5 Things that Contribute to a Fibro Flare

5 Things that Contribute to a Fibro Flare

Through the Fog
There are many things that can throw us into a fibro flare. Oftentimes we don’t even know what might cause us to flare until it happens. As such, it might be a good idea to keep a journal on what causes a flare and the severity of it. You can use your journal not only for our own reference, but also to share with medical professionals. Below is a list of five things that can cause me to have a fibro flare.

Fibro Flare Triggers

1. Stress: It comes in all forms and affects each of us differently depending on our current life circumstances. Some major stressors could be a loss of a job, pregnancy, labor and delivery, moving, divorce, loss of friends, the death of someone we care about, starting a new job, etc. Some not–so–major stressors could be difficult co–workers, arguments, lack of sleep, unpaid bills, or high expectations of others. Learning how to handle our stress in ways that are healthy and self–compassionate are super important. Prayer, meditation, and positive self–talk can all help.

2. Changes in Hormones: Hormones affect all of us at some point. Some hormonal changes can happen during a woman’s cycle, pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. Hormones can also be influenced by adrenal insufficiency, thyroid disease, or prostate issues. Some may also experience a decline in progesterone and estrogen in perimenopause and menopause. Hormones affect the function of everything in our bodies, so it stands to reason that noticeable changes can bring on an FM flare.

3. Changes in Temperature or Weather: Changes in weather or temperature can bring on flares, some worse than others. Heat, humidity, cold, and dampness can wreak havoc on our systems. Rain, snow, and tropical storms all make us flare to some degree. Personally, I find the cold of winter to be the worst for me. I love spring for that reason – it’s warmer, there’s no humidity, and it comes with the joy of watching things come back to life.

4. Injury or Illnesses: Not only does illness or injury make us unwell, but it also can cause major FM flare–ups. It’s so hard when we’re sick on top of our ongoing fibromyalgia symptoms. It can cause us to overwork ourselves while still trying to get tasks done (instead of taking care of ourselves), which is a precursor to a flare. Auto accidents, falling, breaking bones, and surgeries all conspire against us. Some of us started showing our symptoms of FM following one of these traumatic incidents in our life.

5. Traveling: Traveling can be hard on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Traveling by air with early arrival times, uncomfortable seating, and long layovers can definitely spark a flare. Trains, buses, and cars can be uncomfortable and long, depending on how far you are traveling. I personally have a very hard time sitting for any length of time due to tailbone issues, so the pain from that can definitely put me in a flare. Plus it’s physically exhausting to travel.

What kinds of things put you in a flare? Do you ride it out or are there things you do to combat them? Please share so others can learn and not feel so alone.

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

44 comments

  1. Alouette says:

    I hold on to my faith and belief systems. I have a major project at work that is going to require me to do a lot of physical work. I have taken some time off before it starts. I think the worst part of FMS is the fog and it has caused me to be depressed. My doctor has told me I handling the depression well without medication. I keep notes all over the place and remind myself that the fog will left. I remind myself that no matter what I am a vital part of the human race. If I need space I ask for it.
    When the pain gets too much for me to handle I take my Ibprofen and take a short walk or nap. I have learned to deal with the normal FMS pain. People don’t understand stand that FMS affects everyone differently. What works for me might not work for someone else.

  2. Hi Robin,Thank you fur describing what may bring up a flare.I agree with every one.I have a son with substance abuse problems.I know that there is nothing I can do to resolve this issue.That said,it causes me so much stress and sadness.I cannot put into words what it does to me,both mentally,and physically.I belong to Alanon,and it helps,but I am still a mother,and my instinct is to fix this problem.I can’t.It is such a helpless feeling.I am in a bad flare now.So sick and tired of being sick and tired!!!!Thank you for letting me share.It means a lot to me.Blessings to you,and everyone suffering with this illness.

  3. Mandy says:

    I always know when the weather is changing because it can be a beautiful day with warmth and sunshine, and I will start to get cold and achy for no apparent reason. Low pressure systems with rain or snow and storms are my worst enemy! Which means I suffer with flares three seasons a year here! Another culprit for me is stress which I try to keep to a mimimum, but is sometimes unavoidable. I don’t get sick very often with colds or other viruses, but with a large blended family, it’s inevitable that someone gets a cold or cough several times a year. I have discovered that I will get a major flare for a day or two when a new virus enters the house, but then I’m okay and I usually don’t get sick. It’s like my built-in defense system kicking in and protecting me or something! I will also get flares if I do too much activity without resting in between, and sometimes I’ve gotten a flare after a chiropractic or massage therapy treatment. Those are rare though.

  4. viviane says:

    Hi everyone, I have to travel on the 5th July from Panama to Phyladelphia via Miami and a night stay in Panama city, well today the 10 June, I am already worried, but, I have prepared a letter from my doctor and I will be on a wheel chair, I am a bit upset about the wheel chair but I am sure it will help….we have to prepare ourself for the best, I have a new and first Grand daughter who will be 1 years old on the 4th July so, going for Her Birthday, who knows if I will make he next one, so, while I can do it….or I think I can do it….I will go and rest when I arrive……like Cheryl said, I am sick of been sick, but we cannot give up…..love you all.

  5. viviane says:

    Thank you Robin, but you know how we are, worry months in advance for something that may NOT happen, still we are very sensitive to changes and that is why WE WORRY..and at the moment my husband just left to work in Hong Kong for 3 weeks, I am alone with 6 dogs and 2 cats, and my house is very far in the mountain, so, worried about that too, will join Him in Panama on the 5th July, I hope He will be there to travel with me to Phyladelphia……thank you for your good wishes,,,,hope you are doing well.

  6. Donna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your posts help me validate my fibro pain caused by many of the triggers you share in your posts.

  7. I’m at a point with the fibromyalgia that I’m sick of hurting and not getting any relief. My hubby just had major knee replacement, so I’m currently a caregiver, which face it, most housewives are caregivers to not only there kids but their hubbies as well ;). I have a multitude of other illnesses that I think make dealing with fibro even more difficult. I would like to get some pain relief! I’ve been on Savella and am currently on Lyrica with a building dose. Currently 75 mg. 3 x day. I’m not seeing any relief. Is there any hope? I’ve had the steroids with no relief as well. I have daily chronic migraines that get treated with Botox every 90 days. That helps. Like the others have been saying. I’m sick and tired or being sick and tired. We are do to go out to see our daughter over 4th of July, I want to be able to enjoy it!

    • Robin Dix says:

      Roberta, my husband had a total knee replacement about 5 years ago, I understand what your going through. Please be sure to take time out for yourself too, recharge your batteries emotionally. What else do battle besides Fibro and migraines? I get headaches a lot, but no where near the level of a migraine. I also battle chronic fatigue and under active thyroid

    • Karen Nielsen says:

      Lyrica and Savella are some of the drugs that I have tried, but didn’t work for me either. I switched to Cymbalta and that has worked much better. Remember those TV spots that said “Depression hurts, Cymbalta helps”. I talked to my doctor and even though I have never considered that I was depressed, I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, low thyroid, etc. and Cymbalta has helped with my pain. It is only one of many drug and suppliment therapies I use. I hope you can find the things that work for you.

        • Linda says:

          My name is Linda I just saw your commment you said you try Cannibus oil that really works. Please tell me we’re you got that, can you get that from health store drug store , Please let me know. I have fibromyalgia for 12 years the pain getting worse !!! Thank you Linda

      • Darlene says:

        Karen Nielsen,

        My response to Cymbalta was very different from yours! When it first came on the market my doctor prescribed it for me. I don’t remember how long I used it – whether it was months or a year. I work in an academic library and my office had a huge plate glass window that looked out on a garden. Lovely, but the temperature in my office was a constant 59 to 60 degrees and I was always cold. At the same time my low thyroid hadn’t been diagnosed so I had a cold butt all the time…really icy cold. Cymbalta made me sweat all the time. I would be sitting in that cold office chilled to the bone and I would be sweating. That’s a very uncomfortable combination of symptoms! I finally quit the Cymbalta. And now I can’t remember if it helped the fibro symptoms are not, but I really remember the sweating! Later I tried Lyrica and it helps me.

  8. Robin not only do I deal with the fibro and my chronic daily migraines. I have Reynaud’s, as well as asthma (which is usually only with certain triggers that it flares). But, I’m also dealing with severe pain in my hip and shoulder which they think I may have pinched nerves in. The chronic fatigue just with all of this is enough to knock anyone down, but I have to keep moving and keep going no matter how bad it hurts. I’m also the person that looks out for my elderly father, even though he still lives at home, I still have to be able to take him to all of his doctor’s appointments and be there in general when needed. Then you add the worry of your only child being in a different state and missing them as well. Sometimes, we have to suck up the pain and keep going. I’m at that point. The doctors are well it could be this or that, I know they are only human but man figure it out! Sorry for the rant. It’s one of the those days that I’m aggravated beyond aggravated.

    • Robin Dix says:

      Roberta, that’s a lot to deal with, I’m so sorry! Be sure to take time to care for yourself in the midst of all this ok? Sending you many gentle hugs!!

    • Melissa says:

      I just ran across information about a product called Quell, somewhat like a TENS pain reducer, but you wear it on your calf and it may help with pain anywhere in your body (not migraines, though). FDA approved. Can be found on Amazon and on Grommet sites, $249. Many, but not all reviewers with fibro found it helpful.

    • Liz says:

      Many of the stress people discuss here are inflicted on all types of people. Stress is a normal fact of life. As a fibro sufferer myself I believe continuing to believe our stress is worse than most peoples prevents someone finding a real cure for this central nervous disease.

    • lin says:

      I was reading your comment””’ I have the same problems. I had this for 12 years now , getting worse every day the pain. I don’t stop doing things ”but I do ‘ I have to take care my family and kids, I have to go shopping and clean the house that I can’t do anymore, but sometimes, I want to scream the pain hurts so bad I can’t sleep at night . I take 3 Advils for the pain””””””” thanks you linda

      • Lin, I have started using the Walmart Grocery App where you order your groceries online and then pick a time to pick them up. You go during your designated time and pick up your groceries. It’s been awesome so far. They load them. As for the house cleaning. I had to hire someone to come in and clean biweekly because I am not able to keep up with things. I just went to the doctor and they are sending me to a pain management doctor. Hopefully, by the end of August I will have some other news. I try to take care of our household the best I can, and I also try to make sure my elderly father is doing okay, eating okay, doctors appointments etc. Some weeks there are no breaks. This morning my hubby and I started a warm water arthritis class, hopefully over time it will help. The whirlpool felt awesome, too bad I can’t bring it home with me 😉
        Wishing everyone a less painful day and a good weekend.

        • Maryhelen Reyes says:

          I struggle with ulcers in mouth on side of tongue and left side where mouth opens . So very painful. Lots of cranial pain too. Maybe because of sleep apnea, Tmj . I’m better when I’m moving . Saw ENT he thinks viral . It comes and goes no fever weird . I just never know when it’s going to hit me . Be strong and brave and cry if you need too 🙏🏻❤️

          • Linda says:

            Hi my name is Lin. I have Trigeminal Neuralagia from doing root canal . I been going to several doctors to help me. I even went to NYU Hospital NYC they told me I have nerve damage from fixing my teeth Now I’m taking pain medicine for the pain.. Before this happened , I got Fibromyalgia I had this disease for 12 years now. The pain Getting worse So I have a lot problems dealing with pain . I just want to scream !!! My husband doesn’t know what to do for me and my children !! my friends don’t even call me anymore to see how I’m doing , they stop calling!! Nice friends !! Thank you. Lin

        • Linda says:

          To Roberta. Think you for answering my comment . I just saw in internet Fibrolief. That helps fibromyalgia. I order it. I hope it works for disease . I let you know if this works or not Thank you linda

  9. Marita Mitchell says:

    My flares are caused by many of the same things. Thank you for mentioning air travel especially. The whole experience is so uncomfortable. I have happily accepted assistance at the airport, because it reduces the trauma a little. My anticipation anxiety drives me crazy. Whether the upcoming event will be happy or horrible, I panic to the point of a Flare. My only useful cures are prayer/meditation, cannabis oil, vit.D and my beloved husband who does everything for me and loves me beyond reason after 41 years.

  10. mae holley says:

    Thank you for your information. I find low weather pressure is the worst for me. I can be fine and within hours of a pressure drop I get the feeling that I am coming down with the flu and it’s hard to be mobile. The other factor is being a full time caregiver for my husband (Alzheimer’s) for almost 10 years. I am sure there is no need to explain the stress/grief that it causes. Those with Fibro know that it is hard to take care of someone when you can barely take care of yourself. And, as always, the flares you get when you overdo on those “good” days we occasionally have. I have had Fibro for 21 years and, in the beginning, I was actually handling it fairly well with a healthy diet but when my husband got sick I gradually became too tired to prepare the proper nutritional foods I needed and now I am just doing the best I can to get through the day. I know I am not alone when I say that my biggest problem is that I ‘fight’ it. My body screams for rest and I just won’t give in because I think I am giving in and if I just keep going, it will pass. It is not working. Lately, I have taken 2 hours out of the day and lay down on the couch and do nothing but rest and it really does help. Thank you for letting me post here. My story is not a new one but it is sometimes a comfort to know that what we have is real and that there are others that know and understand how difficult it can be and that we are not crazy.

  11. Maryhelen says:

    God be with each of you. Each day is a new day and depending how your nite went depends how you wake. It’s so up and down and every now and then you may get a good day . I know I have to watch over doing it and take breaks. Stay on meds and eat and drink healthy . Stretching too helps but I tell you when shoulders and especially neck get to a place of unbearable pain I will take a pain Med . I have a lot of cranial pain too. Not really found anything to help that . Jaw hurts cheekbones behind eyes my head it’s horrible. It seems I’m always looking to find something that will take this all away but nothing yet I just keep praying and live for the day and hope that will find a cure and what exactly has brought this on . It’s been definitely a test of my faith and has kept me dependent on my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible. I’ve learned a lot of compassion and understanding for the not well and been able to relate and help one another on this journey on earth ?. That’s what it’s all about no matter the condition. We are not without hope and we can endure and persevere with the grace of God . Thanks and keep the faith your not alone Hea with us .

  12. viviane says:

    Oh Marita, yes, for me too, air travel, I have to go to USA on the 5th July and travel from Panama, 2 airports, I already panic 2 months in advance, the last 2 weeks I had anxiety attacks with severe heart palpitations every nights, my doctor want to put me on Xanax but I refuse, i know what cause this palpitaions, Fibromyalgia, so, I will try to pray, meditate, go for walks, but still, it is like that every nights, don,t know what to do anymore, will feel better once I arrive at my destination in July to see my daughter and 1 year old Grand daughter, but for now, still 3 weeks of panic, even if we know where it comes from, difficult to deal with it……

  13. Tina says:

    Hello Fibro Friends,
    I hope this finds you having a good day! I am late to posting because of a crazy flare. I was with my husband at the neighbors checking out their new pool, and after an hour, quickly I went from dizzy, nauseous, and then down I went. Passed out momentarily. Luckily, my husband was able to guide me so I didn’t get hurt. I’m thinking the heat was too much…? Three days later, I became more of a mess and my doctor sent me to the emergency room. They did all the tests…i.e. Electrolytes, sugar, chest X-ray, EKG, pregnancy test (Bahaha I’m 47)…nothing showed up. They were unsure why. I’m back to my wonderful status quo self I’m glad to say but this knocked me for a loop for a couple of weeks. I’m always freezing too, socks, sweatpants, and sweatshirts ( not on that day. But inside at home)
    My 19 year-old daughter has Autism and I do my best to suck up the illness to take care of her when she’s home. I do try to prepare by taking it easy before she comes home on weekends and is now home on vacation. She keeps me going with her love and amazing smile, but boy I don’t stop moving and will feel it once she is back in school. I am lucky that my husband is awesome and gets it, as opposed to my brother who would like me to babysit his two boys, 4 and 6. I miss them but I cannot be depended on. He doesn’t get it.
    I do have a prescription for Cymbalta to try soon. I’ve tried it all and nothing works. Just keep pushing through!
    Love and hugs to all of you!
    Tina

  14. Tina says:

    Hi Liz,
    I hope your pain is well today. Like most of us, our Fibro and CFS prevents us from exercise and now moving our bodies differently than we had prior to our illness causing muscle spasms, ligament problems, and pinched nerves. Nerve pain is a terrible pain we suffer with. I agree, we all have stress. Some more than others. Our illness is stressful due to our inability to be who we were before.
    I am grateful for all research being done.
    Take care of yourself,
    Tina

  15. suzanne lanagan says:

    Powerful info .I am absolutely amazed at all the symptoms that the people on this thred are feeling because I also have them and until Robins blog never realized there is so many suffering…I am not alone. The low weather pressure has often started for me in August and would cause coldness and flare ups that honestly cause me shame as I try my best to not trouble my family with yet another need for rest.I have the worst flares from stress and excercising which I know is helpful for my body in theory but I really have to hold back carefully because I can flare very badly if Im not mindful. Gentle Swimming and hot tubs and warm showers and baths, soft candles ,music,tea, sleep, calcium magnesium, a trusted compassionate doctor and knowing this will pass eventually Thank you so very much.Im humbled with compassion for all of you because as we know this is painful and interrupts Life. Thank you Robin!!!

  16. Claudene says:

    I am really affected by weather changes. I can usually feel it a couple days before. Spring and fall are difficult because of the atmospheric changes. Sometimes I don’t know what causes my flare. One thing that really bothers me is the fibro fog…sometimes I can’t bring up the words or names I want to say. As soon as I start to say it, it just is gone. Fatigue is also difficult. I learned a long time ago that I can only do so much. If I try to go past my limit, I only hurt myself. And, mornings are really tough. I always feel miserable when I get up. It takes a while to get myself together. I remember when I was finally diagnosed, it was such a relief. I had been told by doctors “I can’t see any reason for you to hurt”. Even though the doctor said he didn’t know exactly what to do for me, it was so good that someone finally believed me.

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