Fibromyalgia is a chronic health disorder quite similar to arthritis or a rheumatic condition causing severe pain in the joints and soft tissues.
Though it does not cause damage to the muscles or tissues, it causes symptoms like tiredness, severe pain, weakness and sleep disturbances that do not allow the patient to carry out his daily activities independently.
Other symptoms are weight gain, nausea, visionary problems, urinary and irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome affecting women in 90% of the cases.
Generally people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or spinal arthritis have a greater risk of contacting fibromyalgia. Hereditary factors are also to an extent responsible for this disease.
Coping With Fibromyalgia
Learning to self-manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia with healthy lifestyle habits and exercise is very important. Getting the latest information about the disease and taking proactive steps to control it and focus on the symptoms will help you to manage your health quite effectively.
Chronic diseases like fibromyalgia have many limitations involved so the support of your loved ones can help to get your lifestyle and priorities in correct order. There are a few simple tips that you yourself can use to live with fibromyalgia:
Try to keep your life stress-free both emotionally as well as physically– Stress definitely plays a very major role in activating the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Patients tend to get nervous and panicky when the symptoms get aggravated.
Reduction of stress is usually followed by a lessening of depression and anxiety. Their minds become relaxed and sleep tends to be more restful and their body becomes less fatigued.
The patient sometimes magnifies problem, so here they need to control their emotions. If you take life as it comes, it will be easier to handle and keep troubles away.
Make Modifications in your Job Schedule– To continue working would be the best option, but make sure that you are able to physically and mentally take on your responsibilities at work. To reduce stress and anxiety taking a part-time job would be a sensible decision.
Taking your employer in your confidence and rescheduling your working hours could also be a good solution. Either work from home a couple of days in a week or taking some rest after lunch time in office can also freshen you up or boost your energy. Whatever modifications you make try to budget your time and follow your routine.
Try to Improve Communication Skills– In chronic problems like fibromyalgia it is very important to communicate with spouse, family, friends and colleagues. Good and honest communication will help to decrease any sort of conflict.
Physical symptoms like constant pain and fatigue can often make the patient restless and resentful which can in turn obstruct productive communication.
Psychological counseling can be of help here as it can help develop suitable communication strategies to face your problems and also other issues in your life.
Be Regular with Exercises– The Arthritis Foundation has come to the conclusion that regular exercise is mandatory to ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Patients sometimes become physically unfit because of the constant pain in the joints and soft tissues that result in stiffness in the body.
Aerobic exercises can give you a feeling of well being while conditioning exercises like biking, walking or swimming can have antidepressant effects. The patient generally will feel more in control if they carry on some sort of physical exercise regularly
Don’t Overdo, Learn to say ‘No’– A commitment or the desire to do any particular work or to help others will overload you. Set personal limits for yourself by rejecting too many demands of others.
Never let work come in the way of you yourself getting the rest or relaxation you so require. In fact nothing should interfere with your priorities as you might tend to feel depressed or tired.
It is very important to learn to say ‘no’ and thereby take a firm stand. In case you do not adhere to this, it will unnecessarily increase your already high stress levels.
Minimize your Caffeine Intake– Caffeine generally tends to increase stress and even keep you sleep deprived. Too much intake of caffeine results in greater nervousness, anxiety and even insomnia. Not just coffee but even tea and chocolate contain caffeine so it will be sensible to reduce their intake too.
Take a Hot Shower or Soak in a Warm Bath– Taking a hot shower or soaking yourself in a warm or hot bath will help to relax tensed up muscles and relieve pain.
Studies have shown that the stress hormones are considerably decreased as the warm and moist heat help in raising the levels of endorphins in the body. A warm bath before going to sleep also helps with sleep disorders.
Write a Daily Diary– Keeping a diary will help you with self analysis. Writing a daily assessment of your symptoms and also what triggers attacks of fibromyalgia will help to identify events and other related features that can be avoided in future.
Reading your diary after months might help to recognize a certain relationship between increased symptoms and some lifestyle patterns. You could even identify some emotional or physical problems that aggravate symptoms like fatigue, nervousness or sleeplessness.
Take out Time for Yourself and relax your mind and Body– A fibromyalgia patient needs to keep a balance between his daily routine and his priorities. Relaxation techniques like meditation, deep abdominal breathing or self-hypnosis all will help to relieve tension, pain and anxiety. After such exercises you tend to get into a calmer and more peaceful mood.
If you allow your mind and body to relax then your brain too becomes serene and calm. Counseling sessions with a counselor will help to minimize negativity and help you to become a more optimistic person ready to deal with your illness.
Join Support Groups For Fibromyalgia– Support groups help to meet the needs of people with fibromyalgia. In such groups you meet likeminded people, discuss your symptoms and even vent your frustrations. Sharing your personal experiences can give the much needed comfort and encouragement.