Is it possible to experience fibromyalgia symptoms only if exposed to a trigger/stressor like a virus or extreme cold?

kiwi200

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Have had symptoms of fibromyalgia off & on for many years, but it appears to have a trigger in order for symptoms to appear. If I come down with a viral illness or expose myself to prolonged winter cold activity, I will often end up experiencing extreme pain all over. It generally puts me to bed curled up in a fetal position...bad discomfort. The pain does seem to be more focused on the body areas that have been used to diagnose fibromyalgia. Anyone else experience the same thing? I am already on some of the meds that are often used to treat fibromyalgia (for other issues). However, wondering if having my physician prescribe neurontin or other med during these exacerbations would help me to cope with the pain.
 

RLG

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Hi, kiwi. I'm curious, have you ever had Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)/mononucleosis?
 

kiwi200

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Hi RLG,
No, don't believe I have ever had Epstein-Barr Virus or mononucleosis...
 
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RLG

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I'm actually glad to heat that:) Viruses are sneaky little hangers-on, in our b-cells and t-cells and even nerve endings.
I had my first dx of EBV at 20 years old, a year and half later was still sick and dx with chronic fatigue syndrome. My 2cd known EBV re-infection manifested as mono in late 2015. There have been many studies linking it to chronic pain etc. I am watching the world closely these days to learn how covid survivors recover.
Are you able to access your past medical records, even from childhood? May be some insights in your past health history for you?
 

kiwi200

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Hi RLG,
Yes, I can certainly believe that some viruses "hang on" & can lead to future of chronic issues. Unfortunately, no access to childhood or even teen-age med recs. I live 1600 miles from where I grew up & at the ripe age of 65 yrs old, the docs of my past are long gone. I'm positive I have never had a mono diagnosis & definitely never remember having a virus that lasted longer than 10-14 days. However, there could be other viruses that I may have contracted throughout my lifetime that could still be hanging on somewhere in my body & causing issues. I have my annual physical this month & will be discussing with my Internist.
 
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Eff2013

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Hi Kiwi, I too have had symptoms of fibromyalgia for many years. Not yet diagnosed but waiting for results. Not too optimistic how the consultation will go with the reumatologist over the phone. All because of covid shut down at the moment. 😔 I, like you believe that there is ALWAYS a trigger of some sort for the symptoms to appear. My last flare that has lasted for close to a month started after prolonged exposure to really cold weather. I was on my deck for quite a few days painting a small table for my daughter. At the time I was so focused on the job that I really didn't pay attention to what my body was trying to tell me. I was just soldiering on. Well I paid for it with extreme pains in my shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands. HORRIBLE.
As for medication, I have not taken anything to date because I am sooo afraid of side effects. The only pain medication I use is paracetamol (that's what we call it here in Australia) . Hope this was helpful. 🌹
 

RLG

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Try to sit with a pen and paper and think over your health history. Jot some notes to yourself, even maybe the oddball things you thing aren't connected, like other family members DXs or a car accident. Not necessarily for your practitioner's consumption, but as personal research exercise. You may recall or connect something to what you are experiencing now. Or not. Because there is no one thing or virus that is exclusively known to cause fibromyalgia, My dx was based on several factors, 1) over 3 months of chronic unbearable pain and fatigue. 2)the pain itself included nerve, muscle, joints, and tendons/ligaments and was all over my body, with off the charts pulsing and stiffness. 3) my health history of physical trauma, near fatal infection, EBV, and TMJ. 4) family health history.
As to your original question, is it possible? Yes. Is it proven? No. I really believe the cause will be known in my lifetime, though.
 

RLG

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I am very reticent to try meds, too. I am so sensitive, even Tylenol affects me strangely. I do well with Ibuprofen, for some of the pain. It helps but is no cure. I read about topical magnesium, so I invested $20 in a bottle of magnesium sulfate foam called thera-works. I tried it one time so far, it stings a little after application but it seemed to help a little? Problem is, the cramping (charlie horses) and fiery nerve pain in my shoulder/arm acted up AFTER I was in bed a partly asleep. Sleep is such a hard ghost to chase...I was too lazy to get up and apply the lotion again. I will bring up here later if it actually proves benfecial in the future.
 

JayCS

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I've developed fully-fledged fibro since a flu not helped by the cold Oct19, it hasn't left off since then.
No herbs helped, all meds caused either rashes or seizures, except Diclo which didn't work.
Only whole body cryotherapy really works against the ache for me, with cold showers in between, plus an extreme breath exercise.
Gentle acupressure, osteopathy and yoga-type back and hand exercises help the various sharper pains in back, legs and arms.
 
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Affinity

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I also have triggers that sets off a fibro flare up, it can be an illness, stress, or overdoing it in the Texas heat. Pain is one symptom but I also have like a heaviness in all my limbs and feel like I have the flu during my flare ups.
 

JayCS

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The "heaviness" in my case I call 'quick exhaustibility' which I can always improve at least slightly with the cryo & the breath-holding-exercise if it comes from overdoing it. If it comes from tiredness and deep exhaustion tho, as in the flu-feeling, I'm not sure if that helps yet.
I asked one of the clinic-rheum.-docs about the feverishness-part of the flu-feeling and she said: Ignore it, it's just the fibro. But I don't believe her. I think it comes from overdoing it or tiredness again and is a sign to prevent me from doing more. Also I have the feeling it's somehow auto-immune. Praps I'll try the breath-holding exercise on that.
 

Affinity

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Overdoing it is definitely a trigger for me so I can see how these symptoms might be related to that. Usually for me there is a delay like I might overdo it on a day I am feelings pretty good but then the next day experience the heaviness and flu-like symptoms.
 

JayCS

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Usually for me there is a delay like I might overdo it on a day I am feelings pretty good but then the next day experience the heaviness and flu-like symptoms.
A doc explained that in my case that would be from eustress leading to high cortisol levels, where you don't feel the pain yet. Seems to fit.
 
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