Take it from someone who has it – living with fibromyalgia is a royal pain, throughout the entire body. As one might imagine, this impacts the quality of one’s life tremendously. Not only does the fibro warrior have to struggle with constant chronic pain; they also have to deal with unrelenting fatigue, depression and a sense of loss. In short, fibromyalgia doesn’t play around and it requires a different approach for dealing with bothersome symptoms while still making the most out of your life.
The good news is that fibromyalgia symptoms don’t have to wreak havoc on ALL areas of your life. If you learn how to properly manage symptoms, you can still fulfil all of your aspirations and dreams. Here are some proven strategies for coping with fibromyalgia.
Don’t Expect Sympathy
Although you certainly deserve sympathy, the harsh reality is that you may not get it. You see, most people underestimate the pain and severity of fibromyalgia. Yes, they’ve heard of it but they honestly don’t comprehend what you’re experiencing. They can’t see the pain you feel on the inside. To them, you look perfectly healthy while on the inside you feel as if your body is under attack! Therefore, it can be incredibly frustrating when people simply don’t get what you’re going through or when they make comments like “I get sore too.” So, instead of feeling stressed and bothered by their lack of understanding, let it go. Realize that not everyone you love will give you the moral support you deserve and that’s okay.
Find a Support Group
Instead of expecting support from others, find the respect you need with a support group. Other people with fibromyalgia or an invisible illness will surely provide you with the moral support that you need. Not only will they understand your experience, but they will emphasize with you and motivate you to keep going.
Take Up Swimming and Yoga
Although it may hurt a lot to do so, moderate exercise or gentle stretching can truly help you feel better. That’s not to say you should run a 5K (unless that’s something you strive to do) but getting up and moving can help alleviate your symptoms. Many fibro warriors enjoy walking, swimming and yoga. These exercises are gentle and also allow you to work out at your own speed and comfort level.
Clear Your Mind
Another great coping mechanism is to meditate and clear your mind of negativity. Yes, it’s true that you have fibromyalgia – but it doesn’t have to have you. By realizing that you can’t quite do the things you used to, you can still do the things you want to do. Therefore, negativity has no place in your heart or mind. Instead of focusing on the negative, concentrate on things that will make you happy. Do things that will clear your mind. Some great choices are meditation or taking a nature walk.
Try Pain Relieving Techniques
There are literally hundreds of pain relieving techniques that you can use. Some popular ones are massages, warm baths/showers or moist heat. Massage is fantastic for relieving muscle pain and helping to distract us from pain signals. You can get a partner or friend to massage you or you can buy a handheld massager or, better yet, invest in a massage chair. In addition, a warm bath with Epsom salts or cuddling up with a heating pad can also help relieve pain and relax the muscles.
Steer Clear of Triggers
As you probably realize, there are certain things that cause a pain flare-up. One such trigger might be living outside your energy envelope and overexerting, thereby causing a flare-up. Another trigger could be stress or cold weather. Either way, you should avoid those things that cause you to experience an increase in symptoms.
Having fibromyalgia is extremely stressful. Unfortunately, stress severely exacerbates fibromyalgia symptoms because it increases our sensitivity to pain. The best tool for combating stress (besides meditation and eliminating triggers) is CBT – or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. With this innovative treatment, the patient receives a psychotherapeutic treatment and the behaviorist helps the patient focus on their thoughts and feelings that impact or drive behavior.
In conclusion, Fibromyalgia doesn’t have to be Fibro-why-algia. Instead, it can be Fibromy-accept-the-challenge – algia. By not expecting sympathy, finding a support group, engaging in moderate exercise, steering clear of triggers, and eliminating stress, you can take control!