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Navigating Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups

Navigating Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups

Navigating Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups

Living with fibromyalgia can be challenging, especially when faced with flare-ups that can disrupt daily life. In this blog post, we will explore common triggers of fibromyalgia flare-ups and discuss effective coping mechanisms to manage them. Understanding these triggers and having strategies in place can empower individuals with fibromyalgia to take control of their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the entire body. The condition causes muscle pain and fatigue in the musculoskeletal system.

When fibromyalgia flares up, symptoms usually come and go. Living with fibromyalgia can sometimes feel exhausting and challenging. Having a temporary flare-up of symptoms followed by a return to feeling good can be overwhelming.

The first sign of fibromyalgia is usually new pain in your body – especially in your muscles. Listen to your body and trust your instincts. You should seek medical attention if you experience new pain, fatigue, or other symptoms – even if they seem to come and go.

Fibromyalgia flare-up symptoms

During fibromyalgia flare-ups, your symptoms may temporarily worsen. When fibromyalgia flares up, you may experience:

  • Tenderness and pain throughout your body
  • Migraines and headaches
  • A feeling of fatigue that persists despite adequate rest
  • Feeling stiff
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Concentration or thinking difficulties
  • Concentration, memory, or thinking problems
  • Anxiety or depression
  • A greater sensitivity to light, noise, and temperature changes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Pain in the face or jaw
  • Problems with the digestive system, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

What treatment is available for fibromyalgia?

It can be challenging to treat fibro flares. Treating flares is more complex than preventing them from occurring in the first place.

Fibromyalgia has a variety of symptoms. As a result, no single treatment can fix them all. It is also possible for a treatment to work for one person and not work for another.

There is often a combination of medication and lifestyle changes in treatment plans.

The following medications may help reduce fibromyalgia pain and improve sleep:

  • antidepressants
  • Antiseizure medications
  • Naltrexone, which is anti-opioid

Therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help people cope with fibromyalgia more positively. As well as understanding and dealing with one’s thoughts and feelings, psychotherapy is also beneficial for people with fibromyalgia.

Relaxation and stress can also be relieved through alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage, and aromatherapy.

Navigating Flare-Ups

Here are some ways to navigate fibromyalgia flare-ups:

Identifying Triggers

Various factors can trigger fibromyalgia flare-ups. It’s crucial to identify these triggers to manage better and prevent them.

Common triggers include physical exertion, stress, weather changes, inadequate sleep, and certain foods. By keeping a symptom diary and tracking activities, emotions, and diet, individuals can pinpoint specific triggers that exacerbate their symptoms.

Managing Physical Exertion

Physical exertion can be a significant trigger for fibromyalgia flare-ups. It’s essential to strike a balance between staying active and avoiding overexertion.

Engaging in low-impact exercises such as gentle stretching, yoga, or swimming can help maintain flexibility and reduce muscle stiffness. Gradually increasing activity levels while listening to your body’s cues is critical to managing physical exertion.

Stress Management Techniques

Stress can significantly impact fibromyalgia symptoms and trigger flare-ups. Implementing stress management techniques can be beneficial in reducing the frequency and intensity of flare-ups.

Practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy and relaxation can help alleviate stress and promote emotional well-being.

Sleep Hygiene

Inadequate sleep or poor sleep quality is a common trigger for fibromyalgia flare-ups. Establishing good sleep hygiene practices can significantly improve symptom management.

Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, ensuring a comfortable sleep environment, avoiding stimulating activities before bed, and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule can promote restful sleep and reduce the likelihood of flare-ups.

Dietary Considerations

While specific foods may not cause fibromyalgia, some individuals find that certain foods can trigger or worsen their symptoms. Keeping a food diary and identifying potential trigger foods can be helpful.

Experimenting with an elimination diet under the guidance of a healthcare professional can help identify specific dietary triggers and guide individuals toward a fibromyalgia-friendly diet.

Take care of your prescriptions

If you run out of your prescriptions during a flare and cannot get to the pharmacy for a refill, ask your healthcare provider if you can order larger quantities. If you prefer mail order delivery, you can switch from in-store pickup to mail order. Set up automated refills and payments for certain services so you won’t have to worry about running out.

Get mental health support

Chronic diseases can be challenging to live with. Unpredictable ups and downs can be inconvenient. There is nothing wrong with needing and seeking mental health treatment. Therapists can provide suggestions for coping mechanisms and help you work through your feelings. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which includes mindful meditation, can be beneficial. If you are looking for a mental health practitioner specializing in chronic health conditions, navigate our directory at LGBTQ and ALL. We can put you in touch with a qualified therapist today.

Takeaway

Fibromyalgia flare-ups can be challenging, but by identifying triggers and implementing effective coping mechanisms, individuals can regain control over their symptoms. Whether managing physical exertion, practicing stress management techniques, improving sleep hygiene, or making dietary adjustments, a multi-faceted approach can make a significant difference in managing flare-ups. Remember, each person’s experience with fibromyalgia is unique, so finding what works best for you may require some trial and error. With perseverance and a proactive mindset, it’s possible to navigate fibromyalgia flare-ups and lead a fulfilling life.

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Agata Slezak – M&H English speaking Clinical Psychologist – Therapist – Sexologist

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