I just read a chat room thread yesterday that surprised me. I know it shouldn’t, but it did.
The person writing the question said that she’d tripped over a rug in her son’s room and fell. Later she was achy and sore and then a few days later, went into a full-blown fibromyalgia flare. She wondered if the flare was related to the fall.
I don’t blame her for asking the question; the problem is that she has to ask it at all! There’s still so much MISINFORMATION out there, that people really don’t “get” fibromyalgia and autoimmune/chronic illness responses.
In a nutshell, here ‘tis!
“Anything that worsens your symptoms, can cause a flare.”
Here’s a quick list of what may bother you and play a role in a symptoms flare:
- ) Foods that don’t “feed” you (processed foods, fake foods, foods to which you have an allergy or intolerance)
- ) Physical trauma (no matter how major or minor)
- ) Unhealthy thoughts (what’s spinning around in your mind?)
- ) Relationship difficulties (drama, worry, anxiety, etc.)
- ) Lack of fitness/muscle tone (the body needs daily movement!)
- ) External toxin exposure (pesticides from the lawn, laundry soaps, scented candles, perfumes, etc.)
- ) Internal toxin exposure (dentistry, pharmaceuticals, immunizations, chemical dyes/food additives, etc.)
- ) Infections (have you had a cold or flu lately?)
- ) And, of course, an over-arching theme of stress…no explanation required
I’d like to note that it’s rarely one thing.
We typically have some sort of “incident” that happens, but when we really think about it, we can see how a set of circumstances combined to cause the flare. In the instance of the woman mentioned above, her fall could definitely play a role in her symptoms flare, but maybe she was worried or anxious about something, too? After all, we’re more likely to trip and fall when we’re distracted or rushing around. In all likelihood, she had other things going on in her life that worked together to cause her flare.
Here’s another important point I’d like to make. A flare is one way that your body has to get your attention. A flare makes you slow down. A flare makes you care for yourself and get some rest. A flare is your body’s way of saying, “Are you listening to me?”
So … can we prevent flares?
You bet! Take the first step and listen to what your body needs. Take care of yourself! Take advantage of what you learn each time you feel worse, and take the steps you need to make it better. Drink water. Breathe deeply. Do yoga and tai chi. Make sure prayer or meditation is part of your daily life. Care for your body, mind, and spirit. Make self-care a priority.
In other words …
don’t give the flare room to bloom.