Fibromyalgia flares can last days, weeks or even months. During this time, life can seem unbearable due to the intensity of symptoms and not knowing when the flare will subside.
Here are some of the typical symptoms experienced by most sufferers:
Pain – one of the worst the symptoms. Most of the muscles in your body are aching and painful. Since the pain is widespread, it makes life much more difficult and even debilitating.
Stiffness – this happens especially upon waking. The entire body feels taut and inflexible.
Fibro fog – this is a term used to describe the confusion and lack of mental clarity when a flare-up takes place. Your focus and memory are adversely affected.
Sleep disorders – you have difficulty falling asleep, and when you do, you often wake up feeling fatigued.
Mood swings – you may feel anxious, depressed, and irritable.
Fatigue – you’re extremely mentally and physically tired.
So, how do we manage these flare-ups?
The best way to manage them is to prevent them. We can do this by removing any trigger foods from our diet, relieving stress, staying hydrated, and keeping active. Prevention is our first defense.
However, sometimes despite our best efforts a flare can occur. We have no choice but to ride it out. Below you’ll find a few ways to manage a flare-up.
Find a qualified masseuse to give you a gentle massage. It will be soothing and help to release endorphins in the body that make you feel good. A massage can also help blood circulation in your body improve and this can help bring pain relief and relaxation.
2. Get more rest
Try to get more rest either by sleeping more, working less and spending more time just relaxing by doing self-care activities. Ideally, if you have Fibromyalgia &/or Chronic Fatigue you should be taking time everyday to relieve stress to help avoid a flare, but if one does occur, it’s as good a time to start prioritising self-care and learning to de-stress.
3. Use heat
Apply hot compresses to the parts of your body that hurt the most. Soaking yourself in a hot bath can help your aching muscles to find some relief. You’ll feel less stiff too.
4. Journal your flare-up
Write down how you feel and what you’re doing. It’s best to keep a journal to record what you eat, how long you sleep, what your stress levels are and so on. It's a good idea to do this even when you don’t have a flare up. This will help you to monitor patterns and triggers that may be causing the flare. Now you know what you need to do or not do in order to prevent future incidences.
5. Tone down your physical activity
Exercise is fantastic for strengthening the body, keeping it supple and aiding in weight management. However, during a flare, it may be wise to take things down a notch. Do not push yourself beyond your point of comfort. If you wish to do some light exercise, engage in stretching exercises or light walking. The goal is to do what you can without unnecessary exertion. Pushing past your comfort zone is NOT recommended during a flare-up.
To conclude, besides the tips above, you could try other methods such as acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy and other suggestions offered in the FREE eBook - 50 Ways To Improve Life When Living With Fibromyalgia. There are many holistic methods out there, but the efficacy of the methods can’t be verified.
Nevertheless, I encourage you not to dismiss them if you’ve not tried them. We are unique individuals and while acupuncture may have no effect on one person, it may bring immense relief to another. We'll only know if we try.
Last but not least, always speak to your doctor about your condition and any holistic methods or treatments you plan to try.