Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare-ups:

If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you know that all too-familiar feeling: extremely stiff, swollen joints, tremendous fatigue—basically a time when your symptoms get temporarily worse. This magnification of symptoms is called a Rheumatoid Arthritis  flare-ups, or flare.

5 Tips for Coping with Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare-ups:

1: Make Room for Gentle Exercise: Lack of activity can make your joints more stiff and painful—and your flares more intense. Exercise—but not strenuous exercise—during a flare-up can help you manage RA flares.According to the American College of Rheumatology, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise every week.1 Stretching and walking are examples of easy exercises you can do.

2: Learn How to Manage Your Stress:Stress is a major contributor to RA flares. Here are some ideas to get a better handle on your stress—and your RA flares:

  • Do yoga, including meditation and deep breathing.
  • Try biofeedback-enhanced neuromuscular relaxation (a type of biofeedback).
  • Schedule regular gentle massages.
  • Take a long, warm bath.

3: Know What Foods Trigger Flare-ups: Nightshade veggies such as eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes can trigger a flare-up. Although these foods are highly nutritious, they can intensify RA symptoms because they contain alkaloids—chemical substances that can promote pain and inflammation2.Also, look out for foods that contain aspartame (a man-made sweetener) and highly processed foods. Aspartame is found in things like ice cream and diet soft drinks; examples of highly processed foods are hot dogs and deli meats.

4: Eat These Foods to Fight Flare-ups: Some foods help to keep RA flares at bay: beans, fish, lean protein, whole grains, foods that contain vitamin D, and most fruits and veggies.You can also try taking fish oil: It’s a good alternative if you don’t like eating fish—and you get all the benefits in a supplement! Of course, get your doctor’s okay before taking fish oil or any other supplements.

5: Give Yourself a Break Already! If you’re like the average person, you’re not getting anywhere near the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night. But lack of sleep may trigger a flare up and leave you feeling even more exhausted.Rest is important, too. It signals your body to slow down. Work in a little rest—and enough sleep—every day. Your body will definitely thank you.source

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