Do you find that you fall down more with fibromyalgia? Do you bump into things as you walk? Feel unsteady and as if you no longer have good balance? You aren’t alone.
A 2013 study found that the majority of people with fibromyalgia report falling. This 2013 study followed 18 people with fibromyalgia for 6 months. 17 of them reported at least one fall.
On average they fell twice during the six months, and nearly fell three times. Are you surprised? I’m not. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d followed 18 healthy people for six months and found that 17 of them fell down at least once. Then again, maybe I think that people fall more because I’m used to tripping up the stairs.
The conclusion of this study really cracked me up. (paraphrased) “Nurses caring for Fibromyalgia patients should assess for fall risk.”Do you fall more since you developed Fibromyalgia? Click To Tweet
This isn’t the only study to examine this issue. Thankfully.
Fibromyalgia and Balance Issues
Another study from 2009 actually compared the fall risk and balance issues between patients with fibromyalgia and healthy people.
34 fibromyalgia patients were compared against 32 healthy people of about the same age. The examined both overall balance and the number of reported falls. Fibromyalgia patients had significantly impaired balance and (probably as a result) had lower confidence in their balance.
Fibromyalgia severity was correlated to balance issues – meaning those with worse fibromyalgia symptoms also had worse balance. Overall, the fibromyalgia patients in this study reported 27 falls over the course of the 6 month period, while the healthy people only reported 2!
That’s a pretty huge difference!
So, how often do you fall down? Have you found any tricks or tips to help keep you upright?
How can you reduce the risk of falling with fibromyalgia?
Thankfully, there are things we can do to improve our balance and reduce the risk of falling with fibromyalgia.
1 . Slow down
Often with fibromyalgia we feel we are already moving too slow. That combined with feeling like we aren’t accomplishing as much as we’d like with our time, can often result in rushing to do things.
As hard as it may be to slow down even more, it’s necessary and it will not only help you reduce the risk of falling, it will also allow you to get more done while making fewer mistakes.
2 . Use assistive devices
Don’t be afraid to use tools and the help of others to help you move more easily, improve your balance, and reduce the risk of falling.
Whether you opt for a walking stick, a walker, or just a friend’s arm, grab onto something. Try to stay near walls or rails when they are available and use them to stabilize you as you move.
3 . Improve your balance
4 . Choose appropriate footwear
You may find it helpful to wear shoes even when indoors to help you keep a solid connection to the ground. While some may find non-skid socks helpful, I find they are more likely to trip me up as they stick to the floor.
Pay attention to what you have on your feet when you lose your balance and see if there’s a common footwear item that may be adding to your balance frustrations.
5 . Clear the way
Make sure that there is always a clear path through your home so that you reduce your risk of tripping over random objects.
If you have kids who leave toys out enlist their help to keep the area clean so that you don’t trip. If you have pets that often get underway, you may need to find a way to keep them from underfoot.
6 . Keep your home well lit
Additional lighting may be necessary to help ensure that you can see your way clearly through your home. Light sensitivity can make this problematic but changing up the types of lights you use and their placement may help.
7. Remove tripping hazards
Area rugs, runners, and electric cords can be hazardous especially if you already have an increased risk of falling. If you are already at an increased risk of falling, don’t increase it further by keeping these items in your way.
Avoid rugs completely and tack up extension cords to the wall so that they are out of the way (or find placement for things so that they aren’t necessary).
8. Have rails and grab bars installed
Have grab bars installed in the bathroom to help you move about easily. Not only will they help you up from the toilet and assist you in and out of the bath, they will also give you an extra something to grab onto should you begin to fall.
If you don’t have rails on your porch steps or any steps in or outside of your home, have some installed.
- Symptoms and signs of fibromyalgia
- How can I get medicare disability with fibromyalgia?
- Light sensitivity, migraine, & fibromyalgia
- Neurological signature for fibromyalgia
Jones, K. D., Horak, F. B., Winters, K. S., Morea, J. M., & Bennett, R. M. (2009). Fibromyalgia is associated with impaired balance and falls. Journal of clinical rheumatology: practical reports on rheumatic & musculoskeletal diseases, 15(1), 16.
Rutledge, D. N., Martinez, A., Traska, T. K., & Rose, D. J. (2013). Fall experiences of persons with fibromyalgia over 6 months. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(2), 435-448.