It's not enough that we hurt interrupting sleep and other important activities, but with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, we know our brain is on hyper alert for different reasons, but sensitive all the same. This puts us at risk for sensitivity to light, sound, household chemicals and odors, cold, heat, and even some medications.
Particularly troublesome are those things in our environment that we have little to no control over, which has an effect on many neuro-endocrine-immune disorders
We can’t live in a dark room all day every day. Recommendations are that we spend about 20 minutes a day in sunlight, a great source of vitamin D, which is low in some patients. After other causes of photophobia (light sensitivity) have been ruled out, we should protect our eyes with dark polarized sunglasses with UV protection. Even snow can be a source of irritation, so wear your sunglasses or a wide brimmed hat year round. Light sensitivity, is also common in migraine so these precautions could help prevent a migraine attack too. If ambient light or a computer screen is a factor for you, a lighter tinted glass you can wear all the time may help.
Sound sensitivity (hyperacusis) or misophonia (sensitivity to certain sounds) is another matter, and it seems not only sound and tones, but several people talking at one time can be irritating. Tinnitus, ringing in the ear, may also play a part for you, and is sometimes caused by the presence of myofascial trigger points of myofascial pain syndrome. Total avoidance may not be possible because it is important to spend time with others to combat isolation, but we can identify and avoid certain known toxic noise situations. Carrying ear plugs for those times when you have one nerve left and noise/sound/music is unbraiding it may be helpful. Try to keep your environment as chaotic free as possible. There are auditory retraining therapies available so you may need a referral to a specialist.
If light and sound sensitivity causes a great deal of anxiety, discuss this with your doctor, there may be a medication or supplement that can help. Deep breathing, Qi Gong, mindfulness therapy, and meditation have been scientifically proven to lower our hyper alert response.
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is best treated by first identifying offensive environmental chemicals and medications. Once the culprit/s is identified, the best solution is avoidance. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Discuss particular aggravating factors with your doctor to explore treatment options
Talk to your doctor about your sensitivities so he or she can work with you to come up with an effective treatment plan.
In healing and hope, Celeste
All blogs, posts and answers are not meant to replace medical advice.
Want to know more about Celeste’s books? (click on the title)
Broken Body Wounded Spirit: Balancing theSee Saw of Chronic Pain. (co-author, Jeff Miller, PhD)
Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia,Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (co-author, Jeff Miller, PhD)