Monday, 30 November 2015

Flare-Up Plan: Chronic Illness Strategies

Are you ever in so much pain that you can't even begin to comprehend what to do to help yourself? 
I know I get to the point where the pain is so consuming that my brain simply won't work and I have no answers to pull out of my bag. Where do I start? What do I do? I can't move. I can't speak. I just want to cry.

Flare-ups are common amongst chronically ill people; they don't mean you've failed, you've just had a setback. Don't beat yourself up over what you've done wrong or why you've had a flare, but try to recognise any triggering incidents, that way you can do things differently next time. For example, I know that if I type constantly for more than five minutes, my hands and wrists start to hurt and my shoulders slump, resulting in dislocations. I'm mindful of the time I spend at my laptop and take regular breaks, even if it's just to rest my hands on my lap for a couple of minutes.

Having a flare-up plan has made such a huge difference for me. The last thing I can do when I'm in so much pain I'm considering chopping my leg off is think rationally. Let's face it, I'm not the most logical person round these parts. I know I'm in pain, I know where the pain is coming from but I don't know what to do about it. Well, at least I didn't before I had a flare-up plan. 

The first thing I do is highlight the problem and then see what strategy I can use that will best deal with the problem. It's simple really. 

Everyone's plan will be completely different but it's a great idea to keep it close-by for times of need. It doesn't only help me in foiling a flare-up, but also provides my loved ones with information on how best to assist me.

Above is only part of my plan as an example and I hope it gives you an idea on things to include in your plan. Your problem could be cooking and the solution ready meals; problem: housework, and the solution: pacing better or asking for help.

There are various strategies to use and it's much easier to have a plan than trying to think on the spot when you're faced with a problem and can't concentrate fully.

If you have any questions or want to discuss various approaches, please leave me a comment or get in touch via Twitter.


  1. I literally can not live without my hot water bottle. When I get chronic back pain tablets are good enough, I need the heat. Also I can't think of anything else when I'm in pain and work is the worst place to be so I buy those heat patches for the times I can't use my hot water bottle.

    Wendy Xx

    1. I love a heat pad or a hot water bottle, although I can't regulate my temperature so sometimes that can be a bloody nuisance as I overheat quite badly x

  2. Youre so organised. I should probably come up with one of these because chopping off limbs is maybe not the answer to my problems.

    Beth x

    Mermaid in Disguise

    1. I'm only organised because Stanmore made me lol. Yeh, I constantly talk about chopping off bits, not always the answer haha x

  3. This is a great idea :) I really should write a plan for myself. I feel like it would help with my motivation too! I put off doing a lot of things because I panic about ending up in more pain and I feel like reading through a plan like this will encourage me to do the task as I know I'll have something in place to help x

    1. It's so helpful, hope you get around to making one x

  4. This is such a brilliant idea. I have things I do in my head but having it all written down would be so much more helpful. I’ve gutted the bedroom today and did not pace myself well and I can feel a flare up coming on and I know I’m going to feel like utter crap by tomorrow 😣 I really need to learn to ask for help more x


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