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17 'Habits' of People Who Feel a Fibromyalgia Flare Coming On

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When you first start to notice the “red flags” that a fibromyalgia flare-up is approaching, what do you do?

Some might initially react with denial (this can’t be happening!), while others may immediately jump into preparation mode and try to get things squared away for the days when they’re down and out.

We wanted to know how our community responds to those first warning signs, so we asked our Mighty community to share a “habit” they have when they feel a fibromyalgia flare coming on. Of course, everyone is different, and has various approaches and techniques for dealing with an oncoming flare-up – but hopefully the following responses will give you some ideas for preparing for those tough days, or, at the very least, remind you that you’re not alone.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. Run home from wherever I’m at so I can comfortably prepare myself.” – Amanda V.
  2. My biggest habit is probably negative. I tend to rush and get some cleaning or other things that need to get done finished. I push myself because I know I’m going to be down soon.” – Ashley G.R.
  3. I usually have a fast meal or two ready just in case I get a flare-up and can’t cook.” – Ashley A.
  4. My habit is to use my walking stick all the time. Even if I don’t need it I use it because I’m scared to be outside without it. It’s like a comfort thing. I rarely need it, but I like to have it in case I can’t carry on walking or I suddenly get in pain.” – Emily V.S.
  5. Push through the pain and get my nightstand ready knowing I’ll struggle to get out [of] the bed.” – Kendra S.
  6. “Honestly, I never know how it is going to hit me so I really just brace myself (mentally), let my family know it’s coming, and make sure I have my phone in reach so if I need help, I can text someone. Around the house, however, we have various heating pads, freezer eye pads to help me cool down quickly, pillows, blankets, a fridge stocked with cold water and my fibro cream that numbs the muscle cramps. It’s like preparing for a war and we are far too comfortable with [it].” – Trinity A.
  7. Heated blanket gets dragged around with me. I even have one at work.” – Belinda W.
  8. I tend to pull myself back socially to limit any possible collateral ‘damage’ that a flare-induced mood swing may have on my loved ones. I hate doing it but I find myself doing it time and time again. I’d rather hurt alone than have my pain be a burden on others.” – Kym A.
  9. I hoard snacks and drinks in my bedroom, I set my son up on the bed with his tablet and toys, knowing I’m going to be bedridden for a few days.” – Andrea M.
  10. I take short cuts! I mentally map out where I’m going and the quickest way to do whatever it is I have to do.  This has saved me from being in more pain because I know where I need to go and get out the quickest.” – Mackenzie P.
  11. Trying to fight it and pretending I’m not in pain.” – Caitlin A.
  12. Push myself to get more done at work, so it won’t be as bad when I’m gone. Taking time off doesn’t make things better; it just makes things pile up.” – Catherine T.
  13. I’ve been trying to use my insta pot, make mostly healing soups that will last five days and can freeze some, so when I crash, I just have to heat up.” – Cheryl L.
  14. “I try to do less, also keep my stress levels down as this makes my fibromyalgia worse. Even though I do less I still have to do light exercise. I like to listen to music – this relaxes me – or even read a book. It’s not easy when my body is aching all over but I do find this all helps my recovery.” – Anne H.
  15. “I try to cut back to three activities if I’m doing more. I also try to get more sleep and I know I need to practice a lengthy body scan mid-day every day until I feel better.” – Esther G.
  16. “I have to lie down and drink water. But I need to stay in bed for at least two days. This stops it from getting to the point where I want to scream and also shortens the amount of days I’m at my worst.” – Christine M.
  17. “Get the lights ready in my bedroom as I can’t bear electric lighting when it gets dark. Take a shower because I don’t know when the next one will be. Have plenty of water, meds, sunglasses, eye mask and my mobile on my bed. Switch off my landline, only people I wish to speak to will know my mobile number. Bring my dog’s bed into the bedroom. Selection of healthy snacks by my bed, nuts, fruit, etc. so I don’t need to go to the kitchen downstairs.” – Comfort L.


Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness with three main symptoms — widespread pain, chronic fatigue and cognitive trouble. Fibromyalgia is a complicated illness that’s not well understood. In the past, it was mischaracterized as a mental health disorder. Even today, some doctors wave off fibro symptoms as being “all in your head.” This isn’t the case. Read The Mighty’s comprehensive guide to fibromyalgia here. Click here to join our fibro community and connect with people who get it.

Originally published: November 15, 2018
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