Currently in America, 50 million people suffer with the wide range of painful body symptoms known as Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). This relatively new diagnosis is based on physical exams and symptoms as described by the patient.
While there are classic symptoms involved, each patient may endure a wide range of telltale problems including chronic body pain and tenderness in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.
Once other disorders such as thyroid and diabetes as well as autoimmune and neurological problems have been ruled out through testing and other means, a diagnosis of FMS can offer direction for treatment to help stabilize the condition and offer some pain relief. That treatment, it turns out, is similar in philosophy to others where the patient must become proactive in an approach that integrates medicine, body and mind.
That being said, it is important to understand that there is no medication that ends this condition. While certain people may respond to medications that increase norepinephrine, to reduce pain signaling, or those that raise serotonin to affect neurotransmitters in the brain, these results can vary greatly from person to person.
Rather, good medicine seeks to rule out other health issues, treat issues that may be revealed and provide a clearer look at what the patient is dealing with. Often being overweight is one of the issues that must be addressed. Studies indicate that excess weight increases pain sensitivity, and losing weight can help to reduce pain.
This brings us to the “body” aspect of this balanced approach.
Since people with fibromyalgia find exercise difficult, if not nearly impossible, weight loss is often difficult. Starting very slowly, recommended exercises include stretching exercises one to two times daily, walking, elliptical exercises, bike riding, swimming and water aerobics, tai chi and qigong.
If you suffer with FMS and decide to see a sports therapist or trainer, make sure he or she is familiar with fibromyalgia so a program that is manageable for your condition can be developed and performed with success.
So far, the best diet for patients with fibromyalgia has not been declared. As with health in general, a clean diet with good water, fruits, vegetables and protein is the best approach. In 2010, the USDA issued new dietary recommendations that shift the focus away from the original pyramid approach of decades gone by to a more balance diet. These recommendations are available online.
While there may not be any one food or diet that will definitely result in pain reduction, eating healthy in addition to moderate exercise is extremely important in avoiding weight gain, facilitating weight loss and taking care of your body.
Work on developing routines for bedtime that allow you to get your rest. Set up your bedroom for sleep and establish regular routines to help you to “wind-down” and relax beginning 15 minutes to one hour before you plan to sleep.
As far as the mind, it is easy to see that chronic pain can lead to negative thinking. A cycle can develop where thinking, anxiety, sleeping problems and difficulty coping with the pain of this condition can exacerbate the pain that a person with fibromyalgia experiences. Coaching in meditation and techniques to identify and challenge or counteract any negative thought processes would be an integral part of managing this condition.
6 Simple Tips for Patients with FMS:
1. Eat healthy
2. Get some gentle, consistent exercise
3. Don’t smoke - data indicate that smoking makes pain worse
4. Develop routines to help you get your rest
5. Meditate regularly
6. Discuss your treatment with your medical practitioner and rule out other medical conditions.
Please note: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.