If you’re living with fibromyalgia, simple steps you can do right now can help prevent a painful fibromyalgia flare.
For the 5 million Americans living with fibromyalgia, the discomfort that characterizes this condition never really goes away. But from time to time, sudden bouts of intense pain, fatigue, and other symptoms — known as fibromyalgia flares — will also occur. While there’s no definitive way to avoid occasional flares, you can be proactive and develop strategies to keep your symptoms in check, according to
- Journaling. Take 10 minutes every day to jot down things like what activities you did, what medication you started, how well you slept, or if you ate something new. Journaling is the key to discovering your flare triggers, so you can try to avoid them. It can take up to 48 hours for an event to trigger a fibromyalgia flare-up, and if it’s not noted somewhere, you might not remember or recognize the correlation.
- Delegating and saying no. Many people with fibromyalgia are perfectionists and like to do everything themselves, from all the cleaning to all the cooking. But you have to learn to let others do things for you because even mild overexertion can lead to a severe flare-up.
- Stress management. Stress tightens you up, and when you have fibromyalgia, the muscles don’t let go. Find something that reduces stress for you before it gets to that painful point. I like listening to books on tape, for instance.”
- Standing tall. Learning and maintaining proper posture is crucial to managing fibromyalgia, because posture errors that push the head too far forward or cause slouching can lead to muscle fatigue, followed by increased tension and pain. Movement is vital and Pilates is one of the “best” forms of movement. Pilates is movement that changes life.
- Proper diet. Protein intake is vital to those with fibromyalgia because it’s the only macronutrient that builds and maintains muscle. A diet low in protein results in more nodules, more pain, and consequently more exhaustion.”
Do your own personal research for any new therapy you want to try, applying a simplified scientific method. “Try tested therapies before untested ones, and make sure any treatment you try is safe.”
You can best assess whether a particular therapy is working by following these steps:
- Start only one new treatment at a time.
- See if you feel better when you use the treatment.
- Stop the treatment, and see if you get worse.
- Restart the treatment, and see if you improve again. If you do, you can be fairly confident that this treatment has a positive effect on you.
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Do you find it difficult to explain, “Fibro-Fog” to your friends or family. I would like to share my definition of fibro-fog. I hope it helps you to explain to your spouse, family or friends what it is like for many of us living with the challenges of fibromyalgia. And for many cancer patients dealing with the same issues, after/during treatment.
Fibro Fog is like opening a file cabinet to locate information, only to find the folders not in any familiar order. You attempt to organize the folders alphabetically. After checking how you’ve done, you notice the folders are still in disarray. Repeatedly you try to reorganize until you’re tired of trying. If you’re disgusted with yourself you may stop and leave it for another day or try to continue. When opening the folders you find that many are missing the contents. The folders that have their contents seem to be in the wrong folder. Confused, you aimlessly search through folders and begin mixing their contents with other folders in an attempt to classify the contents in their proper folder. You do this over and over, back and forth to no avail. At some point you ask yourself, what was I looking for? No matter how hard you try, you just don’t remember.
When I’m in this Fog, it’s hard to communicate with others. Finding the proper words is difficult to say the least. And forming interesting conversation is practically unattainable. What I’ve learned is to set daily goals. Write them down starting with the easiest to the more challenging. The key is to keep your expectations pushing the edge just short of failure. Then as time goes on, I build on my successes. Eventually I find my way through the Fog.
How about you– Can you share ways you explain, “Fibro-Fog” to those in your life that just can’t seem to understand what it is like to live in the fog.
Pilates program for fibromyalgia, breast cancer survivors
The Community House in Birmingham, MI will be offering a very special class this fall.
Look and feel your very best with this gentle beginner Pilates class. This is a Pilates class with incredible health benefits: strengthen muscles and bones, stand taller with better posture and balance, support a healthy back with better core strength and stretch out to move with ease and freedom.
Instructors Sharon Ostalecki, PhD and Judy Polite will be using the basic principles of Pilates to encourage continued functional movement. The class is designed for those who are rebuilding their bodies. It works at the foundation of physical strength, concentration, flexibility and endurance. The class is safe for clients of all ages with a variety of issues, through modifications and support with props.
This is an excellent class for breast cancer survivors, fibromyalgia or chronic pain patients.
Continue reading Pilates Program for Fibromyalgia & Breast Cancer Survivors
Many Fibromyalgia physicians believe there are precipitating factors that lead to the onset of fibromyalgia.
Primary fibromyalgia occurs spontaneously in individuals not suffering from any related or triggering condition. There is no clear cause for “primary fibromyalgia,” but over time the severity of primary fibromyalgia is affected by factors such as sleep deprivation, muscle atrophy, emotional stress, coping style, the weather, and of course, the pain itself. The course tends to be chronic, with unpredictable periods of greater and lesser severity.
Secondary fibromyalgia occurs in patients whose pain was preceded or triggered by another illness, such as arthritis, bursitis, or lupus, or from abnormal structural conditions such as disc tears and herniations, and nerve entrapments. The course and appearance of secondary fibromyalgia is very similar to primary fibromyalgia. The picture is complicated because the patient’s other illness or illnesses continue to cause symptoms and require treatment. It is often a difficult medical challenge to know when a triggering factor, such as a disc herniation, should be addressed surgically or whether other pain control methods should be pursued. A great many patients with fibromyalgia respond poorly to surgery, so it has been suggested by some experts that, for fibromyalgia patients, nonsurgical options should be the first course of action when conditions permit.
Continue reading Are There Precipitating Factors or Events Leading to the Onset of Fibromyalgia?
The Pursuit of a Thyroid Medication
A few years after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis — an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. I was now hypothyroid, for which the standard treatment is Synthroid. Synthroid ordinarily works like a charm. But not on me.
I was eager to start treatment; but, within five minutes of the first dose, I had a terrible reaction. My endocrinologist assumed I was having a reaction to the inert ingredients, fillers, or dyes in the medication. He suggested I try another synthetic thyroid medication. I followed his directions and experienced the same symptoms.
The doctor could not explain this, and informed me that, in his many years of practice, he had never had a patient experience this phenomenon.
I was now worse off, experiencing the symptoms of severe hypothyroidism without any prospect of treatment with accepted medication.
Continue reading My Thyroid Medication is Making Me Worse–Not Better!!