Coping with a Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare
By January 19, 2012 at 12:13 pm 656 1 2
Living with RA, you know that severe flares of pain and inflammation are part of living with the disease. Flares can occur for any reason but illness and stress are the most common triggers. It is also not unusual to have quiet periods where your symptoms are in remission. Those quiet periods can last a week, a month or even a year. It is quite possible that remission can last for longer. Further, it is not usual for a quiet period to end and for inflammation and pain to become active again. When you are dealing with flares, you have many options to address that pain.
One approach might be to discuss the adjustment of medications with your doctor. That adjustment can work alongside periods of remission as well as during flare periods. If medicine is increased during flares, then you are able to minimize damage that occurs during periods of inflammation. Further, if the disease is not active, there may be no need to be on higher doses. Take note that medication adjustments may not work to minimize flares. Therefore, do not make decision about increases in medication for flares or for treatment of RA without your doctor’s approval.
Another approach to coping during a flare involves balancing rest and activity. More rest can help during a flare but you shouldn’t abandon your regular activity, work or exercise program. Your doctor can advise you on how to modify your level activity to help you manage periods of increased pain and inflammation. Spending long periods of rest during a flare isn’t a solution as it may prolong your pain. Instead try to mix in periods of rest with light activity. This way you’re keeping your joints moving and getting enough rest to get through the flare period.
Last, make sure you have plan for your obligations. If you have a plan in place for work and family obligations, things will continue to move smoothly and you will not be compelled to take on those responsibilities while you are dealing flare-ups.
What things have helped you cope during periods of flare?