As anyone with fibromyalgia knows, there are times when symptoms are more acute and intense than normal. These times are commonly known as fibromyalgia flares (or flare-ups).
Fibromyalgia flares can last can last anywhere from one day to several weeks at a time and often have a trigger associated with them. Understanding the common triggers of fibromyalgia flares can help sufferers develop a strategy to lessen the number of occurrences in the future.
#1 – Weather Changes
Many fibromyalgia sufferers have told us that their flares are triggered by changes in the weather. Weather factors that tend to make fibromyalgia symptoms worse include:
- shifts from warm to cold weather,
- rapid drops in barometric pressure (often as a result of precipitation or wind), and
- low absolute humidity.
#2 – Stress
Stress weakens the body of anyone who experiences it. For those suffering from fibromyalgia, stress can make a bad situation even worse. Reducing stress from one’s life is not an easy task but doing so is likely to result in fewer flare-ups over time. Making lifestyle changes such as taking time to relax, starting yoga classes and making your health a priority are among the suggestions that we often hear.
#3 – Over-Exertion
On bad days, it can be hard to just get out of bed. On good days, fibromyalgia sufferers often push themselves to catch up on tasks and responsibilities that they have been unable to tackle. But this can result in physical over-exertion that will trigger a fibromyalgia flare. For this reason, we recommend pacing of physical activities even on good days.
#4 – Lack of Adequate Sleep
Sleeping problems are very common among those with fibromyalgia. Many report waking up every day feeling exhausted as if they hadn’t slept at all. Lack of sleep or changes to normal sleep patterns can definitely trigger a flare. Finding ways to ensure that you get truly restful and restorative sleep can be an important step to reducing the number of flares over time.
#5 – Changes in Medications
Fibromyalgia sufferers often change medications over time in their quest to find relief from their fibromyalgia symptoms. Changes caused by new medications can sometimes trigger a flare. Ideally, you have a supportive doctor who can recommend alternative medications when necessary and also mitigate any unfavorable effects of making changes to your treatment protocol. If you don’t, it might be time to find a new doctor.