While discussing how physically exhausting chronic pain can be in My Valentine’s Wish For You and My Word of the Week Tired, I began to wonder if our mental exhaustion could be less if a flare came with a recovery time frame.
I know you may think of this is as wishful thinking and in some regards it is. However, this information may be something we have at our disposal if we take a closer look……..
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How Having a Flare Recovery Time Frame Could Help
Knowing the time frame of a flare could improve our lives in so many ways.
Imagine knowing that your fibromyalgia flare would end in two days or that a psoriatic arthritis flare would end in two weeks. Instead of making plans and worrying about whether or not you would be able to follow through, you could make them with confidence!
Although not always perfect, most of the recovery time frames I was given for past surgeries/injuries were extremely helpful. Last year I was told that it would take 10-12 weeks for my broken ribs to heal. Ignoring that time frame would have led to extending my recovery time. By following it and not doing more than my body was ready for I was able to resume my normal activities after 12 weeks. Was it easy? Heck no! But it was better than increasing my recovery time or adding to my injuries.
Recovery time frames for flares would lower our stress levels. We would have a better idea of whether or not we need to schedule help for house/yard work, meals, etc. and for how long.
Knowing when it would end would give us peace and hope. It would also make us feel less guilty for taking the time we need to recover.
One of the most frustrating parts of a chronic pain/illness flare is not knowing how long it will last #chroniclife #fibromyalgia #autoimmunearthritis #botchedsurgeryTweet
Estimating a Time Frame
While not a possibility for all chronic pain or illnesses, there are some instances where it is actually possible to estimate a recovery time frame. Figuring it out won’t be easy, especially if your pain/illness is poorly managed. By the way, when I say poorly managed I am not accusing anyone of not caring for themselves, I am merely suggesting that your current treatment/pain management plan isn’t adequately meeting your needs.
During the first 10 years of my chronic life, my pain was poorly managed. This created more pain because many symptoms would trigger pain in other areas. Never experiencing any relief made it impossible to estimate any amount of severe flare recovery time as every day of my life felt like a severe flare.
With my chronic pain/symptoms from fibromyalgia extremely well managed and psoriatic arthritis managed as well as I possibly can, I actually enjoy pain-free days. How many and for how long depends on many things. Weather changes, surprise abdominal flares from my botched hysterectomy, and how consistent I am with my treatments all play a huge role. The latter is the most important.
A Complicated Process
Finding what relieves my pain from fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis was just the beginning. By following through and staying on top of those treatments along with a bag full of self-care and lifestyle modifications, I have been able to estimate the recovery time of some of my flares.
Prior to reaching this level of relief I suffered from chronic migraines. Not knowing where my pain was stemming from made it impossible to figure out what was causing my migraines. I would lose anywhere from 2 to 7 days from each one. As I began reducing pains, I discovered that my migraines were the result of swelling around my spine. By treating my spine with PEMF treatments on a regular basis, I haven’t had a migraine last for longer than one day. In addition, they haven’t been as severe as in the past either! I have also noticed a connection between the swelling around my spine with super moons, meteor showers, and solar/lunar eclipses.
Imagine having a time frame to schedule around your #flareTweet
#chronicpain #fibromyalgia #autoimmunearthritis #botchedsurgery
Track the following to see if you can find a pattern with your flares
Whether your pain is well managed or not, try tracking the following to see if you can find a pattern or source. As always, discuss your findings with your doctors as they may lead to more answers. I personally find that journalling every day to be most helpful.
In addition to keeping a daily journal I keep a flare journal. With each flare I track the following:
- When it started.
- Any activities, life events, cosmic events, physical symptoms, and or injuries that may have triggered the flare.
- Treatments: Have I kept up on them, added anything new, or omitted something.
- Symptoms and severity of flare.
- Everything I treated the flare with.
- When the flare ended.
Over time I was able to estimate recovery time frames. Tracking this information also helped me see what was working and what was not.
Accepting that a Flare Recovery Time Frame isn’t a Possibility
As I stated above, not all chronic pain/illness flare recovery times are able to be estimated. For example, the abdominal pain flares I experience from my botched hysterectomy is one of those. This is something that I have struggled to accept and to be honest am still struggling to accept to this day.
I have however made some progress in the past year by accepting that my lifestyle has to change during those flares. Not being able to predict how long it will last doesn’t mean I can’t make getting through it easier.
When I first came to this realization, the changes I made were drastic. The result was feeling like I was living two lives. To rectify this and come to terms with how my life has to change for weeks and months on end with these unpredictable abdominal flares, I am in the process of creating a life I can live while flaring or not.
I may never be able to predict all flares, but I can listen to my body, do what is best for my physical/emotional health, and live the life I have. Part of doing so requires that I accept that resuming normal activities before my flare ends will only make things worse, finding new ways to modify my favorite activities, and not compare my life with anyone else.
There is no reward for resuming “normal” activities before your flare has ended #chroniclife #fibromyalgia #chronicpain #psoriaticarthritis #botchedsurgeryTweet
How would having a chronic pain/illness recovery time frame help you?
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