Caution: Fibromyalgia Flare-Up Ahead

Caution: Fibromyalgia Flare-Up Ahead

Through the Fog
Don’t you wish you had a sign that read: “Fibro flare-up ahead. Proceed with caution”? That would let people know to step in to help, but back off from giving advice. A fibromyalgia flare warning is like a winter advisory warning: Be aware and get prepared!

Typically in a flare you will notice worsening pain, brain fog, and fatigue. There appears to be no time frame for how long it lasts and varies from person to person. Stress probably is the biggest protagonist.

Recently I had to get some repeat films from my earlier mammogram, and then they wanted to perform an ultrasound. Between the incredible discomfort of the procedures, and the stress of wondering if there was something wrong, let’s just say it was a perfect storm for a flare. The next four days were absolutely awful.

When you find yourself in a flare, good self-care needs to kick in. You become totally absorbed in the pain, which seems completely out of control. Others will have to understand that you need to take time just for you during this time. Hopefully your spouse, children, friends, etc., will understand.

As much as possible, you need to rest and dial down any potential stressors. Perhaps you need to increase your pain meds, binge watch something on Netflix, take more naps, or pay closer attention to the foods you are eating. I like to engage in some deep breathing and listen to soothing music. You become more inward-focused for a reason. Listen to what your body needs and do what feels right and stress-free for as long as it lasts. It’s best to eliminate anything that’s not essential for the duration.

Perhaps you could make a Spotify list of music that will help you relax during a flare. Don’t be afraid to ask your family to pitch in more. If someone in your family had the flu, you would expect and encourage them to rest and let you take care of them until they’re better. It’s kind of the same thing when you’re experiencing an FM flare. It can feel so debilitating and seem like it will never end. But it will, and you will recover.

The worst thing you can do is try to appear as if nothing is wrong, and valiantly try to push through. It will probably worsen your symptoms and prolong the flare. You’re not doing yourself or anyone else a favor, but a disservice. Allow yourself the grace that you would extend to others. Look at it as an opportunity to further educate those in your circle of influence.

It all comes down to control. Control your diet, stress levels, sleep, light exercise, and your physical comfort. In the winter I keep a heated blanket on my bed with a thermostat I can adjust up and down as needed. In the summer I keep in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible. I’m gentle with myself and keep in mind that this flare won’t last forever. This, too, shall pass. I can deal with anything JUST FOR TODAY.

What are some things you do to get through a flare?

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

10 comments

  1. Em says:

    I really would like to know if anyone else has ever been in so much pain that you pray you will die because you know there is nothing that will stop the pain again? I threw $5000 a way on an OD that did more harm than good then found a TMJ specialist that did what he could and did get the pain under control. I knew it was only a matter of time before the work he did to help get the TMJ to tolerable level would return. Sooner than it needed to all because I could not get my stress level down. So ashamed I have been unsuccessful in getting my stress level down and now I am in so much pain that noise of any type is truly unbearable. Nothing helps.
    I know there is no more help for the TMJ and pulling my teeth will not help because then my jaws will collapse.
    All on my own except for God and all of this stress and pain are not God’s fault. All I can do is pray for the strength to somehow handle this mess.
    As I already stated turning 65 has so far been as close to Hell as I care to be.
    I have seen what this type of stress has done to others and it is a sad world we live in where animals are treated far more humanely.

  2. Susan Parker says:

    Robin… I just watched this video about Minding your mitochondria | Dr. Terry Wahls | TEDxIowaCity, from 2011 about how she overcame Secondary Stage MS by fighting her mitochondria with a diet. Now I’ve seen on this site how a person can purchase a supplement to penetrate ones own mitochondria to help build brain support and enhance energy. But, I’d rather get the same outcome naturally by diet through foods. This is the link of the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc and she mentions FM specifically closer to the end and here’s her own personal website: http://terrywahls.com/

    • Robin Dix says:

      Susan I read Terry’s book years ago. She improved her health by adhering to a strict Paleo diet. I tried it for awhile but discovered it wasn’t something I could do long term

  3. Khensani Mnisi says:

    I have been suffering from FM SINCE 1992,I could not understand what was wrong with me.The past few months ,I went through hell. I would wake up with pain all over my body. I have now started walking in the morning.As always I’m now having the worst flare up, my body is aching from head to under my feet, sleeplessness and fatigue.I have vowed never to stop , but the pain is unbearable

    • Robin Dix says:

      Khensani, listen to your body. Did you start out walking short distances? How far do you walk? Does it make your symptoms worse? Have you heard of post-exertional malaise? It’s when your symptoms get worse for 24 hours or so after exercising.

  4. Suhaima says:

    Pain pain and more pain, I am sorry to all who feel this way. I know how it feels. I feel depressed and stressed at times especially when my loves ones say “you always complaining”. I only say please lend a hand cos I’m in so much of pain. Is that complaining. I am reading and searching for information that would lend a hand to feel better. Atleast some form of treatment cos meds dont help especially since i suffer from ulcers as well. The chest pains feel like im having a heart attack. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Robin Dix says:

      Suhaima, I’m so sorry about your suffering and loved ones adding to that. If your meds aren’t working, perhaps you need to change them. Also, get your chest pains checked out. Oftentimes chest pain for those of us suffering from FM is what’s known as condritis, it’s painful but not related to the heart. Please keep us posted

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