FYBROMYALGIA AND FATIGUE
One of the most common symptoms of fybromyalgia is fatigue. It is Second only to the deep muscle pain and body ache symptoms. Fybromyalgic fatigue is not your normal fatigue experienced by ordinary people going through a tough situation. The feelings of weakness, fatigue, and exhaustion that a patient goes through with fybromyalgia can lead to unending social isolation and depression.
WHAT IS THE FYBROMYALGIC FATIGUE?
Fatigue with fybromyalgia is crippling, exhausting, and flu-like. Upon waking from a night’s sleep, these people are still extremely tired. Of course, having the muscle aches prevents many patients from getting that deep sleep so urgently needed by the body. People have muscle aches in the neck, back, and shoulders that prevent them from getting a much needed rest. Many sufferers from this syndrome experience fatigue as a result of mood disturbances, anxiety, or depression. Also, fybromyalgia patients report a total loss of energy and trouble concentrating, a condition known as “fybro fog”. In fact, experts associate the fatigue symptoms of fybromyalgia syndrome (FMS) to that of chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition characterized by ongoing and debilitating fatigue.
In addition to fatigue and muscle pain, other symptoms of fybromyalgia include:
- Abdominal pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Chronic headaches
- Dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
- Hypersensitivity to cold/heat
- Inability to concentrate
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Painful trigger points
- Poor circulation in the hands and feet (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
- Restless leg syndrome
Fybromyalgia can have symptoms similar to those who have osteoarthritis, bursitis, or tendinitis. However, unlike the local pain associated with these conditions, the pain with fybromyalgia is widespread.
NAPPING AS A TREATMENT FOR FYBROMYALGIA FATIGUE
If you’re having a good day with fybromyalgia, taking a nap during the day can help you tolerate the other symptoms. However, if it is a bad day where the symptoms of fybromyalgia flare up, napping, even if done several times during the day, will fail to bring relief and restfulness. So what can be done to help combat the fatigue?
One thing that can be done is planning. Coping with fybromyalgia and fatigue can put a damper on activities such as family gatherings or other social events. The best way to deal with this is to plan ahead. Do not overcommit yourself to too many activities. Plan for special ones but always leave yourself the option of canceling when the symptoms flare up. If your loved ones know about your condition, understanding and love for you will override any feelings they may have toward the event. Many times, you can re-schedule when you are feeling more like yourself.
Letting others know about your condition is vital to your well-being. Employers, family, friends, and other significant people in your life need to be aware of your condition so that they will keep it in mind when approaching you with an event or task.
When people with fybromyalgia reduce their stress level, they report less fatigue, pain symptoms, and better sleep. However, reducing the stress is the hard part. Exercise, aromatherapy, massages, and relaxing baths may all help calm the mind, renew the body, and reduce stress.
WORK AND FYBROMYALGIA
Even though you have fybromyalgia, you may still be able to work and be a productive employee. It all depends how well you can manage your fybromyalgia and the type of employment you have. There are many jobs today where the employee works a flexible schedule. Many times an employer will make accommodations for an employee who has been an asset to the company. Also, the number of jobs available for home-based employees is growing as technology expands and the need to conserve time and money increases.
Although your symptoms of fybromyalgia may increase and decrease over time, there are actions you can take to help combat fatigue in the workplace.
- If your employer will allow it, you can put a cot in the workroom or backroom where you can take rest breaks during the days when symptom flare ups occur and you experience chronic fatigue.
- Try to allow more time during the day to complete your responsibilities.
- Budget your time carefully to avoid procrastination. Stress results from deadlines not met.
- Keep a daily “to do” list of the responsibilities that need to be completed. This will help when the “fybro fog” hits and causes a lack of concentration.
- Limit outside commitments on the weekends or days off.
- Ask for help from co-workers on days when the symptoms are overwhelming. You can repay them by giving them assistance on your “good” days.
- Don’t forget to take breaks to avoid feeling tired and overwhelmed on busy days.
- Listen to music to help keep stress levels at a minimum.
- Communicate with your doctor about fybromyalgia medicines that will help with the pain and fatigue.
Fybromyalgia is a condition that faces many persons every day. Fatigue plays a major role in the condition and has an impact on the physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being of the patient. However, with effort and planning, fatigue can be helped, pain can be minimized, and a quality lifestyle can be achieved.