It’s been a hellish week here in Colorado. Fall has officially fallen and with it comes the inevitable pressure change induction flare-ups. I’ve been rendered pretty much useless for a week now, which begs the question, what the hell do I do to manage the pain since I am not taking lots of medication?
Here are my tips and tricks for managing a high pain flare-up:
Stop fighting the pain.
Have you ever been to the ocean or in a water park wave pool? You know how you can be standing up in the water pretty balanced until you get just deep enough that the combination of undertow and waves will knock you on your ass, every single time? Pain is like that too. The harder I fight the pain the more exhausted I get. Instead, I try to float on top of it, just like waves in the ocean. I go limp, I relax, and I imagine myself riding the waves. The better I am at this the more I can push the pain into the background.
Now, if the pain is above a 7 I am not going to be able to do much other than relax and push it into the background. This technique takes a lot of mental energy and can be very exhausting so it’s not a coping mechanism that allows for a full plate of activities. I can use the technique when the pain is lower and work and such, but not when it’s really bad.
Movement is my friend.
Lying in bed is bad. My fibromyalgia pretty much makes my legs, hips, shoulders, ankles, and arms hurt after a normal night’s sleep so spending the whole day in bed isn’t a good idea. I move around. I have two 3 pound weights next to my bed that I use while I am watching t.v. I do curls, triceps, whatever I can to keep moving around. I also have a solid memory foam knee pillow I use at night to sleep. During the day I place it between my feet and slowly squeeze it. I also try to walk the dog every day.
Ice Ice Baby.
Nothing is better than an ice pack on the back of my skull. I’m pretty sure I have signs of frostbite under my hair because of the amount I time I spend icing.
Binge watching t.v. is good.
I have a few favorite movies and shows I go back to when I am desperate and need to fall into a story but yet am not able to pay much attention to it. However, the rest of the time I like to pick a new show and watch several seasons of it. This allows me to lose track of the amount of time I have been in pain.
I’m currently on a diet so I can lose enough wait to have breast reduction surgery. (Yes, I am giving in to the wisdom that having less for my back and neck to carry might help my headaches.) As a result I am pretty strict about calorie intake most of the time. Unless I am in the middle of a several days to week+ long flare. After a couple of days I am looking for anything that will make me feel emotionally better so I can best withstand the onslaught.
Yesterday it was a GF pecan pie from Whole Foods. I ate half of it throughout the day. It’s all I ate, there was nothing remotely nutritionally redeeming about it, and it helped me feel pampered. I am pro-treat.
Tiny, fun tasks.
I get squirrely after several days of zero accomplishments. I start to get panicky about being stuck like this forever and of course panic makes it all worse. So, I try to do small fun things that are on my to-do list. For example, today I set up a few of my Halloween decorations. It took about an hour, with lots of rests in between, but at the end I had enough up to feel I had done something, I got out of my room and into the rest of the house, and I had a bit of fun.
There are more tips and tricks I use but for now I am going to get off the computer and back to distracting myself with “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. Best of luck to the rest of you, I hope you are not dealing with flares. If you are, you are not alone.