Fibromyalgia

How Pacing is Helping me Reduce Flare Ups

When I’m working, I can sometimes manage up to 20,000 steps in a day without realising. But boy do I suffer for it afterwards. The following days I would be lucky to manage 1,000 steps.

Since starting my June challenge for Versus Arthritis to walk 8,000 steps a day, I started testing my limits trying to beat the speed of my walking or the number of steps from the previous day.

But I have realised that it is not good for me. Some days I will not be able to walk fast or exceed the 8,000 steps, but I will always get to the goal.

I’m learning to listen to my body more than ever before and adjusting my goals to my limitations not the other way around.

I learnt about pacing not long after I was diagnosed, around 2 years ago at a course for those living with fibromyalgia.

They drew a diagram that showed on good days people tend to overdo it but then suffer for it and end up in massive flare ups, leading to a real rollercoaster of extreme highs and extreme lows. Over time, your highs will reduce until you are almost constantly in a flare up from overdoing it.

If you overdo it on your good days, you can cause massive flare ups and slowly your good days lessen

If I pace and try to be consistent especially on my good days, and not think I am invincible on my best days and do everything I usually can’t, the rollercoaster will turn into a relaxing boat ride (my own analogy) with much smaller waves.

In this chart, by pacing on good and bad days, they even out to a middle ground. I can keep my level of activity consistent

Yes, flare ups still exist but by pacing I am removing one of my biggest causes of flare ups – overdoing it.

I’m not going to say pacing is the be all and end all, because it isn’t. Some days I want to do things that I know will push my limitations but to have as much enjoyment from life, sometimes I have to do that.

I accept that I am limited by my condition but I will not let it defeat me. I am learning to work with it instead of fighting against it.

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2 thoughts on “How Pacing is Helping me Reduce Flare Ups”

  1. I think you’re doing brilliantly, Bethan! I remember going through the whole pacing thing with the therapist during pain management sessions and I had a really hard time with it because I find it so, so frustrating. It’s frustrating that your body’s not capable of what it was pre-illness, and frustrating that you can’t do everything you need to do. It’s about working with your body and not against it, as you say. Pacing can make a big difference and you’ll get further in the long run by taking it slow and steady, too.
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That describes it perfectly, Caz! I’ve been so frustrated by it, wanting to do everything I could before and more. But now it’s finally starting to click for me xx

      Liked by 1 person

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