Fibromyalgia flare-ups are quite common for Fibromyalgia sufferers but what is the biggest cause of them? The Weather – I think most of us new that anyway!
Fibromyalgia flare-ups – Arthritis Care explain it perfectly – “A flare is the worsening or exacerbation of symptoms that already exist,” says Daniel Clauw, MD, professor of anesthesiology, rheumatology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Patients use different timeframes for what they consider a flare, but it’s generally several days or weeks of worsening symptoms. Anything shorter is considered normal waxing and waning of symptoms that someone with fibromyalgia can expect.”
Extreme fatigue, aching joints, tender muscles and general weariness can interrupt your day and leave you worrying about your deteriorating condition. Luckily, worsening symptoms usually have a distinct cause, and with the right approach, they can be treated directly and effectively. Get to the bottom of intensifying fibro fatigue and discomfort before you try to treat it. Some flare-ups can last a few days to a few weeks and there are a number of causes for them.
For me, the change in weather has always had the biggest impact on my Fibro and not just when it turns colder.
Temperature makes a difference in how we feel with Fibro but it can also affect other musculoskeletal disorders. Colder weather seems to make symptoms worse whereas a climate where the temperature remains warmer seems to be less painful for Fibro sufferers.
A damp climate can also worsen symptoms, with a combination of cold and damp (from sleet and snow) which can be the most aggravating climate. So, avoid holidays in Alaska or the Midwest. Changes in the barometer can also trigger symptoms. Also if rain or snow is forecast this can trigger some symptoms to flare-up. They say a consistently warm, dry climate is probably best for Fibro sufferers.
According to Fibromyalgia-symptoms.org, there are five “major weather factors” that can affect our bodies. They are temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation and wind. We may not be able to control what the weather does, but we can take some steps to try and head off a #fibro flare before it occurs when it is time for a seasonal change.
Brian Barr solicitors say that so far, researchers have been unable to determine why the changes in weather affect sufferers, however, there are some possible explanations. Firstly, changes in temperature can affect sleep patterns. Getting plenty of sleep is really important if you have #fibromyalgia, and even small shifts in your sleep pattern can aggravate the condition. Secondly, as the seasons change, the amount of light you are exposed to can throw off your circadian rhythm (body clock), making you feel low and more tired than usual. Lastly, there may be a connection between low temperatures and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which appear to be connected to pain intensity.
New Life Outlook Fibromyalgia points out that it is not uncommon to hear someone with arthritis claiming their knee or hip can predict the weather better than a meteorologist. They always know in advance when a cold front or a rainstorm are moving in, with almost scary accuracy. Many with one type of rheumatic condition or another, including #fibromyalgia, have made claims that the changes of weather will affect their pain levels, fatigue levels, or other various symptoms.
Other factors that cause Fibromyalgia flare-ups include –
- Sleep (or lack of)
- Exercise or over-exertion
- Diet – processed foods in particular
- Hormonal change
- Medication changes
One thing I found helped me with a flare-up was by writing it in my diary when it happened and what I did to help with it and if it helped.
I also have a list of all the things I enjoy that take me away from my pain like one of my hobbies (making cards) and baking but maybe for you something like Tai Chi may help.
Just knowing something that works will help get through the flare-up.
Make a note in your diary of a particular treatment that helped or a medication or piece of equipment like a tens machine that helped.
Knowing that there is something you can do, use or otherwise for your flare-up, will get you through the worst days and back to controlling it as you normally do.