People with fibromyalgia experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane. Those symptoms are usually invisible to others and many people with fibromyalgia push themselves too far until they trigger collapse. What’s key to well-being for people with fibromylagia is taking charge of their own health, employing effective therapies, learning how to cope, and maintaining a positive attitude.
Taking charge of your own health means locating finding a doctor and other professionals, who are both good listeners and good partners in treating your disease. It’s important to create a daily diary to record your symptoms and state of mind, your diet and sleep patterns, and the therapies and strategies you employ to cope. What’s critical is identifying major stressors in your life and developing your support system to minimize their impact.
- Jot It Down
- Listen to your body
- Mind your diet
- Exercise Regularly
- Do Some Serious Soaking
- Reach for Decaf
- Take Some “Me Time” Every Day
- Talk About It
- Just Say No
- Make Your Bedroom a Sleep Sanctuary
- Seek positive relationships in your life. These will help you cope and will reduce anxiety that arises as you have a frequently misunderstood disease.
People with fibromyalgia need to take extra care to eat well. Educating yourself about how your body reacts to different foods so you can practice good nutrition and create a diet that works for you is the best thing you can do yourself to treat fibromyalgia. It’s important to eat more raw fruits and vegetables because they contain enzymes that assist digestion, and are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that help boost the immune system. There are no specific food rules for people with fibromyalgia, but there are seven food groups people with fibromyalgia may consider avoiding. By keeping track of what you eat in your daily diary you may will discover foods that trigger or are associated with symptoms. Read also: Top Antioxidant Foods, Which Vitamins are Antioxidants
Studies show that people with fibromyalgia feel better when they deal with the consequences of their disorder on their lives.Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people with fibromyalgia develop a wide variety of relaxation methods to help prepare for and cope with pain and coping skills for dealing with stressful situations. A typical cognitive therapy program of between 6 – 20 (1 hour) sessions may involve:
- Keeping a diary is a key part of cognitive therapy that serves as a general guide for setting limits and planning activities. The diary is used to track any stress factors that may be triggering or worsening the pain.
- Confronting negativity involves learning how to challenge and reverse negative beliefs.
- Setting limits to keep both mental and physical stress within manageable levels to avoid discouragement. Tasks are broken down into incremental steps and the focus is on taking one step at a time.
- Listing enjoyable low-energy activities that can be conveniently scheduled.
- Setting priorities and learning to drop some of less critical tasks or delegate them to others.
Note: Art Therapy and Gardening and Music are also therapeutic.
Exercise has come to be a prescribed part of treatment regimes for people with fibromyalgia. As there is a known link between many types of chronic pain and tense, weak muscles light to moderate exercise such as walking or swimming-can improve blood and oxygen flow to muscles. A regular fibromyalgia exercise program designed to improve physical fitness should include:
- Stretching, Breathing, Relaxing – These exercises consist of stretching and holding different joint and muscle groups for 10 to 30 seconds each.
- Strength or Resistance Training – These exercise can be either with or without weights.
- Cardiovascular Aerobic Activities – These conditioning exercises include low-impact activities like walking, swimming, bicycling, or using an elliptical machine. Try to do 20 to 30 minutes of low-impact conditioning exercise on as many days as you feel you can.
Water aerobics like water walking, is the easiest workout for people with fibromyalgia pain. Water provides 12 times the resistance of air, and that means a workout without wear and tear on joints.
An exercise program can include anything from walking around the block or taking a yoga class. According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, beginner yoga classes are suitable and beneficial as they focus on easy poses that don’t initially require a lot of strength or flexibility. More challenging poses, especially poses that involve a lot of twisting or balancing may be contraindicated.
Meditation involves focusing the mind in order to increase awareness of the present moment. It promotes relaxation, reduces stress , and enhances personal growth. For people coping with chronic pain, mindfulness meditation can help improve pain management. In studies that tested meditation’s effect on perception of pain, meditation-trained participants had less of a response to pain while meditating and even experienced less pain sensitivity when they weren’t meditating.
Massage therapy can really reduce the pain, stiffness, and tender points caused by fibromyalgia syndrome. Massage therapy benefits include:
- increased blood circulation to the muscles, allowing for faster muscle repair
- increased flexibility
- increased range of motion
- decreased stress and depression
- reduced pain
- reduced stiffness
- improved sleep patterns
6. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (including aspirin and ibuprofen) are widely prescribed and sometimes called non-narcotic or non-opioid analgesics. Always take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with food or milk to avoid stomach upset.
7. Physical therapy
Physical techniques and methods, such as heat, cold, exercise, massage, and manipulation. Applied to increase function, control pain. R.I.C.E.–Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are four components prescribed for temporary muscle or joint conditions.
Essential oils have a long history of treating pain, insomnia, headache, digestive and urinary tract symptoms, skin rash, anxiety and depression. Inhalation can assist emotional imbalance, topical application can help reduce pain, swelling, inflammation and increase circulation and blood flow. Essential oils can be added to bath salts for bath or foot soak to reduce swelling and inflammation as well as create time to clear the mind and rejuvenate the body. An essential oil to carry and inhale during the day is useful.
Each sufferer of fibromyalgia experiences the syndrome in his or her own unique way so there isn’t a right blend of oils for everyone. Coconut oil remains liquid at room temperature and, because of its light consistency, will not clog skin pores, making it suitable to use as a carrier oil for massage on sensitive or problem skin. If you have fibromyalgia, you may want to experiment with:
- lemon, grapefruit, or geranium (to help increase your energy)
- black pepper, eucalyptus, helichrysum, marjoram, peppermint, or juniper (to ease sore joints and muscles)
- basil, bergamot, clary sage, grapefruit, lemon, lemongrass, geranium, juniper, lavender, marjoram, peppermint, rosemary, rosewood, rose, Roman chamomile, sandalwood, ylang ylang and vetivert (to counter anxiety and depression)
- lavender, chamomile, or jasmine (to help you relax)
- mandarin, Roman chamomile, lavender, marjoram, rose, sandalwood (to help you sleep)