Do your joints feel achy, tender or stiff? Do you get headaches, feel numbness or have difficulty sleeping and concentrating?
Then you might have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes chronic pain, fatigue, and stiffness and affects 10 million people in the United States.
The condition can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep, cause numbness in the hands, feet, arms, and legs, bring on headaches, stiffness, memory problems, and even depression and anxiety.
While not everyone living with fibromyalgia experiences all these signs and symptoms, many are common.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are medications your doctor can prescribe and things you can do at home and at work to relieve your symptoms.
Here’s are nine tips to help when living with fibromyalgia.
Living with Fibromyalgia: 9 Tips that Help
Living with fibromyalgia can be challenging, but these tips can help relieve your pain and discomfort.
1. Get a Handle on Stress with Yoga
Stress can upset the quality of life for anyone. It’s known to trigger symptoms for fibromyalgia sufferers. Destressing can help you manage the disorder in a big way. Yoga acts as an excellent stress buster.
You’ll not only move and stretch your muscles, practice deep breathing and gentle exhalation, it will also help relieve the body from excess stress when you’re living with fibromyalgia.
2. Create a Frequent Exercise Regimen
Regular low impact exercise and movement can help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia. Try a daily walk or swim in a heated pool. Even if you don’t know how to swim, you can hold onto the side of the pool and kick your legs.
Warm water is a great healer for aching muscles. It reduces pain and stiffness, making it one of the best exercises for people living with fibromyalgia.
Getting regular exercise not only helps relieve physical pain, but it can also help you sleep more soundly. Speak with your physician or physical therapist about putting you on an exercise plan that suits you best.
3. Cut Caffeine
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and speeds up your heart rate. It can also affect you psychologically. Caffeine is known to make people jittery, bring on anxiety, and make it more difficult to sleep.
If you love coffee, try to drink decaffeinated coffee. It’s also a good idea to stay away from soft drinks that contain caffeine, sugar, chocolate, and caffeinated teas.
4. Schedule Time for Things You Enjoy
Fibromyalgia might seem to take away some of the fun in your life but it doesn’t have to. Be sure to set time aside daily (yes, daily) to do things you love. Doing things you enjoy is key for people living with fibromyalgia.
Get lost in a novel if you like to read books, play some of your favorite music while you unwind on the couch, take up a hobby you love or watch a favorite movie.
Enjoy a comedy you’ve wanted to watch. Laughter is a great healer. Filling your life with activities you enjoy will help relieve stress and help you relax.
5. Communicate with Loved Ones
Fibromyalgia can make life stressful for your family members. Especially if they don’t understand what you’re going through. That’s why communication is essential.
Tell your family what brings on symptoms. Schedule important conversations during the part of the day when you feel best. Maybe they can work together with you to help find solutions.
Never be afraid to ask for help from your family, friends, therapists or other people living with fibromyalgia.
6. Pace Yourself
Fibromyalgia works differently than other illnesses. You may look fine on the outside but hurt on the inside.
It’s important to pace yourself and prioritize your day. Don’t be afraid of letting others down by declining luncheons or invitations when you’re not feeling up to it. You don’t want to overdo it and regret it later.
7. Take a Bath
Taking a bath has been known to help people with fibromyalgia. There’s even a name for this therapy: balneotherapy which is used to treat illnesses and reduce pain and decrease stiffness.
Like swimming in a heated pool, warm water relaxes the muscles and soothes the pain. That’s what makes it one of the great tips for living with fibromyalgia. Take a bath at home or visit a spa or health club to get out of the house.
8. Book a Massage
While you’re at the spa, book an appointment for a massage. An alternative treatment for fibromyalgia, massage works to reduce pain and lessen anxiety and depression. If you’re considering massage, speak to your doctor first.
Once you get the okay, look for a massage therapist who works with patients who have fibromyalgia. Perhaps your doctor can make a recommendation.
It is likely that massage therapy could be covered by insurance, so check with the massage therapist to see if they take insurance and your insurance company to learn if you’re covered.
9. Practice Mindful Meditation
Meditation helps you focus your mind and breathing. It’s helped many people relax.
Many meditations incorporate breathing exercises while the practitioner focuses on a specific area of the body. This controlled breathing can help lower your heart rate.
Another type of meditation is guided imagery. In this practice, one focuses on positive images like a place you loved when you were a child or something in the present or future. Say a vacation you want to take.
Both meditation and guided imagery can help you relax and relieve daily stresses that weigh you down.
Meditation and guided imagery can be learned from a practitioner, reading a book, getting a CD or DVD or finding an app on your smartphone.
Final Thoughts: Tips for Living With Fibromyalgia
Now you know nine great tips when you’re living with fibromyalgia. Incorporate them into your lifestyle and put more relief and balance into your life.