Aggravating factors that make fibromyalgia symptoms worse

Aggravating factors that make fibromyalgia symptoms worse

Some flares of fibromyalgia lasts only for a day or two but others may continue for several weeks or even months

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition where a person suffers chronic widespread pain all over the body that is characterized by muscular or musculoskeletal pain with stiffness and localized tenderness at specific points on the body.

It is still not clear what causes fibromyalgia but there are a number of factors that are involved. Fibromyalgia symptoms include deep muscle pain, painful tender points, and morning stiffness.

While there are treatments for these symptoms there are also factors that can trigger these symptoms or exacerbate existing symptoms.

It is, therefore, important to find out which factors trigger fibromyalgia symptoms so that one can avoid it.

Here are some of the most common factors that aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms:

Weather changes

Weather change, especially cold climate or change in barometric pressure, is probably the most common factor that aggravates a fibromyalgia symptom.

A change in weather can be worse for a fibromyalgia patient triggering a flare in their symptoms.

There have been reports that whenever the barometric pressure changes, a lot of people suffering from fibromyalgia experience an increase in pain level.

According to a 1981 study, more than 90 percent of the participants identified weather as a major contributor to their symptoms. It has also been reported that cold, damp, or humid weather made fibromyalgia symptoms worse.

Temperature changes

It has been reported that many people suffering from fibromyalgia are extremely sensitive to cold or heat or both. For some fibromyalgia patients, being exposed to cold or heat can sometimes experience flares.

Hormonal changes or fluctuations

Most women suffering from fibromyalgia experience fibromyalgia flares during their premenstrual and menopausal states.

Stress, depression and anxiety

Stress plays an important role in triggering fibromyalgia symptoms. For example, episodes of emotional stress and anxiety can cause muscle pain and headaches, or even anxiety attacks.

It may be attributed to certain hormones that are released by the body during a stressful situation.

These hormones can interfere with the pain perception in fibromyalgia patients. It is also believed to be due to increase in muscle tension and soreness.

Apart from it, external stressors such as loud noise or bright lights can also trigger fibromyalgia symptoms.


Over-exertion can also cause fibromyalgia symptoms to aggravate. Exercising or physical activity may be quite tiring and may cause a symptom flare up.

Most fibromyalgia patients report an increase in their pain and suffering after a physical activity or an exercise. Over-exertion increases the severity of muscle pain and fatigue.

Poor quality sleep or changes in sleep routine

A person suffering from fibromyalgia experiences non-restorative sleep or do not get a good quality sleep.

It is believed that when sleep is disrupted over a period of time, a fibromyalgia flare may be caused.

Individual sensitivities

Most people suffering from fibromyalgia have sensitivities like allergies or sensitivity to light, noise or smell. If these people are exposed to such allergies or sensitivities might cause fibromyalgia flares.


Smoking will make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. Many fibromyalgia patients have reported that smoking causes their symptoms to aggravate.

It is attributed to the nicotine that goes into the blood stream. The nicotine reduces the amount of oxygen circulating in the body and as a result the muscles do not get the vital oxygen and is not able to repair themselves, causing pain.

Treatment Changes

Although changing your medications or changing to another treatments is a way to get better results, sometime this can also result in unwanted flare in your symptoms.

It would be difficult to determine weather the flare was actually caused by the change. Therefore, it is important to work with your doctor and find out whether it was the change in medication or the change in treatment that caused the flare.

Illness or injury

Many people have reported that the onset of fibromyalgia was either triggered by an injury or an illness. Likewise, any other illness or an injury can also trigger a flare of fibromyalgia symptoms. For example, a simple cold can result in a fibromyalgia flare.


Travelling can also cause a fibromyalgia flare. This is because travelling involves various factors that can cause a flare.

For example, travelling to another place or a country results in weather change or temperature change. It also involves change in sleep pattern or routine and stress.

Therefore, it is recommended that while you travel to another place or a country to be prepared. Be prepared of weather changes, temperature changes and sleep routine changes. Also, plan well in advance of your rest time during your trip.

Aggravating factors that make fibromyalgia symptoms worse

A few Tips to cope with fibromyalgia flares

Keep a journal:

Take a time to note down in your journal such as the activities that you did or what kind of medication you started, how well you slept the previous night, or anything that you think is important.

Stress management:

Try to avoid stress. Stress causes your muscles to tighten up and can cause pain. Instead try to do something that makes you happy. Try reading a book or listening to a music that would clam or relax your mind and body.


Meditation also helps in relaxing your muscles. It is important to have a clear and relaxed mind. Take a time out everyday, preferably in the morning and try breathing meditation. It will really help you calm all the nerves.

Proper diet:

A well balanced diet is very important for fibromyalgia patients. There are some foods or drinks that help with the fibromyalgia symptoms and there are certain foods or drinks that flare your symptoms.

It is important to note these foods and try to avoid them. Protein intake is vital for fibromyalgia patients because it is the only macronutrient that builds and maintains muscle.

Standing tall:

It is important to learn and maintain a proper posture since it is crucial in managing fibromyalgia. This is because posture errors that push the head too far forward or cause slouching can lead to muscle fatigue, followed by increased tension and pain.

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  1. It’s actually true that emotional stress and anxiety aggravates the symptoms as I have witnessed this first hand on few occasions when my cousin’s husband showed a lack of understanding.

    1. I feel like I am going to have a nervous breakdown at times. Anxiety gets worse. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for 34 years and since I have had fibro It is worse. I am glad my boyfriend understands.

  2. I find weather changes affect me . It was one of the first things I noticed before I was diagnosed. I am also very sensitive to chemical type smells, I find newspapers stink!! So does copper type money. I don’t like bright light either. I used to think it was just me.

  3. I find weather changes, monthly menstrual cycle *as I also have Adenomyosis and possibly Endo and or Fibro in womb*, also depression, overdoing of anything, some smells, I also suffer from Misophonia *sensitivity to sounds like chewing*. Lights, yes even sunlight hurts…and God forbid I come in contact with someone who is sick!~!~! This disease is a slow killer if you ask me~!~!~!

  4. Does anyone realize that Fibromyalgia didn’t exist 35 years ago..? What changed? Everyone added wireless radiation to our environment. Do the research.. Fibromyalgia symptoms are the same symptoms associated with low dose radiation exposure. EMF Radiation. But why would the US hide this fact? Follow the money… You pay taxes every month to the Federal Gov’t via your mobile phone bill (FCC tax) The best thing you’ll ever do, to fix fibromyalgia, is get rid of your cell phone, wireless phone and router.

    1. I have read that Florence Nightingale suffered with fibromyalgia and that was well before we had mobile phones and wireless phones.

      1. True!
        We also had symptoms in our grand parents and older generations without being diagnosed.
        It runs in the genes.

    2. They can trace fibro back hundreds of years by symptoms, there just wasn’t a name for it yet. Some people even think it’s what Job suffered from.

  5. A car accident in 1994 brought on my fybro.I probably had it all my life but did noat notice until after the accident. I was active and walked 5 miles a day for exercise ,after the accident walking became an issue. Muscle and bone pain has continued for over 30 years. I have had 5 acccident whichincluded 5 whiplashes which did not help. Change in weather is excrutiating I can predict the weather days ahead. I also lived in an alcohoclic home with physical abuse and emotional abuse . I have PTSD from trauma in my life.There are so many things that may have caused my fybro.I have gotten used to the pain but the fatigue is worst for me leaving me a non-productive person who had to fight for a disability pension.I suffered a nasty resperatory infection in 2006 and never did come back fully. It broke my heart to not be able to work anymore. I was in social work in the addtictions feild and could not help my clients anymore becasue of severe brain fog. Recently I have found out that there is Mitochonrial disease in my family member. I will be going for testing if need be if my sister has the mutant gene. This is a confusing baffling disease that mimics so many other disorders. God help all of us out there suffering with Fybro becasue it is very misunderstood and we are accused of being lazy , crasy, delusional and more from medical proffessionals until we find the proper Dr. to get the diagnosis corrrect.

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