Some People Living With Arthritis Have Found Their Symptoms Lessen When Wearing These Special Gloves Heres How They Work
Both inflammatory and osteoarthritis can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in hands and fingers, and those of us who live with these conditions will look to almost anything to get relief. Enter arthritis gloves, which are tight, often fingerless gloves that purport to improve symptoms. But are they really effective?
You May Like: Why Do I Get Knee Pain
Knowing When To Seek Medical Help
Sometimes you just have to know when enough is enough and to seek medical help for an OA flare-up. Although chronic pain and osteoarthritis can be difficult to properly treat, there is a diverse array of modalities a trained physician can use to help relieve your flare up.
This might sound like wishful thinking, but I am a testament to medicine helping to relieve my osteoarthritis flare-ups. Before I was treated with radiofrequency ablation in my spine, I would get flare ups about once a month that lasted about three to seven days.
I had simply accepted it as a reality of life that I would experience for the foreseeable future. However, after a devastating flare-up, I went to a physician in desperation and the rest is history.
I still get flare-ups now but they are few and far between. While I cant promise everyone will get adequate pain relief after seeing a physician, but it is definitely an option worth pursuing.
I have struggled with the flare-ups of OA for about five years now. Although it is not a perfect system, these methods have helped me cope with the pain and continue to function as normal as possible.
Dont Miss: When To Go To Er For Knee Pain
Does It Run In Families
You cant pass reactive arthritis on to your children. However, they can inherit the HLA-B27 gene, which could slightly increase their chance of getting the condition. This doesnt mean that by having this gene theyll definitely get reactive arthritis. However, the condition tends to be more common in people with HLA-B27.
Around 1 in every 10 people in the UK carry this gene.
The first signs of reactive arthritis are often:
- painful and swollen joints, usually in the ankles or knees
- sausage-like swelling of fingers or toes
- puffy, sore, red eyes, often with a mucus discharge known as conjunctivitis
- extreme, unexplained tiredness, known as fatigue
You may notice that your knees, ankles or toes suddenly become swollen, stiff and painful to move. Or the swelling may appear gradually over a few days.
Reactive arthritis can also affect other joints, such as your fingers, wrists, elbows and the joints at the base of your spine, known as the sacroiliac joints . It can also cause inflammation in the tendons around your joints, such as the Achilles tendon which runs down the back of your ankle.
You may find your whole finger or toe swells up if both the tendons and joints become affected at the same time. This is often called sausage digit or dactylitis .
Read Also: How To Help Arthritis In Your Hands
How Long Does An Arthritis Flare Last
The length and severity of an arthritis flare is unpredictable and differs from person to person. Different people may also have different triggers for their flares. The best advice is to listen to your body and become aware of your flare triggers. It may help to keep a flare diary and work with your doctor to developing a flare management plan. Avoid treating a flare a supplement, unless you talk to your doctor first. If you are having frequent flares or a severe flare that is not responding to your usual home care, call your doctor. Sometime a flare needs medical treatment to prevent permanent joint damage.
What Is A Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Up
A rheumatoid arthritis flare up describes a short-term escalation of your RA symptoms. A flare up can subside within a day or two, or it can persist for several weeks or months.
An RA flare up generally involves joint stiffness and pain, although it can manifest itself as a worsening of any symptom. If the flare up is especially severe, it can affect your ability to perform your everyday activities.
Ai Mukai, MD, a physiatrist with Texas Orthopedics Sports and Rehabilitation in Austin, Texas, emphasizes that RA flare ups are a known part of rheumatoid arthritis and its course and symptoms. Dr. Mukai, who possesses board certifications in pain medicine and physical medicine & rehabilitation, is also a SpineUniverse Editorial Board member.
Treating And Managing Flare
Talk to your doctor about how to handle flare-ups, and let them know if they happen a lot. They may need to change your treatment plan.
Some flare-ups get better after you rest and take over-the-counter pain meds for a couple of days. Call your doctor if they last longer than that, or if your symptoms are intense.
Medication changes. You might need to adjust your medication temporarily, or add a new one. Medicines that can help with flares include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , either prescription or over-the-counter. You may take them as a pill or put them on your skin. Acetaminophen helps some people. Your doctor may also inject steroids into your joints.
Rest. One of the best ways to deal with a flare is to take it easy. Take a sick day if you need to. Ask family members to help out with chores. But try not to stop moving completely. Do a few gentle stretches to keep yourself from getting stiff.
Hot and cold therapies. Moist heat around your joints boosts blood flow and relaxes muscles. A warm paraffin wax dip may make your hands or feet feel better. A special machine heats the wax, which is the same type used in candles.
If too much exercise causes flare-ups for you, use an ice pack right after your workout to ease pain. A cold compress may help at other times, too. Cold constricts your blood vessels, which decreases blood flow. That leads to less pain.
Limit the use of either of these methods to two to four times a day, for no more than 15 minutes at a time.
What Triggers An Arthritis Flare
Flare triggers are different for different types of arthritis.
Flare triggers are different for different types of arthritis.
If you have any type of arthritis, youve probably lived through a flare. A flare is a period of increased disease activity or worsening symptoms a time when the medications you normally rely on to control your disease dont seem to work. Many patients would also add that flares affect many other aspects of their life as well.
But why does this happen? According to Joseph Shanahan, MD, a rheumatologist in Raleigh, North Carolina, and assistant consulting professor in the division of rheumatology, allergy, and immunology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, The first thing I ask when a patient presents with a flare is whether they have been taking their medication as prescribed..
The causes of flares vary by disease so lets look at the triggers of each.
Inrheumatoid arthritis , a flare can be related to natural variations in the processes that cause inflammation. This means flares can vary in intensity, duration and frequency, but theyre usually reversible if treated promptly.
Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the skin and joints. Nearly 30% of people with the skin disease, psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. Most people with PsA say a psoriasis flare will often precede a flare of arthritis symptoms.
Recommended Reading: Serum Negative Inflammatory Arthritis
What Are The Symptoms Of Reactive Arthritis
Reactive arthritis symptoms typically start 1 to 6 weeks after an infection of the digestive or urinary tract or genitals, but the infection has usually gone away by the time you get arthritis symptoms. The main symptoms are:
- Joint pain and stiffness. Joints may become painful, red, and swollen, especially in the knees and ankles. You may feel stiff in the morning and feel pain at night. The affected joints are usually on one side of the body.
- Inflammation of the urinary tract. Increased urinary frequency and burning while urinating are signs of urinary tract inflammation.
- Eye inflammation. Eyes may have redness, pain, burning, itching, crusted eyelids, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light.
Not everyone with reactive arthritis will have inflammation in all three areas of the body, or they might not happen at the same time. Some people with reactive arthritis have mild symptoms, while others have severe symptoms that limit daily activities.
Stay Away From Foods That Make You Feel Worse
The effect of diet on arthritis has been disputed for years. Some claim there is no direct effect, while others claim certain foods increase inflammation and make arthritis symptoms worse. This is likely the most individual tip of all those listed.
If you are aware that certain foods make your arthritis feel worse, steer clear. This will not be the case for every person with arthritis, but if it does apply to you, don’t eat foods that trigger inflammation.
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.
Points To Remember About Reactive Arthritis
- Reactive arthritis happens when a recent bacterial infection causes joint pain and swelling.
- The symptoms of reactive arthritis often get better on their own within a few weeks or months, but they may become chronic in some people.
- Treatment usually includes a mix of medications and physical therapy.
- There are things you can do to help live with reactive arthritis, such as balance rest and exercise, use heat and cold therapies, and use support devices such as a cane or walker if needed.
You May Like: What Does The Rash From Psoriatic Arthritis Look Like
Foods To Eat For Arthritis
Again, as mentioned above, eating particular foods will not cure arthritis. What they can do is two-fold. First, they can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, which helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Second, they can help you lose weight when eaten in moderation, and less weight means less pressure on your joints, and less potential for arthritis. So what foods should you pursue?
Nuts are a big one. For the most part, the best diet for arthritis is a Mediterranean, vegetarian, or vegan diet. Nuts, then, form a huge source of protein in your diet. Your body needs protein to live, and you need it from somewhere, so nuts are a great option. Theyre also packed with beneficial minerals.
Alliums are another great food to eat. The allium genus includes a variety of delicious vegetables, including onions, garlic, shallots, leeks, scallions, and chives. Working more of these pungent and flavorful vegetables into your diet is always a good thing.
Citrus is also great for you. Citrus fruits are full of vitamins, and while fruit is packed with sugar, its a healthier kind of sugar than the refined white stuff you buy in a bag. They can also take the place of more artificial sweets in your diet, which can help you lose weight.
Of course, theres also all the usual dietary staples. Eat more leafy greens, broccoli, and other vitamin-packed foods. Pretty much anything with plenty of vitamins, fiber, and healthy fats is a good option.
Previously She Had Experienced Joint Flares But Then A Severe Whole Body Flare ‘crept’ Upon Her
Many flares came on without warning, but overuse of or trauma to a particular joint could produce a joint flare. Other flare triggers included cold or hot weather, getting too cold, stressful situations and certain types of food .Flares reduced general mobility and affected walking, eating and personal care. They also disturbed sleep.People found relief from the symptoms of a flare in many different ways. Changing medication included increasing the dose of painkillers, anti-inflammatories or steroids and if the flare persisted people had steroid pulses/injections and joint injections . Getting rest and sleep and using heat or cold were most often used. Some people said that hot baths, hot water bottles, electric blankets, heat pads and putting affected joints, e.g. hands, in hot water worked for them. However another group of people we interviewed felt that keeping joints cool if they were hot and swollen was the answer. People used ice, cold water, cold wet towels, cooling foot cream and wet wipes. One man described the relief he got for his hands. TENS machines, wrist splints, a supportive foam knee cushion and rubbing Tiger Balm on joints and fasting for 48 hours were also mentioned.
When To See A Doctor About A Flare
If youre 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 its important to seek a diagnosis. Remember, you need to know the specific type of arthritis youre suffering from to be able to prevent or alleviate future flare-ups, says Dr. Alam.
For instance, you wont know whether to use ice or heat to relieve your joint pain unless you know if its 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 youve been diagnosed, there are still times you may need to see your doctor about a flare-up.
Its very important to call your doctor if youre 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 youre experiencing a mild flare-up in a joint youre 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.
Decrease Pain And Stiffness
For occasional discomfort, Fields says, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be beneficial. Ask your doctor about increasing the dose during a flare-up. You can also try heat or ice at the source of discomfort, Fields says. If pain persists, he adds, your doctor may recommend prescription pain medication or a steroid injection at the affected joint.
Also Check: Can Arthritis Cause Burning Sensation
Gluten May Be A Food To Avoid With Arthritis
Research shows that some people with rheumatoid arthritis also have celiac disease, which is triggered by gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains that gives dough a chewy texture. When someone has celiac disease, eating gluten causes an immune reaction in the small intestine that can lead to bloating and diarrhea.
In some people, the inflammatory reaction may extend to the joints, which only aggravates rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. While dietary interventions for rheumatoid arthritis remain controversial, the gluten-free trend is showing some positive results, notably the easing of celiac rheumatic symptoms, according to research published in September 2016 inAutoimmunity Reviews. But before trying a gluten-free diet, get tested for celiac disease, Michet suggests.
Preventing And Treating Osteoarthritis Flare
One of the ways to prevent osteoarthritis flare-up symptoms is to exercise. Regular exercise strengthens the muscles, which gives more support for bones and reduces the stress at the joints. Losing weight can also help by relieving the wear and tear on the joints. Another way to reduce the impact on the joints is to use shoe insoles and knee braces. When the pain and stiffness of a flare-up occurs, it is recommended to use heat and cold packs. Heat relieves stiffness and cold can relieve muscle spasms. Over-the-counter pain creams provide relief as well.
You May Like: What Does Arthritic Knee Pain Feel Like
What Are The Causes Of A Osteoarthritis Flare Up
There are multiple causes of an OA flare up. But the overall cause of osteoarthritis is not known, there are some things to try an avoid if you have experienced osteoarthritis before and have had regular flare ups. These are things you should enjoy especially if your family has experienced osteoarthritis.
Below weve listed the most common causes of what can cause an OA flare up or even in a more extreme sense, cause OA to occur in the first place.
- Stress is a huge factor that can cause many problems that relate to health, but it is a huge player in the field of OA.
- Many people also experience ticks that may cause repetitive sayings or movements to occur regularly, this can also cause OA to occur.
- Quick weight gain can also be a cause of OA.
- Some infections can also cause osteoarthritis to occur overtime, even when an infection is being treated.
- Any kind of exercise related injuries as well.
The list might seem random, but because of how little people know about osteoarthritis, it can creep up on anyone who may have experienced something like these causes weve listed above. It depends on you as a person, how these causes may affect you, but keep in mind that they could lead to something worse.