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   Posted 11/5/2009 6:13 PM (GMT -6)   
what a flare feels like to you? Very frequently we get asked that very questions from people who are new to the forum, those who are new to fibromyalgia and from folks who have been here and had fibro for a long time. It's hard to explain to those who don't have fibro, but to fellow fibromites...they will get it. Maybe this will help answer the question of "what is a flare?"

For the first several years I didn't understand the concept of 'flare'. I just hurt everywhere. It was as if someone pushed me out of a car doing down the freeway at about 80 mph! And I rolled about 30 times but was luckily stopped by a semi that ran over me. NO kidding! I tell my hubby it feels like someone took a baseball bat to me and beat me to a pulp! I used to tell him that before diagnosis and even last night told it to him again. So how can the pain get worse in this thing called a flare? I thought I was in constant flare.

Well, was I in for a shock! After the description above how can I feel worse? Easy, just wake up in the morning and take a breath! smhair The times I flare or most often preceded by a change of weather for the worse and me over doing it with physical chores. The most severe of the fibro pain is constant, not intermittent. And I end up with headaches that are nagging and last for days. Oh, and that semi that ran me down...ya, he went back and forth 3 or 4 times just to see what that thumping was. was my body! Thanks what a flare feels like to me.

How would you describe a flair in detail?
Chutz sad confused
The three grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for. — Alexander Chalmers

(\o/)Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, PTSD, UC, Diabetic on insulin, collapsed disk, arthritis scattered around and a few other delights.

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   Posted 11/5/2009 6:25 PM (GMT -6)   
well, usually when my chest starts to hurt and the costo starts up then I know I'm in a fibro flair..
I feel mine in my chest, when it's just the fibro I'm not all that certain as my back and neck pain is
always constant, but sometimes my PT can tell as I'll have more knots..anyways hope that makes sense...
Y'all probably think it's weird..
HUGZ to all
* Asthma, Allergies, Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disc (Lower Lumbar S1-L3 and Cervical C5,C6, C8 and T1), Fibromyalgia, Gerd,
Enlarged Pituitary Gland, Sjogren's, Ocular Migraines, mild carpel tunnel, ect.... "Would be nice if we could use the edit button in real life"...


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   Posted 11/5/2009 6:31 PM (GMT -6)   
My flares are usually because of a weather change or being stupid and over doing something physical.  In a flare I feel like I am coming down with the flu.  I even take my temp sometimes because I really think I'm sick.  I get horrible headaches, neck and shoulder pain.  And with the pain is the stiffness--every where.  I spend a lot of time soaking in the hot water in the bath tub.  I try to exercise and stretch during the flare and also take fioricet for the headaches.  Then after the flare I go back to the ""usual" pain and stiffness.
Fibromyalgia, arthritis in spine and hips, IBS, Raynaud's syndrome, hypertension
On the eighth day God created Golden Retrievers.

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   Posted 11/5/2009 6:41 PM (GMT -6)   
My flares are a constant, burning ache that do not respond to any pain medication.  Today my back feels like it is going into spasm, all the way around to my front rib cage.  My eyes hurt and I feel like I have the flu, my arm flab burns and I have tingling in my legs.  That's a typical flare for me.  Oh yeah...and the hip pain that hardly ever goes away.  It is cold and sleeting of course!
I can count on this every time I mop the floors and vacuum all in one day...which I did two days ago.  But...the mop fairy ain't gonna do it!
fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 240
   Posted 11/5/2009 7:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I am glad you started this thread - I think I asked this question a few weeks ago! I guess I am in a flare right now, I feel horrible and the aching flu-like feeling is really bad. The pain seems to move around all day - one minute my chest hurts so bad I can't take a deep breath and ten minutes later I can't put weight on one leg because my hip hurts!
I have been doing an exercise class in a therapy pool (89 degrees) and it may be making things worse. I love the class though, and I wish I could live in the pool and hot tub!
Do you all think it is better to rest your way out of a flare or continue gentle exercise?
Fibro dx 2004, RLS, raynauds

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   Posted 11/5/2009 8:14 PM (GMT -6)   
My flares vary in pain intensity. Weather, stress and overdoing can bring on a flare for me. The pain is
bone crushing pain that throbs, burns and aches all over. I experiance overwhelming fatigue and my
upper body strength is weak. Sometimes I get migraines and nausea with my flares. My fibro flares can
aggravate my lupus and I will break out in rashes on my neck and chest and have extreme joint pain;
then I end up having duo flares. Having flares really makes me appreciate the good days when I am just
dealing with the normal day to day pain.

I really think fibromites are really tough cookies, we endure alot that healthy people just couldn't
understand unless they lived our pain. Flares don't last forever, they are just repeat offenders!

Thank goodness for hot baths, heating pads, bedbuddies and flexeril!!! And
of course this wonderful forum!!!


MCTD, Fibromyalgia, Raynauds, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Degenerative 
 Disc Disease, Hypertension, Migraines and Pseudothrombocytopenia MEDS: Methotrexate, Savella,Flexeril,Diltiazem, Boniva, Vitamins 

Post Edited (crazykitty) : 11/5/2009 6:17:03 PM (GMT-7)

getting by
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   Posted 11/5/2009 8:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey everybody,
This is a good idea Chutzie. 
My flares are severe pain in my neck and shoulders, also pain in my legs when trying to walk.   But the overall fatigue really gets to me.  I feel so weak and exhausted.  Plus my fibrofog gets really bad.  I feel fortunate that I haven't had a flare in a long time.  KNOCK WOOD!!!!!  I really shouldn't even say that.  But yes pain in neck and shoulders and severe fatigue.  That is mine. 
Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Regular Member

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   Posted 11/6/2009 12:16 AM (GMT -6)   
I have frequent flares, very frequent. they feel to me like my bones are crushing. my joints feel like they've all been twisted backward, and each bone feel like it's "asleep"-but not in the cool tingly way. i have chills, ongoing headaches, fatigue, and extreme irritability. the couch hurts the bed hurts, the chair hurts. it hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to walk, it hurts to be still. right now, i rarely have few days, but i had a real real bad flare the other day that reminded me that i feel much better than i could.

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   Posted 11/6/2009 7:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I always have pain in my back, shoulders, and neck too but when I'm in a flare I have intense pain all over and the meds just barely do anything for me.  The only reason I take them is I don't want to see what I'd be like without them.  When in a flare, I limp when I walk and it's difficult to get up and down out of chairs.  I do not get headaches but I do get a lot of hip and foot pain and absolutely more fatigue.  Stretching and walking help keep the muscles more "loosened" for me.  Otherwise I'd be stiff as a board. 
Flares happen to me with weather changes and overdoing.  Also, I'm in a many months long flare every summer.  I think it's the humidity that does that to me.
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
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   Posted 11/6/2009 8:25 AM (GMT -6)   
The way I describe a flare to Normals so they can understand it is to have them imagine going to a fitness center for two days and working every muscle in their bodies constantly and the soreness they would feel afterwards is a flare.
My youngest son had the flu recently and he was telling me on the phone how bad his body hurt and he had a temp and he believed B, his fiance, thought he was being a baby about it. She has fibro too I'm sure she did think he was being a baby cause she knew his body aches would be gone in a few days and her's isn't going anywhere.
I too feel as though I have a temp sometimes and there are times when it is up a little during a flare. It's like our bodies are fighting something.
luv and hugs
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   Posted 11/6/2009 10:59 AM (GMT -6)   
My flares are usually weather related, stress related or just from over doing it.  I normally get very sore in several different areas at once, stabbing pains in different areas, the costochondritis will act up (or I should say act up worse, I deal with that constantly) and my IBS will kick in.  This will either be all or some or just one of these symptoms. 

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   Posted 11/6/2009 11:54 AM (GMT -6)   
My flares are the result of stress and confinement. For example on a long trip... I always feel completely exhausted, like someone sucked all the energy out of my body.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
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   Posted 11/6/2009 12:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Newbie here. My flares seem to make me more tired than I usually am. i get up and just getting breakfast for hubby and me makes me feel like I worked an 8 hour shift moving rocks. What is the worst though is the fibro fog. When I have a flare the fog turns me into a forgetful, totally zoned out stranger. I don't pay attention, can't consentrate, and have a great time staring at nothing.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 29
   Posted 11/6/2009 12:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I know flares are different from person to person. My symptoms on a daily basis aren't as bad as some. My pain is bearable. The worst for me, is the achy flu-like feeling and the fatigue.
When I'm in a flare my muscle pain gets a lot worse and the aching and fatigue are horrible. I feel like my blood and marrow are aching. I feel like I have fever and I get tired walking to the kitchen or bathroom.  Stress makes it worse. Utter exhaustion sometimes overcomes me. The fog gets worse and worse. Sometimes it's days before I recognize a flare for what it is. I'll think I'm coming down with something. Then it'll  hit me. Oh yeah. That's what this is.
I try to remember to take tylenol. It helps my pain as well as the flu-like feeling. I pray. I try to relax as much as possible. I try to avoid sugar and other simple carbs. I use to take hot baths, but I have trouble now getting out of the tub, so I take hot showers instead. Otherwise I wait until it runs its course.

Post Edited (snowberry) : 11/6/2009 10:28:00 AM (GMT-7)

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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 11/6/2009 1:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Since I am flaring at the moment, I can answer this one...
For me, a flare is a lot like what Marlee described.  It feels like a combination of a) the way you feel after a really hard workout, when you haven't worked out for years, and b) a severe flu with chills, body aches & severe headache.  I, too, confuse it with the flu, at first, taking my temperature and everything.  After a day or two with no fever, I know it is Fibro and not the flu and just try to hold on tight because I have no idea how long it will last.
In addition to the above, my fatigue becomes more severe than normal, I have increased speech & memory difficulties, and if HEAVEN FORBID I bump into something or scratch any area of my body, that part of my body hurts and burns for several minutes, like someone stuck me with a hot poker.
But, there is a type of pain I feel during a flare that I cannot describe at all.  It is in addition to the above, it is severe and overwhelming.  I wish I could help newbies out there by describing it, but I have no idea how. 
When I'm flaring, I drink a lot of warm beverages, take a lot of warm showers and I try to be forgiving with myself when I can't do something.  I also wear warm clothes to bed, as I awake shivering severely if I don't.


Fibromyalgia since 2007

"No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."
Helen Keller

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   Posted 11/6/2009 7:59 PM (GMT -6)   

I already posted but this is a new day.  Today I feel like I stuck my arms and legs in a beehive.  Even the pads of my fingers hurt...and the ole 'arm flab burn'.

The Fog, you say?  I took three aspirin (something I have never done but wonderd if it would take the edge off) then forgot (must be it didn't work) and took three Advil.  I'm waiting to see if I bleed to death while I sleep.




fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Nana Monster
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   Posted 11/6/2009 8:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Vesta,
  Hope you don't bleed to death as this site sorely needs people like you, you're so very upbeat even
when you're in pain or a fog.
For me, as I've lived with joint pain for nearly 48 years, the worst for me is when it feels like someone
is taking your body, wadding it in a ball and throwing it on the floor. Smoothing you out and then doing it
again. The pain is excruciating even for me. I've taken 4 darvacet, 4 flexoril and 2 amatriptolyne and it
never even took the edge off. I would go to work groggy from lack of sleep and with slurred words from
the drugs. I've had one bad "flare" this fall where I took a darvacet and a flexoril. I've found herbal
equivalents of both, thank God. Just started them....hope it works.
            Nana Monster

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   Posted 11/6/2009 8:28 PM (GMT -6)   

Thanks, NM...I maybe the snow we got today might have something to do with it????


fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

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   Posted 11/6/2009 11:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Mine are like Marlee's. Pain all over (more than usual). Even scratching an itch leaves residual pain. It is lke the beginning of the flu and have a low fever and aches. There is extreme weakness, too. Body feels like lead.

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   Posted 11/7/2009 12:05 AM (GMT -6)   
My flares make me anxious, make me lose my self-confidence, and make me question my ssanity. They really do feel like an illness, too: all kinds of pain, including stabbing pain in my joints, especially neck, shoulders, elbows and hands; costo right in my chest so I can't breathe deeply, which makes me worry I'm having a heart attack, which brings on stress, which makes me hurt more; then anxiety, which may or may not wake me in the middle of the night; debilitating pain which interrupts or prevents sleep; sudden, crushing fatigue which will make me have to sink very quickly into a seat, or totter on my feet; fatigue crushing me so hard with pain it makes me cry; fatigue that doesn't go away even if I do get any sleep, so i wake in the AM and feel heavy and stiff and crushingly tired again; skin pain that makes me so sensitive I can't touch anything, type, write, wear certain clothing (BRA) or pick anything up; elbow pain so severe I can't pick up a pencil; cold, cold sweats at any time of day or night if the surrounding temp is too cold; a daily headache which may or may not escalate to a migraine causing vertigo; the fibro fog that makes me unable to complete a complex sentence (reading or writing it); and my plantar fasciitis hurts more too (on the bottom of my feet). And let's not forget the joys of constant irritable bowels and sore bladder/ cystitis! The worst combo for me is skin pain combined with neck, back and elbow pain - that will keep me home from work. Abrupt weather changes have been triggering my flares - usually going from rainy low pressure to high & dry/sunny is worse for me than vice versa.

I think that is the worst of it - I'm in the fog right now so it's taken me 15 minutes to write this! :)

Post Edited (Littleneck) : 11/6/2009 10:09:58 PM (GMT-7)

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   Posted 11/7/2009 12:17 AM (GMT -6)   
I hadn't had a flair in so long I almost convinced myself it was gone! NOT!!! It is back with a vengense after a nasty case of the flu. The pain is different depending on where it is and it is worse in cold weather or rainy weather. My ribs feel like are mashed together in too small an area. My legs are probably the worst (I forget and say that about whatever hurts at the time)It's like restless leg syndrom and I get so frustrated. There is no way to go to sleep. I have 3 ruptured discs so my back hurts anyway but worse Im sure because of he Fibro. My arms and shoulders hurt like a toothache. Not unbearable but it just wont stop. Fibro headaches are worse than migraines. I've had both so I know. I dont get headaches often and Im thankful for that. My feet burn, tingle, and itch. I have soaked in hot water so much that my feet are craked and sore from that too. The exhaustion is probably the most frustrating. There is so much I want to do but hardly ever feel like it. If I do have a good day I overdo and pay for a week after. Other than that, Im good!

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
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   Posted 11/9/2009 12:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I found this on the Internet hope this helps...

A Fibromyalgia FLARE is a period of time when your Fibro symptoms are increased or out of control. It could last for less than an hour, or for months on end.

Flares happen if you are not on correct treatment, if you don't have your treatment adjusted at the moment, or you encounter something that throws your treatment off.

Signs of a Flare or an Approaching Flare:

Your muscles may become unreliable, you may drop things.

You may also notice muscle weakness such as when pouring liquids, turning a door knob, opening a can.

It may be hard for you to judge the weight of objects. This can result in apparently throwing things around.

Extremities may feel cold compared to the rest of the body.

You may have hot or cold waves through your entire body.

Your heart may palpitate.

You become stiff.

You hurt all over.

Increase in skin blemishes.

Sores in mouth or on tongue. Inflamed taste buds.

It may become difficult to feed yourself without spilling food or a drink.

Fibro Fog (inability to think clearly) may become worse.

Depression due to the pain may worsen, as well as the pain itself.

You may have trouble finding and saying words.

Your judgment can be impaired.

You become extremely fatigued.

You want to lie down and sleep.

You are less able to sleep.

You may become depressed.

You may procrastinate.

You may become obsessive or compulsive.

You get a headache.

Urination becomes very frequent.

You may become incontinent, especially with urinary stress incontinence.

Your monthly cycle may be disrupted.

Your cuticles become sore.

You bruise easily.

Bulged discs may cause more pain.

Joints may pop and crackle, especially in your neck.

You experience extreme pain from simple bumps.

You may become withdrawn, or have a panic or anxiety attack.

You may suddenly want to leave where you are.

You may become nauseous.

You become very irritated, sometimes over the least things.

You suddenly begin to itch or have a burning sensation on your skin.

You may feel dizzy when changing your posture. This could happen when you get up after laying down, or it could happen every time you move your head.

Spatial disorientation, you can no longer tell where you are in relation to the world around you.

Aphasia - you may not recognize faces or places.

Your eyesight becomes dull. Your hearing may, as well.

Your eyes may become dry or burn.

You may have trouble seeing at night. Car lights may glare.

You may have trouble swallowing.

You may bump into walls or trip over things.

Perspiration may increase or decrease dramatically.

You may start clenching your teeth.

You may have symptoms of bursitis.

Sinus pressure.

Post nasal drip.

Hair loss.

Depth perception may also be off.

(I removed some 'dead space' between the lines in your post. even those empty lines take up room so we try to keep things concise to save expensive space. Chutz)

Post Edited By Moderator (Chutz) : 11/9/2009 10:57:30 AM (GMT-7)

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   Posted 11/9/2009 1:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Reenie!

I missed your post last week but do want to welcome you to the family here. I'm going to copy your post and put it as a new topic so others can meet you.

The three grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for. — Alexander Chalmers

(\o/)Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, PTSD, UC, Diabetic on insulin, collapsed disk, arthritis scattered around and a few other delights.

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   Posted 11/9/2009 1:06 PM (GMT -6)   
FunnyGurl, that's how I feel every day. Except for the hair loss, fortunately. I've had fibro for 25 years and I don't think I've ever really had a flare. I've just gone downhill the whole time. More symptoms and increasing symptoms. Diane
Fibromyalgia since 1984, Sjogren's, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Auto-immune eczema, GERD, osteoarthritis, IBS, RLS, sleep apnea

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Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 173
   Posted 11/9/2009 6:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow Red Diane that must be tough. I have had fibro for at least 10 yrs. Looking back may have had it longer but did not bother me so much or often. I am into my third month of a flare up right now with alot of the symptoms of the above list some worse than others. But I do have some "good" days. At least I hope I still do!
I am sorry u feel so bad. Are you on a good treatment plan and have a good doctor?
You take care of yourself.
Good thoughts your way,,,
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