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caution: fribromyalgia

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.

Article written by: Robin Dix

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