ADJUSTING TO FYBROMYALGIA
Fybromyalgia (FMS) is a debilitating disease that affects the whole bodily system. The characteristic symptoms are widespread pain and fatigue but there are other symptoms that make this syndrome one of the most frustrating, life-altering disorders that people can experience. Most of the patients who contract fybromyalgia are women. Doctors are still unsure why that is so and there are several theories to explain this. Regardless of who gets it and why, the fact is FMS is a real syndrome that affects millions of people.
Learning to adjust or cope with FMS takes time and patience. Often, it takes quite a while before a person gets properly diagnosed with the syndrome. You see, there are many other diseases that mimic symptoms of fybromyalgia without actually being FMS. Since there are no real laboratory tests that can be given to diagnose the syndrome, your doctor has to rule out these other diseases first before diagnosing your condition as FMS.
Secondly, once you are diagnosed, there is the ongoing “guinea pig” situation where you will be given various treatments in the hope that one or a combination of treatments will be your ticket to relief of symptoms. There is no “one cure fits all” with fybromyalgia. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another.
Next, there is the result of the various treatments, especially if they are medicines. Doctors can prescribe anti-depressants and anti-convulsant drugs, as well as other medicines which come with their own set of side effects for no extra charge. These side effects can play havoc with your body.
As a result of this mess, many patients have diverted their attention to alternative treatments and home remedies to combat the symptoms of fybromyalgia. Many times, these treatments are just as good as the medicines and without the side effects. Here are some alternative treatments that have shown positive results for fybromyalgia.
v ACUPUNCTURE: The Chinese have used acupuncture to treat many ailments including chronic pain. With this procedure, hair-thick needles are inserted into the skin at certain points on the body. How the process works is still unknown to Westerners but the effects of acupuncture is very positive according to many patients who have had it done.
v CHIROPRACTIC: Because of its many benefits to the patient, chiropractic medicine is a definite must for any pain management program. Your chiropractor may help ease lower back pain, improve pain levels, and increase cervical and lumbar ranges of motion.
v DEEP MUSCLE MASSAGE: This massage treatment combines the use of hands-on deep tissue therapy with the use of ancient Oriental therapies like acupressure and shiatsu to help reduce chronic muscle or soft tissue pain. The treatments may stimulate circulation and release chronic patterns of muscle tension.
v HERBAL REMEDIES: Many people with fybromyalgia report significant improvements with sleep and energy when taking herbal supplements like echinacea, black cohosh, lavender, milk thistle, and B vitamins.
v NATURAL DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS: Some people with fybromyalgia have found relief from over-the-counter dietary supplements like 5-HTP, melatonin, St. John’s wort, L-carnitine, SAM-e, and probiotics. However, as with any supplement, consult your doctor to check for any interactions with medications.
OTHER ADJUSTMENTS TO MAKE
Besides using alternative treatments, many patients resort to home remedies for symptom control. Sometimes, these are the best treatments that you can use and many of them don’t require a lot of money to do.
v EXERCISE: Although it seems impossible to imagine, gentle exercise movements, if only for a few minutes at a time, will help relieve that pain, stiffness, fatigue, and other fybromyalgia symptoms. Yoga, Tai Chi, walking, and water exercises are great choices for the FMS patient. Start slowly and work up the frequency and endurance as time goes by.
v HEAT: Heat, especially moist heat, may relieve soreness and stiffness from fibromyalgia. Heat boosts blood flow to places where you hurt. You can do this several ways. Apply a warm, moist washcloth to the painful area, take a shower, or soak in a bath.
v SLEEP: This is easier said than done because most fybromyalgia patients have various types of sleep disorders. All the more important to establish a regular sleep schedule. With an established time for sleep, you will help your body get into a routine that may allow you to get the sleep you need.
v DE-STRESS: Reducing stress may also ease depression, anxiety, fatigue, and improve sleep. Make time for yourself every day to relax. Choose an activity you like to do. Do whatever it takes for some guilt-free time to de-stress.
Adjusting to fybromyalgia can take some doing but it is not impossible. Listen to your doctor but remember, he or she is only human and is still learning about this mysterious disease. Don’t be afraid to try some alternative treatments if the meds are getting you down and try some good, old-fashioned remedies to help adjust to the symptoms of fybromyalgia.