My Flare Kit for Axial Spondyloarthritis

When you are in a flare, it can be hard to think of anything positive. Flares bring me into a depression since I don't always know how long my flare will last or when I'll come out of it. Sometimes I can be lucky and it can be a short one. But sometimes, I'm not so lucky, and my flare can last long periods for several days, weeks or even up to a month. Over time, I have come up with a flare kit where I have written down a list of helpful things to get me through the hard days.

Hot showers anyone?

Morning can be rough when in a flare. When I wake up with severe stiffness and pain, hot showers are what help me find relief and get my body feel less rusted. Hear of the Tin Man? Well, no joke, I wake up and feel like my body is 90 years old. I know for some, starting with cold and switching to hot can help. But for me what helps more is heat.

Let's next reach out for the heating pad and blanket. My heating pad is one of my favorites. I have one that my husband got me for Christmas and I haven't stopped using. He bought it in my favorite color purple and it actually smells like lavender when warmed up. A heating pad and heating blanket can help also with pain and stiffness. My heating pad give me relief and comfort at the same time for those sleepless nights.

Trying to find happiness

On flare days, I try to do whatever makes me happiest. I will listen to a playlist full of my favorite songs, or even make a new one. I will do some online shopping. Always nice to order some new outfits to wear for the better days. On the days I am feeling like I need a mood booster, I will call a friend from the comfort of my bed. If I have no energy to call and talk to a friend, I will text or even message them online.

Coping with the pain through medications

Pain can be so bad that sometimes hot showers, the heating pad, and blanket won't be enough. This is when I will reach out to my pain medication and topical creams. Nothing wrong with getting a bit of an extra help to keep yourself going. I know when I am in severe pain, it can feel discouraging and hard to rest. If taking medicine helps me get a better rest, I have no problem taking it.

Rest is best

Through a flare you need to listen to your body and what it is telling you. Rest, rest and oh yeah--more rest. I know this is hard to do for me, because I am a person that loves to keep busy and keep going. So, when rest is all I can do, it is hard to stay in one place. But I have learned, when in a flare, my body need the rest to get that reboot it needs. Especially through the sleepless nights that can add up and make me feel sleep deprived.

But movement is good too

I will also take small walks for my mental health. Yes, this can be hard to do when you are not feeling well to step outside and take a walk. But for me taking a small walk, as small as 10 to 15 minutes, can give me a boost in my mood. If I really can't do this, I will try and move around the house slowly.

Eating and drinking is a must

Over time, I have realized eating well and trying to avoid foods that can make me feel worse is crucial. It can make a flare feel worse and last longer. Hydrating is another necessity, even when not in a flare. I love filling up one of those bottles that keeps your water cold for long periods, and keeping it with me around the house. This helps keep me hydrated and saves some of my energy from having to go back and forth from the fridge.

I know everyone's flare kit looks different and what helps me may not help someone else. But maybe sharing my tips and tricks has helped you think about how you can manage your flares just a little better.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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