I've been living with fibromyalgia or fibro for well over a decade. I have seen vast progress in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease in that time. I've also learned how to alter my life in order to work around the fibromyalgia pain and still be productive. This is just my view point as a patient so you need to work with your own doctor to find the right fit for you.
Fibromyalgia Pain Treatment
There are three main medications that are used in the treatment of fibromyalgia. They do have a lot of side effects and also tend to only work for a certain percentage of patients. I've read studies that quote it as being as low as 30%. However, this is the best course to take with your doctor because it's also going to be the most effective.
Another aspect that you can add in is changing your diet but there isn't one approved diet for treating this illness. Instead, I've found just generally eating healthier is much easier than trying to make drastic gluten free changes. You need to factor in the fibromyalgia fatigue when you plan any new life change; including your diet. If it takes up all of your energy to just cook in a certain way then it's probably not going to work for days when you have no energy.
Natural Fibromyalgia Treatments
My favorite natural treatments for fibromyalgia don't have anything at all to do with fibromyalgia. I love chamomile tea because it helps me to relax and sleep better. Plus, insurance doesn't typically cover natural treatments which is why I'm always on the lookout for a more affordable version. A box of chamomile tea, while it isn't made specifically for fibromyalgia, just costs a few dollars.
Aggravating factors of fibromyalgia are going to differ from person to person. However, when you realize what is leading to a flare it can drastically change how you deal with your disease. Even after consulting your doctor you're going to be left with at least a few symptoms. Then you have to figure out all of the nuances of living with fibromyalgia. Here are a few of the tips that have really helped me. Talk to your doctor before trying any of these.
Fibromyalgia and Weather
The most drastic thing that I've done for my disease is move to both a lower elevation as well as a slightly warmer climate. Granted, I'm still in Utah so it does get pretty cold. There might not be an actual medical connection to this. However, I think that it has a lot more to do with balance. When I'm able to get outside in the winter more I can exercise. I am not losing tons of energy standing out in the snow and scraping ice off my car. Other fibromites have had a lot more flares in the heat of summer. Figuring out what climate is right for you and whether or not it's worth changing your situation for will be one of the most life changing effects. For me I had seen the results enough on vacations that the move was worth it.
Fibromyalgia and Stress
Again, this is a day to day part of living with fibromyalgia. This affects a lot of relationships especially if you're married. There's the stress of not being able to get all of the housework done or maybe you can't hold down a job. I find that stress aggravates fibromyalgia more than anything. However, it's not practical to live without it totally. So I manage what I can and try to avoid taking on more stress than is absolutely necessary.
Living with Fibromyalgia
One word of caution with this. When trying to manage stress you usually cut down on everything that doesn't have to do with your basic survival. This makes sense when even cooking a meal can take up your entire amount of energy for the whole day. Overtime though these drastic cuts can lead to a depression or just a feeling that life isn't fair. Try to keep at least one hobby that you enjoy even if you have to scale back on it a little bit. This helps keep your sense of identity. Remember that living with fibromyalgia is still living; just a slightly modified version of what you may be used to. Finding and controlling the aggravating effects of fibromyalgia helps to reduce this problem.
Types of Exercise to Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain
It took me quite awhile to figure out the types of exercise to reduce fibromyalgia pain. When every movement hurts exercise literally feels like torture. Then add on fibromyalgia fatigue and you probably don't have enough energy to be in the extra pain let alone actually go out and exercise. I often joke that just putting on shoes is exercise when someone is in the midst of a flare. However, depending on your doctor sometimes the only recommendation they have is that you get exercise. Consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. Also depending on your case physical therapy may be necessary. The following are just my experiences.
Since I was sick I wanted to be as healthy as possible which also meant exercising as much as possible, right? When you think about one of the healthiest exercises out there you probably envision running. I found that this almost always preceded a flare. I thought that if I just started running more and working my way up to a moderate exercise routine my fibromyalgia would get better. I was pretty wrong. The more I ran over time the more my health deteriorated in every way. Then I decided that I needed a lower impact exercise that would still give me results.
Fibromyalgia and Yoga
So the next step on my journey was to find the lowest impact exercise possible which in my mind was yoga. Again, I found this to be very painful. I even tried a special type of yoga that was designed for people with chronic health issues. It recommended sitting in a chair. Sitting in a chair is usually the most taxing and painful thing I can do because of all of the tender points on my back. I have heard that this is one of the more helpful exercises for fibromyalgia so if your doctor approves then you should try it. A lot of the moves look advanced but don't be intimidated you can catch on pretty quickly.
Lower Impact Exercises
Another exercise that I heard a lot about was both water aerobics and swimming. When I have gone swimming I have found that it is one of the least painful exercises as far as the next day is concerned. However, I also found that since I live in Utah it just wasn't practical. I'd have to drive a long ways to a pool. My fibromyalgia pain gets worse if I do a lot of driving.
For me the best solution was lower impact exercises that I could do even on days when I'm in a flare or too sick to leave the house. I haven't found that this has made a signifigant impact on the fibromyalgia pain on days when I'm not feeling way. This is when I need the pain relief most and I find that it just gets worse if I skip my exercise routine repeatedly. I tried a lot of exercise videos which were better than nothing. I also got a set of pedals from amazon because I didn't have the space or money for a full fledged exercise bike. Also, I can use them sitting in a chair that is pretty comfortable. This means that I can use them a lot longer and with much less pain than I would with an actual exercise bike. So while the types of exercise to reduce fibromyalgia pain will differ depending on your situation the one constant is dedication to exercising even when you don't feel good.