Archive for "August, 2020"

What Causes Fibromyalgia Flare Ups And How Can They Be Prevented?

blog Aug 18, 2020 No Comments

Many adults suffer from fibromyalgia, and there are still many questions surrounding this diagnosis. Today, we’ll go over one of the most common questions: what causes fibromyalgia flare ups and how can they be prevented?

Fibromyalgia affects about 10 million Americans. That means millions of people are struggling to cope with pain that doesn’t have a diagnosable origin. According to the Center for Disease Control, fibromyalgia can cause:

  • Pain all over the body
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Headaches, and more

The word “chronic” is a significant part of defining fibromyalgia. Your negative systems have persisted for months or longer. The hardest thing to accept about fibromyalgia is not being able to determine an exact cause.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

The exact cause of fibromyalgia has yet to be discovered. It may vary from person to person. However, many researchers believe the central nervous system, or a defect in the central nervous system, is thought to play a major role. To diagnosis fibromyalgia, it’s not as simple as taking a blood test or imaging results. Instead, your pain management specialist will perform a lengthy evaluation to include family medical history, personal history, physical exam, and testing in the body’s tender points to check for arthritis or other reasons for inflammation and pain.

For many, getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia may mean your family doctor uses the process of elimination or figuring out what your problem is not. Thus, it is imperative to request an assessment with a pain management specialist, not your family doctor, as soon as possible.

If you have fibromyalgia, then you know the negative symptoms all too well. You may also know what is meant by fibromyalgia flare ups.

What Are Fibromyalgia Flare Ups?

Having fibromyalgia means you experience some negative symptoms regularly. Some days you can function and notice a few signs. Other days you can’t get out of bed without excruciating pain. When your negative symptoms increase in intensity, this is referred to as a flare up. Fibromyalgia flare ups will range in intensity and length of time you experience them. Some people may have flare ups for a few hours; some may have them for a few days.

The number one noted cause of flare-ups is stress or feeling like you are under a lot of pressure because stress leads to so many other health issues that also contribute to flare ups.

For example, when you feel stressed, you aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep, your digestive system may be disturbed, which will affect your diet and nutrition. All three cause fibromyalgia flare ups on their own. Together, they are like a tornado working its way through your body.

Common Fibro Flare Up Symptoms

The most reported symptoms associated with fibromyalgia flare ups include feeling pain throughout the body. This pain can occur in the joints, muscles, bones, or all of the above. The location is not as important as is the fact that it is widespread.

Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling so tired it is hard to get out of bed or accomplish ordinary daily routines
  • Trouble remembering what should be simple things- your memory feels foggy- often called “fibro fog”
  • Any kind of problems related to sleep
  • Feelings of sadness or anxiety for no apparent reason
  • Stiffness, especially after being inactive for a while

What Causes Fibromyalgia Flare Ups?

As mentioned before, physiological or psychological stress is one of the biggest causes for fibromyalgia flare ups. It is not the only reason, however.

Change is another major factor triggering flare ups. This may be because changes can be stressful. If you are experiencing a flare up for what seems like no reason, consider possible changes that have happened recently. Changes in your schedule, diet, sleep patterns, treatment, and even the weather can lead to a fibromyalgia flare up. Something else that changes are your hormones. In both men and women, hormonal changes happen.

You must have your hormonal balance evaluated by a pain management specialist. They have simple fixes to rebalance your hormones if needed. Also, menstrual cycles of women are directly related to flare ups, likely because of hormone fluctuation and changes within the body. Do you know how your flare ups always seem to happen just before the family reunion or the annual Christmas party? Well, significant events are often a reason fibromyalgia symptoms increase in intensity.

Other triggers can include traumas to the body like an injury, operations, or even getting a tattoo.

Treating Fibro Flare Ups

Prevention is always the best solution. Having said that, preventing all flare ups related to fibromyalgia is impossible. But if there is something you can do to get rid of some, it’s worth the effort. There are even things you can do to reduce the intensity of pain you feel when you can’t prevent a flare up.

Implement sleep hygiene or a nightly routine that helps you fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling restored and rested. If you have a sleep disorder, work with a pain management specialist to resolve the problem.

Practice stress management daily. Activities for stress management don’t have to be long or overwhelming. Create a plan with your pain management team. Start practicing deep breathing, yoga, or meditation for ten minutes, and increase the amount over time. I know it’s hard, especially during these Coronavirus times, to avoid negative news. However, engaging in all the adverse news reports will only lead to more significant stress and a higher potential for a flare.

Create a healthy diet plan that reduces your intake of processed sugar, which has been proven to increase inflammation in the body. Other treatments that help include staying active as much as possible. Being inactive will lead to stiffness and more pain. Attending physical therapy is a great way to remain active without overdoing it. Join a support group with others who have fibromyalgia.

Your pain management specialist can provide nerve stimulation therapies to help ease fibromyalgia flare ups by interrupting the pain signals sent to your brain. Finally, create an emergency flare up kit, your go-to bag of tricks that you have found to help you during previous flare ups.

You can manage fibro flare-ups. Work with your pain management team to create your plan today.

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