7 No-Nonsense Ways To Live Better With Fibromyalgia

Every fibromyalgia relief strategy we discover is like finding the goose that laid the golden egg. With that in mind, we have collected the anecdotal wisdom of people with fibromyalgia that we see at More Good Days, and present their common and not-so-common experiences for your consideration. Hopefully, some of these golden eggs will turn out to be 24 carat.

The first thing to note is that while many symptoms of fibromyalgia are experienced by most people with the condition, there is a wide range of less-common symptoms. This is important because one person’s relief system might seem quite odd to another.

#1 Sleep

Unsurprisingly, the top-scoring gold medal champion of all is sleep, with its near cousin rest a close second. These beautiful gems are of course relevant to everyone, but whereas most people might take sleep and rest for granted, those with fibromyalgia rarely do. A mostly uninterrupted night’s refreshing sleep is nourishment for the body, the mind and the psyche.

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#2 Exercise

Exercise was the next commonly mentioned, and people have a lot to say about this one. Almost universal was the comment that exercise seemed difficult at first, but after a short time, most found they looked forward to that part of their day. Preferred types of exercise varied widely, the strongest contender being walking. Other exercise activities included hydrotherapy, swimming, yoga, tai chi, and dancing.

Whichever you choose, it is wisest to start low and slow, gradually building your exercise program over days, weeks and months, and it’s worthwhile charting your progress to keep you on target. The ideal with exercise is to do something you enjoy that will strengthen your muscles and minimise pain. You should never push yourself to the point where your body needs recovery time: please remove from your mind any notion of that old cliché, no pain, no gain – it is not intended for you.

Daily exercise may also help deliver a better night-time sleep: a sure win/win.

#3 Reducing stress

Reducing stress and stress avoidance are high on people’s list, with many drawing a direct correlation between the experience of stress to the onset of pain. Where PTSD, depression or anxiety have been discovered to be a component of their condition, many of those people find speaking with a psychologist or a counsellor hugely beneficial.

Other remedies for stress included diversion therapy such as watching a movie or reading a book, spending time with pets, socialising with friends and family, playing or listening to music, hobbies, meditation, massage, yoga-type exercise, and some have tried hypnotherapy.

#4 Diet

Just about everyone mentioned diet. Some found that dairy or gluten or alcohol or high FODMAP foods gave them flares of pain and other fibro symptoms, so it is certainly worth trying to eliminate one food at a time if you feel that’s indicated.

Carrying excess weight can also add to body pain and discomfort, so if that’s an issue for you, then eating a well-balanced diet with all the usual good fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish or other protein will stand you in good stead. The Mediterranean-style eating plan is generally perfectly sound for optimum health for everyone.

If in doubt, ask your doctor to suggest a dietitian who can help you work out whether certain foods are contributing to your symptoms. Following blood testing, a dietitian might also recommend specific supplements that could alleviate symptoms.

#5 Physical therapy

Most people loved their range of physical and other therapies, including physiotherapy, acupuncture, a professional massage, a relaxing visit to a day spa, and some had found a flotation tank experience perfectly divine. Some have engaged an occupational therapist to advise them on their workplace and home office furniture, to ensure their bodies are supported correctly and that they are working at the correct heights and angles.

#6 Pain medications

Those who use prescribed medications – especially those for whom depression and anxiety are associated with their condition – scored them highly. Most fibro patients use over-the-counter analgesics when they need them, and some use time-release analgesics on a regular basis, usually at bedtime, however, your GP will be the best person to advise you on analgesia.

Heat packs and cold packs are also recommended by many for painful muscles and joints.

#7 Social relationships

Social relationships is another area raised. While it can be difficult to keep to a set schedule or prearranged date, they found that being with positive, happy, empathic people is a plus to their sense of wellbeing, and oftentimes this good feeling has a positive effect upon symptoms.

The secret to making this work is in sharing the scientific evidence of fibromyalgia and your specific symptoms with your family and friends, so they can understand and better accommodate your needs.

And there you have it, the gathered wisdom of your peers; the basket of golden eggs from others who understand your particular set of circumstances and lifestyle issues.