by Ed

The chronic pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia are not fun to live with, but there are things you can do to make life easier. Probably the three most important things you can do to improve quality of life and decrease symptoms, are gradually increase your exercise, reduce stress, and improve sleep.

Exercise may be the most difficult because it hurts and it is so easy to overdo it. It is important to very gradually increase your exercise program, so as not to have major setbacks. You may start out with a minute a day of walking. You want to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, 3 to 6 days a week. Strength training and stretching are also helpful. You may consider tai chi or yoga, for both the exercise and the stress reduction.

One of the best methods for stresss reduction is meditation. In 1998, a study on meditation and fibromyalgia found that meditative practices lessened the achiness, sleeplessness, muscle pain, and depression experienced by fibromyalgia patients. You can try the Inner Smile meditation that I mentioned in my post yesterday. Guided visualization and self-hypnosis are very similar to, and have the same effects as meditation. Search for a technique that works for you and stick with it. The more you do it, the better it works.

Sleep. Nobody wants to get up feeling like they did not get any rest all night. Not only do you feel lousy, but it aggravates all the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Getting good sleep is very important. The stress reduction techniques mentioned above should help a lot. Changing your eating habits may help as well. Reduce or avoid caffeine and sugar. Try to finish eating early in the evening. Going to bed when you are still digesting disturbs sleep. Another lifestyle change that may help is not watching tv in the evening. Tv can be very stimulating and keep you awake. If you have tried all of these things and still have problems with your sleep, you should seek treatment. research shows that acupuncture is helpful for sleep and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Hypnotherapy is a very good method for improving sleep. I would turn to Western Medicine only as a last resort.

Finally, keep an active social life. It helps with your mood and keeps your mind off your symptoms. If you join a support group, join one that supports a more postsitive lifestyle rather than one that supports complaining about your problems. You are alive, you might as well enjoy it.


1 Jennifer Mannion 01.30.08 at 1:15 pm

Hi Ed, Fibromyalgia is one of the ailments I was able to heal myself of using mind/body techniques. I found gratitude every morning and night very helpful because when you are ill and in a lot of pain it is very easy to forget what you are grateful for. I also used a method to shift attention and I concentrated with all my might on the 1 area that did not hurt and ignored the rest and thought and felt how happy I was for that one part feeling well because that meant I was healthy. I used other methods such as goal setting, eliminating negative influences around me, forgiving myself and others, educating myself on the mind.body connection and meditation and the methods you suggest above. I really enjoy your blog! Gratefully, Jenny

2 Ed 01.30.08 at 1:59 pm

Hi jenny,
Thanks for your inspiring comment. I am often amazed by the power of gratitude, as I have mentioned elsewhere.

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