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About Felicia

I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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For people with fibromyalgia sensitivities to light, sound and touch can greatly alter their day to day lives. Bright lights, sounds that are numerous or loud and even light touch can trigger pain and cognitive difficulties quickly. This is an area that I feel is harder for those without fibromyalgia to understand. For the light sensitivity I would compare it to the light sensitivity one experiences with a migraine or even after having their pupils dilated. For sensitivity to sound I would compare it to imagining how you would feel if  all of the sounds you hear are amplified and all the background conversations were people yelling. While we do not hear noises louder, they effect use similar to the way louder noises would effect someone without fibromyalgia.  Sensitivity to touch  is harder for me to compare, but I’d say to think of what it feels like when someone presses a bad bruise, but then add in the inability to process thoughts while processing the pain from that touch.

Here are some situations in which I experience troubles:

  1. Bright computer or tv screens on in a dark room
  2. Car GPS screens at night
  3. Driving on a bright sunny day (especially if reflective snow is on the ground)
  4. Driving at night with the headlights of another car shining on any of my mirrors
  5. Being in a restaurant with lots of background music and conversations
  6. The volume of speakers turned up, even slightly, at a movie theater, home or in a car.

While I cannot get rid of the effects of the sensitivity I can do things to lessen them.

  1. Turn on lights in the room, turn down the brightness of the screen or simply turn off the computer or tv
  2. Turn down the brightness of the screen or turn it off
  3. Wear sunglasses, use visors, try to avoid driving during the sunniest parts of the day
  4. Wear sunglasses, drive on less busy roads, use auto dimming mirrors, try to avoid driving after sunset
  5. Try to sit in quieter areas of the restaurant (back or edge of room), sit facing the wall or in a less busy area so you don’t see as many distracting/overwhelming things.
  6. Turn down the volume, wear noise cancelling ear plugs

I realize I haven’t mentioned the sensitivity to touch yet. This is because, for me, that sensitivity comes more into play when I’m already experiencing a sensitivity to light and or sound. The perfect example of this has happened many times to me. I’m in a hot car in the summer, The Helpful Hubby has the windows down (breezes are hitting me), the radio is on, it is sunny out and The Helpful Hubby is trying to talk to me.  Boom! I start not being able to concentrate and getting a headache. Heaven forbid The Helpful Hubby tries to hold my hand or touch my leg. We have both learned the hard way that I need to communicate that I’m having problems dealing with the environment. This gives us the ability to change things so I can feel better.

What are your tips for dealing with these types of situations?

This post was included in Chronic Babe Blog Carnival #24: Great Workarounds.

Earplugs & Sunglasses

Helpful devices: earplugs & sunglasses


Comment from Annie
Time August 9, 2010 at 9:53 am

I have the touch sensitivity too :( . As far as I can tell there is very little to be done about it other than medication. So painful. Ridiculous.

GREAT suggestions for the others though!


Comment from Maija Haavisto
Time August 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

Low dose naltrexone usually helps, besides other fibro symptoms, also light and noise sensitivity. Anticonvulsants, NMDA antagonists and the muscle relaxant baclofen can help.

Light and noise sensitivity can also be due to adrenal insufficiency, in which case hydrocortisone can really help. My senses aren’t normally oversensitive, but if my cortisol is low, I get photophobia and all kinds of noises seem to grind my ears.


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks for adding the pharmaceutical suggestions!


Comment from Nonna
Time August 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

I have it “easier” in that my boys both have sensory processing issues from being on the autistic spectrum – so we tend to avoid over stimulating areas as a family. Still, there are times when you can’t really avoid it… and it’s really hard to make other people understand. Usually I don’t even try to explain… it helps to know I’m not the only one!


Comment from Stacey Q
Time September 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I’ve tried the low dose Naltrexone and had terrible side effects with nausea and diarrhea. I have read so much good about the low dose Naltrexone for Fibromyalgia just wish it worked for me


Comment from Annie@TraumaDolls
Time March 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Great post, Felicia! Found you through the Blog Carnival at Chronic Babe, and will definitely be back.

As for sensitivities, I’ve not had much in the way of touch issues, but have mercy, light and sounds can put me over the edge. Usually I’m able to maintain composure and keep functioning but every now and again, the sound of voices from the television are overwhelming. But it changes day to day — the same program/voices/sound level that make me nuts on one day can have me climbing the walls the next.
Annie@TraumaDolls recently posted: URGENT- Call to Arms for All Chronically Pained Dolls – A Sister Needs Our Help


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thank you very much, Annie! Sounds put me over the edge sometimes too and like you said, it varies depending on the day. The Helpful Hubby is very patient with me and will turn the TV much lower than he’d prefer to have it, when I need it.


Comment from Sharon
Time November 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

This is a great site, Felicia. I have all the sensitivity issues and can never verbally communicate my discomfort. I usually end up irritable and just wanting to go hide away somewhere. It stinks!


Felicia Fibro Reply:

Thanks, Sharon! We all have our moments. On the times that I realize the sensory bombardment is getting to me I tell The Helpful Hubby, “I’m having a hard time handling this.” While that isn’t too specific, he knows what I mean and usually has already noticed I’m acting different.


Comment from Amanda Leah
Time November 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I have extreme, and I mean extreme sensitivity to cold and changes in air pressure. No one else seemed to mention that. Is it just me?


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