Topic of the discussion
Posted on 20/06/2017 18:27
Here is an article from the blog of a fibromyalgia patient that we decided to share with you. It is a first-hand experience and there is probably something new for you to discover, or another point of view on handling your flare ups.
Hopefully, these tips could be of help to your or your loved ones.If you agree or disagree, or have something to add, you are welcome to put a comment at the end of the article
NB: Please be sure to consult your doctor if you undertake any major changes in your lifestyle or if you wish to modify your treatment.
It’s a fact; when you have fibromyalgia you will experience setbacks from time-to-time. Even if you have been managing your condition well for a while, a flare up can still occur and knock you flat on your face. It is a part of the condition and something that we need to accept can happen when we over-do things.
A flare-up may seem unexpected but there is almost always a cause. Sometimes it will be glaringly obvious, such as eating food you know doesn’t agree with you, other times you might be left feeling clueless. I personally try not to over think it if I am unsure of the cause and instead focus on what I can do to make myself feel better.
It is only natural to get upset about it and to feel frustrated and angry. Flare-ups can be scary and sometimes leave you wondering if you will be stuck feeling this way. It can be hard to envision your health ever improving, especially if it drags on for weeks.
Advice on how to handle a setback:
This is the most important thing that you can do for yourself but it is often the most difficult (due to pressures that you place upon yourself). By nature, we want to push and battle on through, especially when we are working.
While you may manage to do this from time-to-time, you are actually doing yourself no favours at all. Your symptoms may subside slightly but you will find that you don’t quite recover to the same level as before.
A flare up is essentially your body’s way of saying it is not coping. If you keep on pushing, which is what I did for a long time, flares will occur more often and eventually your body will reach a point where it is in a constant flare.
At this point your body is running on adrenaline and eventually this will lead to collapse. This is exactly what happened to me. Please take my advice; stop and rest. Allow your body the time it needs to recover when you experience a flare.
2. Listen to your body
As I mentioned, a flare up is your body’s way of saying it is not coping. You need to listen to your body and your intuition on what is right for you. The aim is to minimise and overcome your symptoms. If you are tired, rest; sleep as often as you need to. I personally find that I sleep for hours on end when I am in a flare.
If you are in pain, use heat pads, go for a soak in the bath, meditate or do anything that you know helps you. Be guided by what your body wants and needs. I have only one exception to this: food.
I used to be in the mindset that if you feel terrible then you should eat whatever you want as it will help you to feel better. What I have learned since then is that comfort foods only help your emotional side to feel better. They actually do the complete opposite for your body, which means your symptoms are exacerbated.
When you are in a flare, you must view food differently. Certain foods, such as wheat, dairy and refined-sugar cause inflammation. When you are in a flare you are looking to reduce inflammation, not add to it. Be very careful about what you eat and choose foods that will nourish your body and help it to heal.
3. Remain calm and relaxed
Be vigilant about your breathing to ensure that you are breathing properly. If you are holding your breath or breathing rapidly then your pain will become worse. Meditate or take time out just to focus on your breathing. You want to keep yourself calm and relaxed to minimise stress.
Stress should be considered the enemy as stress hormones wreak havoc in our bodies and make us feel so much worse. Try not to focus too much on your symptoms and distract yourself by doing activities you enjoy. For example, I will put on Disney films when I am in the early stages of a flare as I am not able to do much and struggle to concentrate but these are easy to watch, cheer me up and take my mind off things.
4. Accept it for what it is
Flare ups happen to us all. They should be viewed as a temporary setback. It is only natural to worry and question “is this what my life will be like from now on?” I have asked myself this exact question many times and even got to the point where I was ready to accept it.
The problem is that stressing about your flare up will lead to an increase in cortisol and adrenaline levels in your body, making you feel a million times worse. You need to remain calm and try to not focus on your symptoms. Take on the attitude of “what will be will be” and trust that it can get better. Just look at my story as an example. I know with certainty that I will be able to get back to that point again.
5. Embrace change
I am going to give you a bit of tough love here. If you are finding that you are constantly experiencing setbacks or feel as though you are in a constant flare then you need to change your life. The prospect of this is a scary one.
If you are anything like me then it is something you will be in complete denial about and be unwilling to accept for a very long time. You will worry that change might not bring about any benefits. Pride will hold you back too as you don’t want to accept that you are no longer coping.
When work is involved, it’s natural to be concerned about losing part of your identity or to feel like you would be giving up too much. I am not saying you have to give up work, I’m just saying that work might have to be different.
I don’t have all the answers for you and I can’t tell you what you should do. Only you will know what’s right for you and you need to be guided by your intuition. All I can say with certainty is that is is possible to live well with this condition but to do that life needs to be at a slower pace. It’s up to you to decide as to whether that’s worth it or not.
Don't hesitate to share your thoughts and your own experiences
Beginning of the discussion - 22/06/20175 tips to handle a flare up https://www.carenity.co.uk/forum/fibromyalgia/living-with-fibromyalgia/5-tips-to-handle-a-flare-up-1810
Posted on 22/06/2017 18:50
Great blog helped a lot.Thank you.
Posted on 22/06/2017 19:13
Fantastic thank you so much going through a flare up right this minute and really helped
Posted on 22/06/2017 19:34
You must have been talking to my husband as he is constantly saying much of what you have said, so thank you
Posted on 22/06/2017 19:50
Thanks for going through this, it's good to pick up new tips; and to be reminded of the things we know, but don't always do. I am in an extended flare up, and I know it is made worse with stress, but I am not resting enough; in fact I am working harder and I must speak up for myself.
Thanks again x
Posted on 22/06/2017 20:33
This is spot on. Thankyou!
Posted on 22/06/2017 22:32
Well put and some good tips :)
Posted on 22/06/2017 22:36
Good advice, Thankyou
Posted on 23/06/2017 10:09
Great blog very helpful. My family (husband and children)see me when I am in pain, I am so lucky to have them as they encourage me to rest etc which is not normally what I do. The main problem as we all know is people look at you and say but you dont look sick!!
Posted on 23/06/2017 12:34
Hi @Gerry1, @Enty66, @AnnieLouise, @Cherrygal, @kimad11, @ellelupine, @Pippadog, @Yvonne Deasy !
Thank you all for your comments, I am glad this article is of use to you and helps you find new tips and not forget about the old ones.
Don't hesitate to take a look at other discussions in this group: https://member.carenity.co.ukhttps://www.carenity.co.uk/forum/fibromyalgia/living-with-fibromyalgia-3.