Fibromyalgia is a debilitating chronic pain condition that can cause widespread muscle pain, fatigue, tenderness, and “brain fog.” According to the CDC, it affects an estimated 4 million Americans, most of whom are women.
Although the cause of fibromyalgia is by far and large a mystery, some experts believe that it is caused by impaired pain processing in the brain. Fibromyalgia cannot be cured, but numerous self-care tips can help prevent symptom flare-ups and improve your overall quality of life. These include:
1. Get regular exercise.
Widespread muscle pain is a hallmark symptom of fibromyalgia, so it is only logical that maintaining strong and healthy muscles can help ease the pain.
Exercising also has a plethora of other benefits that may prove helpful for people with fibromyalgia, including improved sleep quality, increased energy levels, and reduced stress and anxiety.
Target at least 30 minutes of low-impact exercises every day. Remember that moderation is key when dealing with fibromyalgia, as overexertion can ultimately trigger a flare-up.
2. Get enough sleep.
It is well established that sleep deprivation can aggravate chronic pain, and fibromyalgia is no exception. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening to promote better sleep hygiene.
3. Stick to a healthy diet.
Eating a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and other nutrients can fight inflammation and fatigue, promote muscle healing and rejuvenation, and help maintain a healthy weight. This ultimately reduces the pain and muscle tension associated with fibromyalgia.
Remember that some foods may also act as triggers for fibromyalgia symptoms, so it may be helpful to keep a food diary to identify any potential triggers.
4. Take care of yourself emotionally.
Although the link between stress and fibromyalgia is vague at best, experts believe excessive stress can trigger the onset of fibromyalgia flare-ups or make symptoms worse. To keep your stress levels in check, be sure to take some time for yourself each day to relax and de-stress. Consider activities like yoga, meditation, or massage therapy.
5. Pace yourself.
One very important thing to remember when dealing with fibromyalgia is to always pace yourself. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to a flare-up, so it’s imperative to listen to your body and take things slow even when you’re having a good day.
6. Keep track of your triggers.
Keep a diary of your symptoms and activities to help identify any potential triggers. Once you know what sets off your symptoms, you can take the necessary steps to avoid those triggers in the future.
7. Seek professional treatment.
There is only so much that self-care can do to manage fibromyalgia symptoms. If you find that your symptoms are starting to impact your daily life, it may be time to seek professional help.
A pain management specialist can develop a customized treatment plan to help you effectively manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are ways to manage the symptoms and keep the condition in check. By following the above tips and techniques, you can significantly improve your quality of life and reduce symptom flare-ups. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – living with fibromyalgia can be debilitating, but you don’t have to do it alone.