Perhaps you are still new to this condition, but perhaps you have also met and spoken with someone who suffers from fibromyalgia.
Better still (yes, really), you have a friend, relative or someone truly close to you, going through regular ordeals of what has become known as flare-ups in the fibromyalgia universe.
It is to all intents and purposes one of the most regular things they’ll be talking about when describing their life with fibromyalgia.
This introduction seeks to introduce new readers to this world by briefly explaining what fibromyalgia is and more succinctly, what is meant by a flare-up?
A note such as this one must have something to say about what fibromyalgia sufferers typically go through when a flare-up occurs.
What is fibromyalgia?
But we also enjoy leaving readers with something positive to think about. Living with fibromyalgia is not the end of the world.
Also, provided that the attitude and heart is right, there are a number of ways and means fibromyalgia sufferers can take care of themselves long after they’ve been through the course of medical diagnosis and treatment.
So, what is fibromyalgia then? Firstly, as a chronic condition, it is also known as a syndrome, and in this case, popularly by its acronym of FMS (short for fibromyalgia syndrome).
Fibromyalgia is not a disease and is characterized by muscle or musculoskeletal pains also (sometimes regularly) accompanied by tenderness in other parts of the body.
What is the flare-up?
But if you’ve been around FMS folks you will have heard them talking about their flare-ups. Most of them seem to endure them during the winter months, but there are also instances of flare-ups during summer.
Simply put, and in layman’s terms to boot, a flare-up is a drastic but temporary increase in the number of symptoms that the FMS sufferer encounters.
These flare-ups are also related to how intense the person’s symptoms are manifested. The two most common symptoms during these flare-ups are increased levels of pain and acute tiredness.
What fibromyalgia sufferers go through
Here’s a quick, heartfelt journey through the lives of fibromyalgia sufferers. We mentioned earlier that the pain is usually centered around the muscles.
But the pain that fibromyalgia sufferers endure is typically widespread. As a symptom it just simply never goes away.
One moment the FMS person goes through a flare-up, and the next moment he or she may feel no pain for long periods of time.
Suffering from fibromyalgia can be compared to suffering from depression.
The sufferer tends to find it hard to motivate him or herself to get out of bed in the morning, particularly after a poor night’s sleep characterized by pain and/or stiffness.
A better appreciation of FMS
To better understand and appreciate what fibromyalgia sufferers go through, particularly during those flare-ups a little more information will surely help.
We explained that often the symptoms just simply come and go. But this is not always the case. Sometimes they just get worse.
You already know that FMS sufferers have trouble sleeping at night, either experiencing pain or stiffness, or both, and are inherently not happy people, always struggling to come to terms with their condition.
Not only are they perennially tired, they also suffer from dizziness and head-aches. Their skin can burn and the FMS sufferer can even have problems with balance.
Remedies for winter
We also mentioned that most flare-ups tend to occur during the winter months. This, of course, has quite a lot to do with where people with fibromyalgia stay, usually within the northern hemisphere and in the coldest areas.
Nevertheless, there are a number of remedies, apart from medical treatment, available for fibromyalgia patients who are particularly prone to flare-ups during the winter months.
The good thing about any one of these remedies is that they are natural, harmless and health-oriented.
The emphasis is always on becoming as comfortable as possible and keeping warm, but never uncomfortably hot and overwhelmed.
Let’s start with the things you wear. Ideally, you want a good night’s sleep. Let’s start with that too.
Keeping warm, but comfortable and not hot, during winter is essential for FMS sufferers. Where bedclothes are concerned, the thickest and heaviest duvet in the world is not going to help.
The same principle applies where clothes are concerned. In both instances, sufferers are advised to layer what they wear and what they wrap themselves with.
This is an addition to keeping the fibromyalgia sufferer as comfortable as possible during the coldest nights.
For instance, extremely warm heaters will cause anyone discomfort, however, the FMS man or woman now needs to discard some of the clothing he or she has layered themselves with.
What about food?
The dietary needs of fibromyalgia patients should not be ignored but it is still the case that many people, not just fibromyalgia sufferers, still do not pay enough attention to their diet and proper nutritional needs.
A good dietitian or nutritionist can certainly help someone with FMS to craft the perfect winter meal plan which focuses not just on optimum health where relevant but, once more, on comfort.
Many of the recommended foods, while not replacing them entirely, also act as healthy supplements to the prescribed drugs that patients with fibromyalgia are required to take.
One word on alcohol
Or should that be three words; no more alcohol. The old saying that everything in moderation, even a good glass of wine, is good for you is still true, however, if you are ill or suffer from a certain condition such as fibromyalgia, it should go without saying that you should be cautious and even vigilant with your health.
In this case, it is recommended that alcohol be eliminated from the fibromyalgia patient’s diet entirely, particularly since it contributes towards blood vessels dilating and the body losing its essential warmth.
To move or not to move; the emotional choice
Finally, it has also been subtly recommended that FMS sufferers simply pack up and move to warmer climates and in that way eliminate flare-ups during winter entirely.
Where family and roots are concerned, this is never an easy step, but where health is the main concern, it should be a done deal.