Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by widespread pain and increased pain sensitivity. It is usually accompanied by fatigue in muscles and joints, sleep disorders, memory and mood issues. Patients with Fibromyalgia are also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. It is estimated that Fibromyalgia affects around 2% of the adult population in America. Middle-aged women and adults with a history of arthritis or other autoimmune diseases are more likely to develop Fibromyalgia.
There is no cure for Fibromyalgia, but different approaches are being employed by patients affected to relieve the symptoms. Some doctors prescribe gabapentin for fibromyalgia, Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug that is primarily used to prevent and control seizures and relieve nerve pain. It is widely used to manage Fibromyalgia in patients, and although it does the task, it has been shown that in some cases making a few changes to one’s lifestyle can also be effective. Here are some lifestyle changes patients affected with Fibromyalgia can easily adopt to cope with the disease, especially the most common symptom, pain.
Many patients affected with Fibromyalgia have been found to have poor quality sleep and not feel well-rested. The aches in their muscles and joints might also provide difficulty in falling asleep. Adopting good sleeping habits can be very effective in improving the quality of sleep and managing the symptoms of the disease. Here are a few strategies these patients can employ to improve their quality of sleep
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends and holidays. This helps set the body’s internal clock, and the individual would experience less difficulty falling asleep and waking up.
- Limit screen time before sleeping. The artificial light a mobile device and other gadgets emit can trick the brain into thinking it is daytime and affect the sleep quality.
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Perform relaxing activities before sleeping
- Avoid caffeine or heavy drinks at least 3hrs before the time set aside to sleep.
Maintaining good quality sleep would make a patient affected with Fibromyalgia feel more rested and full of energy to contend with the next day’s tasks.
Although patients with Fibromyalgia might find it challenging to start exercising because of the pain they might experience, the benefits over time cannot be ignored. Exercise is one of the most effective lifestyle changes individuals can adopt to relieve the symptoms and live optimally even with the condition.
The benefits of exercising improve the patient’s quality of sleep, the release of endorphins (feel-good hormones), which significantly improve the individual’s mood and ease muscles’ pain and fatigue.
Exercising does not have to be extreme. It does not necessarily mean going to a gym and taking up weight lifting. It could be as simple as going for a 30-minute walk. Patients should find a suitable activity for their energy levels and endurance. Start small and slowly build up the time or energy level required. What matters is the consistency and regular movement of the body. These patients should talk to a doctor to draw up a suitable exercise plan.
Having Fibromyalgia does not eliminate the fact that different tasks have to be done every day. Whether the individual has a job or not, certain household chores must be accomplished, like cleaning or cooking. For optimal performance in any task, the patient must feel well-rested and full of energy to perform them.
It is advised to break up a large task into smaller bits that can be accomplished over a period of time. Patients should also take regular breaks during tasks and rejuvenate themselves, especially if it requires physical exertion.
These individuals should ensure that they are not taking up too many activities for their current energy status and pace themselves. They should only take up what they know they are capable of doing without too much effort as they are more likely to get tired than most people.
Eating healthy is a lifestyle everyone should practice regardless of whether they have a condition or not. Although there is no specific diet plan that is proven to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms, maintaining a healthy food intake can increase a patient’s energy levels and reduce the risk of various health problems. Fruits and vegetables should be a constant in any meal of the day, and there should be a limit to the amount of processed food being consumed.
Patients with Fibromyalgia should also avoid caffeine intake as much as possible. Although it can make the individual feel more energetic and alert, it can affect the sleep quality by leading to more fatigue, especially during the day.
People with Fibromyalgia also tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements can be included in the patient’s diet. It helps to strengthen the bones and joints and affects the overall health of the individual positively.
Living with Fibromyalgia is likely to cause a lot of worry and anxiety that can increase a patient’s stress levels and drain the individual’s energy. Here are some relaxation techniques the individual affected can try out
- Fun activities. The patient should maintain hobbies and pursue new interests that would provide fun and a constant source of inspiration.
- Massage. Regular massage sessions can help to decrease fibromyalgia-related symptoms such as pain and stiff joints and, at the same time, improve flexibility and help the patient feel better.
Many people with a condition prefer to stay indoors and reduce social interaction as there is the possibility of probing questions they would not be comfortable answering. It is advised for patients living with Fibromyalgia to find a community of similar individuals where they can share their struggles without fear of judgment. Being in a supportive community can also provide information and tips on managing their condition optimally and a support system in times of need.