When fibromyalgia rears its ugly head, it may seem like the world is closing in on you. This debilitating disease is no joke, and with chronic fatigue, pain, tenderness, and concentration problems—how can you ever get anything done?
Fibromyalgia has almost too many symptoms to count, and the condition varies greatly from person to person. There are certain things that may help to alleviate symptoms in some patients that won’t necessarily work in other patients.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. The best you can do for this chronic pain condition is to find ways to treat the symptoms as they arise. Your condition may be marked by good days and bad days, so take it one day at a time, but never assume that tomorrow will be a bad day.
The following treatments may help you to avoid or alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms such as chronic fatigue, pain, depression, tenderness, and other problems.
If you have fibromyalgia, you may wake up feeling stiff and tender quite often. A full-body massage may help to loosen up those muscles, ease the pain, and reduce stress levels.
Find a massage therapist who is familiar with your condition and who works with fibromyalgia patients regularly. An experienced therapist will be able to get to those hard-to-reach muscles with a deep tissue massage while being sensitive to your pain.
A weekly massage will give you something to look forward to, and it may also help to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety in addition to muscle stiffness.
This treatment may not be for everyone, but many people swear by the effectiveness of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is definitely worth a try, based on the number of fibromyalgia patients who report experiencing relief.
Acupuncture is a treatment that involves tiny needles that are inserted into the skin at specific points to promote the flow of energy. The treatment promotes natural self-healing, increased blood flow, balancing of neurotransmitter activity, and relief from chronic pain.
Whatever your symptoms may be, the acupuncturist can address them. Just make sure to find a recommended and licensed acupuncturist who really knows what he or she is doing.
According to research, yoga can help to relieve both the physical and the mental symptoms of fibromyalgia.
In one study, 53 fibromyalgia patients participated in randomly assigned treatments. The Yoga of Awareness program involved gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga-based coping instructions, and group discussions. The group assigned to the yoga program showed significant improvements in symptoms, including chronic pain, chronic fatigue, mood, acceptance, and coping strategies. (1)
Studies suggest that yoga programs for fibromyalgia are more effective than home practice. It may be worth looking into yoga programs in your area.
When the muscle stiffness and chronic pain are threatening to get you down, it may be a good idea to apply heat, which can get your blood flowing quickly to those deep, painful muscles.
A warm bath promises to envelop your entire body in relaxing heat for a full-body treatment. If you don’t have time for a bath, apply a warm towel or a hot water bottle. You can also bring a hot water bottle with you to work and fill it up with hot water whenever you’re feeling stiff.
5. Regular Exercise
Moderate exercise can help keep your symptoms at bay. The trick is to not push yourself too hard, because you may end up paying for it later on.
It may seem counterintuitive, but regular exercise can actually help you beat chronic fatigue. The regular movement may also keep muscle stiffness to a minimum, because stiffness usually gets worse after long periods of downtime, like after sleeping.
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6. Vitamin D
Studies show that people with fibromyalgia often have low levels of vitamin D. This essential nutrient plays a vital role in muscle function and in immune system function. Supplementation with vitamin D may help to relieve symptoms of muscle pain, muscle stiffness, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Too much vitamin D may lead to vitamin D toxicity, so be sure to talk to your doctor about doses before starting to take supplements.
7. Bedtime Routine
One of the extremely frustrating fibromyalgia symptoms you may be experiencing is sleep disturbance. Restless leg syndrome, chronic pain, muscle stiffness, and other symptoms may be keeping you from falling asleep or staying asleep. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle that is hard to break.
You may benefit from implementing a regular bedtime routine. Studies show that people who go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day fall asleep more quickly and have a greater quality of sleep.
When your body knows what to expect, it can better prepare for and anticipate events. Your inner biological clock, called the circadian rhythm, triggers drowsiness and alertness at the same times every day. All systems in the body run more smoothly when you have a regular routine. (2)
8. CBD Oil
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the most effective natural remedies for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
Research shows that CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic, and antipsychotic. Because of all these properties it possesses, CBD may just address every single symptom you are experiencing with fibromyalgia. It is even shown to be a more effective pain reliever than over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
CBD oil may prove to be a godsend even when nothing else is working to relieve your pain.
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Biofeedback is a type of therapy designed to help you gain control over normally involuntary functions. It is used to treat migraines, chronic pain, incontinence, high blood pressure, and other conditions. Biofeedback allows you to control things that are happening inside your body.
During the treatment, electrodes are attached to your skin. These sensors pick up on heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, temperature, sweating, and muscle activity. Through computer programs designed as games, you practice gaining control over these functions, allowing you to ease tension in your muscles and reduce stress levels and headaches.
10. Changing Your Mindset
Sometimes it just takes a change of mindset to help you understand what is it is you need in order to feel better. With fibromyalgia, each day may bring new challenges or pleasant surprises. The problem is, you might not know what to expect or what you’ll need on any given day until it comes.
It’s time to get selfish. You must put yourself first now, even if that means canceling plans at the last moment or scheduling yourself a massage in the middle of the day. Allow yourself to be more flexible and to do what feels good for you in the moment.
You may need to hire someone to come a few times a week to clean your house and fold your laundry. Instead of cooking, you may want to start ordering meals from a healthy delivery service. Ask an employee at the supermarket to load your car for you so that you don’t have to lift heavy bags.
Do little things every day to make your life easier. Once you take care of yourself properly, you can then worry about taking care of others.