Most people who suffer from fibromyalgia have at least some pain all of the time. However, pain levels can fluctuate and change locations, seemingly at random. It is one of the reasons this syndrome is so difficult to diagnose. If you don’t happen to be having a bad pain day when you see your doctor, you may not be experiencing pain at enough of the diagnostic trigger points (11 of the 18 are necessary for a diagnosis).
One thing that can help you to reduce how often the condition flares up, or at least to predict when you may have a bad day, is to understand the common triggers for fibromyalgia. We’re going to look at six of the most common ones. While they may not all be avoidable, you may realize that a few lifestyle changes could really help you get things under control. Then we will address a natural therapy that has actually been able to help several fibromyalgia sufferers in cases studies to get relief.
Common Fibromyalgia Flare-Up Triggers
Here are some of the things to watch out for if you are a fibromyalgia patient.
- Sensory overstimulation – Sensory sensitivities are a common symptom for fibromyalgia patients, especially those who also get migraines. Sensory overload can also trigger a flare-up of symptoms. Since strong chemicals in cleaners or perfumes can be a trigger, it’s a good idea to switch over to natural, unscented products. Invest in some good blackout shades for your home and switch to lighting that produces fewer lumens to avoid overstimulation of your sense of sight at home. Loud sounds can be a little tougher to control, especially if you have kids, but a conversation that explains your need for quiet at times may be sufficient to keep down the clamor.
- Overdoing it – You’re having a good day, so you better get done everything that you’ve missed in the past week, right? Not if you want to have a few good days in a row. You can be more productive by using your energy wisely and not slinging yourself back into another week of inactivity by overdoing it on your first good day. It’s natural to want to be as productive as possible, but you need to play the long game.
- Lack of sleep – This can be a tough one since insomnia is a common fibromyalgia symptom. It is one of the triggers that can create a vicious cycle and keep you down for days at a time. In order to get a good night’s rest each night and maintain a good schedule, there are a few things to consider. First of all, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This will give your body a good pattern to follow and may allow you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Second, try to create the right environment for good sleep. No lights, sounds (unless you need white noise to sleep), and especially no electronic devices. Having a smartphone or tablet in bed can keep you up for hours and ruin the following day’s productivity.
- Stress levels – Stress affects just about every health condition negatively, but that doesn’t mean you can magically erase all stress from your life. Even if you have a good attitude toward what you can and can’t accomplish, you should still try to find some positive ways to relieve stress (because things like smoking and drinking alcohol are only going to make you feel worse). Reading, enjoying a hot bath, watching your favorite show, and have a good friend over for a game of cards and some friendly conversation are just a few of the things you can do to keep stress hormones from getting out of control and affecting your condition.
- Weather changes – One of the more difficult triggers, you can’t control the weather, and you certainly can’t rely on a long-term forecast to be accurate. Plan ahead for some additional pain when a major weather change is in the forecast, but don’t cancel everything you were going to do. The front may miss you by enough to keep your fibromyalgia from flaring up. This is a “plan for the worst but hope for the best” sort of scenario.
- Inactivity – This is related to a couple of the other triggers. First of all, it shows balance is needed when avoiding overdoing it. You don’t want to go completely in the other direction and do nothing. Also, exercise can reduce stress, so staying active can help out with that trigger. Weight gain can lead to more pain and being active can help keep you from putting on weight. So how can you stay active when you are in pain? Speak to your doctor about whether a graduated exercise program is a good option. It involves starting slow (maybe just some stretches) and gradually working your way up to a mild to moderate exercise program.
Finding Natural Relief from Fibromyalgia
Now that you have some triggers to avoid, we would also like to introduce you to a way to be proactive about your health – upper cervical chiropractic care. This subspecialty of chiropractic helps to maintain optimal central nervous system (CNS) function by means of safe and gentle adjustments of the atlas (C1 vertebra, located at the base of the skull).
From brainstem function to blood flow to the brain, many vital CNS operations can be affected by a misalignment. So if you are suffering from fibromyalgia, especially if you have a history of head or neck injuries, schedule a consultation today. You may be taking the first step toward gaining better control over your own health.
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