Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects between 2% and 4% of the American population, the majority of whom are women (90%). A disease characterized by the presence of severe chronic widespread pain, with fatigue that does not improve with rest, insomnia, and other symptoms such as tingling in the extremities, abdominal disorders, frequent urination, anxiety, and depression. However, despite so many symptoms, abnormalities in the body cannot be detected either with analysis or x-rays, so its diagnosis and treatment are difficult since the cause of the disease is also unknown.
It is very important that you never forget the fact that there are no magic pills or a quick holistic approach to fibromyalgia care and chronic pain, nor a treatment that quickly eliminates the symptoms. Therefore, the first step to control it is to accept it and assume that the pain can persist and be part of your life. Acknowledging reality is the first step in learning to recognize pain and knowing what makes it better or worse, and then we can find solutions and enjoy life again.
Fibromyalgia, and the chronic pain it causes, often change emotions and behavior. Many people develop negative feelings that they did not have before, such as anger, depression, frustration, a sense of failure, guilt, and shame. It is convenient to learn to control them so that they do not become chronic. Your disease cannot be cured but it can be treated and controlled. Be realistic and set achievable goals.
Many small events in daily life cause stress, which can come from family or work circumstances, financial or health problems, and also from a perfectionist attitude. The best way to combat it is, first of all, to recognize the cause and avoid situations that favor it. It is also useful to organize and plan our daily activities, and spend time relaxing. This is practiced by following certain techniques, such as deep breathing or muscle relaxation, which can be learned with short training.
So negative is to remain inactive, as to perform an excessive number of tasks. If we spend our energy trying to accomplish too many goals, fatigue and pain will set in without remedy. Examine what your obligations and daily tasks are, and really assess if there is no excess work in your life. Do not try to be excessively perfectionist, plan your obligations, and eliminate or delegate those that are not strictly necessary. Intersperse periods of rest between those of activity, and do your tasks at a pace that you can control.
Exercise is possibly the most important therapeutic aspect of fibromyalgia treatment. It keeps muscles in shape, tunes up the cardiovascular system, promotes sleep, improves the feeling of fatigue and reduces anxiety and depression. The best for this disease is an aerobic exercise that increases heart rate and oxygen consumption such as walking, running, cycling or dancing. Begin to exercise gently and gradually increase its intensity and duration, until you do it for 20 to 40 minutes, at least 3 days a week.
The lack of understanding from family and friends is often frustrating for people with fibromyalgia, since the pain is not easily perceptible to those who live with them, and this can generate feelings of doubt about the reality of the disease. Feeling misunderstood leads to isolation and this impairs pain control. Communication with the people around us becomes very important, telling others what’s wrong with you, and how you can’t always do the things you did before. Ask for help if you need it, and don’t reject the company of others. The support of our neighbors, family and friends helps us to improve faster and better cope with the disease.
The depression that chronic pain can bring leads to the abandonment of good health habits, which work for everyone, including those with fibromyalgia. Tobacco, which is harmful to any aspect of health, is also a nervous system stimulant that will make pain control more difficult. The same goes for caffeine and excess alcohol, which can also interfere with your medication. Watch your weight, and exercise to stay in shape.
Many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia improve with medication. Analgesics and anti-inflammatories, which are so effective in acute pain, do not work as well in the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. There are more powerful painkillers, opioids, which can be used in fibromyalgia, as long as they are recommended by an expert doctor. Other drugs, such as anticonvulsants and antidepressants, can also decrease pain. There are medications that can improve sleep, psychological disorders, intestinal discomfort, etc… but the most important thing is that the person suffering from this disease avoids self-medicating.
Since medicines usually have a partial result, it is common for many patients to look for solutions in alternative therapies. Some of these therapies improve pain and can promote stress control, such as yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic massage, Tai Chi, and homeopathy. Alternative medicine is not regulated by medical guidelines, so it is recommended to always consult your doctor before starting any alternative medicine therapy, as some may interfere with standard or usual treatment.
Patience is an important virtue. Getting results may take some time. Don’t throw it all away because you’ve had a “bad day”. Even if you have managed to stabilize the disease, “bad days” will inevitably appear and you must be prepared to face them. On those days, get out of the house and socialize with others, keep your usual commitments and try to spend more time relaxing.
These 10 tips will help you have a more controlled fibromyalgia disease.