Today I want to talk about the word ‘flare’ or ‘flares’ when it comes to Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I don’t like the word ‘flares’. Despite years of battling RA, I never used the word, but now I see it coming up all the time in my consultations with customers who describe their own pain in this way. I believe the word flare is a poor choice of word – a much more appropriate term is ‘reaction’. Why do I prefer this phrase? Because that’s what a so-called ‘flare’ actually is. There is always a cause and effect in play, so if we are getting an increase in joint inflammation then it must be coming from somewhere.
To take the mystery out of these ‘flares’ and to disarm them of their power, let’s take a step back for a second and remember what is going on in the body. As I describe in the blog post describing the underlying cause of RA , the actual joint pain we feel is a symptom of an underlying problem associated with a bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut, acidosis, mucosal lining depletion and enzyme deficiency. These form an acronym I invented called ‘BLAME’ to help you remember it. (There’s also a component of low HCL in the stomach, just to complete the picture!).
Armed with this knowledge you can stop feeling like a victim under a random attack from some mystery ‘flare’. That doesn’t serve you whatsoever. By understanding that inflammation is a reaction to something that is occurring in the body you can then begin to trace backwards and work out where it was coming from.
Remember: The body never creates inflammation without a trigger.
So what can cause this seemingly sudden increases in joint inflammation that are so painful and so frustrating? Here’s the most common list for you:
- What you ate 1-6 hours ago. This is the most common cause of reaction. In my opinion, approximate 80% of new inflammation comes from this. Of all foods, I see most people with RA reacting to dairy products (especially cheese) and oils most violently. But many foods can cause pain – and with RA most foods actually do, since the gut is so far from optimal. To drive this point home, it is virtually unheard of to have a reaction (what we would previously call a ‘flare’) to anything if you are not consuming food for a period of time. I first discovered this when I got sick on a bunch of unwashed cherries, leaving me purging for 24 hours and suddenly pain-free from RA. Scientists repeatedly show that when RA patients fast they get get rid of pain quickly and repeatedly. The challenge is knowing how to achieve these results, whilst still being able to eat (which is the whole crux of my program).
- Torque or compression pressure on an effected joint. This could even be occurring through the way you slept on your inflamed joint, or the way that you walked on a sore joint or the way that you used a sore joint.
- Stress/Anxiety/Worry – each of these rapidly decrease the amount of healthy bacteria in your intestines, in a measurable and repeatable way. If you are under pressure, so is the healthy existence of your microflora
- Increased drug use – some of the drugs contribute to leaky gut (see blog post above) and thus allow more foreign particles into the bloodstream which makes your immune system very upset very quickly. We’ve already covered in an earlier email which ones are the worst, but here’s the link if you want to review – Antibiotics and Rheumatoid Arthritis and NSAID side effects and Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Lack of movement. Joints need movement to get nutrients and movement to self-cleanse. When the body is stationary the Circulating Immune Complexes in the joints gather and cannot easily be dislodged. Inflammation quickly follows. In addition, the process of movement also cleans the body of waste (through the lymphatic system, which also must have movement to work). Finally, movement in the form of cardiovascular exercise also alkalizes the body, creating an environment in which unwanted pathogens in your digestive track can no longer thrive.
So next time you feel a spike in pain in your joints, begin wearing the ‘detective’ hat and start to work backwards. What’s changed? What have you recently eaten or done that may have caused this? Run through this checklist above and you’ll find an answer. Or, at the very least, a major clue. Then, take immediate action so that you can help prevent this reaction from happening again.
Good luck, and I’m sending you healing vibes.
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