There are many culprits that can cause Fibromyalgia flares, and one of the most impactful ones is STRESS. Stress affects emotional, mental, and physical health, and because these are all intertwined, stress can make you miserable, especially if it’s causing your Fibromyalgia to flare up.
2020 has presented more challenges than most of us have ever experienced in our lifetime, and now we have the holidays upon us. The effects of the pandemic have been far-reaching, and in one way or another, have affected every single person. Some have had the virus, others have relatives who have been ill or have lost their lives, jobs have been lost, the economy is in a recession, and the list goes on. Because of COVID, recreational outlets for stress have drastically dwindled, so in addition to having to deal with greater amounts of stressors, we’re also seriously defunct when it comes to options for relief.
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Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Flares
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is triggered in part by stress of any kind, which can create even more stress because symptoms start flaring, which spells TROUBLE for the fibromyalgia sufferer. Additionally, various forms of stressors can further weaken the immune system.
- Mental/emotional stress created by worrisome events or people who are negative or difficult to deal with.
- Lack of quality sleep puts incredible stress on the body and affects the ability to cope or adapt to changes.
- Diet, such as sugar and simple carbs, which can derail your health.
- Excessive alcohol intake. It’s recommended to never drink on an empty stomach, and never have more than 2 drinks. Alcohol is not only a depressant, but is also loaded with sugar as well.
- Lack of exercise. While the last thing you might want to do when you are experiencing a flare is to move, some movement can help tremendously, even if you just do some stretching or light yoga. Walking counts too, and it’s also emotionally soothing to get outdoors.
- Not resting when you are tired. When experiencing a flare, it’s important to pay extra attention to your body’s needs. If you are able to, take a nap. Delegate and reprioritize what’s really important so you aren’t shouldering so much burden.
- Imbalanced hormones. When you are stressed, your adrenals produce more adrenaline and cortisol (fight/flight hormones) than usual. Muscles tighten, your heart pounds, breath shortens, and blood pressure rises. When cortisol is activated for long periods of time, it can wreak havoc on both your ability to cope with stress, and cause imbalances in other hormones as well.
Stress Reduction for a Healthier You
We can’t always control our environment, circumstances, or people, but there are ways of reducing stress in your life. It’s vital for health, as chronic, long-term stress can be a big contributor of chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune disease such as Fibromyalgia. Here are several things you can do to help manage your stress reaction so that you can be resilient and maintain a strong immune system:
- Change your attitude. Easier said than done! Meditation, prayer, or talking with someone can often help. Try and focus on being grateful for what you do. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude can take time, but you might first try listing what you are grateful for each day. Over time, you will begin to feel
- Spend some time outside in nature. Mother Nature has been proven to be a very effective defense against stress. It can also make you feel more connected, and help to live in the moment. Bonus: You can get some light exercise when you’re outside, even if it’s just walking.
- Decide who you need to limit or end contact with, and do it! Negative people or those who push your buttons can be incredibly draining and take a huge toll on your health. Whenever possible, don’t associate with them.
- Turn off the news.
- Have a support system of friends/family/community. Studies show that human connection with people you enjoy being around is as important to your health as what you eat or how much you exercise. If you are feeling isolated, look around your community for organizations that you can get involved in, or in hobby groups that might interest you. Obviously, this is much tougher with COVID right now, but make concerted efforts to become part of a community.
- Volunteer if you have the time. It can be incredibly rewarding to give of your time to something that is meaningful to you. This can also help you to meet people.
- If you are facing a particular situation that’s causing you stress such as budget constraints or dept load, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, and you will be doing something about the problem versus just worrying about it. 211 is a phone number that you can call that will provide you with contact information for a number of organizations that may be able to help you.
- If you’re not sure where all of your stress is originating from, give it some thought and write it down. Often, this is the first step in working to eliminate the stressors that you are able.
- Anything that you can do physically, such as light exercise, get a massage, or even practice deep breathing techniques can all help relieve stress.
- Go easy on yourself! We are living in a stressful time, in and of itself. This doesn’t include everything else you are having to deal with in your job and personal life. Fibromyalgia can be brought on by extreme stress/trauma, but can also create more stress. It’s much harder to cope with things when you are in pain, aren’t sleeping, and are having trouble getting through the day.
- Limit or eliminate your caffeine intake. Caffeine initiates the production of insulin, which can cause low blood sugar, leaving you with less energy.
- Limit or eliminate alcohol consumption.
- When traveling, know the impact it can have on your energy levels and that it can send you into a flare. When driving long distances, make plenty of time to stop and rest, and try to break the trip up. Stretch. Get enough sleep. Stay hydrated. Eat as clean as you can.
- Avoid toxins as much as possible.
- Realize your limits. Even if you are feeling really good one day, if you overdo it, you’re likely to pay for it the next day.
Take Extra Care of Yourself if You Are in a Flare
- Wet heat can be particularly helpful with pain. Hot baths and/or showers feel soothing and can also help you to relax.
- Drink a lot of water and fluids (coffee and alcohol don’t count) just as you normally would when you are sick.
- Eat light, comforting foods such as oatmeal, chicken soup, etc. that are easy to digest.
- Rest, rest, rest. As much as possible.
- Keep your environment as soothing as possible, such as dimming the lights, no loud T.V.s, etc.
- If you can tolerate a massage, get one to help with pain relief from achy muscles and trigger points.
- Take magnesium. It’s a natural muscle relaxer and can also help with sleep. If you aren’t used to taking magnesium, try Magnesium Glycinate, which has less effect on the intestines.
- A good quality CBD oil can also help with inflammation and pain. CBD salve also helps to relax muscles when rubbed directly into the skin.
- Use heat packs on sore areas.
- If you are on an antiviral regimen, make sure that you are taking them.
If you have not received medical treatment that has provided you with long-awaited relief for your Fibromyalgia, we invite you to call our New Patient Coordinator to get more information regarding how our services differ from most conventional methods of treatment. We can also get you booked for an appointment with one of our providers who specializes in Fibromyalgia treatment.
For additional information regarding the treatment protocols for Fibromyalgia at Renewed Vitality, click here.
Free Phone Consultation with our New Patient Coordinator
Renewed Vitality is a place of hope. Our knowledgeable providers are experts in their field and take the time to find the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances and illness. We will work with you using proven, scientific-based technology, in a warm and compassionate environment, to help you restore your health so that you can live a life of vitality and wellness.
Please contact our New Patient Coordinator for your Free Phone Consultation. She can answer any questions or concerns that you may have and give you additional information about our providers, our protocols and fees, what is covered by insurance and what is not and any other details you may need. She can also get you booked for your first appointments, if you decide we are a good fit for you. There are no obligations to book an appointment. You can reach us at (214) 740-4703, or complete the form below and we will contact you!