Eight Ideas for Dealing with Bad Flare Days

Eight Ideas for Dealing with Bad Flare Days

Through the Fog

When you have a good day … celebrate! Don’t overdo it, but do something you really enjoy. Making good memories can help you get through those no-good days of a flare. Let’s look at some ways to deal with those very bad FM days.

I suggest finding ways to distract yourself from the pain and stress that a flare can cause. Even if you find just one of these suggestions to be helpful, I will have accomplished my goal.

1. Read a good book or magazine: When my pain is bad, I like to make a cup of tea and curl up in my recliner with a good book. I can sit there only for an hour or two and then I skip down to idea No. 6 — binge-watching Netflix. If you’re more into magazines, have a few on hand you haven’t read yet.

2. Listen to your favorite music: I enjoy worship music or contemporary country music. Music has always been a good distraction for me. Whatever you enjoy listening to, listen to that.

3. Prayer or meditation: It’s good to center yourself by meditating on scripture or positive thoughts. Praying can keep you focused on others and their needs, and keep you from navel-gazing on your own. I know I’m guilty of this when FM brings a bad day for me. I need to get my mind off myself.

4. Give yourself a break: If you’re like me, you might have high expectations for yourself. On bad days, however, you need to cut yourself some slack and give yourself permission to say no. No to the dishes, no to the laundry, no to lengthy conversations, no to unreasonable demands placed on you by others. Stay in your pajamas, if you can, and relax as much as possible.

5. Medicate proactively: As a medical professional and a patient, I’ve always been told to stay ahead of the pain. If you wait until it’s really bad, it takes your body much longer to catch up to the pain. Take your meds on time and don’t skip doses.

6. Binge-watch Netflix: For me, there is nothing more relaxing and distracting from my fibro pain than losing myself in a great series or movie on Netflix. I can get caught up in someone else’s drama for a while. Do you have favorite shows you enjoy watching?

7. Keep a list of what works for you: It’s much harder in the midst of a flare to remember things that may have worked for you in the past. Once the flare passes, write a list of things that proved to be helpful to you. Keep it somewhere handy for the next time.

8. Do gentle stretches: Doing some gentle stretches or yoga may help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort you’re feeling. There’s a book available on Amazon called Yoga in Bed For All Ages and the Kindle version is currently free.

Remember, no one knows your body or your FM pain better than you do. Being proactive will have positive results, not just physically, but also emotionally.

What things have you tried that work for you?


Note: Fibromyalgia News Today 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 Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Em says:

    I do like all of your suggestions. On a high flare day any type of stimulation is too much. I know, there is one in every crowd, I am usually the one.

    By no means criticism, as I have always been sensitive to most stimuli, I endeavor to stay as calm and quiet as “I” can…apartment living is a challenge, as I am not at all gregarious.

    Also the invasion of equal housing has now taken over here. I moved to this small community because the requirement was 55 and older. Place is on the decline and police here more and more. I do not have another move left in me.

    Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head, but when packing 6 or more family members into a 1 bedroom-these are mostly adult children/grandchildren that are non-residents. Retirement is not at all what some may believe. A violation of the lease, etc…can’t change it, can’t fix it. Several are moving from here.

    So yes, the pain level is on the rise. I can do this!!!

  2. Mandy says:

    When I’m experiencing a major flare, I find that I’m unable to stay in one position for very long (sitting or lying down) so I need to alternate brief rest periods with some kind of activity that keeps my mind off the achiness and pain. The other thing that helps me is to keep warm. Leading up to and during a flare, I always get cold no matter what time of year it is or what the temperature may be. My family members can be complaining that it’s too hot and we need the air conditioning and I will have a blanket over my legs-then I know I’m in trouble! So I layer on the clothes and maybe even a sweater until I feel better! I agree about being proactive with whatever medication works for you. Being on top of the pain is much easier than chasing it, and sometimes the flare will ease up faster too. I like reading and doing sudoku puzzles when I sit down to try to focus my mind, or watch a program I recorded on the TV. Sometimes I knit as well if my hands aren’t aching.

  3. StevefromMA says:

    Those are very good tips, Robin, and I downloaded the yoga, which was tough for me to do in a studio. I do self hypnosis but I need to try before the pain gets really bad, like keeping ahead of the pain with meds, though they don’t work well. I also try to get absorbed in a thriller if I can.

  4. Mary Carrazza says:

    Thanx Robin. I like that you reinforce “to let go of the guilt & cut yourself some slack” on high Flare days. Stay in PJs; ignore the laundry; the floor; the dishes. The whole point is to be as kind & gentle to your body as possible. Unfortunately, I can’t read when in Flare – but I do have my favourite “feel good” movies on hand. So it’s back to bed, electric blanket on – gotta keep warm – and if I doze off here and there during the movies – it doesn’t matter – because I’ve seen them so often!
    Lots of fluids – any way you can take it – water, assorted herbal teas, coffee, juices. Just keep hydrated. Helps keep the headaches at bay (for me). I do not leave the house when I’m in Flare – I definitely do not drive. My cognitive abilities are affected by the Flare – I have difficulty judging distance, I am disoriented & often dizzy. I am not safe outside, on the roads etc.
    I am fortunate in that I live alone and am not responsible for young children. I am so sorry for young women battling this disease (often alone) with little ones to care for. That’s when they need a network of supportive family & friends who can step in and help when needed. And we know that’s not always going to happen. But if you are alone with little ones – you really need an action plan for the children – when you go into Flare. A good neighbour or relative to take the children to school; a friend to do your shopping (so there’s food in the house); a “plan of action” so your children know how to manage at home when you’re not well. Fibromyalgia sucks. And I do worry for our young Mums doing it alone. I think they’re so brave & courageous. Stay strong Ladies. 🌺

  5. Janice says:

    I’m glad you spoke of ‘prayer’. Every night I offer up my day and my suffering and joy for someone who needs prayer. I thank God for ‘the wonderful day’ He has given me, even if it was a doozy! I thank Him for everything he has given me that day and done for me and I list all the things that I am grateful for. The more I did this, the more I realized I didn’t remember how painful the day was. Truly, once I offered it up, I knew/know I got through another day and the day may have helped someone else’s pain. On days when I just cannot move, I picture myself in a boat with Jesus at the bow leading me through the storm, and He allows me to sleep. Hope this may help someone else when they feel they are alone.

  6. Marita Mitchell says:

    I seem to have had a Flare since I got a kidney infection last year. There are brief hours of respite when my husband and smile and have a kiss. That was this afternoon. I am broke financially and in spirit from going to doctor after doctor looking for help. So, although I love your ideas, those are the things I manage on a bad day. I can’t shop, cook or clean.
    Last night I thought I was having a heart attack. I so badly wanted to write to you for advice, but have no idea of our time difference – I am in South Africa. Please can someone advise me, I get terrible chest and back pain. It goes up the sides of my neck and into my Jaw and ears. I just want to know if this has happened to anyone else.
    But back to today’s topic, when I am this bad Facebook and my Fibro sites are about all I can tolerate.
    In my other, functioning life I do embroidery, knit, write, play computer games and read. When it’s a great day I visit friends.
    Thanks Robin for all your insights.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Marita, I’m so sorry for your prolonged flare, how awful! The symptoms you describe about the pain in your chest, back, neck, and jaw can very well be symptoms of a heart attack, I would encourage you to go to hospital and get checked. I’m on the east coast of the USA and it’s 5:35pm my time here

    • Leann says:

      Marita, yes, I too have had the back and chest pain that feels like a heart attack. Scary! I agree with Robin’s advice to be safe and get checked. Like you, the pain reaches up to my shoulder, neck, jaw and also my head. If I don’t already have a migraine, I know I will soon. The good news for me is that the heart attack feeling has lessened to “simple pain” over the past decade. The migraines are worse and constant ~ like you, there’s a break at some point during the day most days. I’ve learned to really appreciate that, after having weeks when no break occurs.

      I’ve relocated to Arizona USA. They do not have a time change, so sometimes I am on mountain time and sometimes west coast time (like now). You are welcome to write me and I know you’ll understand if I am slow to respond.

      Robin, you’ve been a source of help and relief. Thank you! I receive your words in a Fibro newsletter. Are you on Facebook? A website?

  7. Barbara says:

    Hi, I was diagnosed about 10 years ago, even though I have had health problems before this. For me it was very difficult to say no, because no one understood my condition. I now have the support I need, but often on bad days, I still feel bad saying no, but I know I have to. I enjoy computer games, tapestry and knitting and try to rest as much as possible. Keeping up with meds/supplements is very important. Stay calm and focused as much as possible, and when well don’t try and do everything. Make a plan/list. Don’t worry about what is left undone, be happy with what you have achieved. I don’t do any formal exercise, I do housework, as this counts as exercise as well. Always listen to your body not anyone else.

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