Learning to Live With It: Managing the Pain and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
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How can I manage my fibromyalgia?
Since the exact cause of fibromyalgia is still a medical mystery, pain relief for fibromyalgia falls on the shoulders of the patient. A sound program of self-care and diligence in maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the best means of managing the condition.
The ideal combination of care to manage fibromyalgia includes:
- Exercise- Regular physical activity can help ease muscle soreness and relieve muscular tension that may limit range of motion and add pressure to tender points. Gentle, low impact exercise, such as swimming, walking, stationary cycling, and stretching are very helpful and should not add to the stress on the body.
- Sleep- The symptoms of fibromyalgia tend to affect--and are affected by--sleep patterns. Getting enough rest, even if it means periodic rest during the day, will help with symptom management.
- Maintain a healthy weight- This may be helpful in reducing pain, possibly because of reduced pressure on joints and connective tissue.
- Stress management- Meditation, biofeedback, and relaxation exercises have been found to be helpful in fibromyalgia symptom management and control.
- Physical therapy- A treatment plan designed to improve postural muscle control, encourage general mobility, and manage symptoms with modalities such as heat, ice or ultrasound may be helpful.
- Medications- Antidepressants (to boost seratonin levels and improve sleep) or acetaminophen or NSAID's for pain may be helpful with symptoms.