Self-Management of Fibromyalgia
Guest Blogger: Harper Mac
Fibromyalgia is a real disease that affects five million Americans every day. If you’re one ofthe sufferers, you know the pain it causes. Fatigue, flu-like symptoms, aching muscles, tender skin and mental fogginess make it extremely difficult to perform daily tasks, even just getting out of bed and taking a shower. Fibromyalgia sufferers typically search for relief from both natural and medicinal sources. Try some of these self-management techniques if you’re in need of relief.
Movement and rest
When you ache and don’t feel well, exercising is the last activity you want to do. However, physical activity actually relieves the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Being active keeps your muscles conditioned so you feel less pain as you perform normal activities. For low-impact exercise that’s easy on your body, try water aerobics, yoga or T’ai chi.
Exercise also helps you sleep, which limits the tiredness fibromyalgia causes. It’s important to get enough sleep each night, especially since fatigue is one of the markers of the disease. Stick to a sleep routine, if possible: go to bed and rise at set times every day and try not to throw off your nighttime schedule with lengthy daytime naps.
Everyone can benefit from eating a fresher diet, rather than lots of processed foods. As you manage your disease, eat fish and green vegetables as often as possible. Consider snacking on foods like pumpkin seeds, avocado or nuts. Reducing inflammation in the body might help you manage your fibromyalgia, which you can do by avoiding processed sugar, refined grains, preservatives and artificial additives. If Irritable Bowel Syndrome accompanies your fibromyalgia, avoid foods that trigger those symptoms as well.
Get a massage
The soothing touch of a massage or physical therapy relaxes muscles, eases pain, and limits stress. It’s also an opportunity to relax and de-stress, especially if your schedule is jam-packed with activity. Do your best to not overexert yourself, no matter how much you might want to help out at work or your child’s school. Soothing movement like massage, the aforementioned yoga or a daily meditation practice can all help you relax. Acupressure, acupuncture, and myofascial relief are treatments you might try as well.
Effective herbal treatments can be found at your local health practitioner’s office, such as Omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and pain, magnesium, vitamin B complex, and malic acid to reduce muscle pain. Other potential symptom relievers include melatonin, Valerian root, or ribose. Because herbs and supplements act differently for every person, you might need to experiment until you find the most effective plan for you.
Your doctor and natural health practitioner can work with you to help you find effective self-management remedies for fibromyalgia. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. After all, you have to live with the pain, achiness and tenderness that the disease causes. Give yourself permission to question proposed treatments. Make sure you fully understand the benefits and side effects of any prescribed medicine or supplements. As you research and find alternative treatment options, discuss them with your health care providers. Being informed is your first step in managing your symptoms from day to day. Consider keeping a journal of your activities and remedies and note where your triggers lie and what’s helped in the past.
Fibromyalgia affects everyone differently. Exercise, nutrition, self-care, supplements, and a plan of action for symptom relief can help you live as normal a lifestyle as possible. Even if you’re currently struggling, know you can achieve the correct diagnosis and begin pursuing treatment options that work for you.
About the Author
Lindsey Harper Mac is a writer and editor living in Indianapolis. She writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.