Pain, stiffness and fatigue all indicate an arthritis flare. The symptoms may come on suddenly, disrupting your normal routine. However, depending on the type of arthritis you have, flares can come about by overdoing activities, changing weather patterns or changes to your medications. Stress may also cause a flare up. To minimize the impact and help you recover from an arthritis flare as quickly as possible, follow this advice:
1. Rest Your Body
While it may seem obvious, people who experience an arthritis flare often tend to fight it rather than rest. Though rest is necessary to recover from a flare. Painful joints must be allowed to rest, allowing your body to get back to your usual routine as soon as possible.
2. Increase Pain Medication
If painkiller medication is part of your normal treatment, ask your doctor to boost the dosage during a flare up. It is essential, however, that you do not take more than the maximum allowable dosage. Nevertheless, a temporary boost may deliver the relief you need.
3. Medrol Dosepack
A medrol dosepack contains corticosteroid medication which is used to control inflammation associated with a type of arthritis. It is pre-packaged and can be used as a short term solution - usually 4mg tablets given in decreasing dosages over six days.
4. Steroid Injection
A steroid injection into a joint can help control the pain that is primarily localized and persistent. While it has been found to provide short term relief, a steroid injection should not be the first treatment choice when a flare occurs because there are limits regarding how often you can get an injection. Most doctors do not recommend more than three injections to a single joint per year.
5. Heating Pads or Cold Packs
Heat is a soothing, readily available solution in the instance of an arthritis flare. Heat penetrates the muscles and the tissues, it also stimulates blood circulation and can diminish the sensation of pain. If swelling around the joint is present, cold packs may produce more relief by decreasing inflammation.
6. Immobilize Affected Joints
Wearing a brace or a support can relieve the burden on a joint and relieve pain. The brace or support alleviates pain by providing stability, warmth and compression.
7. Have Quick Meals Ready-to-Go
An arthritis flare can last for as little as one or two days, or even a week or more. Unfortunately, a flare can usually throw you off your routine, and until the flare has simmered down, it is unlikely that you'd feel like cooking. Having ready made meals available will help.
8. Treat Yourself
Flares can happen no matter how much we take care of ourselves. This can be discouraging. So be kind to yourself during this time. Eat a little comfort food, put on some relaxing music, grab a book. Work on healing your spirit.
9. Follow Your Doctor's Advice
Arthritis flares can be inevitable. Know what a doctor wants you to do when a flare occurs. As flares are typically inconvenient, they might occur at night, or whenever your doctor is unavailable, so it's important that you know the maximum limits of your pain medication.