10 Tips for Reducing an Autoimmune Flare-Up
Even though I consider myself Autoimmune Strong, there are still a few days where I struggle.
And my flare-ups are no joke. My body feels like it's on fire. I have aches and pains everywhere, especially in my neck and back. I feel swollen and bloated, and even my teeth hurt. I am more anxious and crabby than usual, and I have lots of headaches in my temples. I don't like to be touched- even a hug can be aggravating to my pain. I am lethargic, having lost my typical energy, and all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch TV and wallow. But, I have learned that wallowing only makes things worse.
So what do I do instead? Well, I have a typical routine that helps me manage my flare-up, and keep it from being too intense or painful. Today, as I am working through my self-care routine, I am inspired to share these tips with you.
1. Drink a lot of water. Like, a LOT of water, more than you think you might need. I like to add a little sea salt or a splash of coconut water to my water to help balance my electrolytes during this time.
2. Eat extra good fat. Fat is important for coating the myelin sheath, which is the outer wrapping of our nerve endings. When we have a flare-up, our nerve endings are extra sensitive, so we need extra fat to protect them. I like to chow on avocado and chicken skin (my husband makes the best roast chicken!). I also like to cook with extra olive oil and grass-fed butter during this time.
3. Load up on veggies for detox. During a flare-up, our bodies need extra help pushing toxins out of the body. Veggies that are full of water are my favorite during this time, like cucumbers, romaine lettuce, and celery.
4. This is not the time for sugar. For me, this is the hardest rule- when I am having a flare-up, my body actually craves sugar in a super intense way. However, the sugar only increases the body’s inflammation, making the flare-up worse. So, when I am fighting a sugar craving, I try to keep extra protein and veggies around and eat that instead. And when I really can’t help it, I will eat a bit of 80% dark chocolate, a teaspoon of raw honey, or drink a Kombucha. All of these items curb the sweet craving while giving you nutrients.
5. Get sweaty. When I am in the middle of a flare-up, I like to go to a hot yoga class, but that might be too intense for your stage of healing. So see if you can find a sauna- perhaps at the local gym or yoga studio? Getting sweaty helps with that detoxification process.
6. Roll it out. Spend some extra time with your foam roller. It will hurt more during a flare-up, but I promise it’s worth it. It will decrease the pain and inflammation, while helping move all those important fluids through your body. (And if you don't know how to foam roll, Autoimmune Strong has a wonderful tutorial available to members that can guide you. To join and get access to that tutorial, click here)
7. Meditate. Meditation has been proven to decrease inflammation and decrease pain. Do it even for a short time, even sitting still and quiet for 3 minutes is better than nothing.
8. Sleep! Whenever you can. Your body needs rest and recovery. Even if you have 10 minutes to rest- lie down and take a snooze. It will help.
9. Daily movement. When we are in the middle of a flare-up, the last thing we want to do is to exercise. Our mind tells us to be careful, and to just lay on the couch. But I have realized that the more movement you give your body, the more quickly the flare-up will pass. Just be cautious- do gentle exercise during this time- don’t push your body too hard. Autoimmune Strong is perfectly designed for this scenario- it's the right mix between stretching & strengthening, without overstimulating the immune system. (I wrote a longer blog on this subject, which you can read here)
10. Trust that this will pass! Flare-ups do not last forever. Take care of yourself, and think positive thoughts. The flare-up will pass and you will feel better.
With an Autoimmune Strong membership, you get access to so many more tips and tricks to feeling flare-up free. Click here to sign up for your free 7 day trial of Autoimmune Strong today!