What is a flare up?

Image: The Huffington Post
Image: The Huffington Post

My flare up started today. It came out of nowhere, hitting me like a ten tonne truck.

I woke up with incredible pains in my neck and shoulder, so bad that even lying in bed hurt. I got up, I went for brunch with friends and it was was wonderful but the pain started to travel down my back. I came home and sat in my comfy chair with a hot water bottle, my hands starting to tingle. My back got slowly worse and now it’s 9pm and I know what this is. This is a flare up.

Flare up pain is different to normal pain. I can’t describe it. I’m so sore I want to cry but I can’t find the tears. I don’t feel sad enough, I don’t feel anything. I am numb and sore, both at the same time. My body feels fragile and bruised all over, like I’ve been in a boxing match and when I fell to the floor, the crowd stormed the boxing ring and trampled on top of me. I lift up my top, expecting to see wounds and bruises but there is nothing to see. There never is.

I stretch in different directions trying to find a position that eases the pain. I can’t find one.

Why did it start? How long will it last? Did I do something to cause it? I think back over the last week or so, but nothing springs to mind. In fact, it’s been quite a good week. I rack my brains. I walked around a shopping centre for an hour or so, maybe that’s what did it.

I wonder if stress has caused it. I’m not stressed, but I know I’ve got a busy month ahead with two hen weekends and two weddings so maybe the panic of being ill has made me ill. The irony. If I don’t know what caused it, how can I fix it? And so I I will do the usual, follow my own tips and try to control it when really I know control is unlikely, my only hope is to cope.


Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2014
The Upside
The Upside
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We Still Get Ill

10 comments on “What is a flare up?

  1. Thank you for your description of flares: succinct and so sadly realistic. This morning I felt several times more stiff than I normally do in the morning. One of the things I find myself having to watch is my seated posture; sometimes especially in the car I notice that I’m unevenly distributing my weight and placing strain on my left hip. Have you tried cat cow pose, maybe a seated variation? I hope you can find some peace in your pain.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I haven’t tried it but I’m definitely going to. Something to ease the sitting position would be great, so thank you so much.

  2. (((hugs))) I hope it passes soon.

  3. Reblogged this on Red Opera Glasses and commented:
    I wanted to write a post about the frustration of my flare up but I just feel too empty and sad. So I will reblog this quite perfect description.

  4. Valeri

    Excellent description. When you feel well, you do not realize when you are overdoing it, or where the threshold is that will trigger it. For me it was last Friday, I was pushing furniture around in the basement of my office. Part of my job. I was oblivious as to how much stress I was imposing upon myself and I was OK on Saturday but Sunday morning came and it hit like a ton of bricks. I felt like I’d just been beaten up with a baseball bat. Hit by a truck, etc., you know all the usual terms. Monday a.m. I didn’t want to wake up to head to work, I was just a sore slug laying in bed. But, got myself going and made it in. Right now I feel like I could faceplant my keyboard. We all try to work through it, don’t discuss it because nobody gets it, and we try to be good to ourselves for a few days while it works it way back to normal….normal being that the aches and pains are there – just not as pronounced or devastating. We are a strong lot.

  5. Pingback: Best bits of 2015 | A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

  6. Pingback: The 3 things to do in a flare up | A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

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