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What do you do after a flare?

I am less than 2 years into the RA landscape. In that time, I have had a number of flares that have literally blindsided me and derailed my life. I am just coming out of a particularly intense and long flare. In the absence of inescapable pain, I realize how bad I felt--I can't believe I endured the agony for so long and I am nearly ecstatic that my pain levels are now a 2-3 rather than an 8. I am having a difficult time accepting that this could and will likely happen again whether it is in the form of fatigue or physical pain--god forbid both. The calm after the flare is so exquisite I sometimes feel like that is it...RA is over. I am cured. I survived the flare!!! But my doctor tells me it will happen again...I've never been sick before and I am having a very difficult time accepting that I have to go through this hell again! Any words of wisdom or helpful tips will be appreciated. I've read a lot about what to do during a flare, but what do you do after the flare?

  1. Hey kingkatekong!

    I am so sorry you are dealing with such intense pain but you are definitely not alone. I myself could rate 8 or higher and then when I come down to 2/3 it's like there is no pain at all!

    I thought you might find these articles helpful: tips on managing pain (I know you said you've read a lot on this but I found this article helpful!) - https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/managing-ra-joints-related-pain/, a contributer's tips of managing stress which many of the community members agree bring on flares - https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living-with-ra/managing-emotional-problems-and-stress/ and actually one of my articles where I talk about how we remember our past pain https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/do-you-remember-your-worst-pain/

    Please know you can reach out any time and I hope you feel better soon! ~Monica (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

    1. It works well after a flare starts improving for me to plan a day at home, gradually getting caught up on some neglected chores. I plan a nap, save a TV show on the DVR for mid afternoon rest. I give myself permission to not babysit my grandkids or visit my MIL in a dementia unit that day. I know I frequently flare with travel, physical exertion or stress. When I know those factors are in play, I plan a day of complete rest midday way through or at the end.
      I am extraordinarily blessed that I was able to retire at age 57 and can control my own schedule. I'm getting into using an Instant Pot so when I feel like cooking I can have leftover comfort food in the freezer for those days.

      1. J0dspace...thank you for taking the time to reply and offer your experience. It’s really quite helpful! Here’s to minimal flaring!!!

        1. Hi kingkatekong. On top of the excellent information from Monica, I want to inquire if you have spoken with your doctor about whether your treatment may need to be adjusted to better control your RA? In this article one of our contributors writes about a doctor who would not let him settle for having the occasional flare: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/the-good-doctor/. Of course, everyone's RA is different and, thus, control is different for each person. However, regular severe flares may be accompanied by more damage, which hopefully can be avoided. Wishing you the best. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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