If you are one of the 5 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia, you understand how severe the pain and fatigue can be, and the impact they can have on your life. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this condition, but lifestyle changes, combined with continued work with a skilled pain management specialist, can go a long way to bringing you relief.
It is vital that those who are coping with fibromyalgia learn the power of self-care. Individuals with this condition suffer from tender points, chronic fatigue, and continued pain and stiffness, making everyday tasks all the more difficult.
The following changes can help make fibromyalgia that much more bearable:
- Decrease stress: As with many other pain and nervous conditions, stress can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. Many patients report feeling anxious or nervous at the onset of symptoms, and notice a reduction in symptoms if stress decreases. There are many ways to release tension and feel calmer, including meditation, moderate exercise, talking with a friend, sipping herbal tea, reading a book, or watching a movie you enjoy. Find what soothes you, and do it regularly.
- Eliminate stressful situations and people: While life inherently involves some pressure, toxic people can drag you down. If there is anyone in your life whom you dread being around, reduce your contact with that person. Similarly, situations that you find to be triggering can affect your mood and quality of life. If you must handle a stressful conversation or event, work to reframe your perspective. Instead of “terrible,” characterize the situation as “workable” or “temporary.”
- Adapt your workspace to suit your needs: Individuals with fibromyalgia often have difficulty handling job responsibilities and managing stress while working. In order to remain healthy while employed, speak with your employer about creating a flexible work schedule in which you can arrive at work later in the day and leave later, or work from home. Another option is to take a nap during your lunch break to boost your energy. Limit your outside commitments on days when you also have to work.
- Incorporate regular exercise: Regular exercise can greatly ease your symptoms of fibromyalgia. Due to stiffness, continued fatigue, and tender points on the body, many patients remain unfit and experience increased physical discomfort and health effects. Instead, patients benefit from light-to-moderate aerobic or conditioning exercises, including walking, biking, or swimming, all of which are known to boost mood and increase feelings of self-control.
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine: Caffeine can induce a stress response, particularly in patients who already experience anxiety and insomnia. If you currently drink coffee or energy drinks, try switching to green or black tea, both of which have less caffeine. However, working to eliminate caffeine entirely will help boost your health and well-being.
- Find a pain management specialist that truly cares: Working with a pain management team can help you through the toughest periods of your illness. However, choosing a team with the expertise and compassion to properly treat your pain can be difficult. Contact our team at Willamette Pain and Spine, for specialized, dynamic care. We specifically tailor our treatment plans to support your healing, and are always open to changing elements based on your needs.
Fibromyalgia requires a well-rounded treatment plan and lots of patience. If you are suffering from persistent pain as a result of this condition, or any other, contact Willamette Pain and Spine today. We’ll help you find relief.