One great thing about rheumatoid arthritis is just when you think you have hit your worst possible flare and wonder how you will ever survive it, RA, like a storm, moves on and gives you a break. It is during this time that everything about living life feels new and exciting! ~ The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo
This is a post I wrote for my personal blog some time ago. When I realized that whatever flare I was experiencing at the time would eventually come to an end, I found it easier to accept the pain because I knew it is only a short lived presence in my life.
Along with coming to the realization that the pain of a flare is temporary, I have found several other ways to manage my pain that don't rely on adding more medications to my mix.
I am forced out of my house almost daily due to work commitments and homeschooling activities. This isn't a bad thing because it gets me away from focusing on the pain. When I sit with a group of friends or teach a class of adults, my mind is able to move away from the pain for a short time and enjoy being with others.
I require a lot of down time. During a flare I make sure I carve out additional time to read, watch TV, sleep, etc.
With a little meditation practice, I realized that breathing really does help quiet my mind and bring peace. When I started practicing deep breathing, I realized how much of the pain I keep inside of myself and it needs to be released.
Write About Simple things
When I experience pain, it is easy to let my fears take over. "Will this pain ever leave? How intense will it become? Why is this happening to me?" Over the years I have turned to my blog in times of pain. I have found it more important on these days than any other to write about the simple everyday things that are good in my life. When I start focusing on all the wonderful things in my life, the pain doesn't seem as intense.
Finding others in similar situations helps me to not feel all alone. Although I hate that others are experiencing the same type of pain I am, it helps to know I am not alone. It also helps to find blogs that show people moving forward after the pain. This helps me tremendously to remember this flare is temporary.
Visualize pain-free times
I am a huge believer in the power of our thoughts. When I am at my worst pain, my daughter often comes to me and says, "Remember the last bike ride we took? You did really well. " She is good at bringing me out of my state of pain and into a world of hope.
Castor Oil Packs
During a flare, I like to lie in my bed with a castor oil pack on the inflamed area. I can't say that this alternative treatment makes the pain go away long term, but while the joint is wrapped in this pack with a hot pad wrapped around it, I do feel some relief. In fact, it gives me enough relief that I can often sleep for short periods of time.