Saturday, December 2, 2023

How To Reduce Arthritis Flare Ups

Will I Need Surgery For Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis Flares: How to reduce them and tips to manage them

Healthcare providers usually only recommend surgery for certain severe cases of arthritis. These are cases that havent improved with conservative treatments. Surgical options include:

  • Fusion: Two or more bones are permanently fused together. Fusion immobilizes a joint and reduces pain caused by movement.
  • Joint replacement: A damaged, arthritic joint gets replaced with an artificial joint. Joint replacement preserves joint function and movement. Examples include ankle replacement, hip replacement, knee replacement and shoulder replacement.

Symptoms Of Severe Osteoarthritis

If you suffer from severe osteoarthritis, pain may take place with motion and activity, along with when you take rest. Your motion range of the affected joints will remain limited if you suffer from severe osteoarthritis. Besides, you may experience joint locking or joint buckling problems. Even though, locking or buckling joints seem to be nuisances, they lead to severe consequences, especially when your joint locks or buckles. Along with this, you may experience a few of the additional symptoms, such as-

  • Stiffness while walking

Diagnosis And Treatment For Arthritis Flares

If you think youre going through a flare that hasnt improved after a couple of days, call your rheumatologist or primary care doctor. They will want to monitor how you feel and may want to order imaging and blood tests to see whats going on. They can also prescribe medications to get the flare under control.

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What Makes Arthritis Flare Up

When you’re suffering from a painful condition like arthritis, you’re almost always looking for ways to keep your symptoms at bay.

We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale that when an achey joint is acting up it’s a sign that bad weather is on the way…but can it really be true that something like a change in weather can trigger your pain?

“It’s true the symptoms of arthritis can recede and flare up. It’s also true that a change in weather can sometimes trigger a flare-up, which is often magnified when a certain type of arthritis is not being well-managed,” says Dr. Syed Alam, rheumatologist at Houston Methodist.

“While you can’t control the weather, the good news is that you can avoid other triggers of arthritic flare-ups as long as you know what type of arthritis you have in the first place,” adds Dr. Alam.

Arthritis is a broad term for pain, tenderness or swelling in a particular joint , and the three most common types of arthritis are:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis when your immune system attacks the structure of your joint
  • Osteoarthritis wear and tear damage that breaks down the cushion in your joint
  • Gout when sharp crystals form and deposit in a joint

“When it comes to flare-ups of these types of arthritis, the triggers themselves aren’t actually the source of your pain. They’re just things that aggravate the underlying issues of the arthritis,” explains Dr. Alam.

Pregnancy Fertility And Breastfeeding

Psoriatic Arthritis Flare

Psoriatic arthritis wont affect your chances of having children. But if youre thinking of starting a family, its important to discuss your drug treatment with a doctor well in advance. If you become pregnant unexpectedly, talk to your rheumatology department as soon as possible.

The following treatments must be avoided when trying to start a family, during pregnancy and when breastfeeding:

Theres growing evidence that some other drugs for psoriatic arthritis are safe to take during pregnancy. Your rheumatology department will be able to tell you which ones.

It will help if you try for a baby when your arthritis is under control.

Its also important that your arthritis is kept under control as much as possible during pregnancy. A flare-up of your arthritis during pregnancy can be harmful for you and your baby.

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can run in families. If you have either condition, you could pass on genes that may increase your childrens risk though its difficult to predict.

As treatments continue to improve, people with psoriatic arthritis in years to come can expect a better outlook. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor.

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Triggers For Flare Ups

Rheumatoid arthritis An RA flare is mostly due to inflammation, but what triggers inflammation? The triggers for inflammation are not specifically known yet, though extensive medical research is in progress. It may be stress, weather or too much physical activity. There is no definitive medical research proving weather impacts arthritis, but many patients have noted their joints react to a change in barometric pressure and humidity or when it is cold. Other triggers include infection or any illness compromising the immune system, and medications.

Osteoarthritis Flare ups are not triggered by inflammation from an immune system response, but inflammation may be one of the symptoms of an osteoarthritis flare. Scientifically proven flare triggers still do not exist, but there are certain activities that have often triggered flare ups. They include falling on or injuring a joint, repetitive motions and overuse. Other causes include infection, stress, weather and obesity or being overweight. In some cases, continued deterioration of the cartilage can lead to bone spurs developing which then further irritates the joint and possibly the surrounding tissue.

Psoriatic arthritis Most people experience a flare of psoriasis before a flare of psoriatic arthritis. The suspected triggers for a flare are stress, weight gain, physical trauma, joint strain, infection and medications.

What Can Cause Hip Arthritis To Flare Up

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint and is one of the largest joints in the human body. The sections of bone in the joint are protected by cartilage, which is a tough, smooth tissue designed to absorb shock, reduce friction, and allow the bones to glide together smoothly. When the cartilage wears down, this causes arthritis due to bone-on-bone rubbing.

If you have hip arthritis, you know that some days can be better than others. When arthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and swelling become worse or more intense, this is known as a flare-up.

A flare-up can come on unexpectedly and can take a toll on your lifestyle. Lets talk about what can cause hip arthritis to flare up, and where you can go for an orthopedic evaluation and treatment that reduces or eliminates your hip pain.

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Hold And Cold Therapy

Cold and hot packs can make a difference in how you feel. Cold packs have a numbing effect, so they can dull pain. A heating pad can relieve pain and swelling in joints by relaxing the muscles.

You dont have to use an ice pack or a heating pad for relief. For cold therapy, you can use a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel, or for heat, try a warm bath. If you are applying heat or cold for a long period, wrap the ice or heat source in a towel before applying it to your body.

Prepare Ahead Of Time

Do THIS to AVOID a hip arthritis flare up | Arthritis Adventure

Keep track of when your flares happen so you can learn to identify triggers. If you think, for example, that weather affects your flares, OA patients need to prepare accordingly and use OTC pain meds, Dr. Bose says. In addition, RA patients should stay compliant with their medication regimen. If you suspect your diet could be a culprit, monitor what foods youre eating, says Karen Jacobs, EdD, OT, OTR, CPE, FAOTA, an occupational therapist who works with arthritis patients and a clinical professor at Boston University.

Have a plan for when flares inevitably occur. Jacobs says to arrange ahead of time with your employer to work from home or make other adjustments if needed. An inflammatory arthritis patient will often, in time, have a sense of whether they are starting to flare, Dr. Ashany says.

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The Cause Of The Outbreak

The cause of the outbreak may vary depending on the type of arthritis.

In general, osteoarthritis outbreaks are associated with conditions or events that directly affect the joint.

Autoimmune arthritis flare ups are mostly associated with conditions or events that affect the immune system and cause an inflammatory response.

Among the most common triggers of arthritis flare ups are:

When To Seek Help

See your GP if your child:

  • has fevers or swollen joints
  • is experiencing problems with their medication
  • has a flare-up for more than 5 days.

Your GP can contact your childs rheumatology care team if required and speak to the doctors directly.

If the flare-up continues after 2 weeks, despite anti-inflammatory medications, contact your childs rheumatology care team. Do not wait until your childs next rheumatology appointment, especially if your next appointment is not due for a long time.

Developed by the Rheumatology Service, Queensland Childrens Hospital. We acknowledge the input of consumers and carers.

Resource ID: FS357 Reviewed: June 2021

DisclaimerThis information has been produced by healthcare professionals as a guideline only and is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your childs doctor or healthcare professionals. Information is updated regularly, so please check you are referring to the most recent version. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your childs health.

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When To See A Doctor About A Flare

If you’re experiencing joint pain that flares up from time to time, Dr. Alam recommends being evaluated.

“For many people, arthritis starts as a flare-up, and it’s important to seek a diagnosis. Remember, you need to know the specific type of arthritis you’re suffering from to be able to prevent or alleviate future flare-ups,” says Dr. Alam.

For instance, you won’t know whether to use ice or heat to relieve your joint pain unless you know if it’s rheumatoid arthritis or gout as opposed to osteoarthritis.

“In addition, and particularly for rheumatoid arthritis, seeking a diagnosis early on gives you a better chance of avoiding the permanent joint damage this condition can cause,” explains Dr. Alam.

And even if you’ve been diagnosed, there are still times you may need to see your doctor about a flare-up.

“It’s very important to call your doctor if you’re experiencing pain in a new joint or if your flare-up is severe, since this could be a sign of arthritic infection,” warns Dr. Alam.

If you’re experiencing a mild flare-up in a joint you’re used to experiencing pain, your doctor may be able to help you manage that pain by prescribing medications over the phone but only if he or she is already familiar with you and your condition.

Lastly, Dr. Alam recommends approaching supplements with skepticism.

Munch On Bananas Cherries And Celery

Pin on Remedies for Arthritis and Joint Pain

Instead of opting for meats and yeasty carbs when youre hungry, consider eating bananas, cherries, and celery. Bananas are rich in vitamin K, which liquifies uric acid crystals and flushes them from your body. As part of their antioxidant makeup, cherries contain a pigment called anthocyanin that reduces gout pain and inflammation. Celery works to lower uric acid levels, as well as alleviate pain and swelling.

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What Can You Do Ahead Of Time To Reduce Your Chances Of Having An Arthritis Flare

The best thing to do is to be aware of your baseline activity level, so you can prepare yourself if youre going to be doing more. Be cognizant if youre going to be doing something new. That way, you can take precautions premedicate before going on a hike, for example.

If your symptoms bother you, come in and see your Summit provider for help. If it gets really swollen or painful, come to see your Summit specialist for measures to get you through it.

How To Manage Arthritis Flare Up Pain

The best way to prevent an arthritis flare up is to avoid the aforementioned triggers, but of course, this is not always possible. It is important for everyone to reduce stress levels during the holidays, but especially for arthritis sufferers whose symptoms are made worse by stress. Self-care techniques, such as getting a massage or taking a warm bath, can go a long way in preventing stress-related flare ups.7,8

JointFlex may be used topically to relieve joint pain quickly and without a prescription. Make sure to bring a tube along to holiday events in case an arthritis flare up begins unexpectedly. People with arthritis must remember to take their medications during the busy holiday season and not forget doses due to schedule changes. Cool packs can be used to reduce inflammation of the joints, while warm packs can soothe persistent joint pain at family gatherings.9 Other ways to manage flare up pain at holiday events is to take stretching breaks between long periods of sitting, use a brace or cane during walking activities, and take time to rest when needed.6

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Causes Of Arthritis In The Hands

Arthritic conditions can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness in the small joints of the hands and fingers.

Inflammatory arthritis conditions, like RA, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis cause inflammation. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. In general, OA is degenerative, rather than inflammatory.

What Is Recovery Like After Knee Replacement Surgery


Surgery is the first step on the path to full recovery. Following total knee replacement, most patients go through physical therapy to regain their strength, full functioning, and range of motion.

After surgery, most patients have a fairly quick recovery over the course of several months, and are able to get back to the lifestyle activities they enjoy, including taking a walk with grandchildren, getting back on the golf course, or walking on the beach.

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Coping With An Arthritis Flare

What to do if your symptoms of pain, stiffness and fatigue suddenly get worse.

Having an arthritis flare can feel like hitting a wall. Your arthritis has been manageable, then suddenly swollen joints, pain, fatigue and mental fogginess derail your day-to-day activities.

For some people, flares are an inevitable part of the arthritis journey. They are often temporary, but it can be difficult to tell whether this sudden escalation in symptoms will pass or whether its a signal that you need to make changes to your treatment plan to prevent progression of your disease. Depending on the situation and your medical history, your doctor may determine that it indicates a worsening of your disease and adjust your treatment.

How you experience a flare may vary depending on the type of arthritis you have and the trigger. Some triggers may be obvious. For example, if you over-exerted yourself while working in the yard or exercised more intensely than usual, or if you experienced a stressful event such as moving or changing jobs, you may have a temporary recurrence of symptoms. For some people, eating particular foods or even having their teeth cleaned can trigger a flare or temporary worsening of symptoms.

In other cases a flare may come on suddenly, with no apparent cause. That might indicate that your medication is no longer working as well and needs to be adjusted or changed.

How Serious is Your Flare?

What a Flare Feels Like With

How Can I Relieve My Flare?

Managing Pain

Have Quick Meals Ready To Go

An arthritis flare can last one or two days, a week, or more. Unfortunately, a flare usually knocks you off of your usual pace. It is unlikely that you will feel like cooking until you get the flare to simmer down. It will help to have easy meals available.

You never know when a flare will strike, so be prepared. Freeze leftovers so they are ready to go. Stock some of your favorite frozen dinners. If you have nothing on hand, call for delivery.

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However Few Researchers Feel Cold Weather Does Not Affect Arthritis

However, a study contradicted this and suggested that weather does not have anything to do with the pain caused due to osteoarthritis.

It stated that none of the factors related to weather including the temperature, atmospheric pressure and humidity are linked with the expression of arthritis.

Every person reacts in a different way to the weather conditions. It is not necessary that everyone feels an increase in the pain in joints when the temperature drops.

There are many people who do not feel any changes in their symptoms of arthritis due to the change of seasons.

The effect of pressure on the tissues of the body can be proved by considering the case of divers.

They tend to experience pain in the joints along with other musculoskeletal problems due to staying inside large depths of water for a long period of time.

This happens because water exerts much more pressure on the body than air.

Body conserves heat during winter. In order to do this, it sends the majority of blood supply to the heart, lungs and other important organs.

This causes constriction of the flow of blood at the extreme ends of the body. This makes the joints cold which increases the pain and tenderness.

Even the heat lost from the body, mainly the limbs, during the winter season adds to the worsening of the symptoms of arthritis.

The monsoon and winter seasons affect the mood of people.

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Work With An Occupational Or Physical Therapist

Arthritis Flare Up In Winter

Dr. Wu also suggests enlisting the help of an occupational and/or physical therapist. They can help you make meaningful lifestyle changes so you can cope with the disability and still remain independent, she says.

Keep in mind that occupational therapists and physical therapists provide different services, though both can be beneficial to people with arthritis.

  • Occupational therapists work with patients to help make daily tasks easier. This may mean teaching them how to use assistive devices or providing ways to modify activities to make it easier on the joints.
  • Physical therapists devise treatment plans for patients to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability.

Learn more about the difference between occupational therapists and physical therapists.

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