Here are Tips for when you are in a Flare.
I am in the Flare. I should have seen it coming with the wild weather fluctuations. I should have seen it coming when my allodynia flared up. The allodynia has been intense. I bought lidocaine for it and it hasn’t worked. (2% strength). I think I need stronger. And I have been using ice. Either way, it is brutally painful.
And then today everything hurts. Like there is a lost fire within my wandering through my body and molding to my flesh. I can touch anywhere and it hurts. For no reason. I didn’t exceed my limits. But flares do not always have reasons, do they? I feel like a piece of meat that has been tenderized with that hammer over and over and over again. Everything is tender, sore, raw and painful.
But we have to cope with it, eh? Don’t lie down, that hurts. Don’t lean again anything, that hurts. Don’t stand too long, that hurts. Don’t hug me, that hurts. If it were not so flipping hot I’d have an Epsom salt bath and ease some of this pain out. My clothes touching me, that hurts.
So what can cause these hellish episodes?
- Weather: Research suggests otherwise, but we know different. These are related to barometric pressure and can last a few days. This I suspect is the cause of mine, given yesterday’s weather.
- Over-exertions: Exceeding our limits is the most common trigger for a flare. We feel good one day and we have something we want to get done… we exceed our limits and pay the price.
- Stress: These can be slow to show and long lasting. We don’t always know a long term stressor is having a massive impact on us.
- Illness and/or injury: these put another stress on your stressed out system and can cause a flare.
- Hormonal changes: Women often notice an increase in FM pain and systems with their cycle. For a long time I thought it was a coincidence until I tracked it, and then, yeah it definitely makes things worse for a bit.
- Temperature: Extreme hot and cold, because we are sensitive to it, can be a trigger. Another possible trigger for me is the extreme heat of today, combined with the storm yesterday.
- Lack of sleep or major disruption to sleep routine: While for some point sleep dysfunction is the norm, a lot of continuous sleep deprivation is stressful on the body and can lead to a flare.
- Out of sort activities: Doing this out of the norm like traveling on a vacation will throw your routine out, cause a lot of sitting (driving, flying), a lot of unusual activity and this can lead to flares. Same with exercise, if you do not start very slowly, you can flare.
- Environmental: So we have some environmental sensitivities to light, sound and smells. And some days they can be quite bad. Add in a loud, crowded place and some stress from being there and you can flare from that.
I will say it is impossible to escape all flares. But we can reduce them.
- We can pace and stay within our limits.
- We can be cognizant of whether environmental concerns are a problem for us and do what we can to limit those factors. Sunglasses, ear plugs that reduce sound or wear an aromatherapy necklace to have a calming scent to overpower others… like peppermint.
- We can plan accordingly for trips. Take a lot of breaks for road trips. Do a little aisle walking on plans. And on a vacation be mellow; incorporate breaks into your plans, never over-plan and account for extra pain. Always bring all medication and just in case medication.
- Carefully manage sleep as best you can. And that may mean with a doctors supervision.
- Do stress reduction techniques that work for you.
So there are some things we can try and do to help reduce flares. But flares will come.