Ways to Cope and Ease the Pain of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, a condition wherein the nerve endings fire at excessive rates (in relevance to the norm), thus causing severe muscular pain, can feel like a life long sentence of frustration, depression and physical exhaustion. Simple tasks become painful struggles. The constant aches feed into psychological afflictions. Many individuals find themselves unable to work and maintain their regular lives. However, there are key components to stabilizing and maintaining the affects of Fibromyalgia.
1. Medication: As always, the pharmaceutical companies come forth with medication to ease the pain. Doctors often refer to Lyrica (an anti-depressant), Salsalate (a prescription anti-inflammatory) or hydrocodone (pain medication). With these options, comes risks. The side effects, ranging from dizziness, nausea, constipation, anxiety to drowsiness, insomnia and weight gain may do more harm than good, depending upon the individual. Foremost, these medications must be strictly monitored and checked for any interactions with over-the-counter or additional prescribed medications. More often than not, patients do not consider that even a multi-vitamin pill can interact with prescriptions.
2. Diet and nutrition: "You are what you eat." It holds true in every way, shape and form. Today, not only are we guilty of "super sizing" everything, but also conforming to the theory that we do not have time to cook. Therefore, engaging in quick, heavily processed, pre-packaged food that contain excess salt, preservatives and fat. Yet, we also seem consumed with the attempts to lose weight, turning to hundreds of "sugar-free/fat-free" foods, which remain equally damaging to the body. We know that fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats and wheat grains are the ideal components of a healthy diet. However, diet is crucial for an individual living with fibromyalgia. First, avoid sugar substitutes. Equal and Splenda, found in basically any type of drink, dessert/candy or fruit snack actually restrict the bloodflow, as well as Serotonin levels in the brain. Consumption leads to increased pain and possible depression. Second, gluten and dairy should be limited and/or avoided. Both are difficult to digest, increasing digestive issues. Many people with fibromyalgia have irritable bowel syndrome as well. Third, fatty foods again cause problems with digestion. In general, a diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, fiber, nuts/beans and lots of water!
3, Exercise: Despite the pain, exercise increases blood flow, energy levels and general mood levels. A 30-minute walk each day provides amazing results. If necessary, physical therapy may also help understanding the proper exercises to stregthen muscles and alleviate some discomfort. Yoga, swimming and meditation may also provide relief for those who require additional relief.
Fibromyalgia does not have to mean neverending pain if the necessary elements are integrated in one's life. It will require commitment and dedication to constant awareness.