Ways to Fight Fibromyalgia Pain
People who suffer from fibromyalgia find themselves in a world of pain that often shows little relief from pain symptoms and remains baffling to a doctor’s efforts to relieve this suffering. Sometimes, however, there are activities, situations, and lifestyle habits that can actually aggravate symptoms. By knowing what to do and what not to do, you can many times, help your fibromyalgia. Here are some ways to help fight you pain and other symptoms.
Stress may be a trigger for fibromyalgia symptoms. Minimizing stress can improve your quality of life. Some proven stress busters are yoga, exercise, sleep, and meditation. Breathing deeply and exhaling slowly can also help. Or keep in mind activities that you enjoy or that make you feel better. When stress strikes, nip it in the bud and do one or two of these suggestions.
Write it Down
“Fibro fog” may be hurting your focus or memory. If it does, keep a pen and paper handy. Make a to-do list and even a “to-say” list to help you remember topics you want to talk to your spouse or family about. Keep lists for shopping, friends’ names, important phone numbers, and addresses in a notebook that you have with you.
Keep up the Exercise
Regular, low-intensity exercise has been shown to help with fibromyalgia pain and stiffness. Exercises such as walking or warm-water exercise are two of the best treatments for fibromyalgia. They can help decrease pain and stiffness, reduce stress, and may increase your sense of control over your fibromyalgia. You may also sleep better. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about a good exercise program for you.
Take Time in the Tub
Nothing like a good soaking in a warm bath or hot tub to relax tense muscles, reduce pain, and help you move more easily. Moist heat may increase endorphins, which block pain signals, and help you sleep more soundly. If it’s difficult for you to get in and out of the tub, try a sauna or put a stool in the shower so you can sit and let the water do its work.
Watch the Caffeine
Although caffeine may help relieve sleepiness, it also may compound stress, both physically and psychologically. It stimulates the heart and central nervous system, and can increase nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia (something fibromyalgia patients don’t need). So decaffeinate to de-stress. For better sleep at night avoid caffeine from the late afternoon on. Watch out for caffeine in chocolate, coffee, some soft drinks and teas.
Don’t Forget to Smell the Roses
Make time for yourself every day as a part of your treatment. This may seem selfish but it is not. In order to feel better for your responsibilities, you need some “me” time. Lose yourself in a hobby, put on some music, rest; whatever makes you feel good. It may bring more balance to your life, help you fight stress, and boost your energy for the things you need to do.
Improve your Work Life
If work is leaving you exhausted and in pain, design a flexible plan that works for you and your boss. Ask about setting your hours for earlier or later in the day so you can be more productive or about the possibility of working from home part-time. You can also rearrange your workspace for comfort and easy accessibility. Products like a telephone headset or a keyboard tray may help put less stress on your body.
Talk About it
Fibromyalgia is a stressor for you and those around you. Communication is critical so don’t always try to always put on a happy face. If your loved ones know what makes your symptoms worse, they can help with the problem. Plan talks for your best time of day and focus on one issue and look for solutions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, a support group, or a counselor.
Learn to say “No”
Since fibromyalgia is sometimes called an “invisible illness,” others may not know when you feel bad. People may forget that you need to pace yourself and consider your disease. This is where you need to set limits on yourself. When weighing activities, favors, or invitations consider if they will keep you from the rest, exercise, or relaxation you need to feel well. It’s OK to simply say “no” and stick to it.
Keep the Bedroom for Rest
Setting the mood in your bedroom for sleep is important if you’re not getting enough rest. Reserve your bed for sleeping and resting, and keep the room dark, quiet, cool, and distraction-free. Maintain regular sleep hours and don’t stay up late on your computer or watching TV. Instead, wind down with relaxing music or a warm bath.
If you want to help you take charge of your fibromyalgia, keep track of events, activities, symptoms, and mood changes in a journal. It may make you aware of when symptoms start and, over time, what may be triggering them. Then you can work to eliminate triggers or learn coping strategies to lessen their impact.
There is no easy way to combat the pain of fibromyalgia. However, there are things you can do at home to help with the symptoms. Try some of these suggestions and see which ones help with your pain. Before long, you will have a plan individualized just for you to help control symptoms and better your quality of life.