Pain, Touch and RA

This month on HealthCentral, we're writing about relationships. My contribution is a post on the importance of touch and what you can do to meet your need for physical contact when you hurt (yes, that includes sex):

"Touch. We know it's important to babies and children, but once we are grown, we pay less attention to it. Nonetheless, it's still important to our daily lives and mental health. The skin is our largest sense organ and touch has evolved as a medium of communication for humans. Your skin tells you if it's hot or cold, humid or dry. Your skin is involved in greeting strangers with a handshake, interacting with your family and connecting to your spouse or partner.

And then RA comes along and touching falls by the wayside. You hurt and are afraid that that physical intimacy — hugs, touch, sex — will hurt and the people who love you are afraid that their touch will make things worse for you. Before you know it, this essential way to nourish your relationships becomes a smaller and smaller part of your life. It leaves you increasingly isolated and creates distance between you and your loved ones at a time when you need the connection the most.

When you have RA, touch can remind you that your nerve endings are not just made to register pain. Touch can heal and make you feel loved and not so alone. But how do you get back to touching when you hurt?"

You can read the rest here.