Arthritis flare up means a sudden pain or ache in the joints. The people suffering from any type of arthritis are familiar with the recurring flares. Flare ups are the periods of increased disease and worsened symptoms. This is a condition when the medicines and pain killers that normally control the disease stop doing so. These recurring flare ups affect the life of the patients.
Causes of arthritis flare ups:
Arthritis flare ups can be caused due to one or more of these reasons:
- Overactivity of joints:
The most typical cause of arthritis flare ups is the overactivity of joints. People who suffer from arthritis usually don’t put their joints to work but in certain circumstances, they might have to engage in some kind of activity or have to stand for an unusually long time. This results in arthritis flare which could not be handled with the trivial methods.
Weather has an impact on arthritis flares as well. In cold weather, the fluid in the synovial cavity of the joint thickens and becomes more viscous. It doesn’t provide enough lubrication for the joints’ free movement which makes them stiff. The stiffness leads to pain and swelling. People with osteoarthritis get flares during cold and damp weather, while rheumatoid arthritis sufferers do in hot weather as the heat expands the inflamed tissue.
Diet has a major role in arthritis flare ups. You could be leading a perfectly healthy life but one meal of restricted substances will result in flare ups. It has been studied that processed and red meat contains inflammatory substances like homocysteine and interleukin 6 which can increase the inflammation in your joints. Diets including heavy salts, processed carbs and alcohol also induce arthritis flare ups.
Stress is one of the leading causes of flare ups in all kinds of diseases. Stress blunts your synapses and makes your immune system weak. Long exposures of stress can cause destructive inflammation. The unrelenting symptoms of arthritis can lead to even more stress, causing fatigue, fever, nausea, loss of appetite etc. people suffering from arthritis are more likely to undergo flare ups when they feel stressed.
People with arthritis are usually on a load of medication. These medicines could be pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs or any other drugs. Taking these many drugs over and over could be exhausting for some people and might want to skip some doses. That is a terrible mistake. Getting off medication will result in serious flare ups. The medication might even stop working to suppress the symptoms.
Infections or infectious agents can also cause arthritis flare ups. The infectious agents entering through water or blood stream in your body could reach already damaged joints. There they can increase inflammation. It can also cause rapid cartilage deterioration which can result in joint immobility.
How to cope up with arthritis flares:
Arthritis flares up are very difficult to handle as they come unexpectedly. However, precautions can be made to cope up with them. Here are a few tips:
- Keeping track of flare ups:
Keep track of your arthritis flares. Be prepared for them. Like, if you get these flare ups in cold and rainy weather, keep yourself warm before you get them. If you get them after eating a certain type of food, avoid eating it.
The best possible way to deal with flare ups is to rest. When you get arthritis flare ups, don’t use joints. Don’t put any pressure on them. Keep massaging them to reduce pain.
- Reduce stress:
When you get flare ups, don’t get too stressed. Keep your mind and body calm so the immune system could play its part efficiently to end the flare.
- Try heat and cold:
To reduce the pain sensation and make the localized joint area numb, you can use heat and cold packs depending upon the nature of your flare ups. Heat generally loses the muscles and relieves the joints from spasms aiding in mobility.
- Call for help:
If you feel your symptoms are getting worse, call someone to help and take you to a doctor or hospital.