Different spots on your body hurt or are highly sensitive to even the slightest touch. You may be sore because of a strenuous job, rigorous exercise, or intense physical activity, but it’s something you’re having trouble dealing with. You may have fibromyalgia, but there are lifestyle changes that could help.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
“Fibromyalgia is a common neurologic health problem that causes widespread pain and tenderness (sensitivity to touch). The pain and tenderness tend to come and go and move about the body. Most often, people with this chronic (long-term) illness are fatigued (very tired) and have sleep problems. The diagnosis can be made with a careful examination.” According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has no cause and affects about four million adults.
If you have fibromyalgia, you can suffer from trigger or tender points. These are spots of pain around your joints, but not directly in the joints. Typically, you can experience varying degrees of pain when applying pressure to such points. 18 such points can occur in symmetrical pairs between the back of your head and your inner knees. They’re deep areas of pain, specifically along the back, buttocks, chest, elbows, knees, neck, and hips.
Lifestyle Changes To Help Fibromyalgia
People with fibromyalgia know the symptoms:
- Soreness and stiffness all over your body
- Weakness and tiredness
- Anxiety and depression
- Problems sleeping
- Trouble with thinking, memory, and focusing
- Headaches, which may include migraines
It’s also not unusual to experience tingling or numbness in your limbs; aching in the face or jaw, including ailments of the jaw called temporomandibular joint syndrome; and digestive issues, including stomach pain, bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Ketamine therapy is one of the ways to manage symptoms related to fibromyalgia, but there are lifestyle changes you can make, too.
- Engage in regular exercise. People with fibromyalgia live with symptoms that can vary from day to day and even during the same day. Regular exercise might lower fibromyalgia symptoms like pain, anxiety, stiffness, fatigue, and depression. Staying active could also better your fitness, boost mood and allow you to do more during the day. Research shows there are many strategies people with fibromyalgia can benefit from: partake in land- or water-focused activities, concentrate on one kind of training (aerobic or strength education), or try a combination of activities including aerobic, strength training, and ways to improve your flexibility).
- Sleep is an essential weapon in the fight against fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia are known to have trouble falling or maintaining sleep, which can lead to chronic fatigue. However, some people see improvement in their sleep cycle — and less fatigue as a result — when they eschew strenuous activity and caffeinated or alcoholic beverages before bedtime.
- Consume healthy, nutritious foods. Long ago, science and medicine proved the importance of eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but you must pay attention to daily meal planning if you have fibromyalgia. The truth is that certain foods, including caffeine and highly processed foods, may worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Try a massage. Regular massage therapy may lower fibromyalgia-related discomfort but can also be effective at reducing stiffness and swelling, boosting flexibility, and giving you a greater range of motion.
- Reduce your stress levels. If you can’t deal with stress and anxiety, the pain of fibromyalgia and its other symptoms can appear a lot worse. Relaxation techniques, like meditation and deep breathing, are known to make you feel better if you’re struggling with fibromyalgia. If possible, set a schedule each day for enjoyable activities which may help relieve stress. For instance, you could read a book by your favorite author, listen to a podcast, or enjoy a warm bubble bath.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Your doctor may suspect fibromyalgia because of your symptoms. They may need to see you exhibit sensitivity to pressure or tender points at a precise number of specific spots before determining you have fibromyalgia but may still not make a formal diagnosis. Undergoing a physical exam can be helpful and might exclude other reasons for muscle pain. Crucially, there are no diagnostic tests to diagnose fibromyalgia, but some may be needed to rule out other health issues that might be confused with fibromyalgia.
Doctors usually treat fibromyalgia in various ways, including medicine, psychotherapy, exercise, diet, ketamine, and stress relief.
If you’re one of four million U.S. adults with fibromyalgia, you know how disruptive the pain can be. If you lose sleep or find yourself depressed from the symptoms, reach out to your local healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the pain, ketamine therapy may be a good option to explore.