Self help for fibromyalgia is out there and available. First off, let’s start by defining fibromyalgia. Following a simplified line of thought, we can say that fibromyalgia is best characterized by chronic pain that is felt in the muscles, ligaments and tendons.
The condition itself is related to arthritis and was once thought of as a psychological problem since laboratory tests found no indication that there was something wrong with individuals who had the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
However, later studies have verified the existence of the condition. The fact of the matter is it was only 14 years ago when the American College of Rheumatology recognized fibromyalgia and legitimized it as a human disorder.
Recent statistics indicate that fibromyalgia affects between 3 – 5 million of the U.S. population. Diagnosing the condition is now a formalized process. People who exhibit a history of widespread pain on both sides of the body in the upper and lower areas of the waist for at least three months, as well as pain in at least 11 of 18 specified tender-point areas are most likely suffering from fibromyalgia.
Modern medicine has already found ways of treating fibromyalgia, although there is currently no specific FDA approved fibromyalgia medication. However, there are drugs that are prescribed to relieve the pain. Such drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen and other pain relievers. Antidepressants are also commonly prescribed to help relieve depression and may also help with sleep disorders that often come with having fibromyalgia. Doctors also recommend muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine among others.
However, the best treatment plan doesn’t involve drugs alone. It is actually a combination of exercise, medicine, physical therapy and relaxation that helps individuals with fibromyalgia to overcome the condition.
A study that was carried out on 84 fibromyalgia sufferers, where half the group where given normal medications and the other half followed a self-help program instead. This involved swimming, exercise, relaxation techniques and small modifications in diet.
The self-help group reported the most positive benefits, feeling less fatigue, depression and anxiety alone with added boost of more energy. The first group who followed the medical treatments reported no difference in their condition at the end of the trial.
So, to introduce self-help methods to your treatment plan try low-impact aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming. Interestingly, strength training has also shown to be helpful in treating fibromyalgia patients.
These types of exercises increase muscle and overall body flexibility and strength. These also help relieve pain and can help patients sleep. Plus, doctors have successfully tested that heat and massage offer short-term relief from pain and muscle stiffness. The key, however, is moderation. Just like normal exercises, the body cannot take too much of something. With this in mind, it is important to work closely with your doctor to determine the type of exercises and how much you should do.
Aside from regular exercises, there are a number of natural and self-care techniques that patients with fibromyalgia can observe for faster recovery.
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Patients with fibromyalgia should learn to reduce stress in their everyday life. This stress can be either overexertion from day to day activities, or emotional stress from family or personal life. It is vital that patients learn to relax and take it easy. The more stressed they become, the more their condition will worsen. Deep-breathing exercises or meditation can be very effective means to manage or control your stress.
Another option you might consider is to avoid fatigue. Rest whenever you feel fatigued and make sure that you get sufficient sleep everyday. However, you should limit your daytime naps, and set up a regular go-to-sleep ritual that relaxes you and helps you prepare for a good night’s sleep.
The study also included dietary changes and you’ve no doubt heard often about the importance of a healthy diet, and it has never been truer than with fibromyalgia. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and other nutritious foods. Drink plenty of water and stay away from processed, fast or fried foods. Also now is the time to give up smoking and possibly also alcohol. Live a healthy life and go out and play and feel happy, satisfied and fulfilled. Having a positive predisposition in life also has an effect on your health.
Self help for fibromyalgia is very much available, and accessible if you start putting some of these simple steps into practice.
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