How Long Does a Fibromyalgia Flare Up Last?

As a Pain Doctor will tell you: “Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain & tenderness throughout the body. Symptoms of fibromyalgia flares vary, but often involve widespread pain, joint stiffness, & extreme sensitivity to stimuli. Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia. When fibromyalgia pains flare up, every activity seems more difficult” [1]. Flares are experienced differently, & there can be distinct triggers for different people.

There is however, some good news: “preventing a flare from developing in the first place, is less complicated than treating a flare” [1]. To that end, the remit of a Pain Specialist, is to make an accurate diagnosis, look for potential causes, and then draw up a Holistic Personalised Treatment Plan which incorporates both conventional and the latest state-of-the-art treatments and therapies, along with suggestions for changes in lifestyle. All of these modalities are designed to quell symptoms, and stop flares from developing.
Did You Know?

Changes in central nervous system functioning, and brain chemical levels, may play a role in fibromyalgia. Generally speaking, fibromyalgia symptoms occur in periods of flares [1].

Putting a Spotlight on Fibromyalgia Symptoms

While it has to be said that a percentage of fibromyalgia sufferers can experience specific symptoms on a regular basis, the pain which is linked to fibromyalgia, tends to fluctuate and get worse. Of note, if symptoms temporarily increase in intensity or number, Pain Doctors and other medics, refer to this as a flare-up, or flare. A flare-up can go on for a timespan from several days to a number of weeks [1].

The key fibromyalgia symptom is widespread pain. However, sufferers can also experience joint, tendon, and muscle, tenderness. People’s symptoms differ from one individual to another. Moreover, the intensity can be variable, and the symptoms can come and go [1]. Common symptoms recognised by Pain Doctors, comprise:

• Experiencing pain throughout the body, especially in the neck or back
• Being highly sensitive to certain foods, smoke, light, and touch
• Feeling stiffness if you remain in the same position for long periods of time
• Getting regular muscles spasms
• Feeling extremely tired for no reason, at different times during the day
• Suffering from poor quality sleep
• Speaking slower than normal
• Speaking in a confusing non-coherent way
• Experiencing ‘fibro fog,’ in other words, having difficulty with concentration and memory
• Having frequent migraines or headaches
• Suffering from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) [1]
Furthermore, individuals with fibromyalgia, may also experience:
• Clumsiness
• Dizzy spells
• Tingling or numbness in the feet and hands
• Restless legs syndrome
• Painful periods
• Feeling too cold or too hot [1]

Other Factors

“Daily pain and sleep deprivation can cause problems at home and work. The stress of coping with a condition can also lead to anxiety and depression” [1], conditions which a Pain Doctor may also include in a patient’s Personalised Treatment Plan

Potential Flare-Up Triggers

Flare-ups can occur without warning, however, in many instances, they have noticeable triggers.
Periods of emotional or physical stress are common fibromyalgia triggers [1]. These may include:
• Giving birth
• Having an infection/injury
• Having a substantial operation
• Undergoing substantial life changes
• Suffering from grief [1]
• Other elements that could trigger a fibromyalgia flare-up, comprise:
• Not getting sufficient sleep
• Suffering from exhaustion
• Fluctuations in the weather or temperature
• Changes in diet
• Hormone imbalance [1]

Moreover, Pain Consultants have seen that patients are at greater risk of being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, if they suffer from a rheumatic disease [1].


[1]. Nichols. H. (2023). “How to recognize fibromyalgia flares.” Medical News Today.


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