7 Common Triggers of Fibromyalgia Flares


What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that affects approximately 4 million adults in the United States. The defining symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread muscle pain (myalgias), joint pain (arthralgias), fatigue, and sleep issues. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include, but are not limited to, digestive issues (e.g., diarrhea or constipation), headaches (including migraines), cognitive issues (brain fog), anxiety, and depression.

In some cases, the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms begins after a physically or emotionally traumatic event, such as a car accident or the death of a loved one; in other cases, the onset of fibromyalgia is insidious. The cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown.

What is a fibromyalgia flare?

As with many chronic pain conditions, fibromyalgia symptoms fluctuate in type and intensity. Although certain symptoms of fibromyalgia may be present all the time, when symptoms worsen or happen more often (in a period of several days to several weeks), it is considered a “flare.”

Common triggers

Although the cause of fibromyalgia is not yet known, there are common triggers of fibromyalgia flares. Seven common triggers include the following:

  1. Physical or psychological stressors
  2. Changes in weather or temperature
  3. Traveling or changes in daily routine
  4. Hormone fluctuations
  5. Changes in sleep patterns or lack of sleep
  6. Dietary changes or poor nutrition
  7. Changes in medical treatments