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?


Community Answers
  • Mary Sophia Hawks moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi Kingkatekong! I’m sorry about your frequent flares. I agree with Richard that your med regime probably needs adjusting. Before I started my current med, I had flares 4 times a year. Now I have them once a year. I try to get mine under control right away with a steroid shot, and I stay in bed. One of the things I have learned with RA is to rest when the body says “ouch”, before the body says “don’t move!”.

    MS

  • CarolQ
    5 months ago

    You know I wish I had a better answer for you, but all I do after a flare is enjoy it. I have flares ALL THE TIME! It’s quite annoying. I was diagnosed 10 years ago. It seems if I’m not having an RA flare I’m having a Fibromyalgia flare. My Rheumatologist has tried everything under the sun for me to get it under control. Of course my team of doctors have nicknamed me Timex, ya know cuz I take a lickin’ and keep on ticking’!! I seem to get every rare negative side effect from the meds. For some reason they can’t get rid of it and basically tell me to say goodbye, but poof it disappears!! Sometimes it sucks being in so much pain, but at least I’m living. And there are people that have it worse than me. I always try to look at the positive no matter how bleak thinks may get.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    7 months ago

    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)

  • kingkatekong author
    7 months ago

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

  • Jo J
    7 months ago

    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.

  • Monica Y. Sengupta moderator
    7 months ago

    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)

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