Often I get asked for advice on my top tips for dealing with Fibromyalgia. These 7 tips are the tips I typically share. They are what has helped me. And, while the specifics within may vary from individual to individual, the basics are the same.
7 Tips for Dealing with Fibromyalgia
1. Find the right DR
Find a good doctor that will listen to you and that understands Fibromyalgia.
Often we spend too much time with a doctor just because we like them, when they really can’t do much for us.
Make sure your doctor is up on the treatments for Fibro, and that they are willing to listen to you and even research if you bring in a potential new treatment.
If they blow off your questions, or suggestions, it’s time to find a new doctor.
Related: 3 Steps to Choosing the Right Doctor
2. Find the right meds
Most doctors start all Fibro patients on the same few meds. Whether it’s the low-dose anti-depressant/ muscle relaxer combo or Lyrica. All doctors have their preference, just make sure they are willing to try others if their first choice doesn’t work for you.
It’s normal to have issues with a few meds before you find the right ones.
If you are having issues with your meds and you don’t feel right or good on them, then call your Dr and work with them to continue the search for the right meds.
Don’t wait for your next appointment to roll around before you speak up. Pick up the phone, call, let them know what’s up, and ask for something else.
Sleep is such a common issue for those of us with fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t have to be.
Ask for a sleep study to rule out any other potential causes for your sleep issues.
Sleep apnea and restless leg can cause major sleep issues, but they can also be treated allowing you to get decent sleep again.
There are also many supplements and medications on the market that can help you sleep, so talk to your doctor about those. Getting good sleep can go a long way to reducing pain and fatigue.Have you had a sleep study to rule out other potential causes of your sleep issues? Click To Tweet
There are many others that are worth giving a try as well – Sam-E, St. John’s Wart & Melatonin for starters.
If you haven’t already had your vitamin levels checked, have your Dr check them, and discuss which vitamins and supplements would be most beneficial to you.
A full blood workup may expose other issues that could be causing some of your symptoms (for example, thyroid issues or iron deficiency).
4. Get Moving
I think we all had the same reaction when our doctors and others told us that we needed to start walking, to start moving.
When we hear it, the way that they initially say it, it’s like telling us “you hurt because you are lazy” and that’s simply not the case.
What my Rheumy did finally explain to me is that with Fibro we have a lower level of oxygen moving through our blood, so by getting moving we get the blood flowing better and therefore get the oxygen moving.
Exercise also increases natural endorphins (nature’s pain fighters) and serotonin (something we are typically low on).
Think of moving more not as exercise or as something evil, but as medicine.
We take all these other medications to feel better. Add walking to your medicine box. But, start slow.
When you first get diagnosed just thinking about working out can leave you tired.
Start by just walking to the mailbox or down the street a ways. Each week try to go a little further.
It mwon’t be instantly, but as you walk more you will find that you feel better after your walk.Think of moving as medicine. It increases blood flow, endorphins (natures pain reliever) and serotonin. Click To Tweet
5. Adjust your diet
Most of us are also dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as well as fibromyalgia. I’ve had it for years and I’ve found that drinking lots of water and eat lots of food that are high in fiber helps.
However, I’ve also found that I need healthy carbs (including starches). My body just functions better when I get a broad range of foods in my system. Carbs = energy.
I’ve also found that green tea is a great thing. It not only has antioxidants that help flush the bad stuff out of our system, but the theanine found in green and black teas, also helps boost dopamine levels (another thing that tends to be low in those of us with Fibro).
Stay away from Aspartame and fake sugars.
The best change I’ve made has been removing gluten from my diet. It has made a huge difference in my pain levels.
6. Take a Bath
Take a bath every night in warm water and add a cup of Epsom salts.
Epsom salts contain magnesium and taking a bath in them allows your body to absorb the magnesium, helping to rebuild the proper proteins in your muscles and ease the pain.
The hot water and the Epsom salts together help reduce the overall aches and pains you have from just making it through the day.
Plus, the hot bath helps relax you making it easier for you to fall asleep (assuming you have the other right things in place to get you there).
7. Get Support
If you are new to fibromyalgia, a good support group will go a long way to helping you accept and deal with your diagnosis.
Having others who have already been where you are will help you find the answers you need and move towards finding the right balance.
Plus, it’s great to just have someone to talk to that understands what you are dealing with.
If you can’t find a good support group locally, or don’t have the energy to get out to the meetings, there are many great online groups.
Related: The importance of social supportWhat's your best tip for dealing with fibromyalgia? Click To Tweet
What tips for dealing with Fibromyalgia have you found helpful? Share them in the comments below.