Managing rheumatoid arthritis or RA usually means coping with instances when your pain is well controlled, or when your pain suddenly flares up intensely. While the length and intensity of a flare-up could differ from one individual to another, flare-ups generally involve fatigue, pain, stiffness, and swelling of your joints.
Flare-ups could easily upset your daily routine, making even simple tasks such as getting up in the morning seem nearly impossible. This is due in part to the fact that the joints you most regularly use are those that get affected during flare-ups, including joints in your neck, wrists, and hands.
These also include weight-bearing joints, such as the feet, ankles, and knees, explains an experienced rheumatoid arthritis care specialist in Boise. RedRiver Health and Wellness Center shares some tips to help manage a flare-up.
Make sure you have an RA flare-up action plan.
Create an action plan with your doctor that you could carry out during a flare-up and be sure to follow it. Commonly, a treatment regimen of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as corticosteroid, could keep minor flare-ups at bay. For more intense episodes, you might need to take an immunosuppressant and a corticosteroid to alleviate inflammation and related symptoms.
Calm your mind and body.
Use heat therapy if you feel pain in your joints with swelling, and cold therapy if they’re swollen, as heat could exacerbate the inflammation. Do some gentle stretches if you can to ease stiffness, and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, visualization, and deep breathing. Likewise, pamper yourself by soaking in the tub, sipping tea or hot chocolate, or reading, to aid your body and mind to calm down. Try to avoid being in emotionally and physically stressful situations as well.
Reach out to family and friends for backup.
Discuss your condition with family members and close friends; designate specific tasks for them in case you experienced a flare-up. Don’t stress yourself with other things. Focus on managing your flare-up and reschedule or delay tasks that are not urgent.
Keep in mind that it’s important to manage your flare-up as soon as possible since the longer you wait to deal with it, the more difficult it would be to control. Always go to your doctor appointments and keep your RA under control, instead of just dealing with the symptoms.