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Common Causes of "Fibro Flare"

Karen Lee Richards, co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association, wrote an article for 
HealthCentral a couple of years ago entitled "10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Flares."  You can read the
article in entirety by following the link.  Here is my summarized version of her article:

Fibro flare-ups are temporary increases in number/severity of symptoms in those who suffer from
fibromyalgia. These can include worsening pain, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, and sleep and/or digestive disturbances. These flares can last anywhere from a couple of days to weeks.

Not unlike migraine headaches, these flares are usually triggered by something. It is important to note that a flare is a delayed reaction--it can take up to 48 hours after the trigger event to feel the symptoms.

What kinds of things are these "triggers?" Here is a list of 10 common things that can initiate a fibro flare.

1) Weather Changes
    --most commonly due to changes in barometric pressure, when a new weather system passes    through.  Usual effect is change in pain intensity, and fortunately normally only lasts a day or two

2) Over-exertion
    --when there are a lot of bad days, and finally a good day comes along, the tendency is to try
 to make up for lost time.  Unfortunately, this usually leads to another flare.  Better idea is to slowly increase activity level.

3) Stress
    --Chronic stress tends to take its toll on all chronic pain sufferers, and in this way people with fibromyalgia are no exception.To this point, Karen Richards writes, "It's been my experience that stress-related flares often last the longest because they can be the most difficult to identify and then find ways by which we can manage the stress."

4) Illness or Injury
   --Other illnesses can affect the day-in day-out course of fibromyalgia.  Illness or injury put stress on our body, in the same ways that other stresses do.  Even a cold or bout of the flu can trigger a flare.

5) Hormonal changes
    --The hormonal changes during the menstrual cycles and/or menopause may trigger fibro flares.
 Hormone therapy, once a very popular way to re mediate these issues, is out of favor in modern medicine because of the risks of heart disease, cancer, etc.  This is something to be discussed with your physician; it is not always an appropriate approach.

6) Temperature changes
   --Very short flares may be noticeable to those who have extreme sensitivity to heat or cold.

7) Lack of sleep or changes in sleep routine
    --Restorative sleep is a common problem for those with fibromyalgia.  It is very important to make an effort to find a sleep routine that works for you and stick to it.

8) Treatment changes
    --Some treatments, whether for fibromyalgia or other medical condition, may trigger a symptom flare, even thought that is not the original intent!  Working with your doctor on a trial and error approach may be a good strategy to embrace.

9) Traveling
--Ms. Richards estimates that when fibro flares are triggered by travel, it may be because of the disruption of usual routine, travel to different climates (temperature and barometric changes) may well be the reason.

10) Individual sensitivities
    --Many people with fibromyalgia have problems with sensitivity to light, sound, food allergies, and such. Exposure to the things that trigger a sensitivity reaction may also trigger a fibro flare.

If you are a victim of fibro flare, it might be a good idea to keep a journal in order to help figure out what is problematic and what is not. Pen and paper or a computer log might be your preferred approach, but in this digital era there are iPhone/iPad apps and also apps for Android for this purpose.

Source: appcrawlr, flickr,healthcentral,com, google play


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