Fibromyalgia Flares: What They Are and How to Treat Them
Fibromyalgia is classified as a long-term condition that causes tenderness and pain throughout the body as well as fatigue. When there are fibromyalgia flare ups, every activity seems more difficult. It is usually difficult to determine all the triggers that each person has that cause the extreme discmfort. Scientists have estimated that approximately five million United States adults are affected.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Flares
A doctor should be able to confirm fibromyalgia flare ups with examination and conversation with a patient:
- Having widespread pain
- There is a minimum of 11 tender points on the body
- Repeated instances of a minimum of six fibromyalgia flare up symptoms
What Causes Fibromyalgia Flares?
Health professionals do not know. It may involve nerve inflammation or changes in the pain pathways that cause more intense pain than other people feel. Many patients experience stress and feelings of anxiety, depression, and frustration. It is important to avoid or limit one’s exposure to stressful situations and purposely make as much time as possible to relax.
Fatigue is one of the main reasons for fibromyalgia flare ups, and it is essential that a person gets enough sleep at night and limits napping during the day. If the person experiences restless legs syndrome and other pain that interferes with sleep, a doctor can recommend fibromyalgia flare up treatments.
What are the Best Fibromyalgia Flare Up Treatments?
Treatment is complicated and most often has to be tailored to each individual. Included will usually be a combination of medication(s), lifestyle changes, therapies, exercise, and helpful dietary choices. Different combinations may have to be tried before finding a blended plan that works.
Keep a log of daily routines, activities, symptoms, sleep, and meals to identify patterns of the triggers and to be able to identify them in order to avoid or better manage them.
Assistance with stress management is available and includes psychotherapy, group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and feedback from qualified professionals. Those should alter the way a patient thinks and tackles problems in a more positive way while understanding and dealing with their pains, feelings, and thoughts.
Regular gentle exercise is one of the most effective ways that fibromyalgia flare ups can be avoided or diminished and pain managed. Exercise in moderation may increase pain at first but may help prevent or improve pain over time and build up endurance, muscle strength, avoidance of depression, and boost moods.
There is no specific recommended diet, but there seem to be some foods that make fibromyalgia flare up symptoms worse. Try eliminating food groups each week to see which ones seem to improve symptoms and which ones should be ruled out because they cause negative symptoms. An anti-inflammatory diet can help with chronic pain. The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, and other anti-inflammatory foods. A plant-based diet may reduce symptoms because many contain antioxidants that help dispose of “free radicals.”
The Bottom Line on Fibromyalgia Flares
There is no cure for fibromyalgia flare ups. However, medications and the above lifestyle changes and additions can help treat and reduce the likelihood of flares. Fibromyalgia is normally manageable, and people with the disorder can achieve a full quality of life by following good advice. If you have any questions about fibromyalgia flare pain management or need to be professionally treated, please contact Greater Austin Pain Center today.