What Helps Me Get Through My Flares
Last updated: December 2021
Getting my diagnosis was the easy part. On the other hand, getting through flares, that was a different story. My doctors never explained to me anything about what flares were or how to get through them. Learning on my own, what my body was going through, and reading online through the community is how I started to learn what flares were and how to start getting through them.
What is a flare?
I think for everyone it is different. Everyone goes through it differently. Sometimes you will be able to feel one coming along. Sometimes you won’t know what hit you. The can come unexpectedly. For me, a flare is when more than one symptom gets significantly worse.
A period of intense increased symptoms and pain which is felt more severely, than the usual day to day. They can last hours, days or weeks. Sometimes the flares can even come with no explanation for me, leaving me thinking what did I do wrong this time. I have had flares last me even months, at the beginning of diagnosis, leaving me in bedridden.
Here are a couple of things that help me get through those bad bumpy days.
I try to listen to my body and what it needs
This is when your body needs you the most. It needs lots of rest, good nutrition, and lots of hydration. I even try to do this even with no flares. Having this disease has taught me to treat my body with respect and to take care of it.
Getting as much sleep as possible
Again it’s important for your body, mind and soul to give it what it needs, as it’s going through a lot right now. I have a hard time falling asleep most nights and not getting a good night sleep can make my fatigue come along worse with a flare. I started taking Melatonin, before bedtime.
Taking your pain medication is ok
There is nothing wrong with taking pain medication to get through these rough times. I used to be ashamed of it, but no more. This is what helps my body get in a comfortable place and have a better quality of life concerning the circumstances. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do anything at all.
Heat, heat and heat
This is what helps me for the mornings and throughout the day, relieving tension and stiffness in my muscles and joints. This is where hot showers, baths, and my heating pad come along. Sometimes I can end up taking 3 showers a day.
Move your body a little
You don’t have to do anything crazy. I try to do small walks of 10-15 minutes depending on my energy. If I am not able to take a walk outside, I try to move around the house a little. There is no rush, as I take my time. Remember don’t do anything that will stress your body more. That’s what I have learned through all this. It will just make things worse.
Self-care days and lots of them, because you deserve it
I love these days and it is not selfish to take time for you and do what makes you feel good and happy. I love to stay in and do nothing. Put on Netflix and watch movies or a favorite show with ordering some takeout. Since I usually can’t move a lot and go out, shopping online is another thing I love to do. It’s a treat yourself kind of day, maybe even more than one day. Do things that you love, that don’t require you to move a lot. Make a playlist of music you love or maybe even journaling to help pass the time and keep your mind occupied.
Let’s not forget the community of our AS warriors
Another place you can come to and not feel alone. You can even message or call a friend, that will understand and listen to you.
Remember this is what helps me get through these bumpy times. I know everyone's journey is different and that is okay. Find what works for you and your body. Remember that you are strong and capable of getting through anything. I know these days can be extremely hard and I don't wish any of it on anyone. That's why we are called AS warriors. Keep strong!
Has changing your diet helped manage your pain and flares?