11 Healthy Habits for Fibromyalgia Patients

What You Can Do to Improve Symptoms

Fibromyalgia is a disease of chronic and widespread muscle pain and tenderness. It is also often associated with fatigue, poor sleep, trouble thinking and anxiety or depression. The cause and mechanism of fibromyalgia are unknown, but it is believed to be a disorder of central pain processing. Since the cause and mechanism are unknown, there is no cure to eliminate the pain. Instead, treatment is focused on helping sufferers manage their symptoms and achieve maximal daily functioning.

There is no magic drug to manage fibromyalgia. While medication has a role, non-drug treatments are more effective at maintaining day-to-day functioning.

A multi-faceted approach is advised, involving exercise, stress-management, and daily activity planning, with patients encouraged to take active control of their fibromyalgia management. By feeling in control, many suffers of fibromyalgia can achieve maximum daily functioning.

Here are 11 healthy habits for fibromyalgia that patients can adopt to help manage their symptoms:

1. Keep an Activity and Symptom Diary

Fibromyalgia is different for everyone. Learn what activities affect your pain, fatigue, sleep and mood. By learning what specific factors exacerbate or help your symptoms, this can help you better plan your day and manage your disease.

2. Plan Your Days

Fibromyalgia is unpredictable. You may find yourself more fatigued or in more pain than usual at inconvenient times.

The previous night or at the start of each day, work out what activities you need to fit into the day, including important time for exercise and stress relief. Assign these activities an order of priority. Start your day with the activities with the highest priority.

Pace yourself and schedule your activities between periods of rest. Break up activities into smaller segments if you need to. And if you don’t achieve all that you wanted to, be easy on yourself.

3. Incorporate Aerobic Activity Into Your Routine

20 minutes a day, three times a week. Examples include swimming, walking, cycling or water aerobics.

It can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise when you are sore and tired. However, studies show that exercise benefits people with fibromyalgia. Overall, it leads to improved energy levels, better sleep, reduced fatigue and greater fitness.

Exercise is good for your overall health and lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. On the other hand, those who don’t exercise end up in a viscous cycle — inactivity leads to reduced fitness and poor sleep, which makes it harder to remain active.

To make exercise achievable, start gently and slowly. The 20 minutes doesn’t need to be done in one block. Learn your limits. Don’t push yourself too hard on good days because that can make your pain and fatigue worse the next.

Choose an exercise that is low impact, one you enjoy, and one you will feel motivated to continue. If you overdo it, have a rest day and try again the next. Continue…

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