“What does a fibromyalgia flare up feel like?” It’s a question you might be asking if you’ve just been diagnosed or think you might be going through one right now. Or you might just be trying to get a sense of what the disease is like so that you can understand what a suffering loved one goes through. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer. You see, a fibromyalgia flare up can feel different for different people. So when it comes to the question “what does a fibromyalgia flare up feel like,” there’s no answer that covers every person with fibromyalgia.
There are a few general things that are common in flare ups which can help us get a start in understanding what it’s like. But first, let’s talk about what exactly a fibromyalgia flare up is.
WHAT IS A FIBROMYALGIA FLARE UP?
Put simply, a fibromyalgia flare up is a sudden increase in the severity of someone’s fibromyalgia symptoms. So if your fibromyalgia pain is at around a 3 on a 1 to 10 scale on most days and then suddenly one day it’s at an 8, then you’re experiencing a fibromyalgia flare up.
But flare ups don’t just come with increased pain. A lot of the other symptoms of fibromyalgia also get worse during a flare up. The fatigue or mental fog are both noticeably heavier for many people during a flare up.
WHAT CAUSES FIBROMYALGIA FLARE UPS?
There are actually a lot of things that can cause a fibromyalgia flare up. Probably the most common trigger is simply stress. Stress is known to cause a variety of health problems like weakened immune systems, and it’s possible that it also limits the ability of your body to deal with fibromyalgia pain, leading to a flare up.
But while stress seems like a pretty obvious trigger, there are also some surprising things that can lead to a fibromyalgia flare up. For instance, exercise is a significant trigger for people with fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia often find that just working up a sweat can be enough to trigger days of fibro flare ups. That’s a serious problem because exercise has been shown to be a very effective treatment for fibromyalgia, which is just another little aggravation when it comes to living with fibromyalgia.
And even things like changes in the weather can cause painful fibromyalgia flare ups. Much like people with bad hips who can feel when it will rain, people with fibromyalgia often get flare ups with changes in the air pressure caused by the weather.
WHAT DOES A FIBROMYALGIA FLARE UP FEEL LIKE?
Basically, a fibromyalgia flare up is a period where the pain from fibromyalgia is worse than usual. So it’s worth talking about what fibromyalgia usually feels like. See, for people with fibromyalgia, their muscles and joints often feel a sort of dull aching. This is pretty constant but can spike up to more severe levels of pain during a fibromyalgia flare up. This pain can feel like a knife is being forced into the muscle, or like the muscle is being pulled. In short, a fibromyalgia flare up can be excruciatingly painful. And it can basically shut down anything you are doing for days. Fibromyalgia sufferers end up
And in addition to feeling pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia flare ups often come with a kind of mental cloudiness. This is usually called “fibro fog” and the best way to describe it is that you have a hard time focusing on anything. It’s a common symptom of fibromyalgia and can get especially intense during a flare up. So when you’re asking “What does a fibromyalgia flare up feel like,” it’s important to consider the mental aspect of it as well as the physical pain.
Both can make it difficult to complete daily tasks or go to work. Not only do you have to suffer from agonizing pain, but you can’t focus on the simplest things. So people with fibromyalgia often end up in bed for days at a time during particularly difficult flare ups. Thus, it’s important to remember that people with fibromyalgia will go through easier and harder times. And if someone you love or just work with has fibromyalgia, try to be understanding about that. Give them a rest during their flare ups, and try to be supportive.
But let us know in the comments. What does a fibromyalgia flare up feel like to you? How do you deal with them? What do you wish people knew? Tell us below.