8 techniques to help you cope with severe Fibromyalgia pain

This week I experienced the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.  I felt like my stomach was being sliced open, my ribs were being pulled apart and my right shoulder was being stabbed repeatedly. I cried, prayed and begged for the pain to stop, I used some of the techniques below, hours later it finally began to wane.  I’ve never given birth and I’ve no doubt that would be more painful but this flare was so intense that I could barely move, I was sweating and so nauseous; my strong painkillers were not touching the pain.  I hate Fibromyalgia!


Here are 8 techniques to help you cope with severe pain:

  1. Try to sit or lie in a relaxed position. Close your eyes or focus on a specific point. Repetitive, negative thoughts actually increase the pain so try replacing them with positive thoughts. You could even repeat a soothing phrase, word or prayer. I find the phrase ‘with pain comes strength’ or just the word ‘relax’ helps.
  2. Breathe deeply. If you are anything like me when the pain is severe you take rapid and shallow breaths, so make an effort to try to slow your breathing down.  You should try and breathe from the diaphragm (belly) rather than your chest. Focus on just your breathing, your inhalation and exhalation.  I like the 8-8-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for 8 counts, out for 8 counts, and repeat this process 8 times. This can help reduce pain by relaxing the body and releasing tension.
  3. Use relaxation and imagery techniques. Think about a pleasant place from before your life with Fibromyalgia pain. My place is Lahinch beach in Ireland. Transport yourself to your place. Visualising can help to take your mind off the pain and relax the body. I picture the waves crashing against the rocks, the blue skies, the warmth of the sun and I remember the softness of the sand between my toes. I envision myself floating in the sea, my body buoyant in the warm water and my muscles relaxing.
  4. Listening to music can help to alleviate the pain by distracting you, it can also evoke positive memories that will hopefully release tension and help make the pain more bearable.
  5. Fantasising about food might help to distract you from the pain. Think of a juicy steak or sea bass with salt and pepper. Or even imagine you are just about to have a spoonful of salted caramel chocolate pudding.
  6. Counting is another technique that might help you to focus on something other than the pain. You could count breaths, count tiles or even do some maths.
  7. You could try and envision a symbol that represents your severe pain, for example a loud screeching noise or bright light. Gradually imagine yourself reducing the annoying qualities of this symbol – reduce the volume of the screeching or dim the light, thus reducing your pain.
  8. You could also try and replace the emotions of despair, anxiety and hopelessness with laughter. It provides a great endorphin release and also takes your mind off of your pain – there are lots of humorous videos on YouTube.


I hope these techniques might help to make your intense pain more bearable. You have to keep practising trying to harness your mind to relax the body and fight the pain.


I would love to hear about what has helped you deal with severe pain.

Keep smiling 🙂


UK Fibromyalgia

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61 Responses to 8 techniques to help you cope with severe Fibromyalgia pain

  1. Deanna Acosta says:

    I find if I draw a bath and turn it to as hot as I can stand it and stay in as long as I can this helps me.

  2. Marion says:

    I find a hot bath with bath salts also helps with the pain. I like sitting with a hot wheat bag for about 30 mins in the morning helps me .

    • I have a wheat bag, they sometimes help x

      • Caroline says:

        I spend a lot of time hugging my hot water bottle! Love the blog it’s really helping me at the moment. Hope you have pain free day tomorrow from fellow teacher x

      • Marion says:

        Claire do you realise when you wake in the morning it’s going to be bad day for you? I know I do. I’ve had Fibro for 10 months now and I’m hoping its settling down a bit now. I’ve had to leave my job which is helping me. I take 3 300mg of gabapentin a day and 1 10mg of amytriplin at bedtime. First thing in the morning is normally my worst time of day I find I have to pace myself and do the things I need to when I feel able without overdoing things.

        • Mostly I can tell it’s going to be a bad pain day when it starts bad, but sometimes after a long day at work I can hardly move and have to rest or go to bed early. Pacing yourself is the key and trying not to overdo it! Here’s hoping that you have more good days than bad xx

  3. @ChelsCoult3 says:

    Some great info I’ll be able to pass on to a few friends who suffer from this

  4. laurasidestreet says:

    Oh no this sounds awful and I am so glad you manage to find some relief! Some amazing tips, thanks for sharing and I hope you don’t have another bad flare up like this again

    Laura x

  5. Gill Morton says:

    I agree with all you say, Claire, those techniques really do help. In addition i find laying on the settee (is more comfortable than sitting) covered in a couple of rugs, a hot water bottle, head on husband’s lap on a soft cushion and a head massage really helps. I also find an MP3 with audiobooks good. Can’t get in a bath and my body doesn’t always cope with hot water, annoyingly!!

  6. foodmarriage says:

    My cousin suffers from fibromyalgia. I will have to share this with her too see if it offers her any relief.

  7. sopsychedout says:

    My Alexander technique teacher taught me to imagine that you are smelling a rose when breathing in and blowing a feather away (I prefer to think of blowing out a bubble) when breathing out but to do this without lifting your shoulders as we move every time we breathe whereas we tighten up when in pain, so this is supposed to help. My physiotherapist also taught me to lay down on the floor with your legs on a chair or the sofa. This helps when the red hot poker and hot ice cream type sensation type pain come on in my lower back on a bad day. My TENS machine also used to be quite helpful when I was recovering from such an attack. Again, I know that I don’t have Fibromyalgia but this type of pain is debilitating for me (my physio used this word, not I). When the worst of it has passed, I find that distraction is helpful. E.g. Asking someone to talk to me about something totally unrelated. Some essential oils are said to be good for nerve pain as well. E.g. geranium and I also have one called Ravensara. Lavender is good for all muscle complaints too.

  8. Jess321321 says:

    Thanks for these suggestions and for such a wonderful, uplifting blog Claire. As a fellow fibro person, I too have had a bad week pain wise…I have found that sitting in / hobbling around my garden (when possible), watching the birds in the sunshine has taken my mind off the pain, even if only for 5 minutes.

  9. QueenThrifty says:

    I heard about how painful this is….:( I admire the strength of those who have it

  10. QueenThrifty says:

    I suffer from cyst. My tip for pain is a warm bath

  11. Sarah Bailey says:

    this is a great list 🙂 I do like thinking about food you can never beat that. x

  12. Kim Carberry says:

    This sounds truly awful…..I suffer with back pain a lot but nothing like you have described….Great techniques….Thank you x

  13. Cathy Glynn says:

    I often use the heat patches you can buy, especially if I know I have to go out, they are so handy. Although I only have pain in my lower back so it must be a nightmare to have it in several places. I hope you feel better soon xx

  14. charlotte says:

    My friend has recently been diagnosed and she is really struggling. I will have to show her this post. x

  15. Aby Moore says:

    Oh huni, I am so sorry that this happened to you. Acute pain is awful to bear, I think these tips will help others x

  16. Aria Bubbles says:

    Well I don’t have fibro… But I have pains after my appendix perforated and I had two surgeries. I actually don’t have any techniques since it sometimes hurts in one area, sometimes in other area, sometimes my whole inside 🙁 I will try some of these, maybe it helps. Good luck to you!

  17. Rachel says:

    I do hope you manage to find some relief, I always find a bath helps with my aches and pains, which in comparison I know will be nothing compared to yours x

  18. Camilla says:

    Great tips, I use some of these for things like surgery or being at the dentist, often just transporting myself to my wedding day to escape what’s going on around me, counting is also a great tip which I often use to distract myself from situations. Sorry to hear you were in so much pain, I suffer with sciatica on and off which can be dreadful and as you say no pain killer touches it!

  19. logancan says:

    I can’t imagine how tough it can be to deal with this! I hope you find relief!

  20. I’m so sorry you are experiencing this pain. Keep trying different methods and hopefully you will find one that works. Your tips can help a lot of pain sufferers.

  21. kacielmorgan says:

    point 5 made me chuckle because I fantasise about food all the time 🙂 great post, thanks for sharing x

  22. Catstello says:

    Really great, informative post. The only way we will break stigma surrounding these kind of topics is by talking/writing about them 🙂 x

  23. I’m so sorry you’ve been suffering so much. I had no idea people with Fibromyalgia suffered quite so much – thank you for making me more aware, and I’m sorry for being so ignorant before. They sound like great tips x

  24. These are such good tips. I suffer from severe pain everyday due to a stomach issue that causes painful spasms and rheumatoid arthritis, I think I’m going to pay close attention to your helpful post 🙂 x

  25. sr1062 says:

    These sound like great techniques, I’m sure they help.

  26. I am soo sorry to hear you were in such a pain! Thank you for sharing these tips, definitely will help others!

  27. I absolutely love the tips! I can’t even imagine dealing with this kind of pain 🙁

  28. Becky says:

    I also deal with chronic pain. I find hot packs, chamomile tea and regular massages helps me to relax and then combat the pain better.

  29. Ickle Pickle says:

    Great tips – especially the imagery, relaxation and replacing negative thoughts – I use these a lot in all areas of my life. Kaz x

  30. Wendie says:

    Hi Claire! Wendie over at Pantry Doctor here. GREAT tips! Have you changed anything with your diet since being diagnosed?

  31. Suzanne says:

    I just started following your blog. I live over in the US in Texas. I too have fibromyalgia and have been suffering from it for years. This week a new symptom occurred which includes my entire rib cage. It feels as if it has been crushed. It has been horrible. Breathing, laughing, coughing all are pain intensive. I have been lying still in a quiet room with music playing. It helps calm me and I take pain meds but try to go easy on those. Isn’t fibro strange..when you think you’ve had every pain possible an entire new one can occur. I’ve never had this one before. One of my favorite reliefs is floating in water. Being weightless and removing all stress from joints. In the warm months I can. Now we are moving to fall and winter I will have to use warm baths and lavender epsom salts.

  32. Yona Williams says:

    Your description of Fibromyalgia pain is very scary, and I feel bad that even painkillers could not help your distress. I’ve never experienced childbirth pain, but I think the worst pain I had would be this one toothache infection..nothing helped except for 2 seconds of ice water. I ran out of ice, and thought that I was going to ‘not make it’. The pain was so bad, I could have ripped my tooth out with pliers myself. I had never experienced anything like it before.

  33. Ashley says:

    I pray for all the people who suffer this terrible disease fibromyalgia I don’t want to feel old and in pain when I’m young aNd should be raring my young family xx

  34. Ana De Jesus says:

    I am starting to wonder if I have fibromyalgia; I have intense stabbing pains in my head, stomach and diaphragm, I am nauseous, have severe joint and bone issues, my joints click out of their joints. There are so many symptoms that I have that tie into what you are saying the pain is so severe.

  35. Great check list. Good you are raising awareness.

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