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Helpful Tips for Dealing with Fibromyalgia Pain

I am not a doctor, but I am someone who suffers from fibromyalgia. Please see the bottom of the page for my full medical disclaimer.

I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1999 and immediately had people close to me who worked in the medical field tell me that fibromyalgia was made up by hypochondriacs and was not a real thing.

Tell that bullshit to the Rheumatologist in Winnipeg who confirmed my diagnosis a few years later. Fortunately one of those people is out of my life for good and one I have very limited contact with.

It’s 2024, I’m 55 now and do not have to allow people interested in only hurting me into my life.

Over the years I have picked up some advice and tips on how I can better manage my pain. As always, it’s imperative to consult with your primary healthcare professional for personalized advice. Everyone who has FMS will have a slightly different manifestation so tips tend to be very general in nature.

Here are some lifestyle and self-care strategies that people with fibromyalgia often find helpful:

  1. Regular Exercise: Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming and gentle stretching can help improve flexibility and reduce pain. As always, before starting an exercise program, seek advice from your primary healthcare provider to create a suitable exercise plan.
  2. Balanced Diet: Maintain a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Some individuals find relief by avoiding certain foods, such as those high in caffeine, sugar and artificial additives. This is my single biggest struggle. I have a terrible diet and am committed to fixing that!
  3. Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a comfortable, low stress sleep environment. Poor sleep can exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms. I find that on my worst days, I have not had adequate sleep the night before. I do take meds to help me sleep but if I’m particularly stressed, my sleep falters. Which leads to the next tip…
  4. Stress Management: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises or yoga. Managing stress levels can positively impact fibromyalgia symptoms.
  5. Heat Therapy: Applying heat, such as warm baths, heating pads or hot packs can help relax muscles and ease pain.
  6. Cold Therapy: Some people find relief from using cold packs or ice packs to reduce inflammation and numb painful areas.
  7. Massage: Gentle massage may help alleviate muscle pain and improve circulation. Make sure your massage therapist is familiar with fibromyalgia and its sensitivities.
  8. Acupuncture: Some individuals with fibromyalgia report relief from acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine technique involving the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body.
  9. Medication Management: Consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate medication options. Medications such as analgesics, anti-inflammatories or medications specifically approved for fibromyalgia (like Lyrica) may be recommended to help alleviate symptoms.
  10. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can help individuals develop coping strategies and change thought patterns that may contribute to pain and discomfort. Find a therapist whom you can trust who is also familiar with fibromyalgia.

It’s crucial to work closely with your healthcare team to find a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms and needs. Always, always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your lifestyle or starting a new treatment.

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