When living with a long term illness like fibromyalgia, flare-ups are often a common occurrence. Symptoms of this condition include whole-body muscle pain, debilitating fatigue that affects basic daily activities, stiffness, anxiety and depression, sleep issues and the ‘fibro fog,’ which comes with memory problems, difficulty concentrating and lack of organization. With all these, you can see why a flare-up can be life-changing — and not in a good way. Seeing a flare-up coming on can help you manage the symptoms a little better and plan an easier week or month, if necessary.
Doing Too Much
For many people struggling with a chronic disease, knowing their limits doesn’t always mean they’re able to take it easy. Overextending yourself physically, mentally and emotionally one day could mean you’ll be down for the count the following few days. If you know you have a stressful day on the horizon, try to spread tasks out over as much time as you’re able. If not, it might just be important to set aside that time the week after your event to decompress and spend a few extra hours in bed each week.
With the full body nature of diseases like fibromyalgia, this red flag may be able to sneak up on you. Many people will experience extra sensitive skin, joints and body parts leading up to a particularly bad week. You may also be more sensitive to the temperature, especially the cold.
Lack of Concentration
Like we mentioned above, not all symptoms of fibromyalgia are physical. ‘Fibro fog’ symptoms can be a good indicator of the flare-up that’s on its way. Maybe you’re struggling to wake up in the mornings, or you’ve had trouble concentrating on a book. It’s tough to tell if you’re being a bit more forgetful recently, though. Journaling is a good way to keep track of what’s normal versus a decline in cognitive functioning.
Nothing At All
Keep in mind that for some people, there are simply no good warning signs. They can go from feeling alright to a major flare up with nothing in between. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep track of possible triggers and how to best manage a flare-up.