Decoding Pain: The Distinct Worlds of Myalgia & Fibromyalgia Explained

Table of contents

Decoding Pain: The Distinct Worlds of Myalgia & Fibromyalgia Explained

Are you experiencing muscle pain and wondering if it’s myalgia or fibromyalgia?

You’re not alone.

In comparing myalgia vs fibromyalgia, it’s crucial to recognize that myalgia typically manifests as localized soreness, perhaps from overuse or injury, while fibromyalgia is associated with chronic, widespread pain that doesn't have an obvious cause, as well as symptoms including fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties.

In this article, we will help you distinguish the difference between myalgia vs fibromyalgia and how to treat each one.

Understanding myalgia

Myalgia is the medical term for muscle pain, and it's something that lots of us feel now and then. Think of it like the soreness you'd feel following a day helping a friend to move furniture, or after jumping back into sports after a long break.

When you overdo it at the gym or have an injury, aches and pains are your body's way of getting your attention so it can say, "Hey, something's not right here!" Causes of this pain can be tiny muscle tears from working out, inflammation from diseases, infections such as the flu, side effects from certain medicines, or even stress.

If you get a muscle pain that goes away with some rest and a bit of time, it's usually nothing to worry about. But sometimes, muscle pain can be a sign of something more serious. If it sticks around, gets worse, or keeps coming back, it's a good idea to see a doctor. Chronic myalgia, is localized muscle pain that doesn't go away. It can be caused by ongoing health issues such as arthritis or depression, making even simple things feel really tough.

Types of myalgia

Myalgia can manifest in various forms, each with its own characteristics and underlying causes. The different types of myalgia include:

  • Polymyalgia: This type refers to a condition known as polymyalgia rheumatica, which is characterized by muscle pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and hips. It is an inflammatory disorder that typically affects older adults and can be associated with severe fatigue and weight loss.
  • Idiopathic myalgia: When the muscle pain has no identifiable cause despite thorough investigation, it is termed idiopathic myalgia. This type can be particularly frustrating because the lack of a clear cause can make treatment challenging1.
  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia can cause muscle pain, but it's also quite unique. If you have fibromyalgia, you might feel pain all over your body. Unlike other forms of myalgia, fibromyalgia is thought to amplify painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome: This chronic pain disorder is caused by sensitivity and tightness in your myofascial tissues – tissues that surround and support the muscles throughout your body. Pain usually originates from specific points within your myofascial tissues called "trigger points"2.

Acute vs chronic myalgia

When you experience acute myalgia, it's as if your muscles are waving a white flag of surrender, demanding a timeout to recover. A bit of rest is often all it takes for this type of muscle pain to subside.

However, chronic myalgia is a persistent pain that lingers for months or years, and is often linked to ongoing health issues such as autoimmune disorders or persistent infections. This type of pain can turn daily tasks into daunting challenges, disrupt your sleep, and impact your ability to work effectively. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available that can help you manage this pain and reclaim your quality of life.

Causes of myalgia

There are many things that can cause myalgia. The most obvious is overuse – for example, going too hard in a sports game or doing a lot of work in your yard. On the other hand, being overly sedentary and having poor posture can also cause muscle pain!

Other causes include a nutritional deficiency, such as having low levels of calcium or potassium. Some medicines, particularly those known as statins (usually used to manage cholesterol), can also cause muscle pain.

Another potential cause, as with some inflammatory diseases such as polymyalgia rheumatica, is the body's own defense system. The immune system's job is to protect you from infections, but it can get mixed up and attacking your own cells by mistake. In this case you might have an autoimmune disorder and these can cause many different symptoms, including pain and stiffness all over3.

What is fibromyalgia?

Now, let's talk about fibromyalgia, a condition that's a lot more complicated than myalgia. In fibro, the body can respond to normal signals and stimuli with pain, anywhere, anytime, even if there's no injury or obvious cause for it.

Fibromyalgia doesn't just come by itself. It often brings along other problems including irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and a condition called interstitial cystitis7, adding to the mystery of what's going on. If you live with fibromyalgia you might deal with more than pain; extreme tiredness, sleep problems, and trouble thinking clearly, which is sometimes called "fibro fog." It's a tough situation because it affects almost every part of daily life.

Central nervous system

Fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by something called central sensitization4. The central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – interpret signals such as gentle touch as dangerous, and produce pain as a result. Imagine that your brain had a dial that controls how much pain you feel, and it's stuck on high. This means you might feel pain more intensely than other people do, even from a light touch or movement.

Fibromyalgia symptoms beyond pain

Fibromyalgia is more than just muscle pain. It can mess with how you think and feel, make it hard to do everyday things, and affect how you get along with friends and family. These additional symptoms differentiate it from other types of muscle pain or myalgia.

Many people who live with fibromyalgia have a lot of fatigue and feel tired all the time, much more than just being sleepy. Unfortunately, fibro often also causes trouble sleeping, which makes the pain-fatigue cycle worse and can also make people feel "foggy" during the day; it might be hard to think clearly, concentrate, or remember things.

Here's what often happens for people with fibromyalgia:

  • widespread pain
  • feeling extremely tired fatigued
  • trouble sleeping
  • difficulties remembering things or focusing ("fibro fog")
  • chronic headaches and migraines
  • stomach problems like irritable bowel syndrome
  • mood challenges such as depression, anxiety, or chronic stress.

It's important to know that not everyone with fibromyalgia feels all these things the same way. Some people might experience pain more severely, while others might feel more tired.

Differentiating between myalgia & fibromyalgia

Fibro is a condition that affects about 6.4% of people in the U.S., and it's more common in women, especially as they get older6. Myalgia can happen to anyone, at any time, and there's usually a specific cause. Knowing the difference between these two is important because it will let you know the best way to look after yourself.

What are the main differences between myalgia & fibromyalgia?

Myalgia is generally a localized muscle pain that you can point to and it results from overexertion or injury – such as if you've pulled a muscle by twisting awkwardly. Something specific has happened to your muscles and it needs time to heal.

Fibromyalgia on the other hand is a long-term condition that causes persistent, widespread pain all over the body and it's a more complex story, with additional symptoms. With fibromyalgia there's often no structural damage, but instead the nervous system is extra sensitive and causing abnormal pain perception all the time.

Symptom comparison

The acute pain of myalgia is often described as a sharp ache or a pulsing sensation in specific muscle groups. Fibromyalgia pain can be anything from a dull ache, to a sharp pain, or a feeling of prickling or burning. The accompanying symptoms in fibromyalgia is not commonly seen in myalgia.

Diagnosis: myalgia vs fibromyalgia

Myalgia itself is a symptom, not a diagnosis. The diagnostic process is directed toward finding an underlying condition that may have triggered the onset of your muscle pain. Whereas fibromyalgia's diagnosis is more complex and requires doctors to assess the pain and symptoms throughout your body.

Diagnosing myalgia

  • Reviewing your medical history is the first step in the process. This involves discussing your full medical background, including any past injuries or illnesses, with your healthcare provider. It also encompasses a review of all current medications you are taking.
  • Conducting a physical examination involves assessing the affected muscles for pain, tone, strength, and rigidity. This part of the evaluation also observes how you walk and maintain their posture.
  • Blood tests are conducted to check for inflammatory indicators, such as elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein, which might signal a disorder such as polymyalgia rheumatica. These tests are also essential for detecting giant cell arteritis, a severe complication associated with polymyalgia rheumatica that could result in critical conditions such as strokes or aneurysms.
  • Diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays and MRI scans, can assist in identifying and excluding certain causes of myalgia.

Diagnosing fibromyalgia

There is no blood test of scan to look for fibromyalgia. The diagnostic criteria include a widespread pain index and a symptom severity scale score, as well as considering the nature and duration of your symptoms. This reflects the understanding that fibromyalgia involves a range of symptoms beyond pain.

Treatment approaches for myalgia & fibromyalgia

Managing myalgia or fibromyalgia both require a thoughtful approach, tailored to the unique challenges each condition presents and the individual's circumstances. Techniques such as meditation and yoga can help with the pain associated with both conditions.

It's important to understand that while anti-inflammatory drugs can help with myalgia, they're not usually recommended for fibromyalgia.

Relieve pain & treat myalgia

To help with muscle pain from myalgia, you have a few choices:

  • over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • corticosteroids for conditions like polymyalgia rheumatica
  • physical therapy to help your muscles become more flexible and strong, which helps with pain and stops it from coming back.

For quick relief after an injury, rest and put ice on the affected area. After a couple of days, heat can provide further relieve. Gentle exercise and massage can also make you feel better.

Managing stress is important too, even though it might seem unrelated. This is because stress can wear us down and make us feel more pain.

Treating fibromyalgia with medications

Managing fibromyalgia requires a multi-faceted approach, and medication is just one component of a comprehensive pain management strategy that should also include educational, lifestyle, and psychological interventions.

Typical medicinal options include:

  • common painkillers available over-the-counter, such as acetaminophen and naproxen
  • antidepressant medications, for instance, sertraline or fluoxetine
  • specialized pain medications, such as Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
  • anticonvulsant drugs that may also alleviate nerve pain, such as topiramate and carbamazepine.

Non-medicated treatments for fibromyalgia syndrome

Dealing with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia can be tough, but there are ways to help your body cope better. Physical therapy might be part of the plan, movement is an excellent way to fight pain (trust us!) and reducing stress is also crucial. This includes finding ways to manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if that is something you experience, and ensuring you get quality sleep to help ease the pain.

Retraining your pain

To better grasp how your brain can learn to handle pain differently, it's useful to recognize that pain is not solely a physical sensation. It intertwines with your thoughts, emotions, and the environment.

By identifying what intensifies your pain, such as stress or negative thinking, you can start altering these factors. Changes might include improving your diet, enhancing your sleep, exercising more, or employing techniques to help your brain reinterpret pain triggers. With dedication, you can teach your brain to respond to pain in a new way, reducing its impact on your life.

Stress management

While we can't completely avoid stress in life, knowing how to handle it can really help you. When you're good at managing stress, your body is less likely to feel pain from normal touches or movements. There are good ways to lessen stress. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness can teach you better thinking habits, how to live in the moment, and to calm down. It's also a good idea to talk things out with friends, a counselor, or in a support group where you can share your worries and get support.

Movement & exercise

Movement and exercise, while they may seem daunting, are highly beneficial for managing pain. Movement loosens up tight joints and muscles and can gradually build your strength to protect you from future pain.

When you move around and stay active, you can feel happier, have more energy, and sleep better. It's about finding activities that you enjoy and that fit your health needs. This could be something as simple as yoga, a little bit of dancing, or working in your garden.

Including stretches and low-impact exercises like walking can help ease your muscles. As your flexibility improves, you might notice some pain relief, which can make you feel better overall.

Remember to start with easy exercises and slowly increase how much you do. Be kind to yourself as you progress. By listening to your body and taking it slow, you can do more over time without hurting yourself.

Sleep quality

Quality sleep is a key factor in managing fibromyalgia, much like a cornerstone in your daily self-care. It's a fact that most people with fibromyalgia struggle to get the restorative sleep their bodies need for healing.

To foster better sleep, which is integral to your well-being, consider these guidelines:

  • Strive for around eight hours of sleep each night and keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • If you must nap, make it a short one to avoid affecting your sleep at night.
  • Be active during the day to help you fall asleep more easily when it's bedtime.
  • Cut down on screen time before bed to help your mind settle down for sleep.
  • Create a restful environment in your bedroom – dark and quiet to help avoid sleep disruptions.
  • Watch your caffeine consumption, especially in the late afternoon and evening, as it can stay in your system and impact your sleep.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol close to bedtime, as these can disrupt your sleep quality.
  • Also, engage in other relaxing activities. They aid in establishing better sleep practices and managing your symptoms more effectively.

Physical therapy approaches

Applying heat to your muscles can be an effective starting point for pain relief. A warm cloth or heating pad can make your muscles relax, which may ease the discomfort. This relaxation can make stretching and other activities less painful to perform.

More information

At MoreGoodDays®, our approach is crafted with care to assist you in managing fibromyalgia. This condition can deeply affect your daily life. We've put together resources and methods that are straightforward and practical. These are designed to help you understand fibromyalgia better and to provide you with strategies to handle the pain and tiredness that often come with it.

Our commitment is to guide you towards a healthier, more enjoyable life, despite fibromyalgia's challenges.

Download our mobile app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for immediate access to some of our content and to see your support options.

  1. Oldroyd A, Lilleker J, Chinoy H. Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies - a guide to subtypes, diagnostic approach and treatment. Clin Med (Lond). 2017 Jul;17(4):322-328. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.17-4-322. PMID: 28765407; PMCID: PMC6297649. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6297649/
  2. Tantanatip A, Chang KV. Myofascial Pain Syndrome. [Updated 2023 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499882/
  3. Acharya S, Musa R. Polymyalgia Rheumatica. [Updated 2022 Jun 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537274/
  4. Dydyk AM, Givler A. Central Pain Syndrome. [Updated 2023 Feb 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553027/
  5. Latremoliere A, Woolf CJ. Central sensitization: a generator of pain hypersensitivity by central neural plasticity. J Pain. 2009 Sep;10(9):895-926. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2009.06.012. PMID: 19712899; PMCID: PMC2750819. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2750819/
  6. Bhargava J, Hurley JA. Fibromyalgia. [Updated 2023 Jun 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK540974/
  7. Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, accessed April 4, 2024. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/interstitial-cystitis-painful-bladder-syndrome

Decoding Pain: The Distinct Worlds of Myalgia & Fibromyalgia Explained

Table of contents

Decoding Pain: The Distinct Worlds of Myalgia & Fibromyalgia Explained

Are you experiencing muscle pain and wondering if it’s myalgia or fibromyalgia?

You’re not alone.

In comparing myalgia vs fibromyalgia, it’s crucial to recognize that myalgia typically manifests as localized soreness, perhaps from overuse or injury, while fibromyalgia is associated with chronic, widespread pain that doesn't have an obvious cause, as well as symptoms including fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties.

In this article, we will help you distinguish the difference between myalgia vs fibromyalgia and how to treat each one.

Understanding myalgia

Myalgia is the medical term for muscle pain, and it's something that lots of us feel now and then. Think of it like the soreness you'd feel following a day helping a friend to move furniture, or after jumping back into sports after a long break.

When you overdo it at the gym or have an injury, aches and pains are your body's way of getting your attention so it can say, "Hey, something's not right here!" Causes of this pain can be tiny muscle tears from working out, inflammation from diseases, infections such as the flu, side effects from certain medicines, or even stress.

If you get a muscle pain that goes away with some rest and a bit of time, it's usually nothing to worry about. But sometimes, muscle pain can be a sign of something more serious. If it sticks around, gets worse, or keeps coming back, it's a good idea to see a doctor. Chronic myalgia, is localized muscle pain that doesn't go away. It can be caused by ongoing health issues such as arthritis or depression, making even simple things feel really tough.

Types of myalgia

Myalgia can manifest in various forms, each with its own characteristics and underlying causes. The different types of myalgia include:

  • Polymyalgia: This type refers to a condition known as polymyalgia rheumatica, which is characterized by muscle pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, and hips. It is an inflammatory disorder that typically affects older adults and can be associated with severe fatigue and weight loss.
  • Idiopathic myalgia: When the muscle pain has no identifiable cause despite thorough investigation, it is termed idiopathic myalgia. This type can be particularly frustrating because the lack of a clear cause can make treatment challenging1.
  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia can cause muscle pain, but it's also quite unique. If you have fibromyalgia, you might feel pain all over your body. Unlike other forms of myalgia, fibromyalgia is thought to amplify painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome: This chronic pain disorder is caused by sensitivity and tightness in your myofascial tissues – tissues that surround and support the muscles throughout your body. Pain usually originates from specific points within your myofascial tissues called "trigger points"2.

Acute vs chronic myalgia

When you experience acute myalgia, it's as if your muscles are waving a white flag of surrender, demanding a timeout to recover. A bit of rest is often all it takes for this type of muscle pain to subside.

However, chronic myalgia is a persistent pain that lingers for months or years, and is often linked to ongoing health issues such as autoimmune disorders or persistent infections. This type of pain can turn daily tasks into daunting challenges, disrupt your sleep, and impact your ability to work effectively. Fortunately, there are various treatment options available that can help you manage this pain and reclaim your quality of life.

Causes of myalgia

There are many things that can cause myalgia. The most obvious is overuse – for example, going too hard in a sports game or doing a lot of work in your yard. On the other hand, being overly sedentary and having poor posture can also cause muscle pain!

Other causes include a nutritional deficiency, such as having low levels of calcium or potassium. Some medicines, particularly those known as statins (usually used to manage cholesterol), can also cause muscle pain.

Another potential cause, as with some inflammatory diseases such as polymyalgia rheumatica, is the body's own defense system. The immune system's job is to protect you from infections, but it can get mixed up and attacking your own cells by mistake. In this case you might have an autoimmune disorder and these can cause many different symptoms, including pain and stiffness all over3.

What is fibromyalgia?

Now, let's talk about fibromyalgia, a condition that's a lot more complicated than myalgia. In fibro, the body can respond to normal signals and stimuli with pain, anywhere, anytime, even if there's no injury or obvious cause for it.

Fibromyalgia doesn't just come by itself. It often brings along other problems including irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and a condition called interstitial cystitis7, adding to the mystery of what's going on. If you live with fibromyalgia you might deal with more than pain; extreme tiredness, sleep problems, and trouble thinking clearly, which is sometimes called "fibro fog." It's a tough situation because it affects almost every part of daily life.

Central nervous system

Fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by something called central sensitization4. The central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – interpret signals such as gentle touch as dangerous, and produce pain as a result. Imagine that your brain had a dial that controls how much pain you feel, and it's stuck on high. This means you might feel pain more intensely than other people do, even from a light touch or movement.

Fibromyalgia symptoms beyond pain

Fibromyalgia is more than just muscle pain. It can mess with how you think and feel, make it hard to do everyday things, and affect how you get along with friends and family. These additional symptoms differentiate it from other types of muscle pain or myalgia.

Many people who live with fibromyalgia have a lot of fatigue and feel tired all the time, much more than just being sleepy. Unfortunately, fibro often also causes trouble sleeping, which makes the pain-fatigue cycle worse and can also make people feel "foggy" during the day; it might be hard to think clearly, concentrate, or remember things.

Here's what often happens for people with fibromyalgia:

  • widespread pain
  • feeling extremely tired fatigued
  • trouble sleeping
  • difficulties remembering things or focusing ("fibro fog")
  • chronic headaches and migraines
  • stomach problems like irritable bowel syndrome
  • mood challenges such as depression, anxiety, or chronic stress.

It's important to know that not everyone with fibromyalgia feels all these things the same way. Some people might experience pain more severely, while others might feel more tired.

Differentiating between myalgia & fibromyalgia

Fibro is a condition that affects about 6.4% of people in the U.S., and it's more common in women, especially as they get older6. Myalgia can happen to anyone, at any time, and there's usually a specific cause. Knowing the difference between these two is important because it will let you know the best way to look after yourself.

What are the main differences between myalgia & fibromyalgia?

Myalgia is generally a localized muscle pain that you can point to and it results from overexertion or injury – such as if you've pulled a muscle by twisting awkwardly. Something specific has happened to your muscles and it needs time to heal.

Fibromyalgia on the other hand is a long-term condition that causes persistent, widespread pain all over the body and it's a more complex story, with additional symptoms. With fibromyalgia there's often no structural damage, but instead the nervous system is extra sensitive and causing abnormal pain perception all the time.

Symptom comparison

The acute pain of myalgia is often described as a sharp ache or a pulsing sensation in specific muscle groups. Fibromyalgia pain can be anything from a dull ache, to a sharp pain, or a feeling of prickling or burning. The accompanying symptoms in fibromyalgia is not commonly seen in myalgia.

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Diagnosis: myalgia vs fibromyalgia

Myalgia itself is a symptom, not a diagnosis. The diagnostic process is directed toward finding an underlying condition that may have triggered the onset of your muscle pain. Whereas fibromyalgia's diagnosis is more complex and requires doctors to assess the pain and symptoms throughout your body.

Diagnosing myalgia

  • Reviewing your medical history is the first step in the process. This involves discussing your full medical background, including any past injuries or illnesses, with your healthcare provider. It also encompasses a review of all current medications you are taking.
  • Conducting a physical examination involves assessing the affected muscles for pain, tone, strength, and rigidity. This part of the evaluation also observes how you walk and maintain their posture.
  • Blood tests are conducted to check for inflammatory indicators, such as elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate or C-reactive protein, which might signal a disorder such as polymyalgia rheumatica. These tests are also essential for detecting giant cell arteritis, a severe complication associated with polymyalgia rheumatica that could result in critical conditions such as strokes or aneurysms.
  • Diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays and MRI scans, can assist in identifying and excluding certain causes of myalgia.

Diagnosing fibromyalgia

There is no blood test of scan to look for fibromyalgia. The diagnostic criteria include a widespread pain index and a symptom severity scale score, as well as considering the nature and duration of your symptoms. This reflects the understanding that fibromyalgia involves a range of symptoms beyond pain.

Treatment approaches for myalgia & fibromyalgia

Managing myalgia or fibromyalgia both require a thoughtful approach, tailored to the unique challenges each condition presents and the individual's circumstances. Techniques such as meditation and yoga can help with the pain associated with both conditions.

It's important to understand that while anti-inflammatory drugs can help with myalgia, they're not usually recommended for fibromyalgia.

Relieve pain & treat myalgia

To help with muscle pain from myalgia, you have a few choices:

  • over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • corticosteroids for conditions like polymyalgia rheumatica
  • physical therapy to help your muscles become more flexible and strong, which helps with pain and stops it from coming back.

For quick relief after an injury, rest and put ice on the affected area. After a couple of days, heat can provide further relieve. Gentle exercise and massage can also make you feel better.

Managing stress is important too, even though it might seem unrelated. This is because stress can wear us down and make us feel more pain.

Treating fibromyalgia with medications

Managing fibromyalgia requires a multi-faceted approach, and medication is just one component of a comprehensive pain management strategy that should also include educational, lifestyle, and psychological interventions.

Typical medicinal options include:

  • common painkillers available over-the-counter, such as acetaminophen and naproxen
  • antidepressant medications, for instance, sertraline or fluoxetine
  • specialized pain medications, such as Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
  • anticonvulsant drugs that may also alleviate nerve pain, such as topiramate and carbamazepine.

Non-medicated treatments for fibromyalgia syndrome

Dealing with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia can be tough, but there are ways to help your body cope better. Physical therapy might be part of the plan, movement is an excellent way to fight pain (trust us!) and reducing stress is also crucial. This includes finding ways to manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if that is something you experience, and ensuring you get quality sleep to help ease the pain.

Retraining your pain

To better grasp how your brain can learn to handle pain differently, it's useful to recognize that pain is not solely a physical sensation. It intertwines with your thoughts, emotions, and the environment.

By identifying what intensifies your pain, such as stress or negative thinking, you can start altering these factors. Changes might include improving your diet, enhancing your sleep, exercising more, or employing techniques to help your brain reinterpret pain triggers. With dedication, you can teach your brain to respond to pain in a new way, reducing its impact on your life.

Stress management

While we can't completely avoid stress in life, knowing how to handle it can really help you. When you're good at managing stress, your body is less likely to feel pain from normal touches or movements. There are good ways to lessen stress. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness can teach you better thinking habits, how to live in the moment, and to calm down. It's also a good idea to talk things out with friends, a counselor, or in a support group where you can share your worries and get support.

Movement & exercise

Movement and exercise, while they may seem daunting, are highly beneficial for managing pain. Movement loosens up tight joints and muscles and can gradually build your strength to protect you from future pain.

When you move around and stay active, you can feel happier, have more energy, and sleep better. It's about finding activities that you enjoy and that fit your health needs. This could be something as simple as yoga, a little bit of dancing, or working in your garden.

Including stretches and low-impact exercises like walking can help ease your muscles. As your flexibility improves, you might notice some pain relief, which can make you feel better overall.

Remember to start with easy exercises and slowly increase how much you do. Be kind to yourself as you progress. By listening to your body and taking it slow, you can do more over time without hurting yourself.

Sleep quality

Quality sleep is a key factor in managing fibromyalgia, much like a cornerstone in your daily self-care. It's a fact that most people with fibromyalgia struggle to get the restorative sleep their bodies need for healing.

To foster better sleep, which is integral to your well-being, consider these guidelines:

  • Strive for around eight hours of sleep each night and keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • If you must nap, make it a short one to avoid affecting your sleep at night.
  • Be active during the day to help you fall asleep more easily when it's bedtime.
  • Cut down on screen time before bed to help your mind settle down for sleep.
  • Create a restful environment in your bedroom – dark and quiet to help avoid sleep disruptions.
  • Watch your caffeine consumption, especially in the late afternoon and evening, as it can stay in your system and impact your sleep.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol close to bedtime, as these can disrupt your sleep quality.
  • Also, engage in other relaxing activities. They aid in establishing better sleep practices and managing your symptoms more effectively.

Physical therapy approaches

Applying heat to your muscles can be an effective starting point for pain relief. A warm cloth or heating pad can make your muscles relax, which may ease the discomfort. This relaxation can make stretching and other activities less painful to perform.

More information

At MoreGoodDays®, our approach is crafted with care to assist you in managing fibromyalgia. This condition can deeply affect your daily life. We've put together resources and methods that are straightforward and practical. These are designed to help you understand fibromyalgia better and to provide you with strategies to handle the pain and tiredness that often come with it.

Our commitment is to guide you towards a healthier, more enjoyable life, despite fibromyalgia's challenges.

Download our mobile app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for immediate access to some of our content and to see your support options.