Over 5 million American citizens are suffering from fibromyalgia, which is a chronic pain disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system.
Individuals afflicted with this ‘invisible illness’ will frequently experience highly painful flare-ups in their joints and muscles. While this chronic pain disorder does not have a definitive cure, there are some ways of managing stress-related flareups.
As anyone who is suffering from fibromyalgia knows, you must become familiar with the triggers that bring on painful flareups. Identifying these triggers is the first step in learning how to effectively manage your fibromyalgia.
One of the most typical triggers of fibromyalgia flares is stress.
It is commonly known that the experience of stress for prolonged periods will have tremendous negative effects on your health. It can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Many fibromyalgia patients report stress-related fibro flares that are even more pernicious than flareups triggered by temperature changes, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, traveling and general overexertion.
What makes stress such a insidious trigger is that it is frustratingly difficult to manage. Whereas some triggers like weather changes can pass in a couple days, your stressful reactions are much more deeply ingrained and difficult to predict and manage.
Exercising is known to promote mental health. It is effective for decreasing anxiety and stress. While the pain symptoms of fibromyalgia, including fatigue, can often prevent you from exercising as much as you need to, it is still crucial to your well-being.
Bathing in warm water can actually decrease stress hormone secretion while also boosting endorphin levels. The heat is also effective for using muscle tension, which is something a fibromyalgia patient often suffers from.
Practicing daily meditation can be an effective way of overcoming or, at least, helping to manage, the experience of pain. If you are new to meditation, there are many great websites and YouTube videos that will walk you through how to begin.
Many therapists are trained to help individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. A therapist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy is also equipped to help you manage your reaction to stressful events. Once you learn how to manage your reactions to stress, it is likely that you will decrease in significance and frequency the number of stress-related fibromyalgia flareups.
It has long been known that the healthy night’s sleep is effective for reducing stress. This can be a bit of a catch-22, however, because many fibromyalgia sufferers also experience sleep difficulties. When you begin to sleep better, you will have less stress, and if you have less stress will likely be able to fall asleep easier.
While stress does not cause fibromyalgia it does have the potential to worsen its symptoms. If you feel that stress is making your flareups worse or more frequent, you may consider trying some of the relaxation strategies we listed above.