Limiting/Preventing a Raynaud's Attack
- Have warm items handy. Murphy’s Law tells us the less prepared we are, the more likely we will experience a problem; therefore make sure you have hand/feet warmers, heating pads, sweaters, throws, electric blankets, and portable radiators or heaters on hand should you need them!
- Exercise has been shown to increase circulation and blood flow, so participate as tolerated. Examples include walking on a treadmill, arm windmills, or practicing yoga.
- Utilize essential oil therapy. Regularly diffuse oils (see treatments above for a list of essential oils). A variety of diffusers are available to suit your needs.
- Incorporate holistic options into your treatment. Try biofeedback (which is guided imagery — there are a number of techniques available from a variety of sources including books and DVDs) or acupuncture (which has been shown to increase circulation).
- Avoid stressful situations as much as possible. Otherwise, be prepared to manage them as explained above.
- Incorporate supplements in your diet. Fish oil and ginkgo have both been shown to increase tolerance to cold and decrease Raynaud’s attacks. However, you should always seek medical advice before using supplements as there is a potential for drug interactions or side effects.
- Raynaud’s specific products. Recently I discovered some gloves and socks intentionally designed to combat Raynaud’s attacks. Although I have not personally used these products, they certainly show promise. The gloves and socks are designed to be comfortably worn, even when engaging in common daily tasks. They are made using infrared therapy and you can even get gloves with touch screen tips on the fingers and thumb for smartphone or tablet users.
Raynaud’s phenomenon is annoying, but it can be managed. By using the tips I’ve shared, hopefully you will find your attacks to be less frequent and easier to manage.
Here are some final words on staying protected against Raynaud's:
- Keep your thermostat set a degree or two warmer. I have found that this has helped tremendously as my core body temperature has dropped since being diagnosed with lupus.
- Use insulated drinking glasses or beverage holders. This will keep the cold off of your hands.
- If you happen to live in a colder climate, always be sure to bundle up. Also be sure to warm your car before driving when you have to be out in the cold weather.
Although Raynaud’s attacks can still occur in warmer climates, particularly when the temperature drops, you might consider relocating to a warmer area if your Raynaud’s is severe and all other options have failed. Furthermore, do your best to avoid dramatic temperature changes, unnecessary stress, and the frozen food section in the grocery store!
May you be blessed with many days of happy, warm fingers and toes — without the color-changing phenomenon!