Connection Between Fibromyalgia & Stress

Connection Between Fibromyalgia & Stress

One of the most stressful aspects of living with a chronic condition is dealing with the unknown. In many situations, symptoms can vary and change over time, as can the effectiveness of various treatments. Without a clear path for dealing with pain, a person can become anxious, stressed, and depressed. 

Fibromyalgia is one such condition. It is long-term and causes pain and tenderness throughout the body. When symptoms temporarily increase in severity, it is called a flare-up. Due to the nature of fibromyalgia, flare-ups can make many activities in day to day life more difficult.

Various factors may trigger a fibromyalgia flare-up, and it can often be difficult to identify which ones may have a stronger effect than others. They include diet, hormones, physical or psychological stress, change in schedule or sleep, weather, stressful events, surgeries, accidents, and too much or too little exercise. 

Symptoms of fibromyalgia also vary, and may include pain throughout the body (particularly in the back or neck), extreme sensitivity to pain or bright lights, stiffness when staying in the same position for long periods, muscle spasms, poor quality of sleep, fatigue, trouble remembering, learning or concentrating, slow or confused speech, headaches, migraines and irritable bowel syndrome. 

The connection between fibromyalgia and stress is cyclical. The varied symptoms of the condition can cause extreme stress, and stress, in turn, makes symptoms worse. This is a cycle commonly associated with chronic conditions, and addressing it is not easy. There are however various recommendations for ways to have greater control over stress, and therefore other symptoms.

Doctors recommend keeping a log of triggers. Tracking activities, meals, sleep times, and symptoms may help identify particular triggers and allow more control over them. As fatigue is one of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, it is essential to allow for enough sleep on a regular basis. Consistent physical activity can often decrease or improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, so exercise is key. However, it is also crucial to limit overexertion and find a good balance. Finally, although there is no specific diet recommended for people with fibromyalgia, there are certain foods that can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. It is often recommended to try an elimination diet to see if symptoms improve.

These lifestyle recommendations are good for all people but are especially imperative for those living with a chronic condition such as fibromyalgia. It is impossible to maintain physical health if mental and emotional health are not being addressed and cared for. Looking at one’s condition from a holistic lens will offer the best result in maintaining well-being in all areas. 

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