Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What to do when you have a fibromyalgia/rheumatoid arthritis flare?

A flare is not fun. No, there is nothing much you could do. You are sore and painful in many places, fatigue, and perhaps even having some brain fogs. Typing, like what I am doing now, may be quite limited too.

For me, a flare days means I move from bed- sleep or trying to sleep, to getting up to make myself some food (important - hunger creates more fatigue and fog, in my experience), doing something to kill the boredom - read, watch television etc and most importantly, my self-healing rituals. I call them rituals, as there are no scientific basis to most of these. This is the list of things I do

  1. Take my medications - NSAIDS. This helps to lessen the pain and swelling.
  2. Rest a lot - sleep.
  3. Keep comfortably warm/cool. Sometimes I feel very hot during flares, and I will try to keep cool.
  4. Take a hot bath/shower. The hot water relieve the stiffness.
  5. Use hot towels - put it at places where there are taut bands/points. See my earlier post for details.
  6. Acupressure and massage. I usually DIY, if my fingers are alright. I also use other objects to help. I find that the acupressure points are remarkably similar to trigger points. Acupressure is Eastern, while trigger point therapy was developed by Western trained doctor. I found this book by Clair and Amber Davies helpful: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment for Pain Relief (Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief). It is less than £10 from Amazon UK, a very good investment.
7. Stretch. This keeps you supple and relieve the stiffness. I normally only do this late morning, after the hot bath, and start with simple moves.
8. Eat well. This can be difficult sometimes- loss of appetite or no energy to prepare food. I eat lots of fruits (get it delivered, or get someone to buy it), or at least drink a lot of fresh fruit juices. I know how difficult this is, especially when the flare is prolonged. Fruits are really heavy and expensive if it is delivered. I also try to make sure I maintain my omega-3 intake- through pills or those tinned mackerels!

( takes a long time to put this post together. In between, I slept, ate, stretched, and soaked my fingers in hot water. I hope it is of use to others.)

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