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Adrienne Dellwo

Fibromyalgia & Falls: Why We're Prone

By January 23, 2012

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Research Brief

People with fibromyalgia are known to be prone to falls, and new research may provide insight into why.

The small study compared strength and other measures of muscle function in 16 women with fibromyalgia and 16 healthy women, focusing on the hips, knees and ankles.

Researchers say they found low muscle strength in the legs, low function in the knees and hips, and poor balance and agility in the fibromyalgia group.

Furthermore, they say the greater the hip problems, knee pain, overall pain and severity of fibromyalgia symptoms, the more likely the person was to have a history of falling.

Take-Aways

I think the main take-away from this study, for those of us who are living with fibromyalgia, is that we may be able to strengthen these areas and help prevent falls. If light exercise, within your personal limits, can keep you from falling and possibly hurting yourself, it'd be well worth the effort.

Some experts believe fibromyalgia puts you at risk for osteoporosis, which makes falls even more hazardous. Between our pain amplification (hyperalgesia) and generally slow healing rate, a broken bone can be a huge setback for us.

This is just a small preliminary study, but if the results are replicated on a larger scale, they could lead to recommendations of physical therapy to help with strength in our legs. I didn't used to equate balance to leg strength, but after having physical therapy for a knee injury a year ago, I really saw how they were connected.

Do you fall or stumble a lot? Do you have a lot of hip or knee pain? Have your falls lead to serious injuries? Leave your comments below!

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Comments
January 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm
(1) Nancy says:

I tend to fall quite a lot especially in a flare or after being bed ridden for a while.I agree that strength does or the lack of it causes me to fall.

January 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm
(2) Diane Barham says:

I have been having dizzy spells for 3 or 4 months and they are getting worse. I have the tub/shower combo and Dec 10 I was standing with my back to the shower spray and the next thing I knew I had smacked the side of my head on the toilet bowl across from the tub. I don’t remember falling out of the tub, falling on the round garbage can alongside the tub then continuing on to the toilet bowl. Those suckers are hard and really hurt my head. 2 staples and a CAT scan later they told me I was fine. Found the garbage can bruse the next day. Surprise. My Dr. guessed vertigo. Sent me for tests on my neck, heart echo, and EKG. Everything was clear. They really stirred up my fashia knots in my neck and cheast though. It’s scary as I never know when my brain is going to give me a whirl.

January 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm
(3) Carol says:

I’m sooo glad to see this report! I do fall a lot, and “almost fall” like falling into a wall etc. Last summer I was walking along a stream with my family and fell for no apparent reason, face first into a boulder! Broke my nose bad! It is definitely a strenght issue I think! My leg muscles are very weak, especialy those which should keep my ankle and knee in correct positions. I also get a lot fo dizzy spells which doesn’t help, and I do already have osteoporosis.

January 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm
(4) Nancy says:

I fell and broke my ankel 3yrs ago in 3 places plate pins . i fell several time and 3wks ago fell and thought I broke my knee. er said not broke but I am still having trouble with it alot. I never had trouble since before fibro now almost afraid to walk or go out for fear of falling.

January 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm
(5) Joanna says:

Just walking I trip over myself! Sometimes when I have flare-ups of the fibro I tend to walk llke I am drunk and it drives me crazy! I would fail a sobriety test during a flare up and I dont even drink!

January 24, 2012 at 8:31 am
(6) Nancy A. says:

I’ve always had leg weakness and balance problems with my fibromyalgia, but being on Lyrica has increased both my fibro fog and my balance problems.

A week before this past Christmas, I got up on a chair putting up some Christmas cards at home. It happened so fast but I think maybe I got a little drowsy and lost my balance and I fell off the chair. I’m due to get the cast off my arm this Friday (1/27) after fracturing my right wrist in two places. Luckily, I’m left-handed, but this was still a terrible experience and it also caused a fibro flareup. The x-rays showed I had osteopenia (the condition that leads up to osteoporosis). I will be much more careful from now on.

Don’t get up on chairs for any reason and be very careful not to fall. Go up and down stairs slowly and don’t run at all. With fibromyalgia, we’re all in enough pain as it is and don’t need broken bones or other injuries to add to our pain and suffering.

January 24, 2012 at 9:42 am
(7) Sandy Graves says:

I fall way too much. Pulling muscles and tendons. Not a
good situation. Talk about having vertigo. Sometime I feel like I am on the Crab boat on the deathlessly catch in Alaska, with 60 foot waves. My brain is so fuzzy that I swear I had lint in my ears. I know I am making light of this but it is not funny. If I don’t keep my sense of humor I would go nuts. We all know the falls are coming and we just need to take care, and be careful. Soft Hugs and soft landings.

January 24, 2012 at 11:13 am
(8) Dana says:

I had a bad year last year. In March I fell and broke both my knee and shoulder. Then on my way to physical therapy in October I rebroke my knee and had to have surgery. I’ve been in a wheelchair for 3 months. Both times I was very fatigued once from working too long and once from a flare up.

January 24, 2012 at 11:30 am
(9) Shannon says:

I had a really terrifying fall a few months ago, just getting out of my own bed. I stood up and promptly fell down. As if my legs didn’t work or weren’t even there. My husband totally freaked out because he heard me and I had grabbed his calf while going down.

I bruised my hip pretty badly but otherwise didn’t do any obvious damage. I paid for it for a good week though. My back and hip were so sore after that. Imagine a wire hanger all bent out of shape, that’s how I felt.

My body has gone through some major changes in the last 2 yrs with Fibro and CFS and I’ve had to deal with a lot of weird things. But that one fall scared me more than anything else that has happened to-date. In fact, I’m terrified of it happening again.

January 24, 2012 at 11:43 am
(10) Shirley says:

I dont know why but Im constantly running into doorways and people. If I am out and in a crowd I always bump or stumble into people without even realizing I am doing this. I know they are there but it seems like my brain doesnt connect to the fact Im going to bump or hit them. Does anyone else have this problem. Needless to say, dont go around crowds much!

January 24, 2012 at 11:53 am
(11) Cynthia says:

I tore my meniscus in my knee last February….don’t know how. Probably happened during one of my Vertigo episodes. My surgeon did not operate and said it would take about a year to heal or longer because of the fibro. I always walk with a cane now. My legs and hips often feel very weak like they aren’t going to hold me up. I also have a herniated disc in my neck which aggravates the vertigo and pain across my shoulders which makes my arms feel weak. I am very nervous going out when there is snow or ice for fear that I will fall. We installed two grab bars in our bathtub so I have less chance of falling in there and a cut-out so I don’t have to step so high to get in the tub. Hugs to all my fellow sufferers.

January 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm
(12) Brynn says:

I always have had impeccable coordination and balance but in the past two to three years I have noticed a definite decrease. About six months ago I sprained both my knees jogging and it was less than a mile in a week. In fact yesterday I fell down four steps, no idea how it happened I wasn’t even multitasking while walking down them.

January 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm
(13) Carmen says:

I do experience pain around hip knee and always my right foot. I do have problems with keeping my balance. I have found that no pill or doctor is going to make me better.. Exercise so far is for me the best thing.

Hope every one is coping as well as I am so far. Stay strong.

January 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm
(14) Joy says:

Wow is this good to hear.. I have been falling for years.. I just joke it off.. friends are always kiddin me..about my falls.. I am lucky to have not done to much damage to myself except breaking my foot last summer. I also fall when I get out of bed.. like my legs are not even there. This was happening before i was diagnosed.. they first thought I had MS but no it was the fibro.. my balance is bad and I am always bumping into walls and furniture.. good to know I am not alone!!!

January 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm
(15) Deea says:

I’m always falling, and if and when I do venture out I lose my balance and stumble all the time. And the dizziness and ear ringing and feeling like I’ve got cotton in my ears a gradually gotten worse the past year or so I have been dx since 1999, but I’m sure I’ve had Fibro since 1973. I have some other medical problems,but, fibro makes everything worse.

January 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm
(16) Jill says:

I experience alot of vertigo and it drives me nuts! I don’t fall much, thank goodness, but I do tend to stumble sideways for no apparent reason. I do have alot of pain in my legs, ankles and feet, but I do walk alot with two jobs. The activity keeps me going. My pain is mainly around my ribs, back and hips. I take one day at a time and one small step at a time. Take care out there!

January 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm
(17) Kim says:

Wow I thought it was just me! I work out a lot despite the pain, so I don’t think its a strength issue for me. More likely the fibro is affecting reflexes and range of motion. Lately I’ve been falling so much my husband jokes about it.

January 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm
(18) ElizaBeth says:

I have been falling pretty regularly and walking into people , walls, and doorways for years. My left ankle and 3 of the toes don’t work well anymore from nerve damage….so I wear children’s jazz shoes all the time now…no heels, plus the lack of soles makes my right foot and 2 toes on my left better able to help me maintain balance. I’m glad to hear others walk into things…I have been wondering why I do that. Maybe it, too, is a Fibro thing.

January 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm
(19) candace says:

i stumble and sometimes fall out of bed. my ribs bother me daily (i also get muscle spasms there), and my back hurts in different areas at different times. i also get sore spots the size of like dimes on different places on my body. there is no history of fibromyalgia in my family other than me. i’m 47 yrs old and all this started when i was 30, in my teens i had bell’s palsey and was wondering if there was a connection between the two? the doctor that treated me for the bell’s palsey said I may be in a wheelchair by 21. still no wheel chair.

January 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm
(20) Marla Brumbaugh says:

I fall, stumble, forget forget forget, and am sore somewhere every day, but mostly my neck, back, knees, or ankles. But there have been two new things in the last two years, and so far, no one in this comment arena has mentioned either one.

First, my eyesight has gotten considerably worse. It is as though one eye is looking slightly left of center, so there is no way to focus. This is most noticeable when I am trying to read. I have glasses for seeing distances, but even tho they are bifocals, I take them off to read and still can’t see right. It’s frustrating as all get out!

Secondly, my hands jerk when doing small tasks like typing, writing…especially my thumbs – like right now as I am typing on my iPhone to you! I have to go back and redo my words constantly (thank God for spell check)! Please let me know if any of you have these symptoms. I’d hate to think it is yet another syndrome.

January 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm
(21) Gregory says:

i also fall. mine is alot of dizziness. i am joining a gym, i hope so i can strengthen my muscles. When i get dizzy i say oppsss that happens sometimes. And kind of laugh it off. However i do fall sometimes by myself at home. One time i was turing around and landed on my back side. And just layed there and thought what in the hell just happened. Sometimes i think it happens more when i can’t sleep. I have to watch how i turn while walking because i do stumble. Not fall just kind of look like i’m drunk. Thanks Greg..

January 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm
(22) Gregory says:

knees hurt and my ankles. i thought it was really just me. so glad that i joined this site. even though it is Mosley women. And that’s okay with me. For me being a guy i am gay so i don’t know if that is a factor. However i as a man get those looks. Do any of you girls get looks of disbelieve. I hate that. I think that woman get more of a break with this then men do. Nothing against anyone of course. Thanks again.

January 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm
(23) Joy says:

Yay for one more thing to add to the list. ;)
Actually, I am a bit clumsy. I never really thought about it. I know I drop things because my hands are where I have the most trouble, especially in the morning, but I’ve had hip pain for 2-3 months and couldn’t figure out why, so this is a bit of a relief. I guess I’d better get back to the gym if I don’t fall on the way there!

January 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm
(24) Ginajo says:

I have had 5 bad falls within the past year. No broken bones, but I did have a mild concussion with one of the falls. I’m glad to know this is part of the syndrome.

January 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm
(25) Charlayne says:

I’ve been accident prone for a long time. My mother says my middle name should have been Grace. Both knees are wrecked, I broke a wrist in a fall. I’m going to go see my doctor to pick up a motorized wheelchair prescription this afternoon because I can hardly walk without falling anymore. Between dizzy and weak muscles, I’m a fall waiting to happen.

January 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm
(26) Marti says:

After reading this article and the responses from everyone it explains why I feel like I am always being run into at work. Maybe it is me running into others and not realizing it. I don’t think mine is a strength issue but who knows. I will pay more attention at work to see if it is me.

January 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm
(27) Janette says:

I get dizzy sometime and lucky I have an electric wheelchair. I get weak sometimes where I can’t stand. Besides the Fibro, I have arthritis down my spine and the bottom of it is bent like a ‘C’ shape because of it. I also have it bad in both my feet. I have pain pills and lidoderm patches for the feet. My right knee decided to act up yesterday, so I can’t hardly walk today.

I am going on a cruise at the end of this year in spite of it all. I need a week get away. It might make me feel better.

I have an enlarged thyroid as well, which caused the Fibro. I have taken a supplement for years and they must have redone it, I took one the other day and ended up in the emergency room. I just felt really weird. They scanned my head cause I was dizzy too. They also did an ekg for my heart. I am back at home and still feel awful.

January 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm
(28) Karen Robinson says:

Along with my fibromyalgia, I also have chronic fatigue syndrome and chronic back, hip and leg pain. I had 3 unsuccessful back surgeries in 2004 which ended my nursing career. Now I’m left with chronic pain (Sometimes just about unbearable) and numbness in my left leg, foot and toes. I have fallen a lot but thankfully haven’t broken any bones. I have dizzy spells which have resulted in falling. I always fall to my left side, probably due to the left leg numbness and weakness.

January 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm
(29) Andrea says:

I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and have had problems with falling, gait, brain fog, severe muscle pain and memory loss
V that have gotten progressively worse. I have been under the care of a rheumatologist and PA who specializes in FB. Tests revealed hydrocephalus which is an accumulation of water on the brain causing problems with gait, balance, falls and many other related symptoms. After additional testing by a neurosurgeon(s) the treatment of choice for me was shunting to drain the extra fluid from my head into my stomach. Surgery was done and a shunt was placed in my head with a tube implanted in my abdomen to drain excess fluid. This has been very successful for me in all areas affected by FB.

January 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(30) Doc ForthePeople says:

I am sad and yet overoyed to see so many people talking about their falls. It is an unspoken secret of most pain sufferers. It is shocking and appalling that the medical professionals are so oblivious to this problem. I have been trying to raise awareness of the problem since about the turn of the century and I have presented several poster abstracts at meetings, but little more than a nod of acknowledgement by some docs.

Pain sufferers know all to well about these sudden, unpredictable and uncontrollable events.

Unfortunately the cause is far more complex and sinister than simple weakness of the muscles, although better conditioning of the muscles will probably be of benefit.

The article mentions the “hyperalgesia” that is part of fibromyalgia, but so are hyper active reflexes of all kinds, including flexor withdrawal reflexes that draw the legs up. I believe that events, such as twisting the spine as in turning to grab something, can trigger these hyperactive reflexes, that then draws the leg up. Even a brief instantaneous event when the bodies momentum needs downward movement can trigger loss of balance. Furthermore, a strong enough reflex can lift the leg and if rapid enough can make the body airborn….DISASTER!

There is scientific basis and statistical basis, at least among my former patients, to support all that I have said. So if you feel, like so many of my patients said, “It’s as if the leg just wasn’t there!”. . . It really wasn’t. It is not in your head, it is in the physics of what is going on!

The real merit of this article is the major recognition in a medical journal and in this blog that the problem exists! Keep up the great work. We all need more!

January 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm
(31) sonia says:

I have had FM many years and have had many falls. I can be standing and drop. I cannot walk down a straight hall and turn my head. If I am taking a shower standing, I’ve learned to place one hand flat on the wall when I close my eyes. If not, I can fall; as I have many times out of the tub. It takes what seems like forever to heal after a fall/ injury. My worse fall was down a flight of stairs ending in crashing my head into a brick wall. Concussion, and injuries to right side (leg, hip, arm, shoulder, etc). That was over 3 years ago, and I am still trying to heal. I fell again recently landing with right shoulder & arm under me & twisted. Start all over again with healing. I also feel clumsy and crash into things; such as walls, furniture. I prefer to have someone with me when I go out because I often trip, crash, fall, etc.

January 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm
(32) Lisa says:

WOW. I, too, fall. I figured it was my fibro but…now I know. Thinking about it I fall most often when turning my upper body, like when getting out of a restaurant booth. I’ve torn the cartlidge in my right wrist, my left knee and damaged the nerves in my left arm from my falls. I’ve found myself “trailing” my hand along the walls and furniture for assurance so I don’t hit those doorways, people and well, anything in my path from the dizzyness. I’ve encountered disabling bouts of vertigo twice lasting several days.
I currently work a full time job but am often scared how long I can keep it up! I pooped ya’ll!
Hugs to all.

January 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm
(33) Pained says:

Thanks Doc for mentioning hyper reactiveness, apparently also reflected in hyper fight/flight responses.

I have always had a hyper response to reflex tests, going back to childhood.

My rheumatologist said I also have hypermobility — loose joints — something she finds in a majority of her fibro patients.

Have had more than my share of falls and near-falls and have found the best help has come from practicing Tai Chi. I also take part in warm water exercises, where “falling” isn’t much of a worry beyond getting your hair wet.

January 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm
(34) Jim says:

I really learn alot from these forums, i rarely see studies with men involved. yes, fibromyalgia studies typically isolate womens issues however, it would be helpful to read about studies of men who suffer from the same affliction.

i dont know how many people know that alot of veterans are afflicted with this condition. not to exclude having recieved a traumatic brain injury in Iraq.

I too suffer from falls that are otherwise unexplained. its frusrtrating and often embarrasing. Drunker stupor feelings dispite not having touched alcohol in quite a long time.

im alergic to alchohol, it makes drunk (joke, by the way, lol)

often times i catch my self feeling as though, and sometimes looking, like a toddler, just learning to walk.

very frustrating

January 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm
(35) lloyd says:

In the morning, I frequently careen off walls. Balance problems are a common problem with fibromyalgia. I dread the situation as I age because it’s becoming clear that I will not see a significant breakthrough in treatment in my lifetime.

January 24, 2012 at 11:19 pm
(36) Abot Bensussen says:

I’ve been practicing balance the last five years, and am getting a little better now. It takes a lot of work and my Pilates teacher has helped me so very much.

My falls about ten years ago or more, were caused by cataracts. I did not realize I couldn’t see depth. Now that I have 20/20 vision again, I’m not falling.

It’s crucial to have some physical activity, Physical therapy, yoga, some kind of training for our fibro bodies. I was happy to give up my walker, and then, my cane. Core strength is crucial for good balance. We must keep moving and learning.

January 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm
(37) Cindy says:

I have broken many bones over the years. Not for a long while though (knock on wood). Over the last couple years I have slowly been doing exercise. It started out very slowly, now I work out with light weights for 20 minutes and walk 40 minutes a day. I have to really keep up with it. If I stop for more then 3 days I pretty much have to start all over again. I think it has helped a lot with many things. Now I’m trying to loose weight. Which was caused by all the wonderful Fibromyalgia drugs. Every one I have tried makes me gain weight. I’ve got about 50 or 60 pounds to get rid of. I don’t think being over weight helps anything.
I have to force my self to do exercise, I mean force. And, I take pain medications, which help me be able to get out of bed and exercise. I think the exercise helps with balance, osteoporosis and muscle strength.
I’m not in any way saying hey kids jump up and exercise. I’m saying slowly, very slowly, start to move and get pain medication if you need it to be able to move.

January 25, 2012 at 4:27 pm
(38) Debi says:

Yup, yup and YUP! Do NOT know how i managed to fall and break my back before I even knew I was going down. Such are the Fibro flips and flops! At least I’m not as hard on myself for careening into walls as when I was first diagnosed over 20 years ago. I’m used to being covered with bruises and not having the slightest idea where they came from. Bless us all as we struggle with the tipsy challenges!!

January 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm
(39) David daulby says:

i have real problems with my knees and hips and it causes me to fall and my knees give way alot

January 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm
(40) Maggie says:

I’m always running into walls, furniture, etc and just fell getting the mail yesterday. Of course I was on the phone and opening mail while walking up the two steps to my front door. Must…not…multi task.

January 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm
(41) Lenora Ziobro says:

I do fall alot,the last time putting me in the hospital for 3 days with a severe concussion.I bump into thing alot and usually have bruises and strains.I fell several years ago and broke my arm.I always thought people were bumping into me not the other way around.I always use a cane and since it is getting worse,I now have a back-up walker and wheelchair.I also have trouble when I first get up with the feeling of my leg not being there.I also feel like I am falling all the time.It is strange to hear that others have the same problems when you think it is just yourself that goes thru all these different things.

January 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm
(42) Paula says:

this is for Marla Brumbaugh. Have you been tested for Myasthenia Gravis? My husband had double vision for years even Mayo Clinic couldn’t diagnose it. A doctor on Minneapolis sent him to the University of MN where they finally diagnosed it. It is also an autoimmune disease.

January 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm
(43) greenSearcher says:

I started falling about 4 years ago, the crashing, hit the ground falling, not the misstep stumble that plagued me since childhood. I have alway had bruises, from walking into the coffee table to hitting my head on the cupboard door. I found that most of the falls were balance related. Almost 2 years ago I had the first of 3 not-stroke-events, which all landed me in the hospital for 2 or more days as they would do the stroke work up and try to figure out what happened. First ER doc thought it was a drug OD, could have been but I doubt it. The only thing different I took at that time was benedryl, but w/ the drug cocktails I was one it could have been enough to trigger it. The first two episodes started from a state of sleep, I couldn’t stand or walk and I didn’t recognize my DH and could speak clearly. The pain doc did a reevaluation on the meds and cut back the pain patch and I had no further problems until 8 months later when I found my feet and legs would not do as directed and I was having problems speaking. Another stroke work up showed nothing. At this point I started looking at every drug and supplement I was taking and found that Cymbalta (which did help w/ depression & pain) and Gabatril (helped w/ the nerve chatter) had side effects that were like my symptoms that put me in the hospital. My normal PCP picked up on that when we were talking and did further research while I weaned myself off the Cymbalta and Gabatril. I have found the correct dosage of herbs to provide the same benefits of the drugs w/o the excitement of falling. Now it has been nearly 2 years since the last hospital stay, and also since the last bad fall. I find it beneficial to do a drug audit once a year or so to see if my meds continue to work as they should and if any new side effects occur. I was diagnosed 12 years ago w/ FMS and the drugs have changed as lot over the years.

January 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm
(44) Sophie says:

Having been dianosed before 1993 for fms by a rheumatologist in Houston and now a double whamy with polycythemia vera which is very rare. It seem as if both make me dizzy and falls occur. It is great that my diet has so far prevented bone breakage.

We are now working to control the polycytemis vera by the letting of 500cc of blood every two weeks. I thought that I had a tuff time in teaching about fms, but this beats it all.

It may be prudent in letting others know.

January 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm
(45) Teresa says:

I don’t fall much, but I bump into things a lot. Even 30 yrs ago, when I had no idea what was wrong with me, I’d get up from my desk at work and start walking down the hall, only to bump into the wall on the right. I still do this. I also find myself tripping over my own feet. I just don’t have the energy at times to pick them up enough when I’m walking.

January 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm
(46) Cindy says:

Hey Gregory,
I’m a gay woman and the only other man I new was a gay guy too. What’s that all about. I’ve been wanting a fibro e-mail buddy, want to e-mail?

January 28, 2012 at 9:03 am
(47) janice says:

I am prone to falls. I have never injured myself until this past fall when I fell at work. I landed on my tailbone. The injury should be healed by now, but it is not. I have had constant pain from my tailbone with little to no relief from pain medication. Even though I am in constant pain I have gone back to work on reduced hours. I don’t know if my tailbone is ever going to heal. I am trying to reduce my pain by changing how I sit. The problem with this is I am causing more hip, knee, leg and back pain from doing this. This is causing me more Fibro. pain. My meds for my Fibro don’t work. I am exhausted because I have difficulty sleeping. I have cut back on my activities to try to reduce the pain. I feel like I am going crazy. The strongest narcotic I take is Tramadol but it doesn’t do anything for pain. I feel like I may have to start taking something stronger so I can at least get some sleep. If only the tailbone pain would go away. Then I could get back to my exercises and my normal living with Fibro. life. My Dr. is now trying to tell me the tailbone pain is my Fibro.
Has anyone else developed chronic pain from their injuries? I really am starting to wonder if this is pain is here to stay. I’m not sure how I am going to cope with it.
What are the herbals,naturalpathic,or supplements do you take to manage pain and for sleep? If my Dr. isn’t going to help me then I need to try to find something—anything to find some relief and sleep.
I am so grateful for this website to learn about Fibro and hear from other Fibro sufferers. I helps to know I’m not alone.
The medical community desperately needs to be educated on Fibro and not brush it off as narcotic and sleeping pill seeking, but real pain!

January 28, 2012 at 9:16 am
(48) Lucy says:

Falls? Oh yeah! I’ve evened out my ribs with two falls and 2 broken ribs, one on each side. Also have had to have knee surgery on both knees due to injuries that tore meniscus and brok off chunks of knee cap.

I also have neurologically mediated hypotension so I have to be careful about going from sitting to standing. I often get dizzy and have to grab something so I don’t keel over.

The two things that have helped me are losing weight, 87 lbs to date, and very gentle yoga.

Giving up on all the medications that either didn’t help or caused horrible side affects or both helped too.

To the person who has osteopenia, if you are on medications for acid reflux, many of them interfer with calcium absorption. We are working on getting my husband a fundoplication for his hiatal hernia so we can gt him off those meds because he has developed osteopenia. He has no other risk factos for this.

January 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm
(49) mickey says:

You’re absolutely right about being off-balance. Also, I just have revision surgery on my hip which caused a fibro flare 3x worse than ever before. If there is a trauma to the body or too much excessive stimuli, my fibro always flares.

January 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm
(50) shosh says:

thanks as usual for adding another symptom to my Fibromyalgia and CF long list, but I did know that my vetigo, lack of balance and multiple falls and unfortunately car accidents – does anyone else have these? are all attributable to Fibro. I constantly have bruises when I have not been aware of doing the damage – I have broken each of my feet 3 times, the left one has left me with an enormously swollen ankle – oh well. I now go to pilates and yoga to try to correct my balance problems and somedays I can barely get there, never mind do the exercises, but I do think that it is helping. each time I have fallen I have had no idea afterwards how or why I fell. I just laugh it off and say I was born clumsy as people just do not understand. I have been given half an antihistamine daily for the vertigo as a precaution and can take up to 3 tablets a day if it is very bad. I have also been hospitalised for this, and I always use spellcheck or else my typing is not always legible. hand in there all of you – or should I say hang on – to whatever is nearest when you go downstairs – my worst place to fall – good luck.

January 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm
(51) kathy says:

I always thought i was just a ‘klutz’. i over-tread my ankles regularly. I bump into door jams, even fall up the stairs. My low pain threshold doesn’t help matters; everything seems to hurt more than it should.

When i have deep bone, muscle pain I’m not thinking about where my feet are or where they should be next. I even have frustrating dreams about trying to explain why I can’t complete a task. I drop things more than other folks. Life gets frustrating. Functioning in a normal world is a challenge. Fibro is chronic; it gets better and worse, with no predictability.

When I fall, I take time to take care of myself. I usually recover after a nap. It is a reality; just one more thing that fibro has taken from me, but i won’t quit.

January 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm
(52) sara larson says:

I have problems walking on my feet when I get up or I stumble a lot and I fall a lot iam get off balance when I walk and my knees and hip hurts so bad daily I take a lot of meds for pain

January 29, 2012 at 4:20 am
(53) deb says:

I was diagnosed in 1997. I’ve said here before that his words of wisdom to me were “If you don’t get it, it’ll get you.” So I guess it’s my
fault, whatever happens. Not really. If I had taken that to heart, I’d have killed myself by now. I remember the day in 1998, when I stood up from my couch and fell to the floor, hurting my ankle bad. When I went to see him he said”Well I guess now I have to give you pain pills”.
He also said I just fainted for a minute cuz I’d just eaten dinner. Uh,no,
I remember falling and hitting the floor. My experience with doctors since the late nineties has been uniformly sucky. Right now I share my husband’s meds. I too walk down the hall with my arms out to
steady myself. Showers are hell. Besides feeling like I’m being hit with buckshot and then being immobile for two days, just trying not to
fall getting in and out or standing there is a nightmare. I never leave
the house without a cane, even to go out and garden. God it’s a laugh
a minute, isn’t it? Til next time-don’t take any crap from anyone!

January 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm
(54) poodleloverdlj says:

I too was always a klutz. I have hip, knee & constant feet pain.

In 2011, I broke my right shoulder TWICE. It was quite embarrassing to say I had no idea what ’caused’ the falls. Both times my head & neck took a lot of the impact.

One of the breaks required extensive surgery. Then was followed with MRSA & fungus infections: seems the surgeon didn’t pay any attention to my list of DX including CFS or CFIDs.

Now I get to add both shoulders to my pain area lists. This pain is sometimes so severe as to cause me to wake up during a sound sleep to find myself crying.

Ouch.

January 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm
(55) sandra says:

i don’t even get dizzy… i just fall. Glad to see this article. At least now i feel like there’s an explanation.

January 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm
(56) julie says:

I fell often several years ago, but they felt it was my medication and reduced it. My falls did reduce. I fell again while I was walking about 3 years ago and had to go the ER. I checked out OK but was pretty banged up.

Then last week, I was just walking along and fell again. I was not dizzy, I did not trip, I just fell. Fortunately I had my lap top with me and threw it down in front of me and I landed on it. My lap top was fine and so was I.

I started thinking it might have been caused from my Fibro because my right hip has been in severe pain. When I fell this last time, I noticed my right knee, hand, ankle and hip really ached after the fall. My left knee hurt as well because I fell on my knees. However, I did not need a doctor this time.

I have multiple diagnosis, FM being just one of them, but I have this fairly severely even with medication. I can barely tolerate clothes touching me often times and I work full time (so I have to wear them)!

A friend of mine came across this article and sent it to me, so I will certainly thank her!

January 30, 2012 at 3:28 am
(57) Mary T. says:

Yep, I’m a tumbler, though not as graceful as the ones in the Olympics! Most of my life I’ve had hip, knee, ankle and balance problems. And the balance has worsened since the fm/cfs started. I tilt, wobble, stagger, and run into stuff all day. I finally signed up for one of those “I’ve fallen and can’t get up services” (yes, the very ones whose commercials I used to laugh at). I haven’t plugged it in yet – fibro fog is preventing me from making sense of the directions – but my family and I are glad I finally got it. They live out of town, my friends and neighbors all work and I live alone except for many non-service-trained animals. I’ll see if I can get some leg exercises in each day – I’m sure it would help. I just haven’t done it due to laziness…

January 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm
(58) andrea says:

Hello,
Yes, Iately I’ve found my knee and hip pain to be more severe! Very light, knee bends and leg raises, have become to feel, as if I’ve strained my muscle, eventhough my workout was not that intense. Then my bout with severe fatigue, fevers and everything else BEGINS.

January 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm
(59) Susan H. McIntyre says:

I have had severe fibromyalgia for 15 years, as well as spinal injuries from falls. Now one side spasms and I always fall to the right as a result. Of course, that is the weakest bone – my right hip! I recently installed recessed lighting in my ceilings, and for whatever reason, I have not fallen since. I was falling full-splat on the floor at least twice a week, but not now. I don’t understand why the difference, but I can say that good lighting throughout the room seems to help. We used to have light and shadowed areas with table lamps. If anyone has insights, I’d be curious to hear them. I have been falling regularly for the past 6 years, so the change is dramatic. Ideas?

January 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm
(60) Pie says:

I am so grateful I found this site! The comments closely mirror my story_ I was diagnose with fibro and cfs in 2005 and was just awarded social security disability. To my surprise I won on the initial claim. I believe I was ‘born” with this syndrome because I remember arm pain and swelling from the age of 11. Doctors would tell my Mom that I “babied” my arm, ofcourse it was ridiculous! I was in a serious car wreck in 1996 and have lived in pain every day since then. I am falling nearly daily, always to the left. I see numerous specialists both my neurologist and rheumatologist have said this is NOT due to the fibro and want me to go to Johns Hopkins for an evaluation. I have sprained my ankles 3 times, fell and cracked my knee, numerous falls in stores knocking down items, bumping into people, etc. I also have nerve damange in both feet- Mortons neuroma, and my podiatrist has put me in aircasts on both legs indefinitely. I also walk with a quad cane- I fought this for a long time but it has reduced my falls. I’ve tried physical therapy too but this is the only thing that has helped… perhaps others can try it? Best to each of you!

February 1, 2012 at 8:01 am
(61) Diane says:

I am very clumsy, fell not too long ago and broke my tailbone, thru physical therapy I found my right leg substantially shorter than my left, right leg weak, and my hip rotated. That explained why I would constantly hit things with my right foot and break toes sometimes. I use a ball now, place it between my knees and squeeze. I use the cheap kids bouncy balls, about the size of a soccer ball. I am also using the bicycle for feet and arms, not expensive, about 20 dollars. I have fewer cramps and spasms in my legs and hips now.

February 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm
(62) sylvia says:

I have been falling for at least 11 years..Have had fibro for over 15 years..I have broken an elbow..toes..ankle…tripped and fell out a door knocking myself out..fell out of the bathtub…run into walls..people..chairs..doors..furniture…trip over my feet..fall in the yard..down the stairs…so embarrassing…I also drop things too..:(

February 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm
(63) Cindy says:

I have FM and I wondered why I am so clumsy. I trip or fall and bang up against things a lot. I had wondered if it was my vision but I now know. At least it helps to know what it is. I am beginning to do strengthening exercises so I hope it helps!! I do have osteoporosis and am on my last month of forteo shots. I believe they have kept me from broken bones.

February 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm
(64) Monika Hamrer says:

The more pain I have the more I stumble, drop things, walk in to things etc. I always have bruises on my legs. My daughter counted them once when I was in a lot of pain, she counted 28 on one leg and 17 on the other. I break a lot of glasses, cups and plates; burn myself on the stove and when I iron. Last week I opened a door and hit myself in the face.

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March 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm
(67) maria says:

Hi all at least we can relate to one another.The old saying it comes in threes is true, as this week i fell on the pavement and badly bruised my knees and hands, next i burnt a finger on the stove and finally when having a shower the shower fitting came down on my head.Thankfully no broken bones and ive managed to see the funny side. On the serious side lets hope they find a cure for us fms soon before we do ourselves some serious injuries. Hope you all recover soon.

May 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm
(68) amy says:

I am sooo happy to have found this page ! I thought I was going crazy and was the only one having these problems.I was diagnosed with fibro about a yr ago by a dr who didn’t seem like they even believed fibro existed.Some of my syptoms I did not feel were fibro related so i never relayed them to her.Now I see here that others have had the same problems as I and I am not crazy!!..I trip over my own darn feet constantly..bump into people and walls/doorways! To me it doesn’t feel like a strength issue or a dizzy spell( at least not at that time..i do however have dizzy spells and strength issues)..its like my body isn’t doing what my brain wants it to..like my bodys reflexes are slow and my range of motion is off.

July 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm
(69) Margaret says:

I have been falling a lot lately, I do have fibromyalgia. The Dr. has me on Cymbalta which has helped me to sleep some better. I have already broken my wrist and had to have surgery to repair it. Have had several other falls as well. Did not know fibromyalgia was causing my falls. I will discuss this with my Dr.

August 7, 2012 at 2:45 am
(70) JessC says:

Everyone, please listen. I cannot hold my frustration back any longer. DO NOT settle with a “diagnosis” of Fibromyalgia. Your doctors are doing you all a great injustice. Fibromyalgia is a SYMPTOM of many disorders, not a stand alone diagnosis. In these comments alone, from what people have posted, I can name a few that you all you look into:
- hypermobile joints + an FM “diagnosis”? Check out Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). It’s not a rare disorder despite what doctors or wikipedia might state. Your doctors are sorely uninformed.
- FM + neurally mediated hypotension? Do you have loose joints too? Check out Postural Orthostatic Hypotension
- FM + needing to take antihistamines to get through the day? Check out Mast Cell Activation Disorder
- FM + needing a shunt for hydrocephalus? FIBRO DOES NOT CAUSE THIS. Read up on Cranial Settling, Cranio-Cervical Instability, and Acquired Chiari Malformations and EDS.
- FM and have trouble with balance? FIBRO DOES NOT CAUSE THIS. This is a sign of a problem with your cerebellum, and the uncordinated movements/clumsiness indicated poor joint proprioception seen in EDS.
- FM and weakness/pain in the legs? Look up Tethered Cord.

I am saddened for all of you that you’ve been lead to believe that “Fibro” can explain all your symptoms. It is irresponsible of your doctors, and the medical community at large to continue to “diagnose” people with this, and to not continue looking for a more concrete answer to their problems. Do yourself a favour and take charge of your own health – do your own research, and don’t leave your life in the hands of your inept diagnosticians.

August 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm
(71) JoAnn says:

I am so glad to read these articles. It is so encouraging to hear others talk about the “falling problems”. I have always been a little clumsy, I.e. dropping things, bumping into things, occasional falls, however since I have been diagnosed with Fybromyalgia the falling has increased drastically. I fall or almost fall several times a “month.”. It is so bad my sisters suggest I wear a “helmet”! Doctors have given me a test for falling in which they said i fall but they do not know why and the brain MRI was negative, thank God!! Now I know where to start researching what is happening. Thank you so much for your comments!

September 2, 2012 at 10:06 pm
(72) Tanya B says:

I fell while deployed and hit my neck, head and back. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a couple months later. It has been 2 years and now I have problems walking, extreme pain and I fall often. Sometimes the pain is so bad I can not walk or my knees give out and I hit the floor. I think it may be something the doctors did not see. I am now using a wheel chair. Any ideas why?

September 9, 2012 at 8:16 am
(73) elizabeth says:

i have as i speak two broken wrists, my right in 2 places and also a broken shoulder all from verious falls etc…

September 13, 2012 at 10:51 am
(74) Janet says:

I glad to know this, I fall a lot. I’ve been lucky though, no broken bone or serious injuries. Just very stiff and sore for several weeks after a fall. I fell 3 weeks ago and just starting to feel better then I fell again yesterday and stiff, sore and achy again, I think the falls really make the fibro a lot worse.

September 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm
(75) Jacalyn says:

Just yesterday I fell into the pond from a kneeling position for no reason. (scared the heck out of my fish!) Like many of you, I’ve been falling down ever since I can remember. And stumbling and bumping into things. I joke about it a lot, because the falls are often public.
But as I get older (59), it’s starting to scare me more. I’ve broken my nose often, all my toes, and 2 fingers, sprained every joint, and suffered some concussions.
I’m glad I found this site, because my doctors have never asked me about falling or connected my complaints about falling to the Fibro. Time to go back to the doctor. And probably an acupuncturist. My husband thinks I should start “sporting” a cane.

October 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm
(76) sue says:

I have firbo and have all the things everone is talking about.One thing is new my feet hurt some time when i rub my hand over them or when i wash the it hurst so bad it will take ur breath. and its not always in the same place mostly on top of my feet. this is crazy

March 20, 2013 at 8:54 am
(77) Jackie says:

Very helpful, I donít feel so alone. I seem to have become increasingly prone to falls over the last 2 Ĺ years. My worst injury was a dislocated elbow and my latest fall was 24 hours ago. I feel so silly, Iím only 50 years old and I seem to lose my balance very easily. I have noticed how weak my muscles often feel. I think I will have a word with my GP.

June 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm
(78) Marilyn says:

I started falling a lot after going into a newly installed MRI after teh first came out in the late 80′s. Within a couple of days I started having my limbs flailing and dropping. About five years alter after getting to learn about dowsing, my new dowsing friends said that I was falling down over underground water veins. When I am near some people, I drop…as if I am a human radar detector or tuning folk (perhaps picking up their aura/energy field). Bone is crystalline and compressed crystals are transistors so maybe we are all picking up “signals”. Food for thought.
I was diagnosed with M.S. due to them seeing plaques in my brain, but really don’t have any M.S. symptoms. I have a dx of FM but have no pain.

July 13, 2013 at 5:28 am
(79) Janice says:

I am increasingly veering into the person walking on my right, also bumping into things on my right.

I am experiencing neck pain, lower back pain and bad pain in my right knee, my right leg can sometimes let me down.

I find I am worse if tired.

Have to be careful up and down stairs.

also weakness in my legs and ankles
I have been on a CPAP machine for aprox 2 yrs for Sleep Apnea but it is sufficiently better, not needing to use the machine and able to drive again.

September 23, 2013 at 2:24 am
(80) Karen says:

Lately, I have been tripping over my left foot; did not realize it is a Fibro symptom. Glad to have found an answer!

September 23, 2013 at 10:12 am
(81) amanda cheetham says:

I have fm and just lately over a few months, my legs have got weaker, i suffer knee pain on my right side, i trip often, stumble often and i had a serious fall, by falling backwards onto cement. It took a while to recover from that. I can aim to climb on a chair my leg is bent for climbing, but it wont do it, i try to will my brain to do it, often doesn’t so i have to climb awkwardly by using left leg first, my eyesight has got worse to, i have often thought im close to something when i’m not, that’s how my last fall happened. Because of things getting worse, i’t causing frequent episodes of panic attacks, i haven’t been anywhere since feb 2013. My husband is making an appointment for my gp to visit me at home.

February 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm
(82) dizzy says:

I have had many accidents over the years which i would attribute to my Fibro, i have a tendency to walk into things even when looking straight at them, i have removed handles from the doors in my hall way as too many times i have banged my ribs/arms on them, i fell two weeks ago at work and the pain in my knees and wrist is agony, terrified they will let me go as i am such a hazard at work, my falls cause fibro flairs and i have been really bad for last two weeks, again i am scared i will be fired for time off, i’m not coping just now, my GP put me on stemetil but the clumsiness is still bad just now, i find it hard walking up and down stairs, my legs give way so easily .

February 16, 2014 at 3:41 am
(83) GAB says:

All of these problems can be helped, including the falling. I used to fall a lot, careened into walls etc, as you all describe. Simple things can help, change of diet, eye exercises (especially these, for dizziness), physio (ask about the ‘nodding’ exercise’), selenium supplements, removal of amalgam fillings, not eating or drinking out of plastic, appropriate thyroid treatment, and lots more. Gentle exercise is good – swimming is great and non-weight-bearing, so not as painful. Read up people, on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sydnrome. Many books out there – try “Adrenal Stress – the 21st Century Syndrome” and “From Fatigued to Fantastic”. Highly recommended. After 19 years, I’ve learned to treat myself as most doctors don’t have a clue.

February 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm
(84) rita smith says:

I stumble a lot

March 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm
(85) Irma says:

I am so glad my daughter sent me this! I joke about “finding new and inventive ways of hurting myself” but it really isn’t funny. I have fallen into the swimming pool in the middle of winter, broken my knee “falling” over my shoes at night, and falling up stairs (yes, and it really hurts). And then this week I stumbled over the smallest bump in my floor and fractured a rib and probably broke my nose. I just never, ever connected it to the fibromyalgia! What a revelation. Will definitely look into strengthening exercises.

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