How to Handle a Flare Up: 5 Tips

It’s a fact; when you have fibromyalgia you will experience setbacks from time-to-time. Even if you have been managing your condition well for a while, a flare up can still occur and knock you flat on your face. It is a part of the condition and something that we need to accept can happen when we over-do things.

A flare-up may seem unexpected but there is almost always a cause. Sometimes it will be glaringly obvious, such as eating food you know doesn’t agree with you, other times you might be left feeling clueless. I personally try not to over think it if I am unsure of the cause and instead focus on what I can do to make myself feel better.

It is only natural to get upset about it and to feel frustrated and angry. Flare-ups can be scary and sometimes leave you wondering if you will be stuck feeling this way. It can be hard to envision your health ever improving, especially if it drags on for weeks.

Experiencing a flare-up

I have just experienced this first hand. I was doing so well for so long and had reached a point where I knew it was definitely possible to live well with fibromyalgia. I was feeling so strong that I made a return to work a couple of weeks ago.

This was something that I previously worried would not be possible for me. I expected it to set me back a little bit initially but I was honestly not prepared for the reaction my body had. Returning to work knocked me for six.

Pain, which had been so minimal, returned. Fatigue, which had also been manageable, floored me. Night sweats, chest pain, fibro fog, pins and needles and balance issues made an appearance. I had forgotten all about them for a while!

I then started to stress about it, which made the situation even worse. After the initial upset, I managed to calm myself down and look at the situation rationally. Yes, I was feeling pretty terrible but I wasn’t as bad as I was the previous time this happened to me.

I turned my focus towards getting myself better and I am pleased to say that after a week I am beginning to pick up again. This is a real positive as last time it took me weeks to see any improvement. I have learned that how you handle a flare up is incredibly important.

Advice on how to handle a setback:

1. Stop

This is the most important thing that you can do for yourself but it is often the most difficult (due to pressures that you place upon yourself). By nature, we want to push and battle on through, especially when we are working.

While you may manage to do this from time-to-time, you are actually doing yourself no favours at all. Your symptoms may subside slightly but you will find that you don’t quite recover to the same level as before.

A flare up is essentially your body’s way of saying it is not coping. If you keep on pushing, which is what I did for a long time, flares will occur more often and eventually your body will reach a point where it is in a constant flare.

At this point your body is running on adrenaline and eventually this will lead to collapse. This is exactly what happened to me. Please take my advice; stop and rest. Allow your body the time it needs to recover when you experience a flare.


  1. Thank you for your article! It has so much great information in it. I’ve had fibromyalgia for 8 years and still have flares where I’ve just done too much, pushed myself too hard or not laid down when I should’ve. It can cause me to go into complete flare! From 2 days to months on end. This information in ypur article helped me to understand that it’s ok to just stop and take care of me, that I’m not a bad person for doing that. I don’t work, but I’m a housewife, mom of 4 and grandma of soon to be 2. Just that can be stressful at times.
    Sometimes we just need to hear that we’re not alone in this and there are reasons for the way we feel. Thank you!

  2. thank you for sharing ,love your post very informational! So do you have any ideas what I can do to prevent flu-like symtoms? they hit really hard and I never run a fever,they can last a couple of hours or they can last for days any ideas what I can do? thank you!