Fibromyalgia: Triggers, Signs, and Treatment

Fibromyalgia: Triggers, Signs, and Treatment

For years, Fibromyalgia was written off as a catch-all disability, something doctors diagnosed when they couldn’t find another answer. The truth, however, is that Fibromyalgia is an insidious invisible illness. The symptoms can be crippling, often leaving those who live with the condition feeling helpless, and incapable of leading normal lives. But what is it that causes Fibromyalgia flare-ups? What do you need to look for to spot the signs of an oncoming flare-up, and how can you treat them when they happen?

Fibromyalgia affects approximately 900,000 Canadians, roughly 3% of the population. It’s a chronic condition that causes often severe musculoskeletal pain accompanied by excessive fatigue and exhaustion. The pain is typically found in the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the joints but can also be located in the skin and organs throughout the body. 

While we’re talking about flare-ups, it’s important to keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the symptoms are dormant the rest of the time. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Fibromyalgia symptoms are constant. They include widespread muscle pain, potentially crippling fatigue, stiffness (particularly first thing in the morning or just after long periods of inactivity), cognitive difficulties of “fibro fog” such as impaired memory, concentration, and organization, mental illness such as anxiety or depression, and issues with sleep such as insomnia, difficulty staying asleep, or just restlessness at night.

Living with Fibromyalgia means living with some or all of these symptoms on a daily basis. When someone with Fibromyalgia has a flare-up, it means these symptoms get worse. Typically, it’s not every symptom. Quite the contrary, it’s often just one or two specific issues that worsen exponentially. This is commonly referred to as their “Achilles heel”. 

So what are the triggers? And how can you spot them and stay away from them? Unfortunately, like the condition itself, the potential causes of flare-ups can be fairly vague, making them difficult to manage. They include diet, hormonal imbalances, physical or psychological stress, significant schedule changes or inconsistencies, sleep deprivation, fluctuations in temperature or weather, and your current treatment for your condition. They can be caused by a car accident or surgery, over-extending yourself at the gym or even not getting enough exercise. 

Unfortunately, as is common with Fibromyalgia, there is no treatment for flare-ups. No magic pill to take, no secret trick that will make the symptoms stop flaring. Most of the medications designed for Fibromyalgia take weeks to take effect, so there’s nothing that works as a quick fix. The best way around them is to work on prevention rather than treatment. However frustrating it is to hear, lifestyle changes and regulation are the key to managing Fibromyalgia symptoms and flare-ups. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet, along with a regulated schedule and even meditation can all help control your symptoms and keep flare-ups at bay. 

If you or someone you know is living with Fibromyalgia, don’t hesitate to reach out and get the help you need. See your doctor and work together with your close family members to come up with a lifestyle that suits your daily life and your condition. If fibromyalgia flare-ups are affecting your ability to do your job, contact the experts at Share Lawyers who can assist in making sure you get the short or long-term disability insurance benefits you deserve.

Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Great-West Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.