Fibromyalgia: The Battle against Fatigue
While wide-spread pain is perhaps the number one symptom of fibromyalgia (FMS), the second most debilitating symptom would have to be fatigue. Now I am not talking about tiredness from doing a lot during the day and being fatigued at night. I am talking about an on-going tiredness that permeated the whole body and stays that way even after sleeping 8-9 hours at night. This is called fibro fatigue. Fybro fatigue can be just as insistent as pain and to make matters worse – it can make the pain worse and life more difficult to manage. But there is hope on the horizon. There are ways to combat this fatigue and find balance to your life. The important key to all this is learning to listen to your body. When you learn to recognize the earliest signs of exhaustion, you can do something to wipe it out before it wipes you out.
Fibromyalgia and Exercise
Exercise is important for everyone, especially for those with fybromyalgia. Of course, patients with fybromyalgia have to be careful about what type of exercise and the frequency and intensity of the exercise. Gentle stretching and low-impact exercises are the best to perform. Yoga, Pilates, tai chi, swimming, walking, and bicycling are just a few of the most popular ones to help strengthen muscles, relieve pain and stiffness, and improve mood. If you are a newbie with exercise, start slowly. There is plenty of time to increase endurance, speed, and frequency. Set reasonable goals for yourself that will give your body a chance to succeed. The most important thing to remember is to go slowly and do something every day, no matter how small it is. This will help your fibro fatigue.
The Simple Life
With fibromyalgia, every time you can simplify something, do it! This should be the goal for anyone with FMS. Since there is a link between stress and fybromyalgia, patients should try to reduce stress in their lifestyle. In fact, studies suggest that the onset of fybromyalgia can be triggered by a stressful event such as a job loss, the death in the family, or a divorce.
Thinking along these lines, use a scheduler to plan your weekly schedule and don’t over plan your weeks. This may mean saying “no” to certain people, but the result will be less stress, a happier and more rested you, and less symptoms.
Pace Your Life
I like to accomplish a goal and will push myself to achieve it, sometimes at my body’s expense. With fibromyalgia, if you push your body, your body will push back with symptom flare-ups. To keep from feeling fatigued, you must learn to pace yourself. Knowing your limitations will save you a lot of grief. If you have a project, break it up into sizable pieces of work to be accomplished in several days. Also, do the same amounts of work on your good days as you do on bad days to keep from overdoing it. A steady production of work is better than overdoing it and paying for it that night or the next day. If you exercise, try to break it up into smaller amounts, like 10 minutes 3 times a day as opposed to a 30 minute session. Ways like this will make a big difference in your energy levels and help prevent fibro fatigue.
Even though naps cannot make up for lost sleep at night, they can help defer fibro fatigue. It doesn’t need to be a long nap either. Keep the naps within 30 minutes. Even a ten minute power nap can recharge your energy levels. Check with your doctor to see what you can do to help with this. There are some foods that can help induce sleep. Foods rich in protein and potassium seem to help with insomnia and restlessness. Lay off the carbs at night as these tend to give energy when sleep is what you need. Bananas, milk, and protein like an egg, chicken, or beef will help your body find rest and sleep. There are even some good herbal teas that help induce sleep.
A good diet is for everyone, especially those with fibromyalgia. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, healthy fats, and whole grains. These nutrients will give you a steady blood sugar level that gives energy, provides nutrients vital to good health, and prevents low-blood sugar – a condition that will zap your energy and aggravate fybro fatigue. Also, watch out for any foods that trigger your symptoms. Triggers are individual so you have to learn to listen to your body to be aware of food triggers.
Attitude has a great deal to do with health. You must believe that you will get well and then practice the techniques that can help with this. Try these suggestions above to help with fibro fatigue. They make sense and if you will apply them to your lifestyle, they will help dismiss fibro fatigue.