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Today, 12thMay, is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day and I feel that it is important to use my platform to raise awareness and help people who have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia to feel less alone.
I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, but had suffered with a long list of symptoms after my workplace accident for years. It was a bitter sweet feeling of relief; all my symptoms were due to a condition, but I was upset that I had been dealt that hand after my accident. No matter what diagnosis I had, life moves forward and I thought that I can either try to adapt or give up, but I am not a quitter.
Fibromyalgia has so many symptoms and can affect people in different ways, but no matter what your symptoms, never allow people to dismiss the pain that you are feeling. Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of ignorance when it comes to understanding invisible conditions like Fibromyalgia.
When your Fibromyalgia symptoms are heightened, or you are going through a flare up, life can be even more difficult. I am currently still trying to understand how to have better days as I am still experiencing severe symptoms most of the time, but I found some practices which help in taking the edge off the pain and help me mentally cope with living with chronic pain day to day.
It is important to remember that you not only look after your physical health with the symptoms that you experience, but to also to check in with your mental health. Your mental health can take a huge hit when dealing with a chronic pain condition such as Fibromyalgia. If you feel that you are struggling mentally it is important to reach out to a loved one or your doctor for help and support.
Here are 5 tips that could help you manage your Fibromyalgia symptoms:
1. Have Enough Sleep & Rest
Getting enough sleep is crucial for helping you to manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Being well rested helps combat the fatigue that accompanies the condition.
When you are feeling exhausted, in pain or both, it is important to rest your body and mind as pushing through the pain can be more damaging to your body. Your mind will associate more pain with activities you try and do when you are experiencing already high levels of pain. That is why increasing your daily activities slowly over time will help you to build up your tolerance. This means that when you are seriously fatigued or pained, you should allow your body to reset to ensure you do not make your symptoms worse.
2. Invest In A Tens Machine
A tens machine has some positive research so far for helping to relieve Fibromyalgia pain. Or course this can vary and may not work for everyone. A central feature of fibromyalgia is the hyper-sensitised central nervous system and research has suggested that a tens machine can have a calming effect on the central nervous system. This means that it is a relatively inexpensive method of treatment for your symptoms. It can also help with: anxiety, fatigue and stiffness. However, it is important that before you try a tens machine, you should consult your doctor as it can be dangerous for certain conditions.
3. Practise Massage
Massage can be your natural tens machine in helping you to bridge your brain and your pain which can in turn help to reduce the amount of pain that you feel. Massage can create a sense of relaxation which can help you with your sleeping pattern. Massage does not mean that you have to go to a professional masseuse (although if you want to treat yourself, why not?!), it can be as simple as rubbing lotion into the painful parts of your body. You can ask a loved one to help you, or you could buy a massage ball or roller. I have found these really beneficial to help reduce pain even if only for a short while.
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4. Use A Wheatie Bag Or A Hot Water Bottle
Heat can be so important in helping to reduce Fibromyalgia pain. Using a hot water bottle or a wheatie bag not only helps with pain, but can also reduce stiffness after resting or a night’s sleep. Heat helps to boost blood flow to the places where you hurt and can penetrate deep into the tissue. When you are in pain a heat source is not only helpful, but if combined with massage can work well to relieve muscle pain even more.
5. Use An Acupressure Mat
An acupressure mat has hundreds of evenly scattered needles on one side. When you sit or lie on it, your muscles relax around the needles, so the pressure can stimulate your muscles, release tension and increase circulation which in turn releases endorphins and oxytocin. The mat can not only help with muscle pain and stiffness, but can also relieve the feelings of anxiety and depression which can be associated with fibromyalgia.
These are 5 ways that you can help yourself to ease the symptoms without the use of painkillers. Using these tips can help you to reduce your symptoms, but please remember that not everything works for everyone.
If you are suffering with pain and other symptoms, it is vital that you consult your doctor to seek medical advice that is best suited for your symptoms.
If you or someone you know lives with Fibromyalgia, what tips do you have? What can you recommend? I’d love to hear in the comments.