Arthritis is a chronic, degenerative disease during which you can have severe periods of excessive pain and inflammation known as flares. These flares are temporary and unpredictable and most important this does not mean that your disease is worsening. Arthritis flares mostly occur after any infection or after extremely stressful activity or situations. What triggers an arthritic flare is still not clear. There may be a lengthy time span between arthritis flares and when your arthritis is in remission or silent. Flares can be very frightening not because of pain but mostly because of its unforeseeable nature. Flares tend to cause negative thinking in patients like blaming themselves, feeling disappointed and scared that something they did caused the flare.
How to fight these negative feelings during or after an arthritis flare?
- Talk to your doctor about increasing dosage during the arthritis flare,
- Take your medications regularly,
- Apply hot or cold packs to relieve the pain,
- Practice deep breathing exercises,
- Remember that the arthritis flare will stop soon,
- Keep yourself prepared for a flare mentally so you know what to do,
- Get regular check-ups for inflammation because if left unchecked inflammation can cause a lot of damage,
- Be prepared that the increased dosage may not have an immediate effect on the flare,
- Remember the medications may only have a limited effect inspite of increase in dosage,
How much an arthritis flare impacts your daily life depends on the how severe it was and how frequently it occurs. If the flares are far apart and with little pain you could carry on with your job and other daily activities. Best way to check is how you feel the next morning, after having worked for a full day during a flare. If you are in pain or tired in the morning, it may be better to take a few days off till the arthritis flare subsides.
Some useful points that you may find helpful during an arthritis flare
- Balance periods of activity with equal periods of rest
- Have a plan ready to deal for your job during a flare, with help from your supervisor
- Communicate with your family and friends about what you are going through, maybe they would be willing to help you
- Apply hot or cold packs to the inflamed joints to help relieve pain and swelling
Practice relaxation techniques to keep your mind away from the pain, it helps in relieving mental stress