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Medically reviewed by Jedidiah Oldham DO.
August 15, 2019 | Family Medicine
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you understand the challenges of living with the pain and tenderness of flare-ups. If you were recently diagnosed with this neurological problem, you may wonder what you can expect in the future.
Talking to your family physician will help you better understand your disease and how to cope with the chronic fatigue and discomfort you may encounter. Developing a better understanding of this chronic illness may also help alleviate your fears.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) describes this condition as a chronic, neurological health problem that causes sporadic bouts of fatigue, body pain and tenderness. It can also cause memory problems and prevent you from getting restful, restorative sleep.
Patients may further experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, headaches, irritable bladder or bowel problems, acid reflux, pelvic pain or TMJ disorder.
Fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men. This condition typically comes on in middle adulthood, although it can strike anyone from teenagers to seniors. If you suffer from rheumatic disease, including any of the following conditions, you face a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia:
There is no cure for fibromyalgia. However, you have many treatment options, depending on your medical history and your doctor’s recommendations.
What Happens During a Fibromyalgia Flare-Up?
Although each fibromyalgia patient experiences varying types and levels of symptoms, most people see some fluctuation in their symptoms’ severity.
During a flare-up, your pain and related symptoms may worsen significantly. Flare-ups can last for a few days or several weeks.
How to Cope with Fibromyalgia Flare-Ups
Although these events can occur at any time and typically come on without warning, periods of high stress may trigger a flareup, according to the ACR. Your symptoms may also increase or subside depending on your treatment.
Other factors that may contribute to a flare-up include:
You can minimize your risk of flare-ups by eating a nutritious diet, getting plenty of exercise, and controlling your physical and emotional stress levels as much as possible. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health also recommends keeping track of your flare-ups to identify potential triggers. Avoiding these triggers may help you minimize flare-ups.
The most effective way to deal with fibromyalgia flare-ups is to work closely with your family doctor. He or she can recommend a treatment plan that is suited to your medical history and your specific symptoms. Working together with your family physician, you can develop ways to limit fibromyalgia flare-ups and manage them as effectively as possible.
“Fibromyalgia.” American College of Rheumatology.
“Fibromyalgia.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health.
Jedidiah Oldham, DO
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.