What is the biggest cause of a Fibromyalgia flare-up? Well, apparently it’s The Weather – which I am sure most of us knew that anyway. The UK is experiencing the second heatwave of this summer and I know I am suffering at the moment. How about you?
Fibromyalgia flare-ups are a temporary increase in the number and/or intensity of symptoms. A flare-up can be different from person to person, but for many, it means severe pain, with little to no let-up. A flare-up likely includes debilitating fatigue, even to the point of feeling weak and unable to stand or walk for much length of time. 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.
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.
Arthritis Foundation writes that “People with fibromyalgia do not all experience flares the same way,” Dr Clauw says. “A good way to explain it is that every person with fibromyalgia has their Achilles heel – their ‘thing’ that really gives them trouble. When their fibromyalgia worsens, that particular thing really gets bad.”
There are obviously many other triggers that can create a flare-up which include – physical or psychological stress, hormonal changes, travelling, changes in treatment, diet or poor sleep.
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.
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.
Make a note in your diary of a particular treatment that helped or 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.
Do not push yourself. Go slow. Be gentle with yourself. If you can’t do the laundry for a few days, that’s okay. Also, if you can’t get the house cleaned this week, that’s okay.
If you have to cancel plans, that’s okay, do not feel guilty about it. Treat yourself the same way you would a friend that was going through a hard time.
Source: Arthritis Foundation