Living with Fibro

Feeling Off Balance? It Could Be Related to Fibromyalgia

Dizziness is a word that is often used to describe a feeling of light-headedness or faintness to an overall loss of balance and feeling that the room is spinning.

Approximately 70 percent of individuals who have been diagnosed with the condition of fibromyalgia experience the symptom of dizziness.

You may experience dizziness every day- and it may last for extended periods of time. If you are experiencing chronic dizziness, you are at an increased risk for becoming injured due to a fall.

Here are two main things that the term “dizziness” is used to describe:

Lightheadedness: this is when you feel as if you are going to faint. You probably have a feeling of dizziness but the world around you is not spinning.

In some cases, symptoms of nausea, clamminess, and paleness may also be present. This feeling is due to a drop in the blood flow/blood pressure to your head. In most cases, once you lie down, the feeling of dizziness will go away.

Vertigo: this is when you feel that you or the world around you is spinning. This feeling occurs due to a conflict in signals being sent to your bran by the balance-senses of your body.

Chances are that you will likely feel nauseous and vomit, have difficulty standing/walking, and you may even fall down because you lose your balance.

Dizziness Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of dizziness are likely to be different from one person to the next and this could be caused by various reasons. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Faintness
  • Disorientation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Losing your balance
  • Feeling unsteady
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Feeling like the world around you is spinning
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Tinnitus/ringing in the ears
  • Disturbances with vision
  • Weakness

Fibromyalgia and balance problems

Causes of Dizziness

According to the experts, it’s not clear exactly what causes dizziness and balance issues in the condition of fibro. It is known that there are trigger points in your jaw and neck and can result in a feeling of imbalance or dizziness.

This could be due to the nerves that are affected. When the signals don’t match, it can result in disorientation and dizziness.

Individuals with the condition of fibro typically have difficulty maintaining normal blood pressure. Hypotension, or a drop in blood pressure, can result in feeling faint and light-headed. Hypotension is divided into several different classifications:

Orthostatic Hypotension: this is a drop in blood pressure that happens when you go from sitting/lying down to standing. It can result in a feeling of dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness.

Neutrally Mediated Hypotension: this is a drop in blood pressure that is caused by a reflex of your nervous system.

It can occur after standing for a period of time, exercising, an emotionally stressful event, or being exposed to a warm environment.

It can result in a feeling of faintness, lightheadedness, cognitive dysfunction, chronic fatigue, and intolerance to exercise.

Postprandial Hypotension: this is a drop in blood pressure that occurs right after you eat and is most likely to occur in individuals who have issues with high blood pressure or brain disorders. It can result in a feeling of faintness, falling, dizziness, and lightheadedness.

Some of the other causes of lightheadedness include an illness, low blood sugar, anxiety, anemia, panic attacks, and hyperventilation.

Vertigo is a form of dizziness in which an individual experiences the feeling of motion due to a dysfunction in their vestibular system.

This is made up of the inner ear and portions of the brain that are in control of the eye movements and balance.

If there is a disturbance in the inner ear fluids, it can cause a feeling of dizziness (acute or chronic) and can occur with or without hearing loss.

Vertigo can result due to the following vestibular system dysfunctions:

BPPV: this is the most common cause of the symptom of vertigo and occurs when small stones/crystals in the inner ear are displaced and end up causing irritation.

This can result in brief but intense episodes of vertigo when your head changes position quickly- often occurring when you roll over in bed or sit up quickly.

While it can be bothersome, it’s rarely a serious problem- unless it is increasing your risk of falling.

Inflammation of the inner ear: this can be due to a virus or an infection. There are two disorders that occur due to an infection: vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis.

In addition to dizziness, you will likely experience nausea/vomiting and severe, debilitating balance problems. The inflammation will typically clear up on its own, but chronic dizziness can persist if the virus does damage to the vestibular nerve.

Meniere’s Disease: this is a disorder that is characterized by fluid build-up in the inner ear. This condition can result in hearing loss, vertigo, tinnitus, and a feeling of pressure in the ear. On average, this attack will last for 2 to 4 hours.

Vestibular migraines: this is a migraine condition that does not result in headache, but in vertigo. This cause of this condition is the same as a traditional migraine, but instead of affecting the pain receptors in the brain, it affects the balance areas and causes balance problems.

If you do have a history of getting migraine headaches and you are also experiencing vertigo, speak with your physician to confirm a diagnosis.

In addition, there are many medications, including medications used to treat the condition of fibro, as well as anti-seizure drugs, sedatives, antidepressants, tranquilizers, and high blood pressure medications that have dizziness listed as a side effect.

So, if you are dealing with the condition of fibro and you are also experiencing the symptoms of balance problems, speak with your physician about what the problem could be.

If it is medication, the solution may be as simple as changing what you’re taking. On the other hand, if there is something else going on, he/she will be able to locate the treatment that you need to solve your problems.

Sources:

http://www.fibrodaze.com/dizziness-balance/

http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/news/20100507/people-with-fibromyalgia-prone-falls

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Living with Fibro

1 Comment

  • I can see why it took the medical community to wake up and realize that fibromyalgia is a real condition. There are so many symptoms and so many forms it can take that it must have been really hard to piece together as one overarching condition.

    Also, the symptoms overlap so many other conditions that the diagnosis of fibromyalgia was probably easy to overlook, even after it became more commonly known.

    Any of the conditions or symptoms described in this article are hard to deal with, and when you have fibromyalgia you have to deal with many or all of them, and you never know what you’re going to have to deal with day by day.

    I personally think that anyone dealing with fibromyalgia should get a medal.

    Thank you for a great post, because it helps me understand more fully the complexity of the disease and what my friends with fibro have to deal with. 🙂

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