Books On Arthritis

Books can be an excellent source of research-based information; that is, information based on proven medical research. Unfortunately, a number of best-selling books on arthritis detail unproven "treatments" or "cures" and are filled with "patient testimonials".

The books listed here provide readers with proven facts about the disease(s) written about. Most provide references to the original research papers and are presented in "reader friendly" language.


Rheumatoid Arthritis: Plan to Win (Oxford University Press, US, 2002)
By Cheryl Koehn, Taysha Palmer and John Esdaile, MD

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, incurable connective-tissue disease that attacks the hands and feet, as well as the joints and may lead to deformities and permanent disabilities. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Plan to Win offers an inspiring, scientifically based game plan for minimizing the effects of this chronic illness, and ultimately, achieving optimal health. It is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide available for living - and thriving - with rheumatoid arthritis.

Here is the definitive resource for practical strategies and emotional support, whether you need help controlling pain, are concerned about medication side-effects, or want to locate a reliable RA news source or support group on the Internet. Helpful chapters detail:
  • the latest therapies
  • special dietary and exercise needs of people with RA
  • how to deal with arthritis at home and in the workplace
  • prepare for surgery
  • pregnancy and childbirth
  • enjoy healthy sexuality
  • use the mind-body connection to control symptoms
  • make informed decisions about alternative medicine
  • build your healthcare team and maintain excellent communication and working relationships with that team

By using this book as a starting point and a 24/7 reference guide, people with RA will be better equipped to form an effective plan of action, making well-informed decisions about their health along the way, and greatly enhancing their ability to live happy, productive lives.

Cheryl Koehn, who was an Olympic-caliber athlete when she developed RA, is a leading advocate and spokesperson for people with arthritis. Together with her co-authors, John Esdaile, M.D., and science writer Taysha Palmer, Koehn provides a wealth of information and practical advice, assembled from thousands of research papers as well as from her personal experiences with this debilitating disease.

"This is a truly extraordinary book - a must read for anyone with rheumatoid arthritis, their families, and loved ones. It is written with passion and has a clear and simple message - knowledge and taking control are tools of empowerment that change the lives of people with rheumatoid arthritis."
John H. Klippel, M.D., Medical Director, Arthritis Foundation

"This is the complete arthritis handbook, with answers to all the questions you thought you might ask - and more. Exercise, nutrition, treatments - complementary and traditional - sex and surgery - quality information in a most readable form. This is the book that will help you cope with rheumatoid arthritis."
Peter Brooks, Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia

"A book that should be read by everyone with RA as well as their health care providers. This book gives us insight into how an expert patient and her rheumatologist deal with the problems and frustrations of this disease. All of us have much to learn from their example."
Kate Lorig, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, and co-author of The Arthritis Helpbook

Living Well With Arthritis (Viking Canada, December 2002)
By Drs. Dianne Mosher, Howard Stein and Gunnar Kraag

While this book covers the basics of arthritis (the common forms, other afflictions that have similar symptoms, but are not arthritis), it also delves into some of the rarely addressed challenges faced by arthritis patients.

This book distinguishes itself by offering a Canadian perspective, bearing in mind the Canadian health care system. With so many different options for health care providers, Mosher provides some practical tips on making the most of your health care team.

Ask your local bookseller to bring this book in for you - they should bring in a few copies, so that other people can benefit, too.

The Lupus Book (Oxford University Press)
By Dan Wallace, MD

Now in its third edition, this book has become an essential guide for lupus patients worldwide. It is readable for the lay public, but goes into fine detail in almost all aspects of lupus.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (Oxford University Press, )
By Muhammad Asim Khan, MD

This is an easy-to-read book with all of the basic facts about ankylosing spondylitis, an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the spinal joints.

The Osteoporosis Book (Oxford University Press)
By Nance Lane, MD

This book covers all of the basics of osteoporosis, including a person's risk of developing it, how to prevent it, treatment approaches, and living with it. It is written in easy-to-understand language by a leading medical doctor and scientist in the field.


Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis (Putnam)
By Miriam E. Nelson, Ronenn Roubenoff and Lawrence Lindner

Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis provides a home-based exercise program for people with arthritis. The 16-week program is based on a study conducted at Tufts with 46 people with severe osteoarthritis of the knee. The participants followed the program and reported results include 43 percent less pain, 44 percent improved function, and 71 percent increased muscle strength. The program uses basic equipment, starting with a half hour of core exercises, gradually increasing after the first month.

The book also provides a scientifically based eating plan to reduce inflammation and pain, a practical guide to the latest medications, information about complementary therapies and some strategies for overcoming arthritis-related depression.

Spinal Stabilization: The New Science of Back Pain (Novont Publishing)
by Rick Jemmett, PT

This book covers all of the basics about spinal health and is particularly useful for people experiencing low back pain. This book is best suited to people with experience using a Swiss ball for exercise. Even still, the movements can be difficult to do, so be patient when working your way through them. People with arthritis with moderate to severe joint disability or damage in the hands, feet, spine, neck and shoulders will find most of the exercises too difficult to perform successfully.

The Arthritis Exercise Book: Gentle, Joint-By-Joint Exercises to Keep You Flexible and Independent (Contemporary Books)
By Gwen Ellert, RN, BSN

This book is a concise guide on easy-to-perform exercises for the person with arthritis - especially those finding great difficulty staying active and exercising.


The Arthritis Foundation's Guide to Alternative Therapies
By Judith Horstman (Arthritis Foundation)

This book is not about alternative "cures." It is a great book for the person with arthritis looking for an honest assessment of the myriad of alternative and complementary products and therapies out there today. It is intended as a common-sense guide through the maze of the most-used complementary therapies for arthritis, to help you choose wisely among the many options available.

Chapters are logically divided - "Mind, Body and Spirit" includes meditation and hypnosis, while "Moving Medicine" covers yoga, Feldenkreis and Tai Chi (and others). With all the attention given to "Natural Remedies", the chapter that includes everything from aloe to zinc sulfate does a great job of identifying what the product is, contraindications (such as interaction with blood thinners or birth control pills) and the medical evidence for its efficacy.