A Fibromyalgia Flare-up can happen for many reasons and is part of the course when you are living with Fibromyalgia. If you are wondering how long a fibromyalgia flare up lasts, in this post I will share some helpful tips to stop a flare in its tracks and alleviate symptoms.
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It’s a fact; when you have Fibromyalgia you will experience setbacks and  Fibromyalgia flare ups. Even if you have been managing your condition well for a while, a Fibromyalgia flare up can still occur and knock you flat on your face. Flare ups are part and parcel of having Fibromyalgia and they are something that we need to accept can happen from time to time.

Living with a Fibromyalgia flare up can be challenging, but there are things we can do to make them a little easier to cope with.

In this post you will learn:

  • What a fibro flare up is
  • The symptoms of a Fibromyalgia flare up
  • What the common triggers for a Fibromyalgia flare up are
  • 5 tips for overcoming a Fibromyalgia flare up

WHat is a FibroMYALGIA Flare up?

A flare up of Fibromyalgia is a temporary worsening of symptoms or an increase in the intensity of symptoms.

An increase in fatigue and pain is most commonly seen. However, other symptoms can get worse too.

Fibromyalgia flare up symptoms can include:

  • A decline in cognitive function due to a worsening of brain fog.
  • Digestive difficulty (acid reflux, bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and/or constipation).
  • Swollen, painful joints.
  • Numbness, tingling, pins and needles or other neurological symptoms.
  • Stiffness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Difficulty with sleeping.
  • Dizziness or balance issues.
  • Difficulty regulating temperature (chills or excessive sweating).

When in a flare people can go from being functional to having to spend all or most of their time resting in bed due to these symptoms.

Flare ups can last anywhere from days to weeks or months. They can be scary and sometimes leave us wondering if our decline in health will be permanent.

It can be hard to envision your health ever improving, especially if a flare drags on for weeks.

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What Causes Fibromyalgia To Flare Up?

When a flare up happens, we are often left wondering what caused our fibromyalgia to worsen? After all, it’s only human nature to try and figure things out and gain a better understanding.

Although we may never know the answer to that question for sure, there are some common triggers for a Fibromyalgia flare up.

Common causes of Fibromyalgia flare ups include (but are not limited to):

  • Sleeping worse than usual.
  • Eating foods that don’t agree with us.
  • Over-exerting ourselves.
  • Stress (both mental and physical).
  • Weather changes (changes in temperature or pressure for example).
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Travelling.
  • Changes in our usual routine.
  • Trying a new treatment.

It can be helpful to know what these triggers are so that we can try our best to avoid them. However, personally, when I am suffering from a flare up I try not to focus too much on the cause.

Instead, I focus on what I can do to make myself feel better.

The reason for this is that I often find trying to figure out the reason for my flare ups stressful. And, as I’m sure you know all too well, stress just makes everything so much worse. Experiencing a Fibromyalgia flare up can be physically and emotionally challenging.

Experiencing a Fibromyalgia flare up

I have just experienced a Fibromyalgia flare up first hand. I was doing so well for so long and had reached a point where I knew it was definitely possible to live well with Fibromyalgia.

I was feeling so strong that I made a return to work a couple of weeks ago. This was something that I previously worried would not be possible for me.

I expected it to set me back a little bit initially but I was honestly not prepared for the reaction my body had. Returning to work knocked me for six.

Pain, which had been so minimal, returned. Fatigue, which had also been manageable, floored me. Night sweats, chest pain, fibro fog, pins and needles and balance issues made an appearance.

I had forgotten all about them for a while!

I then started to stress about it, which made the situation even worse. After the initial upset, I managed to calm myself down and look at the situation rationally.

Yes, I was feeling pretty terrible but I wasn’t as bad as I was the previous time this happened to me.

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I turned my focus towards getting myself better and I am pleased to say that after a week I am beginning to pick up again.

This is a real positive as last time it took me weeks to see any improvement.

I have learned that how you handle a fibromyalgia flare up is incredibly important. Below are 5 tips that help me to get over a flare up.

5 Tips For Overcoming a Fibromyalgia Flare-up:

1. Stop

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 Fibromyalgia 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 Fibromyalgia 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, make sure you take your meds, use heat pads, go for a soak in the bath, meditate or do anything that you know helps you.

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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. If you know that you have an intolerance to certain foods, now is not the time to relent and eat them.

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. It's important to stay relaxed during a Fibro flare. Techniques such as mindfulness can be helpful

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 on 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.

Do you agree? Would you add anything else to this? How do you cope with a Fibromyalgia flare up? Comment below and let me know.

Pin for later: Fibromyalgia flare-ups are a worsening of symptoms. Learn 5 tips to help you to overcome them. Click to read or pin to save for later.


Hello, I'm Donna. I'm a Scottish artist who lives with chronic illness. My blog began in 2013 as a means for me to share and connect with others living with chronic illness. On my blog, I have shared my journey back to better health and the diagnoses I faced along the way. I now work as an artist and sell my products in my online shop. I continue to write about chronic illness on my blog and also share helpful posts about art, business and bullet journalling.


  1. Oh my goodness it sounds like you are describing what happened to me – I went back to work after feeling a bit stronger and now I am down in the deep ditch of pain again! Night sweats, fibro fog, pins and needles and balance issues – I have them all. You have some really great points here for handling this flare up – thanks and thanks for joining in and supporting Fibro Friday each week.

    • Oh sorry to hear you are going through a similar thing to me Lee. It sucks doesn’t it? I honestly though I was strong enough to return to work so was quite taken aback when it didn’t work out. I’m glad you have found what I’ve written useful and I hope you pick up again soon. I love taking part in it 🙂 It’s a great way to keep track of what others are writing

      • Your article is very helpful i am trying to apply for social security because I’m not sure I can handle going back to work

        • Hi April. Thank you. Good luck with your application, I hope you are successful and get the help you need 🙂

    • Thank you for having this page. It has been helpful to me. It’s also nice to compare note w/ other Fibro. survivors. We have to pull together… Nancy

    • Thank you for this piece! It so hard to find any real treatment directive with this illness. I finally see where I need to begin..

      • You are welcome Dj, I am glad you found the post helpful. I wish you the best of luck with your health.

  2. Jeanne Saucedo Reply

    I have fibro from my face to my feet. My legs get very weak. I suffer from fibro fog at times and balance issues. Im on the highest dose of Lryica and ibuprofen .. i have to work, which is sometimes incredibly hard. I stay as positive as i can. Its progressing,but i will work as long as I can.. you’re very right when you say some days you didnt feel that bad at all. That’s when i tend to over do it. My job is very demanding and fast paced, i manage 10 associates, so most of the time i can slow down some when i feel weak. I have an intermittent LOA in place incase i wake up in too much pain.. im glad to be able to read stories such as yours, it helps to know there are others who understand what im going through. Im sorry about going on and on tho.. thank you for the tips..

    • It’s very easy to over do it on the good days but I am slowly learning the benefits of pacing myself better. I am sorry to hear of all your issues and can relate to the difficulties of working; I pushed myself until I could no longer do it and my body totally crashed. No apologies required, I’m glad you found this post useful

      • I took the highest dose of Lyrica for 10 yrs . I was also on patches pain pills xanax and sleeping pills. I’m a type A .Made great money.When I crashed I had no idea that 3 yrs would go by and I still can’t get moving. My adrenal glands stopped working. All my hormones are screwy. My pharmacist told me not to be too hard on myself,but really. My advice,stay off the pharmaceuticals especially Lyrica. It really will kill you.And yes you can get off addictive meds.

        • I’m sorry to hear that Dana. It’s always difficult when you just want to push through. There is a ton of great info on adrenals at drlam.com- worth having a read if you aren’t aware. I think that pharmaceuticals (if they are used) should be used in conjunction with steps that will help you to improve your situation to the point you hopefully won’t need them any more. Too many doctors prescribe them and leave their patients to it.

  3. I find all of this really encouraging… I feel as tho u read my mind and put it in writing!!! Some of the things u say really validate what I think about my situation! This is so important to me because when I try to explain my situation to others I know its often viewed as excuses or me giving up in some ways! Which that has never been me… Then I start to question myself! And I’ve pushed really hard thru so much in my life I find the harder I push the worse I am… Now I’m starting to see why!! Its hard to help yourself if u dont know very much about whats going on! Some sites can be like a handbook on how to set up your stereo, Not enough info that relates personally! Thank u for sharing this information!

    • I am so glad you can relate to what I write. It definitely helps when you know you’re not alone in what you are going through. It’s hard for people to truly understand when we look okay on the outside. Yes, sadly the harder we push on the worse we feel for it. I have learned the benefits of staying within my limitations the hard way. Thanks for your kind words

  4. Hardest part slowing down on good days, if I don’t it leads to in bed flare ups. I have to stop, but its so hard.

    • Yes, I agree, it can be hard. I have to keep reminding myself to think of the bigger picture. Doing too much can be really detrimental

    • On good days, I always overdo. This puts me in bed for days. So discouraging.

      • It’s really hard isn’t it? When you feel really well you want to make the most of it but, like you say, it works against you. As difficult as it is, I find it’s still important to stay within my energy envelope on the better days too. Either that or I need to accept that choosing to do more is also choosing the consequences– as much as that totally sucks

  5. Virginia West Reply

    Spot on! I couldn’t agree with you more, about everything, especially the food part. That makes a huge difference. I look at my daily food as part of my medicinal prodical, along with vitamins, minerals, bio-identical harmones, meditation, and a few pharmaceuticals and medicinal cannibas, CBD. I choose not to expose myself to toxic people, (relatives included), places or environments. I am also adverse to excess stimuli, large crowds, TV or movies, anything rated past PGish, LOL.
    Spiritually is paramount to me!
    No God, no peace.
    Know God, know peace.
    Many Blessing my warrior friends.
    Virginia West (California)

    • You are doing so many great things for yourself, that’s amazing Virginia 🙂

  6. Susan Dooley Reply

    Thank you Donna for your wise words. It really helped me to realise why I am in constant flare up right now. I having been trying to push myself through everything rather than pacing and taking care of myself. Sometimes we believe we can do that same as we did before fibro. Unfortunately we can’t but we CAN have a better quality of life with fewer flares if we are kind to ourselves. Thank so much for reminding me of this.
    Kind regards

    • Hi Susan, I am sorry to hear you are in a constant flare. I unfortunately know too well how horrible that is. It’s absolutely a learning curve and there is a grieving process to go through too with this illness. Living as well as possible means pacing ourselves properly. It’s taken me a long time to realise I was doing more than I was physically capable of doing and slowing down has been the best thing I could have done for myself. You are so right when you say we need to be kind to ourselves. I hope that you start to feel a bit better soon and I’m glad this post has been helpful for you. Take care.

      • Did others find that medical cannabis helps? I really Find that when I take medication, especially more than one, it just gets worse – it’s like rebound pain. Also does anyone else get dull, throbbing pain behind your knees ? And in the front “pit” of your elbows?

        • Unfortunately, I cannot help as I’ve never taken medicinal cannabis but hopefully someone else might read this who can offer some help.

  7. Brandie Kiesey Reply

    I love what you wrote. Especially the food part. I am terrible about it. I am a school bos driver and drive for 7 1/2 hours a day through flares and everything. So when I get home at 5 at night I scramble for something easy and quick yet satisfying for dinner. I bet you know what that means. Yep. We have a veggie with every meal but otherwise processed stuff which means sugar and wheat. Right now I am looking forward to winter break. Hopefully I will have a couple days I can rest. Otherwise my days are up at 5, drive till 8:45, home to do laundry clean or I detail cars or clean a client s house or office, then back to drive at noon until 5, then home to make dinner take care of kids and to bed by 10 pm. What would you suggest. I’m in constant pain with overwhelming feeling of exhaustion 90% of the time. My family doesn’t really give me any breaks either. ( they’re all boys) I don’t know what to do. I see doctor today to begin rheumatological testing. Ugh. Can you say vaca!

    • Hi Brandie

      Thank you for your kind words. Eating healthy can be challenging when you are so busy. I guess the secret to success is to plan your meals and make things simple. If you can batch make meals and freeze them at the weekend, that would
      potentially make things easier for you.

      I can only speak from personal experience but from my point of view of you are in constant pain and exhausted all the time you are sadly doing more than your body can cope with. I know you may not have any other choice and I sympathise with that. However, if you can find a way to slow down I would advise it. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have. I was the same as you with full on days– 2hrs commuting each day to a physically demanding job. I ended up crashing as I was asking more than my body could give and I am still recovering 18months later.

      I wish you a restful vacation and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  8. I’m so glad I’ve found your blog. I’m currently lying in bed feeling very sorry for myself as I’m having a flare up. I’ve only been diagnosed since early November 2015 so finding it hard accepting that things have to change. I’m a front line police officer although have been off work since September. I really don’t know what to do, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else, however I have to come to terms that such a physically demanding job is no longer suitable for me. I also have three children, 13, 9 & 2yrs old. The way I am now, I feel like such a useless mother. I have no energy to run around after them, try explaining that to a two year old!

    • Hello Cath! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope you are finding my posts helpful and I am sorry to hear you were diagnosed with this horrible illness.

      It is most definitely difficult to accept change. If I’m totally honest with you, change wasn’t something I chose but rather something that happened to me. I too had a very physical job and I pushed myself everyday until my body completely crashed on me. So respect to you for realising things need to change because I happily buried my head in the sand.

      I can fully appreciate how difficult your job must be– not only physically but emotionally and mentally too. There must be a ton of stress involved, which will wipe you out too. Add being a mother on top of that and yes you’ve got a full on lifestyle.

      What you absolutely are not is a useless mother! So please stop beating yourself up.

      I can’t tell you what to do. All I can say is imagine if you could find something as fulfilling as your current job but that allows you to better manage your health and enables you to have more energy for your kids? Are you willing to take a risk and find that? Perhaps looking into working part-time could be an option if you’re not ready for a career change?

      One of the lessons I’ve learned is that sometimes life doesn’t work out how we think it will but that’s okay. Different doesn’t always have to be negative. We can find a new purpose. I wish you all the best.

    • Dr. Tania Reyes Holman Reply

      Wow I can relate. Hang in there and you will find something else you love. Try yoga and Pilates 5-10 min in the morning then you can ease into playing. You will be creative and don’t beat yourself up. I had to reply to you. Hopefully you’ll get it 2yrs later.

  9. Donna D''Amico Reply

    I just came across your article on Pinterest. My change was to take an early retirement from being an elementary school principal which I loved. I was living in a constant flare & after the sudden death of my youngest son 15 years ago, I realized God/life had other plans for me. I still struggle with acceptance of the constant change of the symptoms. Fortunately,I have a very understanding & helpful family that have stepped up to assist me. The lady who has children needs to teach her children how to cook & help around the home.She will be preparing them to be independent adults early in life who are empathetic to others. All my children are leaders & are known to be helpful to others. You will find out that you can be an outstanding parent even with Fibromyalgia. Love from Another Donna D’Amico

    • Hello Donna! I think the unending ability to adapt to change is necessary to live as well as possible with fibro. Often these are unwelcome changes but learning to accept them allows you to move forwards, doesn’t it? I love how you write about how you realised you had other plans. That’s a great outlook. I think having a good support network is key too and it’s great to read that you have supportive and understanding family. Thank you for your comment and I hope you are doing as well as possible 🙂

  10. I have found that the chiropractor and the massage therapist that deals with chronic pain and fibro are my best friends. I work full time in a deli in an extremely busy grocery store. I’m also the single mother of 3 and suffer from fibro and chronic fatigue and pain. Life gets extremely hard some hard weeks and I go to the chiropractor 3 and 4 times a week but most weeks I go only once now that I’ve been going for a yr. I hope everybody finds what works for them. I have been very blessed and my kids tolerate my flares pretty well and take very good care of me when I’m bad. Prayers for all of you that life will get a little easier.

    • Hi Thea,

      That’s great that you have found chiro and massage to be so helpful and effective for you. I can imagine life must be hard for you at times as you have a lot of responsibility and things must get pretty hectic. But it’s wonderful that you have found something that helps you to manage things better. Thank you for sharing. Take care.

  11. Ive found that water therapy is the best for my exercise, Warm water is the best. My dr perscribed warm water therapy for bursitis in my hip, and it amazed me how great it had me feeling.

    • Water therapy is wonderful and anytime I have been in a hydrotherapy pool or hot tub, it has been bliss! I am pleased to hear you are feeling so much better for it, bursitis must be very painful.

  12. I have underactive thyroid and fibromyalgia. Thank you for this article, it might help others to understand how I am trying to cope. I feel as though I’m fighting all the time to be normal, whatever that is.

    • Hi Jill, sorry to hear you both have an underactive thyroid and fibro. I totally relate to what you say about fighting to be normal, it’s difficult; especially when others don’t appreciate what we are struggling with. You are definitely not alone in how you feel.

  13. I’ve noticed a lot of you gals are prescribed Lyrica. I tried Lyrica 75mg, but I can’t handle it. It puts me in a sleep coma, if I fight to stay awake, I was even more cloudy in the head. I was switched to Neurontin (Gabapentin). I have had minimal relief, even after being increased on the dosage. Have any of you had serious relief from neurontin? I feel like im trapped in a living hell and I can’t get out. It’s been nearly 2 years since being diagnosed. I have all classic signs/sx.

    • Hi Miranda, I can only speak for myself here but I found little relief from gabapentin and unfortunately experienced unwanted side effects. My body doesn’t seem to tolerate medications well and I have found more benefit from herbal remedies, supplements, lifestyle & diet changes. You can read more about that here.

    • I also take gabapentin at the highest dosage you can have and I agree not always does it help. But for the most part it does work for me. At the first I had issues with falling asleep even standing up, but as the months went by that changed and now I function ok. I have also neuropathy which is why I take it in the first place. If anyone has ever experienced neuropathy you will know how painful it can be. At times I must have my feet on ice as well for any kind of relief but that only happens every once in awhile and mostly if I get very stressed out. Maybe what you need is to have a higher dosage or even the max dosage to find your relief. I too started with a low dosage and had to have it continually increased until being maxed out. Now for the most part it does help me. There is also another type of gabapentin that is more potent but costs a lot of money so I’m hoping I will never have to go that far. I wish you well and know that your not alone.

      • Hey Kim, it’s good to hear that the gabapentin is helping you. I imagine it would be great for neuropathy. I found that the numbness & tingling I had definitely improved on gabapentin. I had on/off pain in my feet too but it turned out to be caused by Bartonella. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I’ve actually found more benefit elsewhere so don’t feel like I would need to turn to gabapentin again but it’s positive to hear a success story 🙂

    • Christine McGovern Reply

      HI Miranda, I’m mew to this forum but I wanted to share my experience with you. I had tried gabapentin, muscle relaxers and tramadol. I hated taking meds and all seem to have side effects. So I got off all of them. I did physical therapy and message acupuncture too. I am 60 years old work ten hour days and it has been hard. I can’t afford treatment on a regular basis but kind of hit and miss with what I’ll do as I can. All have helped but also only temporary relief. It comes back. Heat is good and my daughter wants me to explore medical marijuana as am alternate treatment. I happened to come across and older woman and I asked her how she was managing her pain. She walked and acted like she was pain free, Without hesitating she said oh medical marijuana that’s it nothing else. GEE i HATED THE smell even but its by pill or cream. It is approved for use if you are diagnosed with fibro. Also, I wanted to say that I also have sleep apnea, which is ten times more common with fibro than for the general population. If your sleep is bad which I’m sure it is explore getting tested. Poor quality sleep only enhances the pain. I hope any of this can help you.!

  14. Angela McDaniel Reply

    Hello Donna,
    At the risk of sounding redundant, I too am glad to have come across your information! I’ve been diagnosed for many years and live much like you but had just “forgotten” my way recently. I was dating someone for a short period of time whom was not right for me and it spiraled me into the first significant flare I’ve had in years! He’s gone and though I was feeling sorry for myself (as I read someone else said they were) I kept feeling like something was missing. I even went so far as to accept a prescription from my MD to help with my symptoms. I don’t take meds normally! So this past week I pulled things together and really refocused attention to me. I’m happy to say I trashed the med, I’m up and out for the day, and truly on my way out of this. I was on Pinterest looking at foods for fibro and nutrition when your story came up! It was so comforting to read. I often feel like I’m in this alone, yet I know I’m not! My battle is just mine… It takes me on a journey… Thank you for sharing. You made me feel so much better just reading that a flare up no matter when is inevitable and it’s ok!

    • Hi Angela, it’s too easy to forget what was helping. I’m sorry to hear you suffered a big flare but it sounds like you are approaching it in the best possible way. Thank you for your kind comments and I hope you find lots of helpful info on the blog. We are all in this together 🙂

  15. I liked when you talked about staying calm when dealing with fibromyalgia pain. It makes sense that remembering to do this can help you avoid making the pain worse or having an accident. I can see how anyone looking into this would want to make sure they find a reputable doctor to help and provide ideas n how to deal with it.

    • Thank you, John. It can be easy to get worked up over how you are feeling and it is worth reminding yourself to stay calm for the reasons you say. Yes, an empathetic and supportive doctor is a must. But sadly, this can be difficult for people to find.

  16. Hi Donna thank you for sharing your story. I have had FM for nearly 20 years. I have been fortunate in having a fabulous family Doctor who understands FM. Over time I have tried different medications that didn’t work, but my doctor decided to try me with simple muscle relaxatives just at night. This therapy is working really well for me. Some three months ago I also found a Chiropractor that knows more about FM than I do and he put me onto ice packs and cool showers. He is brilliant and this is working for me. I still get flare ups but between us we hande it. They don’t last anywhere near as long as they did and they are bearable. I still work. I just encourage everyone to keep looking for the thing that works for them and stay strong

    • Hello, thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂 It’s great that you have the support of your family and doctor and are finding therapies that work for you. I absolutely agree with your final point: keep looking and stay strong 🙂 Very wise words.

  17. Hello Donna,
    I have just joined the site, and have read you replies to people.
    I have just been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, two weeks ago. And originally it started as myafacial pain syndrome for the last 2 years. I work 15 hours a week. And intend to keep working.
    I am waiting to go on a course called mindfulness, a program designed for fibromyalgia in the uk in Nottingham.
    I have taken on board what you have advised to lots of other sufferers out there.
    Thankyou for taking the time to read

    • Hi, Pam. I am sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with fibro. I think the mindfulness course sounds very useful. I think it can be a very powerful tool to have. Good luck!

  18. Hi Donna

    How do you stop when you have bills to pay? I don’t understand how people afford to live. I can only imagine having fibro would be worse if I were homeless with my children.

    • Hey Toshia, for me it literally wasn’t a choice. I worked myself so hard that I ended up bed bound. I was literally at work one day and couldn’t move from my bed the next. Some people are fortunate to get financial help from the government. I wasn’t successful with that, unfortunately. Luckily, I have a supportive husband and family. I dread to think where I would be without them.

      I completely understand that some people have to work and there is no choice. I just hope that what happened to me does not happen to anyone in a less fortunate position. But with regard to this post, I am not telling people to stop work completely. Essentially, with hindsight, I wish I took the sick days I needed to allow me to recover. If I had then maybe I wouldn’t have ended up in the position that I did. I appreciate that not everyone is lucky enough to be paid when they are off sick so really it’s thinking about adaptations you can make that will help you get over a flare quicker.

      I am essentially saying, if you are in a flare and what you are doing exacerbates it, then the situation is unlikely to improve unless you change something. Sometimes stopping for a day or two is what will help. Maybe changing your workload on those days is helpful or even working from hom if you have a flexible job that allows it. If you are in a constant flare despite this, then a change in job may be something worth looking into. It’s not for everyone and ultimately people need to do what’s right for them. There is no right or wrong answer.

  19. Robin Starr Reply

    I’m glad I found this. I just started checking back on these boards after many years. My fibro for the most part has been under control with an occasional short bout of fatigue. In March I got my shingles vaccine and that has set off a chain of flare ups the likes of which I haven’t seen in years. My rheumatologist changed up some things and I’m actually starting acupuncture on Monday, she thinks all my energy channels are blocked. Worst of all is my anxiety does get the better of me and I find myself breathing heavily. Good reminder to practice my slow breathing and use my meditation app on my phone.

    • Hi, Robin. I am sorry to hear that the shingles vaccine has caused a flare up for you. I’ve heard mixed things about vaccines and chronic illness; some tolerating them, others finding it worsens the situation. Your rheumatologist sounds understanding and I hope the changes and acupuncture help. I’ve heard some really positive things about acupuncture. Good luck!

  20. Sarah Tait Reply

    One thing I do for a flare is have a flare kit…which includes things that help me to feel better as I deal with the intense pain of a flare. Some Items in my kit include my heating pad, a soft throw, my oska pulse, my iPad, essential oils(I like thieves for a flare) and soft fuzzy socks I save for flare days. I snuggle with my two yorkies and do my best to keep myself distracted from the pain. I keep my to-do list very short on these days and focus on doing what it takes to make myself feel better.
    I also make sure to do some stretching every hour.

    • This is perfect. The oska sounds amazing and I’d love to try it one day! And I really need to get into trying essential oils too. My kit includes soft pyjamas, my quell, heating pad, cbd lotion from the fay farm, theraspecs (if I am light sensitive), fluffy socks for my undoubtedly cold feet, netflix on the ipad and cuddling up with my dog in a blanket 🙂

      • Robin Starr Reply

        I just realized this was a British site and I am in New York, USA! I guess we all have similar problems though. Just wanted to respond that I had four sessions of acupuncture, and I don’t know if my flare up from having the shingles vaccine just waned or the acupuncture really helped, but I am feeling much better now! I will definitely repeat in the future if I should flare again. Something to consider!!!!

        • Hey Robin! Yes, I’m based in Scotland but funnily enough, the majority of my readers are in the US 🙂 I’d love to visit New York one day. That’s really great to hear, I have heard a lot of positive things about acupuncture. It’s wonderful that it is helping you.

  21. Susan Robinson Reply

    Great read , good info. Yes I have fibrosis too, adrenal fatigue, thyroid disease, RLS, & more . I haven’t worked in 3 years , I stopped initially to help my hubby who has lung cancer. Which became all consuming and he also has cystic fibrosis. We have no kids , no family close by . Just our church family. Currently I was just approved for SSDI & they back paid me& I’ll get Medicare 9/1 , my hubby is on disability thru his former employer. I have severe depression too. How do you rest when you have to be a caregiver??? Current example hubby blood sugar bottomed out twice tonight 2am & again at 4:30 , his lungs sound like crap , ( oh I’m a nurse) so I’m on top of him to try to avoid pneumonia,. A few things I’ve done to help . I order groceries thru Jet & Boxed , & get fresh veg meats at a local meat market & farm stands , I also got an instant pot, cause I either forget to put out meat or put it out & cant cook & end up throwing it out , with the IP YOU CAN PUT THE MEST ON FROZEN .
    I have someone come clean the house once a month, & I set up be pay thru our bank & I still miss some bills that aren’t regular bills. I can’t even set up my meds , last week my husband did them . Lastly sometimes I have the church bring us a meal which they are glad to do. I detest the microwave & would rather not use it but my hubby uses it for popcorn & breakfast sandwiches . My current delima is trying to find someone to go with my hubby for his treatment when I can’t due to my symptoms . I feel so guilty & not everyone understands .

    • Hi Susan, you sound like a wonderfully caring person and it must be so challenging to look after your own health as well as your husbands. It sounds as though you have made some really helpful accommodations and it’s great that you have the support of your church. I can appreciate the guilt you feel but it’s worth remembering that looking after yourself is helping you to be the best carer possible for your husband.

      With regards to your question of how do you rest when you are a caregiver… I don’t have the personal experience to give any real insight. However, the best I can suggest is to think of what helps you in terms of rest, whether that’s lying down, sitting, reading, meditating… whatever it is that helps you personally. And then think in terms of micro-rests, e.g. just a few minutes at a time and schedule rest into your day in a manageable way if at all possible.

  22. I was diagnosed with Lupus and my symptoms mimic what you described. Your steps mimic what I have to do to for minimal flare ups. I was blessed to be able to retire at such an early age. But it was one if the hardest decisions I had to make. It was one of the best too. Flare ups are minimal and don’t last as long. I am able to feel and listen to my body, somewhat prepare for what’s about to happen. Thanks for the article and thanks for helping me feel like I’m not alone and or crazy.

    • Hi Lisa, I am sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with Lupus. It seems like there are a lot of overlapping symptoms and it’s great these strategies also help you. I can appreciate how difficult a decision it must have been for you but it sounds as though it was the right one for you and your health 🙂 You are most definitely not crazy and alone. I am sure you have a lot of experience that would help others dealing with these illnesses!

  23. Hi,
    Thank you so much for this helpful information. I have fibro and osteoarthritis. I went for groceries and now a nasty flareup. It is very disgruntling. I am going for acupuncture this Thursday. Excited to see if this helps. Taking pain pills which helps with the osteo a little. The fibro is not touched with pain pills. Will let you know how the appt. goes. Blessings to everyone.

    • Hi Michele. I’m glad you have found this post helpful. Sorry to hear that you have both fibro and osteoarthritis, that must be so painful for you. It’s frustrating that everyday things can cause flare-ups for us. If it makes you feel any better, I think going shopping is a difficult task. It’s one I struggle with and need help with so you are not alone there. Pain meds didn’t help at all for my fibro either, they just gave me more side effects than they were worth. I really hope the acupuncture helps. I have a friend who is getting acupuncture for his back pain and I’m interested to see how he gets on as it may be something I consider trying too. So, I’d def be interested in hearing how you get on too 🙂

  24. Thank you SO much for your helpful tips. Other sites were telling me to push through, exercise often which made me very confused when I had a bad flare up. I also have M.E. which to my mind is not Chronic Fatigue – it is Chronic Weakness. I feel you can work through tiredness, but not constant weakness. Even though I try to pace my day carefully, when I have a severe painful and it’s hard to do much, I worry if I am doing too much, or too little. The mere fact that you have advised to STOP during a bad flare-up is a huge relief because I have been pushing myself thinking that it is the right thing to do. Sometimes the Fibromyalgia gives me enormous back pain an it is hard to move much but my Doctor insists you should be active – no matter how much the pain or muscle spasms. You have helped me enormously – thank you very much.

    • Hi Anne. I am so pleased that you have found these tips helpful. It boggles my mind that so many (including health professionals) can tell us to push through. Or that we just need to exercise more. I found all that did was lead to a huge crash and it has taken years to recover from that. Any overexertion would lead to post-exertion malaise that could last for days or even weeks at one point. I guess the best advice I could give anyone is to listen to your own body. Your intuition will tell you what the right thing to do is. And, I try and not let advice from others cloud that judgement. There needs to be an overhaul of how doctors approach ME because too many are giving advice that is potentially dangerous. If you are able to, I would highly recommend reading a book called “Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalitis: It’s Mitochondria, Not Hypochondria” by Dr Sarah Myhill. It truly helped me to understand the importance of rest and why exercise wasn’t helping.

  25. Thank you for this these all help me plus 1 other thing I have found helps me recover quicker and often helps me feel a little better straight away, I do a little of my gentle stretching excercises and try to move a little too. I don’t push it too far and I often have to do my stretches 1 or 2 at a time then do 1 or 2 different ones later, I lower the repetitions and usually can’t go as far as normal, but I actually find that works better than doing what I feel like doing which is curling up in a ball and sleeping all month. I also use some essential oils which I found useful. The biggest thing I want to thank you for is because you wrote this my husband found it and sent it to me. I’ll be honest most of it wasn’t new to me as I’ve been suffering with fibromyalgia for over 20 years however it was new to him as I don’t think he’s understood what I’ve been trying to tell him for years, often while I’m moody because I’m in a flare up and in a lot of pain. I’m hoping reading your blog helps him to understand. I hope your having good days xx

    • Hi, Esther. That’s great to hear these help you too and thank you for sharing that tip! That sounds very helpful and sensible. I too find that balancing rest and movement helps, rather than doing nothing at all. I really need to look into essential oils more as I keep hearing positive things about them. I’m really pleased to hear my post has helped with your husband’s understanding. It’s odd how people don’t always listen to us but it clicks when they read it from someone else. I’ve had that experience too.

  26. Loved this article. Your descriptions of flare ups, pain and managing daily life are so on target. I like others who have commented here, feel like you’re describing my life with fibromyalgia. I’ve had this along with psoriatic arthritis for the past nine years. There is a good possibility that gout will be added to that list soon. I suffer from constant flare ups and Still am searching for the right combination of meds to relieve my daily symptoms which include, strained muscle pain, tingling, sharp pains, brain fog, insomnia, swelling, dull pains, Self diagnosed depression, constant hurt – well you name it and I’ve spent time with it. Lol! I know change is necessary but is so scary to me. My conditions have left me weak and self conscious and doubtful I could ever accomplish what is needed.
    Your article was a great read and I have to say, the best article I’ve read on fibromyalgia. Thank you so much for sharing it with the world!
    Best wishes in your recovery!
    I still

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment and best wishes Susan. I am happy to hear that you found this post and the comment section helpful. I am sorry that you live with chronic pain and all that comes along with it. And I appreciate how scary change can feel. I’m not usually one for quotes, but I do like this one: “don’t be afraid of change. You may lose something good, but you may gain something better”. The latter part being what I try to hold onto <3

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