Do you feel like you ache all over, or are tired, even when you’ve just woken up? Do you have parts of your body that are swollen and painful to the touch, and you have no idea why? Do you have difficulty sleeping? Do you have mood swings or depression that you can’t account for?
There’s a chance that you might have fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic physical condition that can cause a whole range of symptoms, from specific-area pain to extreme fatigue. Why it happens isn’t understood well at all, and the danger from it is more of how it can lead to depression and social isolation, due to how it limits activities.
Medical Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Various medicines can help with fibromyalgia, but they are more to alleviate the symptoms.
Antidepressant drugs increase the level of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, which helps, since fibromyalgia sufferers tend to have less of these chemicals in their system. Certain kinds of antidepressants can do a double-whammy, by relaxing painful muscles, and then heightening the effect of endorphins, which are the body’s internal painkillers.
Pain relievers can and will work. Effectivity, though, depends on the person, so it works on an individual basis. It’s better to run through some tests to find out which one works best. Unfortunately, many pain relief drugs aren’t designed for continuous use, so in some cases, these may only work for short periods.
These kinds of drugs are effective, since they help decrease muscle tension and can improve your sleep patterns and overall rest situation. However, you should give it a test-run first, as some people do not react well to muscle relaxants, resulting in coordination and well-being issues, or even hallucinations.
Drugs in this category are relatively new in the field of fibromyalgia treatment, and they can reduce the symptoms enough to give you a good night’s sleep, aside from reduced physical pain.
*It should be noted that powerful, narcotic-like drugs could also be used for fibromyalgia, but that they should be seen as last-resort options.
Coping with Fibromyalgia – Strategies
Aside from medical treatment, you can actually minimize fibromyalgia symptoms by doing the following:
Minimize stress – Doctors have noted a correlation between fibromyalgia flare-ups and stress factors, so it’s important to identify what one’s stress factors are, and find ways to mitigate them.
Improve communication skills – Much of personal stress can involve miscommunication. It may be necessary to review and learn new ways to communicate, to prevent more stress from coming in unnecessarily.
Refuse if you have to – Knowing when to say “no” is important if you want to keep your workload or personal commitments below a certain level, to prevent fibromyalgia flare-ups.
Take notes – Do take note of your activities during the day, and you may be able to spot event or situation patterns that can trigger fibromyalgia attacks.
Exercise regularly and have a proper diet – For some people, following a healthier lifestyle can drastically reduce fibromyalgia suffering, or even make them disappear entirely for long periods.