Right now, a lot of us living with chronic illness are experiencing symptom flare-ups that seem to have come out of nowhere. These flare-ups are sure making our lives miserable.
I've been struggling with new onset severe low back and hip pain since December 23rd. It feels like it's turning into the pain that just won't go away! So after I finished being perplexed and puzzled, I put on my thinking cap and started investigating it like a fibromyalgia scientist.
What? You don't know how to be your own fibromyalgia scientist? Here, let me show you:
I had immediate pain after the scooter ride on December 23. I underestimated that new pain and continued running errands later that evening. I also spend the 24th doing all the Christmas tasks I put off until the last minute. That resulted in the pain getting much worse for the following two or three days.
On the 25th and 26th, I was in full flare-up management mode, resting more, cutting way back on my activities, taking my flare-up medications and using ice and heat to manage the pain. With these efforts, the pain started getting a little bit better by December 27th.
Then the pain started getting much worse around December 29th. On December 30th, I woke up with a sore throat and felt feverish. I immediately cut back on my activities, started resting more and starting taking my flare-up medications again. After a few days, I noticed that the pain started improving as I fought off whatever viral illness I had.
By January 6th the pain was much more tolerable: not completely gone but resolved enough that I started adding activities back into to my schedule. I decided I was ready to help my hubby take down our low-altitude outdoor holiday decor on Saturday January 7th. That night and the following day my low back pain came roaring back with a vengeance.
So, for the third time, I was back in flare-up management mode...
- Sometimes you have no idea that something is going to flare you up, like my bumpy scooter ride. The good news is you can take this new knowledge and brainstorm ways to prevent it from happening again.
- There are also some flare-up triggers that are completely out of your control, like getting a cold or the flu or the weather becoming cold, damp and miserable. If a flare-up seems to come out of nowhere, these might be the culprits.
- Once you are flared-up, making the decision to push yourself instead of cutting back will definitely make your flare-up worse. You have to decide if pushing is worth the payback AND accept the consequences.
- It usually takes longer to recover from a flare-up that we expect. It is hard to be patient, but jumping back into the swing of things when you first start to feel better might result in a relapse of your flare-up symptoms.
What can I say? This has been the perfect storm of flare-up causes and exacerbators, some out of my control and some definitely within my control, all jumbled up together.
In retrospect, I could have made some different choices which might have gotten me out of this flare-up cycle by now. Ah, but I live and learn. So now my number one priority is to get this flare-up calmed down and under control in the next two weeks, barring any further complications out of my control.
(Two weeks might seems like a long time, but considering that this pain has been around for the last 17 days, maybe I should revise my plan to three weeks!)
What About You?
Now that I have shared my method for being a fibromyalgia scientist, do you have a new understanding of your current flare-up symptoms?
I'd love for you to share what you have discovered as well as how you cope with painful flare-ups. As always, I welcome you comments here or over at the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page.
If you are having a hard time implementing my suggestions, feel free to drop me a line using the Contact Me link under my blog header. Perhaps together we can figure out the cause of your flare-up and some steps you can take to help you get back into control of your fibromyalgia self-care.