Recently, I came in contact with a chemical that my body didn’t like one bit, and I found myself smack-dab in the middle of a flare. It had been more than a year since I had one, but there was no mistake what was happening.
I had a wicked headache and the pain shooting down my legs was so intense I could barely walk. My tendons all felt like they had been shrunk in the dryer and were now two sizes too small for my body. I could barely straighten my arms without white-hot pain shooting down to my fingertips. My jaw was so tight I could barely open my mouth. All of my joints were achy, stiff and sounded like they were replaced with Rice Krispies (snap, crackle, pop). I was weak, exhausted to the core, and had a slight fever.
While my first instinct (and that of most people) was to reach for some pain-killers, I knew from past experience that would only confuse my body further and, ironically, delay relief. Instead I followed these 5 steps and within 24 hours, I was back to being right as rain.
1). Try not to eat solid food.
This may sound odd, but your body is on toxic overload, whatever it was that triggered your immune system to lose control, needs to get out of your body – now! By eating solid food, you will slow the detoxification process, prolonging the flare.
2). Drink LOTS of water with fresh lemon or lime.
By flushing your system, you will not only cool down the inflammatory response, but you will also rid your body of the very substance that aggravated it to begin with. Sometimes the cause is not always obvious, maybe a chemical, maybe a food, maybe too much sun, either way, alkaline water will help rid the body of painful inflammation. You can also drink this Turmeric Tea, which provides powerful anti-inflammatories as well as detoxifiers, it is perfect during a painful flare.
3). Drink a green smoothie
Rather than reaching for pain-killers (of ANY kind), reduce inflammation by drinking a green Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie. Make sure not to jazz it up by adding any sweet fruit, it is important to reduce all sugars in order to ease the pain associated with inflammation.
4). Move as much as possible.
It is difficult to want to move when you are in excruciating pain and feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, but movement is exactly what your body needs to send all of that toxic inflammation packin’. I like to get on my rebounder for a few minutes, 3-4 times a day while I’m flaring. Even just the tiniest bounce helps to release the tightness through the muscles and tendons, and gives the body much needed fresh blood and oxygen required for reducing pain. If you don’t have a rebounder, no problem, you can do some simple stretches combined with breathing exercises to properly oxygenate your body.
5). Try not to feel defeated.
It is inevitable to feel disappointed when struck out of nowhere with a flare. It is never convenient and often serves as a harsh reminder of the chronic illness we live with. I try to view a flare as an opportunity to nurture myself, to take the necessary time off from the world and reconnect with myself and my body.
Often we are so busy taking care of business, or the people we love, that being handed (albeit forcefully) the opportunity to focus completely on ourselves is something we can learn to embrace. I always find that my flares coincide with times of higher stress, less self-care and poor food choices, but life happens, and all I can do is repair the damage, rebuild my immune system and recover my health.