Fibromyalgia: Sensory Overload

Did you know that one of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia is hypersensitivity?

It’s true -Fibromyalgia causes uncomfortably heightened senses or, in other words, an extreme response to external stimuli. Muscle pain and even the sense of touch may be felt at increased intensity.

Fibromyalgia produces higher levels of inflammatory markers in the skin, causing touch and even tight-fitting clothing to feel painful. Sensitivity to light, smell and other stimuli also increases, as fibromyalgia makes it difficult for the mind to sort out all of the sensory input that it’s receiving.

Other symptoms of hypersensitivity include chronic pain and tenderness. Some people experience dizziness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, brain fog, itchy or burning skin and digestive disorders.

Why does this happen?

The pain commonly associated with the disability is viewed as a ‘malfunction’ in the way the body processes pain, creating a hypersensitivity to external stimuli that are not as intense for most people.

Studies have shown that the brain chemistry in people with Fibromyalgia can be linked to a heightened sensitivity to sound and smell. Similarly, the brain might also be overly sensitive to pain sensations as well.

How does one manage hypersensitivity?

Find a doctor you trust: Seek a doctor that believes in your pain. They can prescribe different medications to help treat Fibromyalgia and to decrease the heightened sensitivities in the body.

Take precautions:Limit the causes of discomfort in your everyday life. This may include ventilating your home, avoiding extreme temperatures, using noise-cancelling headphones, wearing loose-fitting clothing and wearing sunglasses when deemed necessary.

Exercise: Aerobic activity can reduce pain and pressure sensitivity.

Eat well: A diet rich in certain nutrients and antioxidants can decrease the severity of the symptoms.

Reduce Stress: Relaxation can improve the immune system and ease symptoms.

Limiting triggers without becoming reclusive is a balancing act for someone with heightened sensitivities. Educating friends and family about your triggers is extremely important in order to eliminate feelings of isolation.

It can be a daily challenge for people with Fibromyalgia to live a normal life due to these heightened sensitivities. That's why it's so important to limit triggers, seek help from medical professionals, build a healthy lifestyle and create a strong support system of family and friends.

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