People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will experience flares, or acute episodes of pain and inflammation, and being familiar with natural ways to relieve stress can help.
"You may have long periods when your RA is quiet, or in remission. Then, suddenly, the inflammation becomes more active and you have a rheumatoid arthritis flare," according to The Arthritis Foundation
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Flares tend to occur after an infection or a "highly stressful situation," AF said. That makes learning to manage stress one option for decreasing flares.
The AF recommends balancing activity and rest, especially during a flare; mix light activity with periods of rest and move your joints to keep them from becoming stiff. You'll be able to move more and more as the flare stops.
"Overexertion can trigger rheumatoid arthritis inflammation, increase fatigue, and trigger a rheumatoid arthritis flare. New medications may be the best for reducing symptoms of fatigue,” Bernard Rubin, D.O., M.P.H., told Everyday Health.
Learning to reduce stress can be helpful to avoid flares but also to manage the stress that occurs from feeling bad during a flare. Managing stress can involve techniques like tai chi, yoga, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery for relaxation, and meditation, Everyday Health said.
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The University of Wisconsin Medicine website shared tips
for recognizing stress and managing it:
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- Share your thoughts and feelings, including learning to express negative emotions.
- Simplify your life, deciding which activities are important and limiting those that aren't.
- Manage time and conserve energy, and it's often a good idea to do stressful or hard tasks in the morning when you feel better.
- Find a support group and educate yourself about the disease.
- Have fun and laugh.
- Get help if you need it. Don't be afraid to let people know you need support.
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