Fibromyalgia Self help
If you have fibromyalgia, there are several ways that you can change your lifestyle in order to help relieve your symptoms and make your condition easier to live with Your GP, or healthcare professional, can also offer you advice and support about incorporating these changes into your everyday life.
As fatigue is one of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, you may find that you are often very tired and feel unable to exercise. However, an exercise programme that is specially suited to your condition can help to significantly improve your symptoms by reducing pain, boosting energy levels, and helping with regular sleep patterns.
Your GP, or a physiotherapist, can help you to design a personal exercise programme. The programme is likely to involve gentle exercises, such as stretching and warm water exercises, as well as low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking, cycling, or swimming. However, you should take care not to push yourself too hard when exercising.
If you have fibromyalgia, it is important that you regularly take time to relax, or practice relaxation techniques. Stress can make your symptoms worse, cause them to flare up more often, and it can also increase your chances of developing depression, which is common among people with fibromyalgia. There are many relaxation aids available, including books, tapes and courses, although deep breathing techniques, or meditation, can be just as effective. Try to find time each day to do something that relaxes you. Taking time to relax before bed may also help you to sleep better at night.
Anxiety management techniques, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or other ‘talking treatments’ can also be helpful in combating stress and learning to deal with it effectively.
There is no specific diet that you should follow if you have fibromyalgia, but you should try to eat a healthy, balanced range of foods. Your diet should be high in fibre, fruit and vegetables, and low in fat, salt, and sugar. You should only drink alcohol in moderation, and cut down on foods and drinks that are high in caffeine, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola.
If you have fibromyalgia, it is likely that you will have some days when your symptoms are better than others. Try to maintain a steady level of activity at all times, without ever over-doing it. It is important that you always listen to your body, and that you slow down, and rest, whenever you need to. You should avoid doing any exercise, or activity, that over-exerts you, or pushes you too hard because this can make your symptoms worse.