11 Ways to Cope with the Pain of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic musculoskeletal pain that is often accompanied by fatigue, sleep issues, memory loss and mood issues. Researchers also believe fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations and affects the way your brain processes pain.
Symptoms may appear after a physical trauma like surgery, infection or some significant psychological stress. There are times, however, when fibromyalgia accumulates over time with no triggering event.
Women develop fibromyalgia more than men, and older women more often than younger women. Fibromyalgia also causes tension headaches, temporomandibular joint disorders, anxiety, depression and irritable bowel syndrome.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there is a variety of medications that can control symptoms. Exercise, stress-reduction measures and relaxation techniques may also help. Don’t put your life on hold because of fibromyalgia’s symptoms. Learn to make adjustments from work, parenting responsibilities, household chores to just relaxing. If you take a more active role in managing your condition, you will feel better about yourself and your self-esteem won't suffer.
Manage your pain
When pain strikes, it can be challenging to maintain your normal life. Fibromyalgia pain tends to come and go and when your symptoms flare-up everything feels more difficult. One of the saddest things to accept is there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Lifestyle changes and medications can help with the pain and fatigue, but you are sentenced to have good days and bad days with the syndrome.
A flare-up of fibromyalgia symptoms can send you into a deep depression. It is necessary for your health to prepare for those bad days. Have a plan to follow when you feel yourself going into a fibromyalgia flare-up.
Different strategies work for some people and not for others. You may also find that these strategies work fine on one day, but not on another. Write down a variety of options and choose from the best one when you are in pain.
- Stay on your medications. Staying on medications is obvious, but when you are in pain, this can be a problem. In one study, nearly half the participants didn’t take their medication as prescribed because of carelessness, forgetfulness, or frustration.
- Consider complementary therapies to accompany your doctor’s orders. Acupuncture and massage can help with pain relief. Sign up for a self-management class to understand your fibromyalgia and help control the pain.
- Gentle exercises will help you feel better. It is one of the best ways to deal with fibromyalgia. Exercise can ease fatigue and pain. Walking and swimming are excellent exercises for those suffering from fibromyalgia.
- Get tested for sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea. Anything you can do to get good sleep will help with fibromyalgia symptoms. Pace yourself during the day and don’t overdo your daily chores.
- Stress drains your energy and causes pain. Try to go with the flow rather than jumping from crisis to crisis. Set priorities and say no when you know you can’t do something.
- Diet is a great way to ease your pain. Focus on nutrient-rich foods that will give you energy. Use a diary to write down what foods make you feel good and what foods bother your fibromyalgia.