When you suffer from Fibro, enduring a Fibromyalgia flare becomes part of learning to live with your Fibromyalgia. But what is a Fibromyalgia flare exactly, and how can you manage it wisely?
Living with Fibromyalgia involves living with your Fibro symptoms as part of your every day life. These symptoms can include pain, discomfort or aches in certain areas of your body that are most vulnerable to your Fibromyalgia. This pain can be described like a background pain. Although present, it still allows you to mostly function as usual, yet doesn’t necessarily take over every aspect of your life.
When you experience a Fibro flare, it’s like your fibromyalgia symptoms, (which have been mostly behaving themselves until now) begin to increase in severity and ‘flare up’ causing extreme distress to the sufferer. It can be described as the symptoms beginning to fume, ignite and then furiously rage your body where you are suffering the most from your flare, and it can push your pain threshold right over the edge. During a Fibromyalgia flare up, it’s like your pain dial has suddenly been turned from moderate for example, to extreme. Or as I like to describe it, red, red, red on the richtor scale!
Different Pain Thresholds
Everyone has a different pain threshold, and different people will have different ideas and opinions on what constitutes a flare for them. Some may consider a flare when their Fibro symptoms rage to the point where they can’t get out of bed. While others may consider they are in a flare, when they notice their pain has increased and limits them to what they can do. Usually what constitutes a flare for anyone however, is when the pain level increases. That could mean from a pain level of 4, to a 5 for some, or from a 5 to an 8 for others.
Different Types Of Flares
Not all Fibromyalgia flares are the same, and not all your Fibromyalgia symptoms have to have increased, for it to be considered a flare. For example, some people may have noticed that their flare is pain based, while others may not necessarily feel extra pain but are suffering from extreme fatigue. Either way, when one symptom has increased in severity and is continuing on, it is a flare nevertheless.
A fibromyalgia flare however, shouldn’t be confused with a Fibromyalgia spike. A spike, (also known as breakthrough pain) is when your usual pain level increases for a few hours, but then drops back down with your next dose of medication. A flare on the other hand, is when your symptoms and pain continue for at least twenty-four hours or longer. Fibromyalgia flares can last for weeks and in extreme cases even many months.
What Causes A Flare?
Fibromyalgia flare ups can feel like they have come from absolutely nowhere and the most severe can be described like, waking up as you’re being hit by a train, or feeling you have been knocked over by a bus, or suffering from a wretched hangover. Sometimes, this is just the way it is, but flare-ups can usually be attributed to just over doing it.
For instance, when you are new to Fibro, you will tend to do all the same things that you used to do in life, and you will likely push through the pain sometimes just to get all the things that need to be done, done. For example, loads of washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning and running errands. Or, if you are currently feeling fit and well, you will likely fall in to the trap of trying to get as many things done as possible, while you can. This is a rookie mistake, because usually it always means that although you may have accomplished many household chores, you have actually overexerted yourself and set yourself up for a Fibromyalgia flare in the following days.
Stress and fibromyalgia also generally always end up in a spike of pain, or a full- blown flare. Stress can be more difficult to manage at times because we can’t always control what twist and turns life has install for us. That’s why it’s even more important to manage the stress in life that we can control. For example: personal or working relationships or work and home commitments so you can manage your fibro symptoms and try to prevent fibro flares.
How To Prevent Fibro Flares
The best way to prevent a fibromyalgia flare is to plan. And often that plan will include three very important things. Exercise, diet as well as regularly having Fibromyalgia treatments to keep Fibro symptoms under control.
Sometimes this takes a delicate balancing act to get all of these right. And depending on how long you have been living with Fibro, and your experience with it also plays a part in how well you cope in a flare.
Fibromyalgia unfortunately always has a way of catching up with you, and there is no mistaking it, no matter how much you rest, or how good you feel right now, if you push it too far, it will flare up on you.
It’s really important to know your limits and to stay within them. Once you do, you should notice that you begin to manage your symptoms better, which results in fewer Fibromyalgia Flares.