Mom of the Year blog published a post titled “Smart Hacks for Surviving Raynaud’s Syndrome” – 11 Raynaud’s Tips from the perspective of a mother suffering from the condition while raising young children – a demanding time of life on its own, complicated by Raynaud’s.
The post starts with a description of Raynaud’s and a referral to the Raynaud’s Association’s web site as a useful resource (thanks so much!). The author, only identified by the first name Meredith, then reviews her personal experience with the severe pain she experienced (worse than childbirth and appendicitis – wow, she really has severe Raynaud’s!).
Like most Frosties, Meredith had no idea what was causing the pain in her initial attacks. Eventually she learned techniques and strategies to manage the disease, and shares them in this post. Her tips fall into two categories: Reversing attacks, and preventing attacks. Here’s a summary:
Reversing Raynaud’s Attacks
- Run Hands Under Warm Water – We were asked recently why warm instead of hot. Two reasons: First, when hands and fingers are numb, you may not realize how hot the water is and scold yourself, so it can be dangerous. Second, attacks are triggered by dramatic changes in temperature in either direction, so extremely hot water onto hands coming out of a freezing environment can aggravate the condition. Meredith has an interesting suggestion for placing the inner wrist directly under the warm water. That process will help open the arteries leading to the fingers. If you’re a busy mom with demanding kids at that moment and can’t leave your wrist under the water long enough to relieve the pain, wrap a towel around the wrist immediately after pulling your hand from the water so that the heat won’t escape.
- Same as Above, Only in Front of a Stream of Heat – Works similarly to exposure to warm water. Meredith uses the example of the heated vents in the dashboard of your car, a good idea. Another example is if you have access to those dryer machines in a restroom, you might get fewer stares from people keeping your hands/wrists under the dryer than standing for several minutes at the sink running water over your fingers.
- If None of the Above, Use Body Heat – We’ve suggested this in many of our materials. Hold your hands under your armpits, or do windmills with your arms to get the circulation moving. Another option is to sit on your hands (we’ve all done this, right?). Acupressure and massage are also potential strategies. Find what works best for you.
Preventing Raynaud’s Attacks
We won’t go into a lot of detail in this category because most of these strategies are things you’ve likely seen before, but a few worth mentioning:
- Use a Large Heat Pack Around the Neck – Know how placing a scarf around the back of your neck somehow helps your whole body feel warmer? It’s the same concept. Keeping the neck warm tends to help warm the body’s core, and when the core is warm, your body won’t tell your fingers and toes to send blood the core to protect it from the cold. A simple concept, but not one that’s often practiced.
- Avoid Any Dramatic Changes in Temperature – Meredith mentions only those where you’re going from warmth into the cold (e.g., out from under an electric blanket, entering an air-conditioned area, taking a dip in the pool). However, as mentioned above, any dramatic change in temperature – even from a freezing store into the hot humid 90+ degree outdoors – can trigger an attack. If you can’t avoid the change, do your best to be prepared.
When we take control and have strategies for reversing or preventing attacks, it makes us more confident that we can handle the daily challenges of living with Raynaud’s. We’re grateful to Meredith for sharing what works for her. Please share your strategies with us, too!
Here’s the full post: “Smart Hacks for Surviving Raynaud’s Syndrome”