tips for coping with a newborn and fibromyalgia, chronic pain and fatigue

Tips for Coping with a Newborn and Fibromyalgia (Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue)

Having done this three times, I have formulated some tips for coping with a newborn and fibromyalgia. They are split into the key areas for dealing with fibromyalgia in general – sleep, general health, pain management and expectations.

tips for coping with a newborn and fibromyalgia, chronic pain and fatigue

Sleep is king

  • Give baby to your partner/support person with a bottle (formula or expressed breast milk) and go to bed early. With our first I expressed at 8.30pm and went to bed at 9pm. Husband would hold sleeping baby, feed him when he woke, wind him and bring him into the room. Those precious hours of sleep made a huge difference, especially as I flared the worst with him. Unfortunately we haven’t managed this with our second (reflux and colic, we had to keep each other company in the storm) and third (I’m breastfeeding and he refuses the bottle) and I so wish for those three or four hours of sleep!
  • Find a person each day to visit and hold baby while you nap. Unless you are lucky enough to have a baby that naps in their own bed for more than 20 minutes at a time, I never got one of those!
  • If you don’t have a visitor to hold baby and baby isn’t napping in their bed for you, lie down while holding baby (meditate, pray, read, watch television -just don’t move) -they will probably sleep better and you can rest.
  • Help baby sleep. With all three babies I fell into the trap of doing all the things and just made it harder to fall asleep.

    With our first we waited five overtired months to sleep train and after much trial and error we found he needed a good 15 minutes alone to decompress before he slept 7-7 with a 10pm dream feed (anything we did just prolonged it and made it super difficult for him to sleep).

    With number two at 22 months (the reflux made us nervous to sleep train) we started ignoring him in the night, he would grizzle for 10 minutes, go back to sleep and wake in the morning so much more refreshed than us going in and out all night.

    With number three I was standing, jiggling, patting and shhing and it took ages to get him off. Then I noticed my husband would sit on the couch, jiggle him a little, baby would cry for a few minutes and then go off to sleep! If I catch him before he’s overtired, ensure he is well winded, swaddle him, sing his songs and put him down awake he will go to sleep himself with literally a minute of grizzling. I haven’t figured out how to get him to do longer than 20 minutes of sleep but it is much nicer for both of us. We are setting the foundations for later sleep. Sleep is important for mama and baby.

Physical health

  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat healthily and regularly
  • Take a multivitamin
  • Check your iron levels and address low levels
  • Stretch
  • Massage yourself with lavender oil regularly
  • Take a hot shower or bath every day
  • Get into the sun for at least five minutes
  • Go for a gentle walk, even if it’s five minutes in your garden or down your street

Pain relief

  • Do all of the above
  • Enact your natural pain relief mechanisms from pregnancy
  • Discuss medicines for breastfeeding (if you choose to/are able to nurse) before baby comes (and there are medicines that are alright for nursing – see this article).

Other

  • Aim for one or two tasks a day outside baby that are crucial and let the rest slide (ie dishes and washing).
  • Keep in touch with your family and friends, even if only by text.
  • If something doesn’t seem right, ask for help (excessive wind etc).
  • Know that the newborn that takes two hour naps every 45 minutes and sleeps from 7-7 with two or three feeds is NOT the norm.
  • Enjoy that baby and take lots of pictures, they will grow and this stage will pass.

I’d love to hear your tips?
If you are a new mama with fibromyalgia do come and join Pregnancy and fibromyalgia Facebook group.

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Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Three Tracking Your Progress Fighting Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Three – Tracking Your Progress Fighting Fibromyalgia

Welcome to part three of the Fibromyalgia Framework Series!

The fibromyalgia framework series is going to present my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Three Tracking Your Progress Fighting Fibromyalgia

In this series we will address the components of my framework including diagnosis and misdiagnosis, tracking your progress, sleep, basic human needs, pain management, the central nervous system and fatigue.

Did you grab your free Fibromyalgia Framework Puzzle and Grid templates in the first part of  The Fibromyalgia Framework?

TRACKING YOUR PROGRESS FIGHTING FIBROMYALGIA

As you may have noticed, I firmly believe we have the power to impact our quality of life. Our daily choices make a big impact on our wellbeing. Only we know our bodies so intimately. So we need to take charge in order to help our doctors to help us.

Fibromyalgia is complex and unique, so good record keeping is an important step in managing the myriad of symptoms and potential treatments.

By tracking our symptoms and things that we have tried we can notice patterns and make informed choices. Relying on fogged brains is not the easiest way to go. I have tried a great many things that I cannot remember! By keeping track you have created useful data to discuss with your doctor at appointments, it can help you see clearly what you need to discuss first and to give feedback for any changes they have previously suggested.

You can track notes in a journal, make a bullet journal, find an app or try a template.

It is good to keep track of:

  • Your sleep quality and quantity
  • Key symptoms and severity
  • Any medicines or supplements you are taking, and
  • Any self-care and exercise you manage.

I personally love printed templates to physically write on and have created several options that are available in my Etsy Store. Below are a couple of them. The one on the right includes the option to write down the top five things you are thankful for each day, which I find is a nice way to add some mindfulness to our day. Some days it might only be that you are still breathing. Others you will have trouble limiting it to five. The one on the left is gives the option of two to a page or a full page tracker.

My daily health log blueMy spoonie daily log

You don’t need to be tracking all of the time, but it is especially useful for identifying patterns periodically and for tracking experiments. It is important to know if things work. Especially over the course of this series!


Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.

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Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

the pacer's guide to cleaning aka cleaning with a chronic illness

The Pacer’s Guide to Cleaning: AKA Cleaning With a Chronic Illness

It isn’t easy managing our health, our family and our home. Pacing is a valuable tool in managing chronic illnesses that cause chronic pain and fatigue. Even those with more normal energy levels can benefit from spreading out all of the expectations.

I have watched and enjoyed YouTube videos of busy mamas showing their “deep clean” videos where they clean the entire house in one go. I just don’t have the time or energy for this and with small children it makes sense to schedule things like this in chunks.

the pacer's guide to cleaning aka cleaning with a chronic illness

Here are my key tips for paced cleaning:

Write a list of:

  • The seasonal tasks
  • The monthly tasks
  • The weekly tasks
  • The daily tasks

Divvy them up over the month according to what you think you can manage and fits with your schedule.

Edit the schedule as you go according to how your days/weeks/month pans out with energy, pain and commitments.

My Template Set

I created a template set (because, of course I did, I am an avid planner and template my paced cleaning plan, weekly monthly seasonalmaker). It is essentially the print and go lists I mentioned above that make it super easy to plan ahead for the month.

Your List and Tips for Paced Cleaning

However you make your lists and track your progress, I suggest you start with your bare minimum tasks that need to be done daily (such as dishes and washing – I have three small children, the washing needs to be kept on top of). Then look at what needs to be done weekly (like the vacuuming, a proper clean of the toilet and bathroom etc) and then add in the monthly and seasonal tasks.

The next level is to consider if there are things on your list that you cannot do and assign them to someone else (if you can). Or if there are things that you need to break down into smaller chunks. When I was pregnant and my pelvis issues were severe I couldn’t vacuum so my husband had to take care of that. Even when I am not pregnant I do not vacuum the entire house at once (our house is spread over three levels), I almost never do the rumpus room downstairs and I vacuum the bedrooms upstairs less often then the living areas.

A few tips to close our pacer’s guide:

  • Continually tidy up as you go so you avoid large messes to clean – I especially do this as I am cooking.
  • Involve the children in tidying up, my boys have to tidy up their own toys and have been included in cleaning efforts (at an age-appropriate level).
  • Keep your cleaning supplies all together, easily accessible and find your best tools and products and keep them stocked.
  • Don’t go out and leave a mess in the kitchen and lounge.

Do you have any tips for managing the cleaning with a chronic illness?

January update for Melissa vs Fibromyalgia

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia January Update

In this January update, I share how the first 11 weeks with baby have gone. Discuss helping baby to sleep. My pain levels. The Fibromyalgia Framework and the future of Melissa vs Fibromyalgia.

 

Links I discuss:

Newsletter list for the rest of the Fibromyalgia Framework series

Fibro Framework physical book (affiliate)

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group – come and discuss our fight against fibromyalgia.

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book (affiliate)

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group –  come and chat pregnancy, parenting and fibromyalgia.

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book (affiliate)

January update for Melissa vs Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia framework series: the fibromyalgia framework, introduction to fibromyalgia, tracking progress, sleep, central sensitivity, pain management, fatigue, normal human needs

The Fibromyalgia Framework Series

Welcome to the introduction to my Fibromyalgia Framework series!

The fibromyalgia framework series is going to present my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

fibromyalgia framework series: the fibromyalgia framework, introduction to fibromyalgia, tracking progress, sleep, central sensitivity, pain management, fatigue, normal human needs

In this first part I will show you my Fibromyalgia Framework, which will likely look different to yours on account of the unique nature of this illness and where we are on our journey.

My mission is to help you cut your journey down, I lost too much of my life to chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia, so I share what works for me in case it helps you.

In this series we will address the components of my framework including diagnosis and misdiagnosis, tracking your progress, sleep, basic human needs, pain management, the central nervous system and fatigue.

My Fibromyalgia Framework 

My fibromyalgia puzzle pieces: meditation, sleep, physiotherapy, lifestyle changes, gentle exercise, additional health issues, medicine, deal with trauma

Fibromyalgia is a complex illness with no known cure or cause. The way it manifests, how it is triggered and how we find relief differ from person to person.

Here are my key components that I’ve found crucial to my wellness journey. I created this after several years of intense experimentation and research and after decades living with the symptoms.

Your Fibromyalgia Framework

Grab your free Fibromyalgia Framework puzzle and grid and start populating what you think are your key puzzle pieces. You may be early in your journey and have only one or two things, or you may be further along, like me, and have the whole thing filled out. This doesn’t mean you have it sorted, it just means you have more direction.

Once you have filled in some puzzle pieces, you can begin to research those areas and make some goals to tackle them!

Action: I’d love to see your components, feel free to come and join Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group and share what you think fits in your puzzle.

Further reading that may help:

22 Ways to Increase Your Energy
My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia
Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible – Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia framework

Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.

My Year End Review, Goals for 2019 and Your Free Templates

End of Year Health, Life and Goals Review Plus Free Printable to do Your Own

If you’re a planner and an analyzer like me, you’re probably applying this to your chronic illness journey. And it’s about that time of year to start our evaluations.
I like to treat myself like I’m a human in addition to having a chronic illness, in other words I don’t focus solely on the illness. So part of my year end round up includes questions like:
My Year End Review, Goals for 2019 and Your Free Templates

End of Year Review

What was my top five for this year?

  1. Going to a Celine Dion concert (this was a bucket list/life goal!)
  2. Publishing Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia (this was a bucket list/life goal!)
  3. Managing to work 24 hours despite two tiny children and early pregnancy
  4. Starting my Etsy shop 
  5. Going to Hawaii

What did I learn?

End of Year Review snip

Click image to get your free template

  1. Improved my (amateur) graphic design skills
  2. About SEO (through a course on Lynda.com)
What was my low five?
  1. Severe pelvis issues in pregnancy
  2. Having to stop work (due to above issues)
  3. Not being able to exercise (due to above issues)
What happened in my health journey this year? What did I try, what improved and what got worse?
  1. LDN really helped me to cope despite a pregnancy, two tiny children, a part time job, severe pelvis issues and life.

Planning Ahead for 2019

Goals to carry over to next year?
  1. My general sense of pacing limits – don’t get pushed back to work too soon or too much.
New Goals
  1. Survive the first year of being a mama of three!
  2. Start a Virtual Assistant business so that I can work from home and use less childcare for tiny children.

Things I want to Learn

  1. More digital skills

Things I’d Like to Try for My Health

  1. I’d like to redo some old experiments now that the Low Dose Naltrexone is making such a difference with sleep, I feel some things might have more effect now.
As I like to do I made myself a template with these questions and you can sign up for a FREE copy of My End of Year Review here.
If you are game, come and join the Melissa (You) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group and share pictures of your filled in sheets!!

 

Fibromyalgia Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

Fibromyalgia: Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain-based illness of unknown origin and cure. It effects approximately 3-6% of the world’s population. It is said to effect far more women than men, but there are definitely men who suffer with it too. It appears in-discriminatory in race, education level and socioeconomic demographics.

I have struggled with this illness for most of my life. I have also put a lot of work into my wellness journey. In 2017 I was the most well I had been since I was 17 years old.

Fibromyalgia Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

For the concise, all in one place story of my journey and all that I do see my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia. Please note that this is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

For a brief run down of what Fibromyalgia is, the symptoms and some treatments see below.

What is Fibromyalgia?

On the University of Maryland Medical Center website, Fibromyalgia is explained in this way: “Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons; fatigue; and multiple tender points on the body.”

And on the same page, they list the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

  • Widespread pain and stiffness
  • Fatigue [and]/or trouble
    sleeping
  • Paresthesia (tingling)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Heightened sensitivity to noises, bright lights, smells
  • Depression
    Headaches
  • Pain after exertion
  • Memory lapses/difficulty
    concentrating
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Hemorrhoids

However, the trouble is that Fibromyalgia seems to be very unique to each person: how it comes on, what symptoms are present, what helps said symptoms.

There is also a debate as to whether trigger points are present in Fibromyalgia or part of a separate issue called Myofascial Pain Syndrome. A lot of the above symptoms overlap with a lot of different conditions.

Some Associated Physiological Abnormalities

Research has found alterations in neurotransmitter regulation, immune system function, sleep physiology and hormone level control. A lot of research suggests that Fibromyalgia is the result of central nervous system dysfunction – specifically an overactive nervous system, stressing and exhausting the brain (Dennis W. Dobritt, Fibromyalgia – A Brief Overview).

Getting Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia

This great article from Fibro Daze explains why it takes so long to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the process and the Widespread Pain Index and Symptom Severity Scale.

Long story short, it takes a long time to be diagnosed – years on average and multiple doctors – because it is a tricky illness with no widely accepted test and because a multitude of other illnesses must be ruled out. This is particularly difficult because Fibromyalgia tends to co-exist with a multitude of other conditions. It is a disease of mimicking and misdiagnosis.

Fibromyalgia: Definition, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.

Treating Fibromyalgia

There are a multitude of treatment options on offer. Some of them help a little, some help a lot, some help one person a lot and another person a little – therein lies the difficulty.

I have been sharing my journey for the past several years because I want to help you cut down the time it takes you to find what helps you. I have carefully researched, trialed and written about all of the treatment options I have tried.

There are few certainties in treating Fibromyalgia but here are some from a seasoned Fibromyalgia fighter:

  • Treatment will require multiple options
  • One option can help me incredibly and you not at all and vice versa
  • Sleep is king. Tackle sleep first. With medication if you must. This is a widely agreed finding from key doctors who treat Fibromyalgia including Dr Liptan, Dr Teitelbaum and Dr Vallings.
  • You can impact your quality of life. 

Treating Fibromyalgia: Manuals

I wrote about My Top Five Books for Fighting Fibromyalgia in this post. Start with Dr Teitelbaum and Dr Liptan – both of these doctors have Fibromyalgia themselves and treat people with Fibromyalgia.

What Works for Me

My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia
What Works for me: 9 Things to Fight Fibromyalgia
My Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia One Year Experiment

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible – Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia
Natural Pain Relief: Supplements for Fibromyalgia Energy
Essential Oils for Pain Relief and a Pain Cream I am Loving
Natural Pain Relief: Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain
Natural Pain Relief: Herbs for Infusion or Tea for Fibromyalgia
Giant Meditation Post
Yoga for Fibromyalgia with Handy Links

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

See my resources page here with all of my articles and products to help you have the best pregnant possible despite Fibromyalgia.

All My Articles on Fibromyalgia

What I Offer – this page lists all of my articles and products that I have created to help you fight Fibromyalgia.

My Journey: 2018

As of 2018, I am struggling with my third pregnancy and severe Pelvic Girdle Pain (my pelvis separated too far causing severe pain). Despite this I am still coping better with this pregnancy than my first two. This is wholly due to Low Dose Naltrexone making such a difference and helping me sleep.

I am hopeful and I am excited as to what the future brings as I finish the time of my life where I am up at all hours of the night with babies.

My hope for you is that you keep fighting for yourself. Don’t wait for a doctor to do it for you. But do work with your doctor, find another if they won’t.


For more information

Try my free micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points, Fibromyalgia, Definition Diagnosis Triggers and Treatment Options

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points and Fibromyalgia: Definition, Diagnosis, Triggers and Treatment Options

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is a term I came across in 2017, when a physiotherapist finally explained that this is what was causing my severe neck issues. In this post we go through what it is, examine if it’s part of Fibromyalgia, and my at-home treatments.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points, Fibromyalgia, Definition Diagnosis Triggers and Treatment Options

Definition of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

A good definition of Myofascial Pain Syndrome that I have come across explains it as: “hyper irritable spots, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle or in the muscle’s fascia that is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, tenderness, and autonomic phenomena” 1

Are Trigger Points Part of Fibromyalgia?

There is often confusion between the tender points characteristic of Fibromyalgia and trigger points. This article discusses the differences and similarities and provides a chart for distinguishing between the two.

The propensity for medical professionals to throw every symptom into the Fibromyalgia basket set me back for a decade. If they had realised prior to 2017 that my neck pain was really caused by trigger points, then we could have begun working on them sooner. These tiny hyper irritable spots have caused me over ten years of sleepless nights and 24/7 pain that nothing completely relieved.

Whether or not one wants to accept trigger points as part of Fibromyalgia or separate, research has noted that where trigger points are present in those with Fibromyalgia, the treatment of trigger points relieves the Fibromyalgia symptoms associated – such as pain in that area and fatigue.

Diagnostic Criteria for Myofascial Pain Syndrome

MPS does not have universally accepted diagnostic criteria, so it also does not have reliable statistics as to the prevalence. An estimate, using data around musculoskeletal pain in general puts estimates of myofascial pain as a patient’s primary complaint at 30%. 2

Other posts you may like:

Tools to Fight Fibromyalgia
My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia
9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia (including items I use to treat trigger points)

Causes or Contributing Factors for Trigger Points

  • Fibromyalgia or other conditions, especially inflammatory ones
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Postural (including bad ergonomics at the computer)
  • Trauma to the area
  • Excessive or lack of exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Fatigue
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Excess weight

Treatment for Trigger Points

The above quoted literature review (2) discusses general treatments for MPS: aside from eliminating as many aggravators of the condition as possible (like proper ergonomic posture at computers), treating any other present diseases, the treatment usually includes NSAIDS (usually stated as unhelpful for Fibromyalgia), heat pack, and acupuncture applied by a specific methodology.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points, Fibromyalgia: Definition, Diagnosis, Triggers and Treatment

Some treatment options

In my case, I found that placing acupuncture needles into the trigger point (gently, without aiming for muscle reactions like in dry needling) and leaving them in for 10-15 minutes followed by neck mobilisations and tractions, provides the best relief I have found. By going to a physiotherapist to do this every three weeks, in addition to my home treatment plan, is the best way to treat the trigger points. But they always come back. We have made some progress over the past year, but they are always there and re-triggered rather easily.

Whatever may work for you, it is likely to be multi modal – involving a few treatment options, including pharmacologic and alternative approaches.

My At-home Treatments for Trigger Points:

  • Heat: heat pack, hot bath or shower
  • Topical creams: Essential oil blended pain cream, Deep Heat
  • Trigger Point Massager cane for self-trigger point activation (you can use your fingers or thumbs but mine get too sore for the level of pressure needed)
  • Rest/pacing
  • Stretching
  • Limiting computer time and using good ergonomic set up
  • Medicines: Brufen, when they get to spasm level then a muscle relaxant

Your turn: Do you have trigger points too? How do you treat them?

  1. Travell, JG, Simons, DG. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. The Trigger Point Manual: Upper Half of Body, 2nd edition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore 1988.
  2. Overview of soft tissue rheumatic disorders Author:Irving Kushner, MDSection Editor:Zacharia Isaac, MDDeputy Editor:Monica Ramirez Curtis, MD, MPH Literature review current through: Mar 2018. | This topic last updated: May 12, 2017. on UptoDate.com

For more information:

Come and join my free micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia project

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia Survey

Since I have written up my one year experiment conclusion about low dose naltrexone (LDN) and Fibromyalgia, I have developed a bit of an itch to share my knowledge. I want others with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia to hear about this potential treatment option.

To this end, I am creating an eBook about LDN for Fibromyalgia.

I believe that patient-evidence (this term, which I love, was coined by Julia Schopick in her book Honest Medicine) is very important – that’s your voice, not the researcher’s voice (though, I will include research too).

Low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia project

If you are on LDN could you please take some time to fill in this survey for me? Please do send it on to anyone you know taking LDN for Fibromyalgia. It is my hope that we receive a wide number of audience responses to really show the breadth of experience with this medicine.

For my previous posts on Low Dose Naltrexone see:

Low Dose Naltrexone: An Experiment

Low Dose Naltrexone: Update 16 Weeks

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), Fibromyalgia & Me

My Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia One Year Experiment

I also reference LDN in both of my books, more so in the Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book coverJourney Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia book – because it is a big part of why I was able to write this book.

Affiliate note: Please note that the link to my book is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you have any questions, please do use the contact page and send me an email. Or come along and join the Melissa (you) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook page and ask me there.

Here is the survey link.

 


For more information and to stay up to date:

sign up to newsletter

Fibromyalgia Flare Ups, What is a Fibromyalgia Flare Up, How do I cope with one

Fibromyalgia Flare Up, What Is a Flare Up and How to Cope

A flare up is a temporary exacerbation of symptoms in a chronic illness. A fibromyalgia flare, for example, is a period of time when one or more of the symptoms of fibromyalgia gets worse for a time.

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell you’re in a flare as it can be a progressive worsening that lasts for a period of time such as postpartum. Other times you just wake up feeling like you were hit by a bus. On yet others if can feel like you just slide into being unwell, unexpectedly during a normal day.

Fibromyalgia Flare Ups, What is a Fibromyalgia Flare Up, How do I cope with one

Possible triggers for a fibromyalgia flare up

  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Hormones
  • Weather
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overdoing it
Some people are able to accurately pinpoint their triggers and try to avoid them. For others, like me, it tends to be a confluence of events but mostly my overdoing it.

My key tip for coping during a flare is having your plan in place for what to do. 

My second key tip is to remember it will pass, and in the meantime you can do things to help yourself.

Fibromyalgia flare up planning

When my symptoms were much worse and I had flares more regularly I had a list of things I could do in ascending order of ability. I utilized this during the early and later parts of my pregnancies. In trimester one, in the midst of those weeks of intense fatigue and nausea my go-to was an audio book of Pride and Prejudice. I know the book well enough that it didn’t matter if I lost focus or fell asleep while listening with my eyes closed.

I have also found that it helps to have a few reminders set up for things that comfort me (I tend to forget even the simplest things that can help me during a flare). I will just wilt away and wonder why. Whereas if I get onto it early I can head off the worst of it.

It also helps to just immediately follow a plan rather than dwell on the severity of my symptoms. It is very easy to panic that these symptoms will never fade back to manageable levels or that the gains I have made over the past several years might be gone.

In order to help you do this, I created My Chronic Illness Flare Planning Kit which is a printable set of plans to help you make your flare plan ahead of time. It includes:

  • My Pain Relief Plan
  • My Medicine List
  • My Flare Plans
  • My To Read List
  • My To Watch List
  • My Support List
  • Bonus: Natural Pain Relief Mechanisms List

To get you started on your plans, here’s some posts that might help guide you:

Tools to Fight Fibromyalgia

9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible – Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

Here’s what some people in my groups said they do in a flare…

“Try and get home to my heat pack as quick as possible. Rest.”
“I alternate between heat and ice.  I don’t find ibuprofen or creams help much, though Tiger Balms is a nice twenty minute distraction from the pain.  Epsom salt baths don’t really help me either — actually make me feel irritable unfortunately.  Also, I’m strange in that going for my regular walks usually makes me feel better — just for the length of the walk though, then the pain returns.”
“Sleep…a lot lol. And lots of baths/hot showers.”
“Take something for pain. Sleep. Do as little as possible.”
“Snuggle up on the sofa with my quilt, pillows and teddies. Watch TV and cuddle my cats. That’s how I deal with a flare haha xx.”
Your turn, will you share your tips for coping during a flare?