Is Stress Making My Symptoms Flare?

Q: I have fibromyalgia… and recently, there has been a huge amount of stress in my life. I tried to go back to work. Almost immediately, the pain, headaches, fatigue and “brain-fog” amped up 10 fold. My question is, what can I do about this? I HAVE to go back to work. I need guidance, and I need it fast!

A:  It sounds like you have been dealing with a lot of difficult symptoms. Although I cannot definitively say what is physically going on with you, there are some things that you can do to help your situation. Here are some suggestions:

• Consider finding a doctor who will work closely with your elevated symptoms; try online at to find a listing of medical doctors who are holistically inclined. (Click on “Physician+Link.)

• Get a saliva cortisol test to see if you have the cortisol that you need to appropriately react to stress; Diagnos-Techs has an Adrenal Stress Index  that measures several components in the saliva that are associated with stress.

• Think about testing your stool for Candida to make sure that your symptoms are not being caused by an overgrowth of yeast.

• If you have not gone to a neurologist for a complete work-up, make sure that your physician refers you to one to ensure you have no other concerns causing the headaches.

• Try supporting your adrenal glands (which make cortisol, and other hormones to aid the body in dealing with stress, and can become dysfunctional in fibromyalgia). B vitamins and vitamin C are especially important, and you may try ginseng, licorice (only if you do not have high blood pressure) or ‘adaptogenic’ herbs such as schisandra or rhodiola. (See for example “How to replenish the adrenals,” a video that also suggests making sure you get enough protein and enough rest.)

Dr. Kristy Lou Wrightson, ND, MS, RD


Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is general and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without first researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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