Symptoms of sensitivity to light, noise, tastes and smells are common among fibromyalgia sufferers although few people realise that these symptoms are connected to their condition.
Your sensory perceptions are more acute than those around you, although it is rarely that a physical cause behind this can be found. This means that what is a reasonable volume of music for everyone else, for example, becomes unbearable for you.
It is thought that the pain associated with fibromyalgia occurs because of overactivity in the sensory receptors, and it is likely to be for this reason, that other senses are also more alert and responsive.
Additionally, some fibromyalgia patients notice their symptoms improving on days when the weather is warmer and atmospheric pressure is higher, perhaps suggesting seasonal improvements of symptoms. Research backs up this hypothesis, although no definite conclusions have yet been reached.
However, research into these symptoms, and the condition of fibromyalgia as a whole is ongoing. Although we do not have all the answers right now, there is hope that further light will be shed on the matter in the future.
Finding a way to handle your sensory overload is important. As few people understand what it feels like to experience this symptom, it can be isolating, and it is for this reason that techniques must be sought to manage the effects.
For example, wearing sunglasses and dimming the brightness of screens of electronic devices may help visual problems. Avoiding driving in bright light or at night when bright headlights are facing you is often safer.
Try to avoid very noisy places, or wear earplugs to help you bear the noise. Assigning your children a room or space in your house where they are allowed to make noise out of your earshot, can help to maintain a stress-free environment for you.
Keep your house well ventilated, and try to avoid heavily scented candles or cleaning products, as these will irritate your sense of smell. You are in control of what you eat. If strong tastes upset you, make blander food. You can always spice up your family’s plate with an extra shake of black pepper.
What is often noticed among fibromyalgia patients, particularly among those who experience sensory overload, is that their liver could do with some support. Milk thistle is a traditional herbal remedy for protecting the liver, and helping it to remove toxins from the body.
Alternatively, supporting the nervous function may be effective, such as with Avena sativa. This has a traditional use as a nerve tonic, and is thought to stabilise nerve function and reduce extreme sensory responses. Valerian may also be effective in decreasing nervous system sensitivity. This herb can be found in the licensed herbal remedy Stress Relief Daytime.
Either approach to treating sensory symptoms may be effective, depending on how fibromyalgia is affecting your body.
Your doctor may first check that you are not suffering from any underlying health condition. Although doctors may be reluctant to prescribe medication for sensory overload, if you are struggling to manage the condition, a low dose naltrexone, or an anticonvulsant may be suggested. Muscle relaxants may also be effective. However, you should consider the side effects of these treatments first.
Alternatively, the drugs Lyrica, Cymbalta and Savella can be used in the treatmnet of fibromyalgia. These also work as a painkiller.