Arthritis flare ups are often a pain in the… joint. Learn how to spot and treat them!
If you have arthritis, you may have experienced an outbreak of symptoms at one time or another, often for no apparent reason.
Depending on the type of arthritis you have, the flare-ups can be linked to a particular trigger or to the progression of your illness. It is often difficult to say.
Symptoms Of The Arthritis Flare Ups
An arthritis flare up is defined as an incident of increased disease activity or worsening of symptoms.
People with arthritis usually recognize outbreaks due to the sudden intensity of joint pain, along with other typical symptoms, such as:
- Stiffness or swelling of the joints.
In an instant, fatigue can become so deep that, even after a restful night’s sleep, the person will not feel comfortable.
Usually, a person with osteoarthritis will have one common or recurrent outbreak with the same joint.
In contrast, individuals with autoimmune arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, can often experience multiple arthritis flare ups at the same time.
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:
1. For Osteoarthritis
Miscarriage and trauma are the commonest causes of outbreaks.
Physical triggers, such as repetitive motion or weight gain, can increase the likelihood of arthritis flare ups.
Also, there are external triggers, such as cold temperatures or barometric pressure changes.
Stress and infection are also common.
2. For Rheumatoid Arthritis
A rash can be linked to any condition that causes your immune system to respond to inflammation. This can be a physical stimulus, such as excessive effort or emotional impact, such as stress.
Just as certain foods can cause allergies, there are food allergens that can cause arthritis.
In addition, drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (which work by supporting the immune response) can increase the risk of infection, which in turn increase the risk of arthritis flare ups.
3. For Psoriatic Arthritis
Flare triggers are more or less the same as in psoriasis. These can include:
- Skin lesions,
- Bacterial infections,
- Certain medications,
- Climate change,
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
Diagnosis And Treatment
To distinguish an epidemic from a worsening disease, your doctor may ask for a blood test. This includes the level of red blood sedimentation (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) to distinguish between chronic inflammation and acute inflammation.
Epidemic treatment may require short treatment with corticosteroids, such as prednisone or methylprednisone.
If the arthritis flare up continues, your doctor may adjust your current dose of medication, or even reverse therapy if you feel your medication is no longer working.
Tips To Manage Arthritis Flare Ups
Please consider the following tips to minimize the effect and to recover as soon as possible from arthritis flare ups:
1. Balance Your Workouts With Rest Periods
It may seem obvious advice, but people who experienced arthritis flare ups often don’t get enough rest. And some of them don’t exercise at all.
The best scenario is when you balance your workouts with periods of rest.
Even if you’re in pain, you should try to move your joints as much as possible.
2. Increase Analgesics
If you are taking analgesics as part of normal treatment, you can ease the arthritis flare ups by increasing the analgesics dose.
Of course, you still need to follow instructions related to medicine. It cannot exceed the maximum allowable dose.
3. Medrol Dosepack
The Medrol Dosepack contains a corticosteroid drug (methylprednisolone) to combat inflammation associated with certain forms of arthritis. (1)
Medrol Dosepack is a short-term solution for arthritis flare ups and it can be found easily on the market.
4. Steroid Injection
Steroid injection in the joint is the extreme choice to get rid of pain.
It is not the first treatment option when arthritis flare ups occur because of the limited frequency with which you can receive the injection.
Generally, most physicians do not recommend having more than three injections in a joint per year.
5. Heated Cushion Or Cold Pack
Heat can penetrate muscle and tissue, stimulating the blood circulation, and reducing the sensation of pain.
A cold pack of ice placed around the swelling joint can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
6. Use Support Braces
You can alleviate your joint pain by fixing the joint with a support brace. They’re cheap and can be found easily on Amazon, or in (almost) every drug store.
The support brace relieves the pain by providing stability, heat retention and compressibility.
7. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Arthritis flare ups are inevitable, so you need to prepare yourself before they hit you. Always consult your doctor in advance, and make sure you follow the above tips to eventually get rid of the pain.
Hopefully this article helped you to understand arthritis, its causes and symptoms; and more important, you learned how to prevent, treat, and potentially cure arthritis flare ups.