Fibromyalgia-related pain is often times described as severe and may make it difficult for a patient to perform daily routines and activities. Occasionally, people experience a temporary spike in the number and/or intensity of symptoms, which is known as fibromyalgia flare or a “fibro-flare.” These flares typically last for a couple days, however they may persist for weeks or months.
Understanding the causes of fibro-flares can help you prevent future flares by avoiding potential triggers. Here are five common causes of fibromyalgia flares:
Fibromyalgia Flares - Cause #1: Weather
Barometric pressure is the measure of weight of air in the atmosphere. Abrupt and significant changes in weather can exacerbate pain in patients living with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions (i.e. arthritis). While the increased pain can disrupt your daily routine, these flares typically only last a day or two.
Fibromyalgia Flares - Cause #2: Over-Exertion
Most patients living with fibromyalgia understand the physical limitations the disorder presents. On good days, when patients experience a break in the severity of symptoms, they may over work themselves by catching up on chores and activities they otherwise have difficulty completing. However, overworking yourself can contribute to a flare up in the following days. Increase your activity level gradually to avoid flare-ups or lessen their effects.
Fibromyalgia Flares - Cause #3: Stress
Many people underestimate the power of stress. This hidden illness can cause a handful of health problems, which effects both your physical and emotional well being. Stress-related flares can last for a long time, as they are often the most difficult to identify. Talk with your doctor to find ways to manage your stress level.
Fibromyalgia Flares - Cause #4: Illness and/or Injury
It comes as no surprise that a physical injury may cause a spike in fibromyalgia pain-related symptoms. However, something as common as a seasonal flu or cold can exacerbate your symptoms. Be sure to get your yearly flu shot and practice good health habits year round to maintain your physical and emotional health.
Fibromyalgia Flares - Cause #5: Hormonal Changes
Because women are most commonly affected by fibromyalgia, it is important to note that menstrual cycles and menopause may cause fibro-flares. Some women resort to hormone replacement therapy to prevent flare ups, however this is something that should be discussed with your doctor as there are a number of factors to consider.