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How do you cope with flares?

Axial spondyloarthritis can bring great pain and flares in moments without sudden warning. From the community we have heard from many people who bring different approaches to their health and needs when symptoms flare. We're interested in starting a large discussion: how do you cope with flares? Some questions to consider:

  • What things or practices help you feel better?

  • Do you more often move through flares, or give yourself the space to rest and recovery?

  • When flaring, do you have a "cozy cave," or place where you can find comfort?

  1. Rest and recovery are essential for me. If I try to push through, I don't get better at all. It runs me down even more and makes the flare last longer. I have learned to stop, rest, & recover. If the flare is not getting better after a day or two, I grab the meds in my cabinet. I'm extremely cautious when it comes to pharmaceuticals and try not to grab them as first-line treatment, but are a necessity for extended pain and fatigue.

    I usually retreat to my bedroom, where it is dark and cozy. Resting in my adjustable bed, taking pressure off the painful areas, I can grab the portable workstation I have set up, and log some hours. Or just sleep. I can also grab my therapeutic tools stored in a box below. My massager is the most used tool I reach for - it helps with the spasms and pain associated with my SpA symptoms.

    When I flare, the pain hits all at once and my energy decreases about 90%. I need to rest immediately. Before lying down, I grab my many ice packs stored in the freezer and apply them to the areas of pain that are flaring as I rest - mostly the worst in my lower back/pelvis and neck. Heat inflames me more, so I grab ice. I also purchased a Polar Ice Machine for one of my surgeries and it is amazing. It cycles ice-cold water through the machine and pad and stays colder for much longer than my ice packs applied with Velcro straps.

    Hope this helps - Best of wellness to you all! Rebecca

    1. For me, rest and heat is a must! I don't push myself to do anything that will spend my energy! I will make sure to do light stretches a few times throughout the day to try and release some tension in my body. I will cancel any plans that I had made and I will try my best to relax.

      I will constantly have my heating pads or hot water bottle, and I will have a warm bath!

      I make sure to take my pain meds even if I feel like they aren't working, they probably are helping a little. (I talk to my doctor first with this and make a plan of when to take my tablets and how I should know, so always talk to your doctor first).

      And, even though I find it hard, I ask for help. I need the help and usually someone is happy to help.

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