A fibromyalgia flare (or flare-up) is a temporary increase in the number and/or intensity of symptoms. Worsening pain and fatigue are generally the first two symptoms noticed in a fibro-flare. But other symptoms like poor sleep increased cognitive dysfunction, and digestive disturbances are often experienced as well. Sometimes these flares can last for a day or two, while others may continue for several weeks or even months.
So what causes these flares to happen? Glad you asked, and while you can’t mitigate the impact of all of these causes of discomfort, you will likely find comfort in and of itself in knowing where they are coming from.
Weather Changes: Coming in as the most common cause of short-term fibro-flares is changes in the weather. Whenever the barometric pressure changes and a new front passes through, many people with FM experience an increase in their symptoms – particularly in their pain level. Fortunately, these flares usually only last for a day or two.
Over-Working: Anytime you push yourself too hard physically with FM, you are in danger of a flare. However, on those days that you are feeling good, it is hard to not push yourself to get all the things accomplished that you have been missing out on. Sadly, overdoing, even when you feel good, will usually come back and bite you in the form of a fibro-flare. It’s better to increase your activity level gradually so that hopefully you’ll have more good days with fewer setbacks.
Stress: Stress has long been understood to have a negative impact on our lives, however, if you suffer from FM, stress and your flare-ups can quickly become a devastating duo. Stress can be a particularly insidious culprit when it comes to fibro-flare triggers because it often sneaks up on us.
Lack of Sleep: Getting sufficient, restful, and quality sleep is vital for every human being, however, when you are sick with a choleric disease like FM, getting your rest becomes that much more vital. Whenever that sleep is disrupted or there are changes to an individual’s normal sleep patterns, particularly over a period of time, a fibro-flare may not be far behind. It’s important to find a sleep routine that works for you and stick to it as closely as you can.
Temperature: Many people with FM find that they are extremely sensitive to cold or heat or both. Being exposed to those uncomfortable temperatures, even for relatively short periods of time, can sometimes trigger a flare.