Flare-ups are one of the worst symptoms of chronic pain. It’s troubling enough to have to handle a constant ache in your bones or muscles, but to have that pain increase quickly and without warning is truly taxing on one’s mental fortitude. Flare-ups can drain you not only of your energy and pain tolerance but can make you believe that the struggle will never end.
PPOA fights chronic pain burnout as much as we fight the illnesses themselves. That is why we take a close look at flare-ups and why they happen, to ensure our patients experience them less frequently and manage them when they do. If you are experiencing a chronic pain flare-up, these five practices can help you manage the symptoms:
Distractions are one of the most common tools to help manage flare-ups at home. While it may seem counterintuitive to engage in something active when your pain worsens, it can lessen the intensity solely by putting your energy in a different direction. When our minds are engaged, our pain subsides so that we can concentrate. Some standard distraction techniques include:
- Engaging in a fun hobby or activity such as fishing, painting, or dancing to your favorite music
- Stimulating activities such as going on a date with a partner or having lunch with a friend (this can be done at home if the pain is too intense).
- Practical activities such as grocery shopping or tidying the house
- Daydreaming and fantasy creatures to take your mind off the pain (watching TV and movies can also be beneficial if you engage strongly with the narrative)
Monitor your health
Did you notice any changes in your routine right before the flare-up started? Maybe you were feeling fatigued, or your eating patterns changed recently. Often lifestyle changes can cause explosions or make them worse s be sure to manage your eating, sleeping, stress, and exercise to give your body all the strength it needs to fight chronic pain.
Meditation for pain relief is becoming increasingly common for chronic pain patients. This practice helps you focus your thoughts and control your reactions to pain. When trying to get through a necessary activity such as going to the doctor or taking care of the kids, mindfulness techniques can help you manage your flare-up no matter the situation.
Heat is a great way to relax muscles and manage the pain of arthritis and other joint conditions. A hot bath, shower, or heat compress can relieve pain quickly and last for several hours. While this s not a permanent solution, it can reduce inflammation and help you recover after a long day.
Plan your days
Flare-ups can zap your energy and make it very difficult to get through your daily routine without extreme fatigue. Therefore, it’s essential to manage your day properly, so you don’t overexert yourself or crash in the middle of something important. Some of the ways you can plan your day around flare-up management include:
- Limit physical activity that is not on your terms (such as working, playing with the kids, or going out to visit friends). While physical activities such as walking and swimming can be beneficial, you need to stop whenever your body tells you to.
- If your flare-ups result from cold weather, plan errand and social outings to days where temperatures are warmer.
- Plan several hours throughout the day for rest. Start your day late and head home early, so you have plenty of time for a hot bath and a mindfulness meditation when you get home.
PPOA works with patients to manage flare-ups and prevent them entirely with comprehensive pain treatment. If you are tired of the constant threat of an explosion, contact your local PPOA office today to schedule a visit with our doctors.