Flare-ups are a type of pain that is more severe than regular chronic pain. This intense pain may last for days, weeks or even months, and the worst part of this is that there is no particular pattern to it. They attack the patients without any significant warning, which makes them quite challenging to cope up with. As our pain experts of Arizona explains, many of the flare-up patients have to accept this pain no matter what. However, the frequency and the scale of this pain varies from person to person.
Resting does not help much with flare-ups. Instead, performing mild activities often provides a bit of relief for it. And, patients must learn to avoid over-reliance on medication in case of flare-ups. It takes time to make adjustments with this condition, and planning is the key to remain relaxed during this difficult time.
You can follow the given steps to feel relieved when you go through flare-ups:
- Follow your medication routine properly. Do not forget to take medicines as prescribed.
- When flare-ups happen, learn to stay calm.
- Teach your mind that “flare-ups don’t last, they will go eventually”.
- If you panic, the pain may get worse. Thus, try deep breathing to relax muscles.
- Accept the fact of flare-ups and try to remain as comfortable as possible.
How To Cope Up With Chronic Pain Flare-ups?
Mostly, flare-ups are triggered when you overdo certain things. Unhealthy habits like poor postures, awkward sleeping may cause flare-ups and the effects not always felt immediately but later.
Stressful events like family outings, get-togethers, illness can trigger flare-ups. With women, this pain can be more during the times of period, and it is often difficult to identify the flare-up trigger.
Talking about the effects of flare-ups, you may be forced to cancel plans and agreements that can be stressful. Also, your concentration, productivity, sleep, and personal care can be affected. In some cases, spasm pain may be experienced in public which is embarrassing.
Learning to adjust to flare-ups pain is essential for its patients. Based on the previous experiences and the fact that this pain would go away with time, you can be able to get through it. Most of the pain management plans include basic exercises and mind-body techniques like breathing control, yoga and Thai Chi. While most of the people consider medications as a last resort, many pain management programs include medications to reduce pain.
What Is The Physiology Of Flare-Ups?
Flare-ups are more intense than the regular chronic pain, and therefore, many call it ‘setbacks’ or ‘bad days’. Most of the patients experience sudden progression and slow regression. Staying calm is the key during such times, and one must understand the fact that flare-ups can be associated with anything like migraines, lower back pain, RA, OA, cancer, shingles, fibromyalgia, and diabetic neuropathy. The hyperactive central nervous system is the leading cause of such high-intensity pain that interferes with your familiar day-to-day stimuli.
The central hallmark of such conditions is central sensitization. During the times of flare-ups, the hyper-vigilant nervous system considers the normal sensation as the damaging one and aggravates even the small amount of information into intense pain. Many causes can make you feel the pain more than you are already going through with chronic pain. As mentioned earlier, these causes vary from person to person, and that may include a prolonged body position, negative thinking, repeated movements, lousy weather, or incorrect diet.
What Are The Effects Of Flare-Ups On Your Day-To-Day Life?
Flare-ups can hit you in many ways like activity participation, relationships, employment, social life and more. It may increase medical costs and affect your financial life. There is no particular frame to define the potentially damaging effects of flare-ups.
The disruptive effects of this pain can cause frustration to you and your family. The burden on the caregiver and burn-out are some of the most overlooked aftereffects of this painful condition. The most significant risk of this is you falling prey to catastrophizing thoughts and fear-avoidance nature. According to the research, such psychological processes are directly associated with pain levels, depression and disability. If not handled properly, this may lead to physical changes in the emotional processing centers in the brain.
How To Calm Flare-Ups?
You have to understand that fact that your power and will can always be the game-changer. Dictating the pain or letting it dictate you is always in your hands. Here are some techniques to provide relaxation when you experience flare-ups.
Maintain The List Of Potential Triggers
Understanding the causes of flare-ups is your first step to prevent them. Some of the major causes or triggers can be:
- Awkward sleeping
- Stress and anxiety
- Cold weather
- Menstruation in Women
Keep an eye on which activities and situations are consistent causes that lead to increased pain. Identify them and make a record of such triggers so that you can act accordingly in future.
Carry The Action Plan
The response plan is always essential to react whenever you experience flare-ups. Be prepared to implement the plan whenever you feel the early signs of flare-ups. Make sure to include the following things in your action plan.
- Use distraction techniques
- Practice relaxation techniques
- Chant positive mantras
- Eat healthy and nutritious food
Be In Touch With Your Near And Dear Ones
Battling with flare-ups can be comfortable with friends and family rather than going alone. Involve your family members in the process and let them know that you have been going through a tough time and need additional support. Feel free to explain the situation to your friends so that they can support you during the times of social events.
Rely On Realistic Goals
Accept the condition and learn what needs to be done rather than what you want to do. If you experience pain mostly during the day time, do not expect to go on a hassle-free trip to the grocery store. Do not fall for the frustration and stress as it only amplifies the pain. Set small and manageable goals that you can successfully accomplish. You can master this technique with time and soon will be back to everyday life. Remember, consistency and persistence are critical in this case.