Allergy season is no cakewalk for those with allergies but what if you throw fibromyalgia into the mix? The majority of fibromyalgia (FMS) sufferers have classic allergy symptoms, including runny nose, itchy eyes and congestion. They also have widespread, chronic pain in their muscles, tendons and ligaments, and many other symptoms.
FMS affects more than six million Americans, the majority of whom are women, and causes more disability than rheumatoid arthritis. Other symptoms of FMS include:
•Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
•Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
•Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
•Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks ("fibro fog")
•Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)
•Tension or migraine headaches
•Jaw and facial tenderness
•Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold
•Feeling anxious or depressed
•Numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet
•Increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder)
•Reduced tolerance for exercise and muscle pain after exercise
•A feeling of swelling (without actual swelling) in the hands and feet
Seasonal allergies seem to magnify the symptoms of FMS. On bad allergy days, your pain may be worse; your digestive system may be more off kilter; and you may have less energy. Why? My theory is allergies cause inflammation in your body which simply adds to the load your body is already bearing.
Here are some things I do as an FMS sufferer to reduce the affect of seasonal allergies on my other symptoms:
•Taking my allergy medication is part of my daily routine. Tip: You may have to try several medications before finding the right one that works for you as FMS sufferers tend to be sensitive to medication.
•I eat a clean diet, sometimes opting for organic fruits and veggies if possible. Don’t venture into the unknown and try foods that may trigger symptoms. Many with FMS also have food sensitivities which are constantly shifting. This means new food sensitivities may appear at any time.
•Getting plenty of sleep is at the top of my list. Sleep deprivation is not good for anyone’s immune system.
•Stress can worsen FMS symptoms and allergies.
•Exercise boosts my endorphins. I try to do something every day.