How To Not Struggle With Fibromyalgia Again
Saturday was the day I was looking forward to. I had planned to take my son to a summer camp which he was very much looking forward to.
I had packed everything for a camp a night before and went to bed. I woke up in the morning with a severe headache. I felt like that I was not at sleep but ran a thousands miles the whole night.
Every part of my body hurt. My legs were swollen had redness all over. But I was not surprised. This was my life for many years. I had always lived in fear and uncertainty of fibromyalgia pain creeping on my at any moment.
The hardest past was to explain my condition to people around me. Unlike other ailments where there is a physical sign or medical confirmation, there was nothing in my body which I could show to others.
I looked everywhere and tried almost everything, but nothing seemed to have worked until I started tackling each symptom on its own.
So let's see how I dealt with my own fibromyalgia condition and how you can do the same and get the same benefits.
Restless legs syndrome
Fibromyalgia patients often have difficulty sleeping, and one of the primary cause in Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). RLS causes not only pain but also lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
RLS causes people to experience creepy-crawly feeling in their legs and irresistible urge to move. This causes them to keep moving around when lying down in the bed. And this causes people not to get proper sleep.
Research has identified that iron deficiency in the body causes RLS. A brain scan on RLS patients has found them to have low iron amount. So the first step is to get checked if you have a low iron level.
To boost the iron level in your body eat iron-rich food such as meat, green leafy vegetables and fish. You can also take oral iron supplements.
It helps to take vitamin C as well to help get iron absorbed in the body. Do not take iron supplements with milk, calcium or antacids.
Several studies have shown that approximately 40% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from anxiety.
Once you learn how to control your anxiety, it will help you to reduce fibromyalgia related symptoms. Anxiety causes shortness of breadth, dizziness, light head, chest pain and nausea. Anxiety often makes other fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
Understanding when you are going through anxiety and learning to relax and control thoughts can help you to manage it.
The first step to control anxiety is to become aware of it. Learn deep breathing techniques, create a comfortable environment, spend time with family and listen to your favourite music should provide some relief.
Depression and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia and depression often go together. Chronic pain which is often experienced in fibromyalgia condition makes people depressed.
The depression causes the person to feel worthless, disturbs their sleep, makes it difficult to sleep, and losses the self-esteem.
Studies have found that depression creates the lower pain threshold which make the fibromyalgia pain to feel worse.
The person loses interest in personal care and becomes less social. This further secludes them and makes them feel lonely. Depression affects the body, moods, relationships and physical activities.
Understanding and acknowledging that you are going through depression is the first step. With a strong will to overcome depression, and support from family and friends will be vital to overcome depression.
I do not recommend getting into depression medications but if you have severe depression then you should talk to your doctor if taking anti-depressant may be helpful.
Fibromyalgia Fear and Trauma
A traumatic past events such as abuse, neglect, poverty and crime sometimes trigger fibromyalgia symptoms. In some extreme cases, theses fear and trauma develops into post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).
It is estimated that up to 7.7 million people in North America suffer from this disorder.
Many physicians recommend cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help people with PTSD. Counselling is essential to overcome fear and trauma.
By confronting the fear and verbalizing the shock, the counsellor can help you relieve the past stressful experience and make an action plan so that you can move on.
It might also require you to relocate to safer environment, end an abusive relationship or change work.
Sometimes the inability to control one's behaviour due to chronic pain and other symptoms make fibromyalgia patients rude or insensitive toward the person they care. It often makes them feel guilty and feel bad about them.
Guilt has no place in life, and fibromyalgia patients should avoid the feelings of guilt as it makes the condition worse.
Do not get wind up thinking and regretting past behaviour. Berating yourself for your unpleasant prior actions will not help you.
So how can you overcome fibromyalgia guilt?
Start by developing a positive attitude and accept that you are not an evil person, but it was just a weak moment where you lost control of yourself.
Identify and learn what made you behave the way you did. Device a plan for the future to not act in the same way.
Acknowledge that you are not perfect and strive to make yourself better each day will help you overcome fibromyalgia guilt.
Anger and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia symptoms such as chronic pain often generates negative emotions such as anger. A study has found that anger increases the pain sensitivity.
A combination of several factors such as anxiety, depression and chronic pain makes the person feel upset and angry which further aggravates their fibromyalgia symptoms.
Anger also causes the release of hormones which tightens the muscles and make muscle relaxation impossible which causes muscle pains.
Let be admit it, it is not easy to control anger. But by learning to recognize your emotions and formulating ways to control negative feelings will help you control your anger.
When you are angry, express your emotions in such a way that decreases the intensity of the emotions. It can lower the harmful impact of anger.
Take also cue from external factors. If you are feeling short-tempered, then keep yourself always from things which make you feel irritated.
Be aware that don't go activities which might push you to become more frustrated or overwhelmed.
Learn to respond positively to negative emotions. Think of ways to prevent angry and have strategies for controlled release of your anger.
Sharing things which makes you upset with someone who is not a target of your anger can also help to calm yourself down and not make you angry.
Stress and Fibromyalgia
A recent survey had suggested that 63% of fibromyalgia patients feel that stress is a significant factor in influencing their fibromyalgia symptoms.
Managing stress is essential to control the chronic fatigue and fibro symptoms.
It may sound confusing but you can control your stress by the way you react toward stress situation. The first step when you encounter any stress is to learn to relax. Move away from the stress triggers and find a quiet and comfortable environment.
The second step is to divert your mind through listening to music of your liking, practicing meditation, hypnosis, inhaling pleasant aromas, and getting physically active.
The last step is to make a list of everything which makes you stress and formulate a plan to deal with the next time. Having an action plan to handle your stress can help you control the stress trigger and reduce fibromyalgia flares.
Exercise and Fibromyalgia
Studies have found that low levels of physical activity may affect the brain function and increases the fibromyalgia flares risk.
Physical activity not only helps in the fibromyalgia related issues but other health issues such as reduces the risk for high blood pressure and cholesterol ,and strokes.
Exercise helps you increase the flexibility of muscle fibers, blood flow and boost the mood. By including a variety of training and movements can help you control chronic pain.
Be careful when you start the exercise though. If you haven't been physically active for a while then you should start slowly, and as you gradually increase your flexibility and strength, you can include a broader range of exercises.
If you are a beginner, you do not need to get gym membership right away and do heavy strength training. But you should first prepare your body by changing your routine.
For example, don't use the elevator or escalators and taker the stairs whenever possible. Walk to the mailbox instead of driving. Join the local health club if the outside weather does not permit you to be active.
A small commitment of exercise three to four days a week will drastically improve your overall health.
How what you eat impact fibromyalgia
Most of the people, including fibromyalgia patients, eat what they like to eat rather than what they should eat. People with no other health issue might not be as much affected by their diets as people with fibromyalgia condition.
Now if you talk to someone about what to eat? Everyone will have different opinions about the things to eat.
Should you eat low carb or no carb? Low fat or no fat? High or low protein? Grains or no grains?
There is so much confusion regarding the diets to follow.
There is no one universal diet for fibromyalgia patients. We are individuals with different kind of bodies and biochemical idiosyncrasies and preferences.
You have to know your body and figure out what diet works best for you. You might have to go through some trial and error, but it will be worth the effort as it will help you to remain pain-free and provide you with more energy and mental clarity.
Following a diet which works well for you and adopting some general suggestions will provide you with maximum benefits:
If you are like everyone else then it is more likely that you like to eat potatoes. But new research have identified potatoes to be a not very healthy vegetable.
This is because potatoes are quickly converted to glucose which can spike blood sugar and insulin levels.
This results in a weight gain which is why if you are overweight or you are low-carb or low-glycemic diets, you should avoid potatoes.
Vitamins and Magnesium
Vitamin D plays very important role in controlling fibromyalgia flares. Typically, you get vitamin D through sunlight but many people live in countries where the weather is cold and do not get a chance to get enough vitamin D.
This is why it is recommended that you take vitamin D supplements. But you should also take magnesium with vitamin D. A study at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center found that with magnesium controls the vitamin D level in the body.
Magnesium deficiency causes the shut down of vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathways. You do not have to take magnesium through supplements but many foods contain plentiful magnesium.
Foods such as avocados, tofu, chard, dark chocolate, and almonds are rich in magnesium.
Find a Right physician
It is irony that there are still debate about the occurrence and acceptability of fibromyalgia condition. It is good news that many celebrities such as Lady Gaga are coming forward about their fibromyalgia condition and are raising awareness.
However, there are still many doctors who do not believe in the fibromyalgia. Finding a doctor who understands fibromyalgia and is interest in helping you is essential.
When choosing a doctor keep in mind the following points:
Having a right doctor on your side will avoid you wasting your time doing unhelpful treatments.
Keep in mind that at present there is no permanent cure for fibromyalgia and don't expect a miracle medicine from your doctor.
Being informative and reasonable, and following the suggested course of treatment to the end will provide you long lasting relief.
Living a healthy pain-free life takes effort and dedication. Most of the time, it does not require expensive and side effect producing medicines.
Unlike several other medical conditions such as cancer, heart issues, or tumours, the fibromyalgia is not a life-threatening condition.
Understanding your body and knowing what triggers the fibromyalgia symptoms may help you to enjoy your life without any pain.
I have persoanlly tried several ways to heal my body, and regardless of what medicine I used, it never provided any long-term relief.
However, once I understood my body and made an effort to live healthy lifestyle, I found that my fibromyalgia symptoms have reduced significantly.
These are not the only ways you can overcome your fibromyalgia symptoms, but these are the first step toward overall improving your health and a fundamental step in the right direction.
How do you get relief from fibromyalgia symptoms?
We would love to hear your experience in the comment below.
You can also join the discussion at the Fibromyalgia Pain Cure Facebook Page which is dedicated to a discussion of natural treatment for fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.
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