What Causes Arthritis Flare-Ups and How to Prevent Them

If you have some form of chronic arthritis, you know how important it is to manage your pain so you can fully participate in your daily activities. Nevertheless, there are those times when you have a flare-up in symptoms. Beyond the pain and physical discomfort, these types of occurrences can be quite emotionally discouraging. 

Perhaps it’s time to consider how obtaining regular inflammation testing may be able to help you. Inflammation testing can provide you with the ability to get in front of a flare-up, meaning you can stop it in its tracks or at least mitigate its symptoms. By improving the management of your particular type of arthritis, you’ll feel more comfortable and in control, and you’re more likely to avoid the discouragement that often comes with out-of-control joint pain.  

Causes and Symptoms

When it comes to determining the cause of a person’s arthritis flare-up, it all depends upon which form of arthritis with which they were diagnosed. Listed below are several forms of arthritis, each with its own set of causes and symptoms associated with a flare-up. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Causes – For those diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a flare-up is most likely to occur if they attempt to taper off their medication or stop taking it altogether. Other potential causes of a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up include infection, poor sleeping habits, overexertion, and stress.

Symptoms – As their inflammation returns, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers will begin to experience red, swollen, and painful joints — especially upon waking in the morning. They may also become more easily fatigued. 

Psoriatic Arthritis

Causes – A flare-up in psoriatic arthritis most often occurs because of an injury to the skin, getting a bacterial infection, stress, or the introduction of certain medications.

Symptoms – Psoriatic sufferers may also notice an increase in fatigue, along with stiff, swollen, and painful joints. They may also develop skin rashes and/or nail pitting.


Causes – People with osteoarthritis will typically have a flare-up due to overexertion. Weight gain, engaging in repetitive motions, and stress can cause flare-ups as well.  

Symptoms – A flare-up of osteoarthritis symptoms include increased joint pain and stiffness, decreased range of motion (in the affected joint), and joint swelling. 


Causes – Certain foods and beverages can cause a flare-up in gout sufferers. Other causes include dehydration, local trauma to a joint (stubbing a toe), or changes in kidney function. 

Symptoms – A typical gout flare-up would include warm, red, swollen, and painful joints. 

How to Manage a Flare-up

Sometimes things occur in a person’s life that are out of their control. When this occurs, it’s a sign to reinstate the healthy habits that help keep your symptoms under control. Be sure to eat well and get enough sleep. If your schedule is too frenetic, see if you can scale back. Meditation or relaxation exercises may help, as well as the application of heat and/or ice.

If none of these actions turn things around in a few days, it’s time to call your doctor. 

Preventing an Arthritis Flare-up

While it may not be possible to prevent every flare-up, over time, most arthritis sufferers do become aware of the more obvious behaviors that are going to trigger a flare-up for them. Eventually, they see the wisdom in making self-care a priority, and they’ll make the lifestyle changes necessary to avoid a flare-up.

Stay Ahead of Painful Arthritis Flare-ups With Prior Lab Testing

If you’re tired of arthritis flare-ups wreaking havoc on your life, and you want to start making self-care a priority, it’s time to consider how valuable inflammation testing can be. Our C-Reactive Protein test can help detect the early warning signs of a potential flare-up, and it can also help in terms of treatment when you and your doctor want to determine whether a new medication is working.

Our testing center puts you back in the driver’s seat when it comes to making your health care a top priority. You decide which tests you’d like to receive, and you receive your test results. You’ll know how much it will cost before you take the test. Our testing center is quick (no appointment needed) and private, and all our tests are FDA-approved. 

Contact us today for more on how you can use our lab tests as part of your self-care health plan.