Fibromyalgia symptoms can make life extremely difficult for those who have the disorder, making it hard to go to work, finish housework, or just get out of bed in the morning. In addition to chronic headaches, difficulty concentrating and muscle and joint pain, many fibromyalgia sufferers also have to combat chronic dizziness. This dizziness can last for mere seconds or as long as a few days, causing headaches, nausea, and even fainting spells.
What is Dizziness?
At some point, everyone experiences some type of dizziness. Whether you’ve had the flu, been pregnant, or just had a little too much to drink on occasion, you have probably felt the effects of dizziness, including blurred vision and the spins. Dizziness is generally described as a feeling of lightheadedness or unsteadiness. In fact, dizziness is pretty much a blanket term for anything, from feeling off kilter to actually sensing that you are going to pass out. There are various causes of dizziness, ranging from illness to low blood pressure.
Dizziness is one of the most common medical complaints in North America. In fact, dizziness accounts for about 8 million doctor’s visits every year in the United States. 42% of people complain that they have suffered from dizziness at some point in their lives and even more will eventually experience it. Most people find that they can deal pretty well with dizziness, but when it occurs on a daily basis, like in fibromyalgia, severe dizziness can really put a damper on your life. More than two-thirds of people with fibromyalgia suffer regularly from dizziness.
Our Balance System
In order to function normally, our body relies on an intricate system that is designed to keep us steady and balanced. Our brain combines messages received from our inner ear, eyes, skin pressure receptors, and muscle and joint sensory receptors. When combined, these parts of the body tell our brain exactly where we are in space and what direction we are headed in. Without this system, we would be falling down all over the place. This system is often referred to as our equilibrium.
What Causes Dizziness?
You may find that you feel dizzy when you are riding in a car, on a boat, or in an airplane. Dizziness and motion sickness is particularly common and has to do with mixed messages that our brain is receiving from our equilibrium system. Sometimes our eyes, ears, skin, and muscles all sense different things. Our eyes may be focused on one spot, while our body is actually bouncing around all over the place. As a result, our brain isn’t really sure where our body is in space. This can cause nausea and dizziness.
Dizziness and Fibro: Causes
The reasons for dizziness in fibromyalgia are probably problems with the body’s ability to circulate blood.
Referred to as neurally mediated hypotension, this disorder can cause dizziness, weakness, sweating, and lightheadedness.
It can also lead to fainting spells and falls, so it is important to receive treatment if you notice a lot of dizziness with your fibromyalgia.
Neurally Mediated Hypotension?
Fibromyalgia sufferers with neurally mediated hypotension have difficulty regulating their blood pressure levels. When most people stand up, blood rushes to their legs and feet.
The body then releases epinephrine, which causes the heart rate to increase and blood vessels to constrict.
The heart is then forced to pump more blood to the rest of your body to compensate for all the blood that went to the legs.
People with neurally mediated hypotension have a problem that prevents the heart rate from increasing. Instead of increasing, the heart rate actually drops, preventing the necessary amount of blood from being pumped around the body. This leads to neurally mediated hypotension symptoms like dizziness and fainting.
Types of Dizziness
There are actually quite a few different types of dizziness. Depending upon the type of dizziness that you have, you may experience different symptoms. If your symptoms persist for any length of time, you should consult with your health care provider.
Vertigo dizziness causes the sensation that you are spinning or whirling. Sometimes it can also cause you to feel as if you are tilting or floating. Vertigo and nausea often occur together and can last for as long as three days.
Vertigo also tends to cause your eyes to swing back and forth slightly. This is referred to as nystagmus. Causes of vertigo may include problems with inner ear dizziness.
Unsteadiness makes you feel as if you are off-balance. It can cause you to stagger or even fall down. Also referred to as disequilibrium, unsteadiness can be the result of poor vision and arthritis, especially in the elderly. In younger patients, unsteadiness is often caused by a problem in the equilibrium.
Lightheadedness is a type of dizziness that makes your head feel lighter than the rest of your body. It can cause nausea and is often accompanied by unsteadiness. Causes of lightheadedness are widespread.
Near fainting is a kind of dizziness that makes you feel as if you are going to pass out. It often occurs when you stand up after sitting for a long time. You may experience blurred vision or sudden blackouts in vision. This type of dizziness is usually caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain.
Symptoms Associated with Dizziness
There are numerous dizziness symptoms.
- fainting or near fainting
- sweating or chills
- blurred vision
- hearing problems, including tinnitus
If you are experiencing dizziness with your fibromyalgia, speak with your healthcare provider to find out what you can do about it.