It can be very tricky to get a fibromyalgia diagnosis. For starters, the symptoms can be very different from one person to another. Some patients may experience brain fog, while others may deal with extreme fatigue caused by a lack of sleep. One of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms is pain. And one of the best ways to ward off a fibromyalgia flare is through fibromyalgia pain management.
As my rheumatologist said during my diagnosis visit, “Fibromyalgia is a literal PAIN,” and he wasn’t lying. One of my first symptoms was pain in my joints, especially my hands and fingers. The pain has since moved to many other joints. I’ve also been seeing a neurologist for migraines.
On the next visit to my neurologist, I told her about my fibromyalgia diagnosis. She wasn’t surprised at all. Many of her migraine patients also have fibromyalgia. I guess that makes sense since neck and shoulder pain are often linked to migraines.
With all the pain associated with it, a good plan for fibromyalgia pain management is crucial. Here are four tips I’ve learned to successfully manage my fibromyalgia pain.
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Get Moving To Manage Fibromyalgia Pain
One of the best tools for fibromyalgia pain management is to get moving. Any form of exercise is great, but some are more beneficial for fibromyalgia patients than others.
Walking is Great
Walking is a great activity for fibromyalgia pain management. You can do it almost anywhere. Plus you don’t need any special equipment, aside from a comfortable pair of shoes.
Going hand in hand with joint pain is also joint stiffness. Sitting still for more than a few minutes is often very uncomfortable for people with fibromyalgia. So even taking a short walk can help alleviate some of that pain.
Swimming Can Help With Fibromyalgia Pain Management
My rheumatologist told me that swimming was a great exercise for fibromyalgia pain management. Swimming is easier on the joints than other exercises. Also moving through water gives resistance, making it a great way to get exercise. The water can also ease some of those fibromyalgia pain points!
I really enjoy swimming and love when I can add it to my routine. If you don’t enjoy swimming, water aerobics is another great way to work out in the water!
Tai Chi and Yoga are Good Exercises for Pain Management
For 9 years my family has been taking martial arts through the Central Shaolin club in our county. I told my rheumatologist about being in karate, and he agreed that it was a good way to exercise as well. One thing he mentioned was to watch the impact on my joints in karate.
When I start having too much pain during class (especially in my knees), I take a short break. Sometimes I lower the impact by “walking through” the katas at an easier pace.
Our karate club also offers Tai Chi classes. Tai Chi is a great martial arts form that can help with fibromyalgia pain management. Anybody with any fitness level can practice Tai Chi. It’s slower-paced and much easier on the joints than many forms of exercise.
In Tai Chi, often referred to as “meditation in motion”, the focus is on breathing consistently throughout the movements. The movements can also be modified and tailored to the individual user’s fitness level, which also makes it a great form for anyone to practice!
Yoga is another low impact type of exercise that can help with fibromyalgia pain points. Practicing yoga involves balance, flexibility, and breathing. It can also be tailored to a person’s fitness level.
Eat a Healthy Diet for Fibromyalgia Pain Managment
Eating healthy is another great tool for fibromyalgia pain management. By putting the right foods in your body, you can help heal it from the inside out.
Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to help with fibromyalgia pain management. The foods included in this diet have been shown to lower inflammation in the body.
Berries, nuts, and fatty fishes are all included in an anti-inflammatory diet. Plus, foods that are known to cause inflammation are avoided in this type of diet. Some of the foods to be avoided in an anti-inflammatory diet are alcohol, wheat, and soy.
The autoimmune protocol diet (or AIP) is similar to an anti-inflammatory diet. In this diet, you eliminate all inflammatory foods from your diet at once. Then, after a detox period, you can begin adding some foods back into your diet one at a time. By doing this slowly, you can see which foods are not good for your body.
Supplements Can Help with Fibromyalgia Pain
There are several supplements that are known to help with inflammation in the body. Turmeric is an herb that’s also included in most anti-inflammatory diets. It’s known for is its anti-inflammatory benefits, which can also help with joint pain and stiffness.
I started using turmeric in my cooking, adding it to many chicken, beef, and rice dishes for my family. My neurologist said that cooking with it was great, but to see real anti-inflammatory benefits, I needed to take it as a supplement. So I’ve added it to my daily supplement list.
Magnesium is another supplement that can help reduce inflammation. Each night I take a magnesium supplement with my nighttime medicines. I also take Epsom salt baths (which includes magnesium) to reduce inflammation in my joints.
Get Plenty of Rest to Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain
Another way to improve your fibromyalgia pain management is by getting plenty of rest.
Rest is super important for fibromyalgia patients. Pain is your body’s way of telling you to rest. And rest promotes healing. But getting rest while having fibromyalgia is not always easy.
Get More Sleep
Getting more sleep can really help your fibromyalgia pain management. But many people with fibromyalgia struggle to get enough sleep. Plus the quality of sleep seems to be worse with those of us that have fibromyalgia.
There are several ways I work to get better sleep with fibromyalgia. One of the ways I have improved my sleep quality is by creating a comfortable environment. By keeping a cool and dark bedroom, I sleep better throughout the night.
I also try to keep a consistent bedtime and routine. This routine lets my body know it’s time to go to bed each night. When I break from this routine and stay up too late, my fibromyalgia pain is much higher the next day!
Take Short Breaks Throughout the Day
Fatigue is a big symptom of fibromyalgia. I think that most of my fibromyalgia pain is associated with being overly tired. So taking some breaks throughout the day can be very beneficial for fibromyalgia pain management.
There are several ways you can take a break through the day. If you’re on your feet a lot, sitting down for a minute or two might be just what you need. If you have a recliner, putting your feet up can give them even more rest! Doing this a few times a day will make a huge difference.
Taking some slow, deep breaths is another way to work a short break into your day. Breathe in slowly for four seconds, and exhale at the same speed. AS your repeat these measured breaths for a few minutes, you’ll find our body is beginning to relax. This simple breathing exercise might be just what you need to power through the rest of your day!
A Good Rheumatologist is Essential for Fibromyalgia Pain Management
If there’s one piece of advice I can give anyone with fibromyalgia- a good rheumatologist is a game changer!!! This is true for anyone with an autoimmune. But since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia first, we’re going to talk about that in this post. Here are some tips for finding a good rheumatologist for fibromyalgia pain management.
A Good Rheumatologist Will Listen
A good doctor is always someone who will listen to their patients. This is especially true when finding a rheumatologist for fibromyalgia pain management.
I’ve worked with 3 different rheumatologists during my fibromyalgia journey. The first doctor did some tests but didn’t listen to me at all. He told me that I had a false positive test, and dismissed me before looking at anything else.
My second rheumatologist finally diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I was happy to finally have answers. But since I “only” have fibromyalgia, and not something more serious, he didn’t plan to see me again.
Last fall I finally found a rheumatologist that specializes in fibromyalgia. He’s very thorough and listens to all my concerns. From the first visit, he started working on a plan to help me feel better. Having a rheumatologist that listens has helped me so much!
A Good Rheumatologist Takes Fibromyalgia Pain Seriously
Another reason I’m happy with my current rheumatologist is that he takes my fibromyalgia pain management seriously. From the first visit, after discussing all my symptoms, he began talking about pain management options. He also explained the differences between regular arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
Along with increasing my sleep medication he had me try a low dose anti-inflammatory for pain. This fibromyalgia pain medication has given me relief from my constant joint pain. I’m very thankful to finally find a doctor that takes fibromyalgia seriously.
Managing Fibromyalgia Pain Over Time
Through getting rest, eating a healthy diet, exercise, and finding a good rheumatologist, I’ve had some success with fibromyalgia pain management. But over time, my needs may change. It’s important to listen to your body and to search for new answers as needed. I hope these tips will help you manage fibromyalgia pain!