What causes OA flair ups and how do treat them


Hi What can cause a OA flair up and how do you manage and treat them thanks


  • crinkly
    crinkly Member Posts: 148

    We are all different and have different triggers so it's important to try to figure out the source of your own flares. I well remember how hard and unpredictably limiting it all seemed at first. An NHS Pain Management Programme was probably the most helpful element in my self-management learning curve and, more than 25 years later, I still follow some of the strategies it provided.

    As you get used to the ways in which OA affects you it could be useful to make a note of what you were doing in the days immediately before a flare, anything you did differently from normal and what the weather conditions were in those days. Over time there may be an emerging pattern but be prepared for it to take months or even years for this to be obvious.

    For me an OA flare mainly follows over-doing things and not taking regular breaks from physical tasks. It can still, at times, seem to be entirely spontaneous, with no apparent trigger. In both cases it seems as if my body is saying, 'Stop at once! Take time out if you don't want to feel really, really ill.'

    More than 30 years on from diagnosis I have an increasing degree of disability but far fewer 'flares' than in the early days so assume I have become more adept at pacing myself. When the signs begin (for me that is increased general pain, exhaustion and the sense that my temperature is rising) a couple of days taking things easy usually helps combat the worst of the pain and fatigue of a threatening flare so it doesn't take over completely.

    Over time I've learned to listen to my own body and to accept that I cannot always do the jobs planned for a specific day but have to be ready to follow 'Plan B' if necessary or do just a small section of 'Plan A'.

    Flares certainly occur. There are no short cuts to living with widespread OA and the goalposts are always moving so I find it best to tackle each day as it comes without worrying about when/whether the next flare will happen but concentrating on doing what I can do in the moment to the best of my ability,. It doesn't remove the unpleasant side of OA but I can soon forget the worst bits so life has remained enjoyable and fulfilling, ;though not in the way I anticipated before discovering my uninvited companion!

    Only you can work out your own best way of avoiding and dealing with flares so I do hope this is something you can take on board. It's well worth the time and effort required!

  • Jadelady73
    Jadelady73 Member Posts: 61

    Thank you for your advice

  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Member Posts: 548


    Just to add my thoughts, I've found both over-working and stress can cause flares. I manage them by using the painkillers I've got, maybe having some more ibuprofin or co-codamol (so long as they don't interact with anything else you take and you can use them happilly). I also rest up more, as this is normally the best solution, yet I also try to make sure I do move / stretch the affcted joints a little bit, so they don't get stiff on top of the flare.

    Over time I guess you learn to pace yourself better, so the over-worked flares become less often, but that's a hope!


  • Cat66
    Cat66 Member Posts: 4

    Thank you for your replies to the ladies post. I'm new, just finding my way around this site. Your information has helped me too.x