Ways To Prevent Future Arthritis Flare
Luckily, you may be able to cut down on the number of arthritis flare-ups you are experiencing by doing a few simple things.
Know Your Triggers
The things that trigger your arthritis flare-ups might not cause a problem for someone else. Every persons body responds differently. Try to document the circumstances around every flare-up and see if you notice any patterns so that you can better prepare for future issues. Once you know your triggers, you can try to avoid or at least limit your exposure to them.
You need to give yourself a break and not try to do it all alone. Try to find someone who can help with some or all of the activities that may aggravate your arthritis. It can be hard to admit when you are having a hard time, but you are only increasing the likelihood of an arthritis flare by pushing yourself too hard.
Protect Yourself From Infection
For inflammatory types of arthritis that are triggered by an immune response, an illness or infection can really set your arthritis symptoms off. Take extra precautions to avoid illnesses like the flu and go see the doctor if you believe you could have any kind of infection.
Get Enough Rest
Our bodies need rest. You need to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep to prevent your body from becoming run down. Getting quality rest with arthritis pain can sometimes be difficult, so dont hesitate to add in a nap during the day if you need to. Try to learn the limits of your body and not overdo them.
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2. Try hot and cold packs. A heating pad or an ice pack can increase your pain threshold wherever you apply it, thus helping to decrease the sensation of pain, Dr. Ormseth says. Dr. Lee recommends cold therapy if joints are swollen because heat can worsen swelling. Apply a cold pack, like a bag of frozen vegetables, to swollen joints two to four times a day for 15 minutes each time. You can use heat if joints are painful but not swollen during your flare. Try a heating pad, warm compress, heat patch, or warm bath for the affected joints two or three times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Just make sure you dont overdo either treatment, hot or cold.
3. Soothe your body and mind. Give yourself some extra TLC to help your body recover from a flare. Though its not always easy, try to relax, Ormseth says. Practice relaxation techniques to help your mind and body calm down and recover. Engage in deep breathing, meditation, and visualization. Try a little pampering soaking in a warm bath, listening to soothing music, enjoying quiet time, or sipping on a steaming mug of tea the Arthritis Foundation suggests. Also, adds Smith, do your best to avoid physically and emotionally stressful situations.
4. Call for backup. The world doesnt stop when your RA flares, and neither do your responsibilities. When RA knocks you down, put a second action plan in place to address lifes other essentials work, family, and household chores.
Consider Getting Tested For Sleep Apnea
In addition to making changes to your sleep routine, you may also want to talk to your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder that can affect your breathing. Sleep apnea can leave you feeling exhausted even after a full nights sleep. People with RA are more likely to have sleep apnea.1,2 This difference seems to exist even when a flare is over and inflammation levels are low.3
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Follow Your Healthcare Provider’s Advice
Because arthritis flares are somewhat inevitable, you should know what your healthcare provider wants you to do when a flare occurs. Have a conversation with your healthcare provider ahead of time. Flares are typically inconvenient, meaning they can occur during the night or on the weekend when your healthcare provider is unavailable.
Know the maximum limits of your pain medication. Discuss whether you should always have a backup on hand or ready to be refilled. Know what your healthcare provider wants you to do.
Foam Roll A Few Times A Day
I never realized the importance of foam rolling for joint pain until I had knee surgery last year.
Before then, I had foam rolled occasionally or during physical therapy treatments, but not all the time. This is now something I do twice a day to help joint pain.
During a flare, I will even increase the frequency to three times a day, and do more specific foam rolling for my joints.
You can foam roll almost any muscle in your body. I focus on my arms, all the muscles around the knees, and my upper back. You should talk with your doctor or physical therapist to learn the best foam rolling moves for your problem areas.
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Take Control Of Your Joint Care
Knowing that an osteoarthritis flare-up is manageable is the first step to minimizing joint pain and boosting joint health. The damage done may be irreversible, but there is much that you can do to prevent the flare-ups that can make things worse.
Of course, there are a number of medications designed to ease pain and swelling, but the best approach to managing flare-ups is with lifestyle changes.
Creams Gels And Lotions
Topical creams, gels, and lotions can be rubbed directly onto the skin to help ease painful joints. As the skin absorbs the ingredients, you may experience temporary relief of minor joint pain.
Topical ointments can also come in spray form or patches. Products that contain capsaicin, salicylates, camphor, or menthol are standard for treating arthritis.
Theres limited current research on using these treatments for RA. Still, a 2017 study found that a gel containing menthol, benzocaine, and procaine hydrochloride resulted in temporary pain relief in people with RA.
Arthritis medications in the form of creams may also be effective.
According to a 2015 study, etoricoxib cream, piroxicam cream, and diclofenac cream reduced pain and swelling for RA, with etoricoxib cream giving the most relief.
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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.
Managing Your Arthritis Flare Ups
Even when your arthritis is well-controlled, itâs still possible to have a flare-up. Arthritis symptoms will get temporarily worse after a time of being less severe. When you experience a flare-up, a joint or joints may swell or become more swollen you may even feel more pain and stiffness, especially in the morning then your body may feel more fatigued. When you have all these things happening at the same time, the flare-up is considered more serious. There are ways to deal with your flare-ups, here are three steps you may want to take to help yourself when you have an arthritis flare-up.
Step 1: Recognizing what is happening, when itâs happening.The first step to managing a flare is to first recognize when you are having one. If you can identify that you are having a flare-up then it becomes easier to start managing it. Being aware of your body and how it feels and learning to pay attention to how arthritis affects your body makes it easier to see if there are any changes, then you will be able to recognize it. When you realize there has been a change, admit it, donât go into denial and hope that everything will just get better on its own. It doesnât.
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Proactive Management Of Psa
If you have been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, taking the following actions can help you manage the condition, limit the number of flares you experience, and improve your quality of life:
- Manage stress
Systemic treatments can help you manage disease activity and prevent flares from occurring. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs like methotrexate, biologics, and immunomodulators may all be used to manage psoriatic arthritis.
Know Your Triggers
Psoriatic arthritis can have many different triggers. These triggers can vary from person to person. One of our members said, I find that stress is my main trigger, while another shared that coffee triggers a flare-up. The key is to get to know which triggers cause PsA flare-ups for you.
You may want to keep a diary that tracks everything from the foods you eat to the temperature and the weather. Logging your PsA symptoms alongside these factors may help you identify what leads to or worsens your symptoms. Once you know your triggers, you can do your best to avoid them or limit their impact on your life.
After having been recommended specific exercises by a health care provider, one member shared, The exercises are really helping!
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Common Medications To Treat Arthritis Flares
OA patients might just need some OTC pain-relieving medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Dr. Bose also recommends topical gels and lotions like diclofenac gel or 2 Old Goats. If that doesnt work, Dr. Ashany says joint injections of steroids may be given. RA flares are more complicated. In inflammatory arthritis, steroids are often used to try to quickly bring a flare under control, Dr. Ashany says. If only one joint is involved a steroid can be given by injection, but otherwise it can be taken orally .
In inflammatory arthritis, if flares continue to occur, this indicates that the patients regimen of maintenance medication is not adequate, Dr. Ashany says. This may lead to addition of a medication, switching one drug for another or increasing the dose of medication that the patient is currently taking.
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Adjust And Ask For Help
Tell your family and friends that you’re having a flare. Let them know you’ll need help with some chores you ordinarily handle.
Adjust expectations of yourself. Rather than cook dinner for friends, invite them over for take-out pizza. Getting together is the point, not the food.
If possible, make a flare plan ahead of time with your supervisors and coworkers. Arrange to work fewer hours or from home, or take a few days off if you need to.
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Knee Arthritis
A knee joint affected by arthritis may be swollen and painful. The discomfort can be felt anywhere around the knee and evolves gradually over time. Patients often present to the doctors office with years of pain either on the inside or the outside of the knee, or simply global knee pain that has progressed for years.
Other signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee may include:
- Inflammation in the joint that interferes with bending and straightening the knee
- Discomfort that worsens in the morning, or after resting
- Flare-ups after robust activity
- Locking of the knee as it moves loose fragments of cartilage can cause clicking, snapping, or grinding noises
- A general feeling of weakness or collapsing in the knee
- Many patients observe increased discomfort during damp or rainy weather
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How To Treat Arthritis In The Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 58,611 times.
Research suggests that treatment may slow down arthritis and relieve your symptoms, though thereâs no cure for it.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Arthritis occurs when your joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your joint wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your joints. Experts say arthritis in the knee is very common because itâs a weight-bearing joint, but you can get arthritis in any joint.XResearch source Although arthritis may interfere with your life, you may be able to manage your condition.
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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.
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What Causes Arthritis Flare
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that affects up to 1% of the total global population. This health condition can be painful and causes tender, stiff and swollen joints. Other symptoms can include fatigue, fever and loss of appetite. For some people, they even suffer from arthritis flare-ups. What causes arthritis flare-ups? Were going to find out.
Many people living with arthritis successfully manage their condition through a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. But even the best-managed arthritis occasionally flares-up again. This article discusses the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of arthritis flare-ups so you can get on with your life.
Keep Moving But Pace Your Activities
Healthcare providers recommend that arthritis patients keep moving in order to maintain range-of-motion in their joints and muscle strength for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. But, at the same time, it is important not to overdo activities. Overdoing activities and ignoring physical limitations can provoke a flare up.
The advice to pace your activities seems unbelievably obvious, but the desire to not be held back by arthritis makes it hard to do. Find the balance that keeps you moving at a reasonable pace.
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Symptoms Of An Arthritis Flare
There are some arthritis flare symptoms found in every type of arthritis, like extreme joint pain and stiffness. Morning joint stiffness is a common symptom for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. However, each type of arthritis also has symptoms unique to the particular arthritis. For example, rheumatoid arthritis is symmetric, meaning it usually affects both sides of the body, like both hands, both knees and/or both feet. Following are some of the typical symptoms of each type of arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis joint pain and swelling joint is warm to the touch joint stiffness fatigue joint redness loss of appetite low-grade fever limited range of joint motion symmetrical joint effect.
Osteoarthritis joint pain and stiffness joint swelling can occur but is not as common as it is in people with rheumatoid arthritis fatigue, often induced by pain experienced during the night that keeps a person awake may affect a joint on one side of the body, like one knee or one ankle.
Psoriatic arthritis joint pain, swelling and stiffness joint is warm to the touch most likely to cause foot pain where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones, swollen fingers and toes and/or lower back pain .
Gout develops quickly and joint becomes very painful joint swelling, warmth, reddish discoloration tenderness.
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What Can Trigger A Flare
Flare-ups can vary in duration, intensity, and frequency, and they can be triggered by a variety of factors. If you have osteoarthritis which is the most common form of arthritis weight gain can put increased pressure on weight-bearing joints, including the hip.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune condition that affects the joints and other organs in the body hip arthritis flare-ups can be quelled if treated promptly. Infections such as a cold or flu virus can lead to flare-ups if you have RA, as they affect the immune system.
Some of the main factors that can cause an exacerbation, or flare-up, of hip arthritis include the following:
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