Some flares of fibromyalgia last 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 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.
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 pain perception in fibromyalgia patients. It is also believed to be due to an 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 physical activity or 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.
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 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 bloodstream. 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.
Although changing your medications or changing to other treatments is a way to get better results, sometimes this can also result in an unwanted flare in your symptoms.
It would be difficult to determine whether 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 traveling involves various factors that can cause a flare.
For example, traveling to another place or a country results in weather change or temperature change. It also involves a 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.
A few Tips to cope with fibromyalgia flares
Keep a journal:
Take time to note down in your journals 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.
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 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 time out every day, preferably in the morning and try breathing meditation. It will really help you calm all the nerves.
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.
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.