. With the advent of the internet and
online forums and chat rooms all of that has changed. People not only from different
towns or states, but also from different countries come together online to discuss
their challenges, pain, treatment, and other issues relevant to rheumatoid arthritis
If you want to get the most out of your online chat time you should spend some time
preparing. Search the web for different forums and chat groups. Read some of the
open posts to get a feel for the people already participating. Be willing to share
your experiences and think before you type. Always be honest and polite. Take time
to learn some chat room etiquette since things like typing in ALL CAPS means you
are SHOUTING and other such practices. Be careful not to disclose personal private
information. Attend the chat regularly and be open to further communication via
email to continue topics with individuals who share a special interest.
A survey of online medical help and chat rooms ranked online information as more
useful than their primary care physician or their specialist. Some of the reasons
for this ranking were convenience, cost-effectiveness, best source of medical referrals,
best source of in-depth information and practical coping tips, and emotional support
and empathy from groups.
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers who take the time to research the groups on the internet
and prepare and participate find help that is not available from other sources.