Fibromyalgia Flares
Things to avoid if you have FM
That may help prevent flare ups
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There many things we with FM, as a group, have discovered that are things to avoid doing or eating or drinking. Mind you, most of these are what is called "anecdotal evidence" meaning, it is generally only we with FM, that are saying it. But, enough of us have found these things to be true in life, so I present them here, take them as you will. Furthermore, we have said such things often enough that some of them have even been studied and thus far, the studies seem to equal our self reports.

I do not intend to harp, as most doctors tend to, on your diet, (on site link) and all that, as most research has found that to be pretty irrelevant unless you have a food allergy. Just eat a sensible diet and let it go at that. But, there are some things that many FMers world wide have made note of, that tend to kick off a flare as well as the "official" ones. So here they are, some things to consider.



Aspartame:
This is the stuff found in most diet drinks and many other things that are artificially sweetened. It is bad news, for anyone, Research but it is especially bad for FMers, for all the effects it creates. It acts like a neurotransmitter and literally, by most accounts, destroys neurons. Nearly everyone who makes note of it says the same thing about it. That it can set off a flare, within hours. A fast read of the research on it will tell you why this happens. So, lack of studies or not, we with FM know it's a problem for us. So, if at all possible, it is highly suggested that you do not eat or drink anything with Aspartame in it. This will mean quite a bit of label checking, as it's common additive.

( Update: This has been recently stuided by the way and yeah ... we were right. For FM and a whole host of other dieases, aspartame is bad news. NCBI )

MSG: monosodium glutamate
Lots of people report that they flare up after eating at their favorite Asian food restaurant. So make a point to ask that whatever they give you, has no MSG in it, just to be on the safe side.

Artificial fats:
Yet another group, that gets a large finger pointed at it. There are a whole variety of these are on the market. Why they cause a flare is unknown, ( it is assumed it is due to the chemicals used in them ) but sufficient numbers of people report it, to merit being including here.

Air-conditioning:
A movie theater, or restaurant, at work, at home, will often bring on an acute flare. Your muscles get chilled and tense up which sets up a cycle of pain, causes tension, causes pain. AC air is generally too cold and is damp. Many of us have arthritis as a primary and as any arthritis sufferer can tell you, cold damp air causes arthritic pain, which the FM then amplifies. So if you must be or choose to be in such a place, dress for it. If you have any say over the settings, turn it up, the objective is to make the room temperature comfortable, not cold.

Static positions:
Working in one place with arms suspended above the work surface, ( typical office or computer set up here, the same with most kitchens, factory or restaurant work etc. ) repetitive activities, and remaining in one position for a long time, be it sitting, standing, or driving. (Move, vary it up, get up and walk, get out of the car, change what your doing to another action, so a different muscle group is used etc. and you will suffer less. )

Over exertion:
The ever popular Push-Crash (on site link), it's such big a deal, it has its own page.

Over stimulation:
Too much of anything; light, noise, smells, in short, sensory overload. This means you should send someone else down the detergent aisle to get the laundry soap, ban heavy chemicals ( most household cleaners, fabric softeners, and air fresheners can be culprits ) and many perfumes ( natural perfumes don't seem to have this effect oddly enough, ergo, it's likely a chemical reaction, to the artificial ingredients the other perfume is made of, rather than an olfactory reaction to the smell itself ). This includes things to eat or drink, like too much caffeine or sugar, the key word is moderation in all things.

Lights: 
Wear shades in the house until your eyes adjust when you get up in the morning ( No, I am not kidding, I just took to doing this recently, when I first get up, and it has cut down on the morning headaches considerably ) Noise factors, inside your own home, make some rules about it and make them stick. Outside the home, wear ear plugs if need be. Call down the cops on the noisy neighbors, whatever it takes. ( see Sensitivities on site link, for more information )

Multi tasking:
Which is a sub set of over stimulation. Trying to do too many things, at once. Do one thing at a time.

Weather changes:
Sensitivity to cold, damp, humidity, heat, approaching storms (barometric pressure changes), temperature extremes and change of seasons. You cannot control nature but you can realize that you are likely to flare more often given these conditions and take steps to try and minimize the flare by backing off of your activities.

Alcohol:
Many report flares due to drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol. This is assumed to be due to the dehydration that tends to occur when one consumes alcohol. If you opt to drink, be certain to drink lots of normal fluids at the same time.

Over-the-head activity:
This can be over hand swimming, wall painting, cleaning out the cupboards ... etc. In short, almost anything that puts your arms over your head repeatedly. If at all possible, avoid these actions entirely.

Untreated Physical trauma:
Even "minor" injury, can create a flare, so treat all injuries, even the little dings and cuts, promptly. This includes treating bruising, which we tend to get often, due the "drunken" walk many FMers have. This is when the legs, knees and hips are not holding up, or they are not getting the brains message properly, and they make us bash into things.

Untreated Infections and secondary illnesses:
It stands to reason that if you come down with a cold, flu, have a yeast infection, etc. you are going to flare more often, so treat any secondary illness, seriously.