Planning for Flare-Ups
Pain flare-ups typically refer to those times when the chronic pain is more intense than usual.
From a statistical viewpoint, if pain is being measured on a 0 to 10 pain intensity scale, with the zero level implying no pain, a flare-up will mean episodes in which the pain is at level 7 or higher.
Chronic pain flare-ups usually last for varying periods of time, ranging from a few seconds to several hours. Such flare-ups are usually felts in various forms, including muscle spasms, electricity jolts, sharp and jabbing sensations, cramps and the like.
Significance of Planning
Experts strongly recommend devising a plan for the management of flare-ups. Planning for a flare-up basically instills confidence in the individual suffering from chonic pain.
Pain can be such a debilitating and tiresome experience in itself that if the individual concerned lacks confidence and develops self-defeating emotions, the situation can worsen all the more.
In addition, planning for flare-ups in advance minimizes the chances of the failure of any remedial steps taken. For instance, preparing a plan would let you note whether any particular emergency medicine gives you an unsuitable side effect later.
The Flare-Up Plan
Preparing a plan for flare-ups requires a careful consideration of various factors including individual circumstances and health condition, nature of the disease and pattern of earlier flare-ups.
In this section we list all the important aspects of preparing a comprehensive plan in such situations.
The first and most important step in preparing a plan is to learn to accept the existence of the flare-up and face upto it. It is crucial that you develop a constructive attitude towards the flare-up and take charge of yourself, so that you are in a better position to handle the situation.
Learn to focus
Secondly, learn to focus on your condition and the changes your body is going through. It is quite helpful to practice techniques like deep, diaphragmatic breathing that helps you to relax and focus on your symptoms.
It is equally important that you learn to stay positive. Consciously learn to bar any negative thoughts from your mind and learn to say positive and affirmative things to yourself.
For instance, you can use statements like,
- I can cope with this.
- I am calm and confident.
- Be peaceful and still.
Learn to relax
There are a vast variety of techniques that can help you stay relaxed. To plan properly, first make a list of such techniques and collect your supplies in advance. For instance, music, books, magazines, hobbies etc.
It is important that you educate yourself on your condition, its symptoms, causes and treatment options. There are a number of ways in which you can do this. These include reading books, doing research on the internet, meeting individuals with similar conditions, joining support groups and discussing with your healthcare provider.
Develop a support network for yourself. Know which friends or relatives will be able to understand your situation better and provide you with enough support.
Lastly, never hesitate to seek help. Accept to yourself that you have a difficult situation to handle and speak out for help.
In this section, we have included a brief checklist of the notes you can make in advance as a part of the planning for flare-ups.
- Name of the medication
- Frequency of administration
- Names of friends you can call in emergency
- Phone numbers
- Other contact details
- Select a soothing CD/music
- Arrange for it beforehand
- List of helpful exercises
- Specific instructions on steps and schedule
- Details of how much rest should be taken
- List of steps to relax, such as deep breathing, visualization of happy and positive images, happy thoughts etc.
- Note down which one suits you
- Details on how to perform each
- Make note of interesting things to do. For instance, a hobby such as model building, card making, painting etc.
- Collect enough supplies for the same