Arthritis flares, or periods of intense pain in affected joints combined with fatigue and stiffness, are kind of inevitable if you suffer from some type of arthritis. However, there are several things you can do to try to alleviate the debilitating symptoms.
Let your joints restEven if your work implies physical activity, it is recommended that you find a way to let your joints rest if an arthritis flare strikes. The less you use the affected joint, the faster the flare will go away.
Consider taking more pain medicationIf NSAIDs are already part of your daily routine, try increasing the dose. It is recommended that you consult your GP before doing so, and remember not to exceed the maximum allowed dosage! However, it may still be a nice option to tame an unexpected flare and reduce the symptoms, including joint pain.
Steroid injectionInjecting a special steroid into your ailing joint can help you handle persistent pain which is easy to locate. Although it is a good way to alleviate the symptoms, using steroids can be dangerous, so it is up to your doctor to decide how often you can inject the medicine in the same joint. Most doctors prefer not to do it more often than three times a year.
Heat/coldCold can help you decrease inflammation and thus reduce pain, but this well-known solution (available in the form of 3 packs) is not the only one which can help you bear arthritis flares: heat is capable of penetrating tissues and stimulating circulation of blood, which can also contribute to pain relieving. It’s a good idea to consult your doctor before applying either, because cold is for cases of swelling, and heat must be used cautiously, as it can aggravate the situation if used improperly.
Emergency drugsConsult your GP to find a medicine that would help you reduce pain associated with arthritis flares. Such a drug should not be used on a regular basis (it’s an emergency one, after all), as it can lead to significant side effects if used inappropriately. One of such drugs is Medrol. You can opt for this medicine, but don’t forget to ask your doctor about whether you can take it and what dosage is best. It is a hormone, so it must be treated seriously!
Get a braceBraces and supports can help you have your joint immobilized to reduce stress on it. Besides, it can provide warmth and stability. All in all, letting the ailing joint rest is a must, as it needs time and special conditions to be healed.
Non-medical advicePills are the most obvious solution your doctor can offer, but you can also make this period easier to break through using these non-medical tips. For example, you can stop cooking yourself until the pain goes away. Chopping, stirring and doing other things can make your joints feel even worse, so delegate it to someone else or find a way to get quick meals: all it takes to cook them is to heat them using a microwave or oven. Also, it is recommended to heal your spirit as well as your body: let yourself rest, think and contemplate. Forget all the fuss of daily routine and immerse into the world of your spirit: you can even get that very delicious pie you have wanted for the last thirty days! Taking a bath is another good option, as it can help both your mind and body. The soothing heat is nice for managing arthritis flares, but don’t forget to consult your GP whether applying heat is reasonable, because otherwise you can damage your tissues even more.
It is almost impossible to prevent arthritis flares – you will have to cope with them until you are healed, but the symptoms can be really nasty, so be prepared: get appropriate drugs approved by your doctor and make sure you can afford resting for some time. Every person needs some rest!