Fibromyalgia is a condition that is often misunderstood- even by those in the medical community. In fact, some physicians still doubt that it is even a real condition. In some cases, it is very often misdiagnosed as myofascial pain syndrome, arthritis, lupus, or chronic fatigue syndrome.
However, if you have fibromyalgia, you have no doubt that it is very real- and you do have good days and bad days. You have found ways to deal with the signs and symptoms of your condition. These coping strategies range from spending time in meditation to taking some time to watch a funny movie.
Many people ask the question, “Can fibromyalgia be subdued?” Well, the truth is- not really. The pain will fluctuate. When you’re having a day where your fibromyalgia pain has flared up, it can make everything seem so much more difficult and you may find that it’s easy to become discouraged.
When you receive the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, one of the most difficult things to accept is the fact that there is no cure for this disorder. While it is true that medications and even lifestyle changes can lessen the severity of your pain and/or fatigue related to fibromyalgia, the truth still stands that you will have some good days and some bad.
Prepare Coping Strategies in Advance
When you are having a bad day with your fibromyalgia symptoms, it can be quite difficult to think clearly. A fibromyalgia flare can cause you to be spiraled into stress and even despair if you’re not prepared. However, if you have a plan, you gain a sense of control over the signs and symptoms of your condition.
Take some time to write down a list of coping strategies and keep it where you can get your hands on it when you feel a bad day coming on. Of course, different strategies will work better for some than for others and some may work perfectly for you one time and not work another. That is why it’s a great idea to have a variety of options to choose from.
Avoid Negative Self-Talk
Studies have proven that what we say to ourselves, our self-talk, can actually have a major effect on our perception of pain. Of course, turning those negative thoughts into positive one does take lots of practice, but it can be done and you will find that it is worth the effort.
Let A Loved One Know When You’re Having a Bad Day
When you’re having a rough day, you may be tempted to keep it to yourself. However, you should resist this urge. While it is true that taking some time alone can be a great way to relax, isolating yourself for days on end can actually make you feel more lonely. Talk to a loved one who understands that you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with your conditions. However, on the other hand, you should never dwell on your signs and symptoms.
You can join in-person or online support groups that can connect you with others who are dealing with the pain and frustration of fibromyalgia. In addition to the comfort you get from talking with people who are facing the same problems you are, you can share coping strategies- and may learn something new.
Spend Your Energy Wisely
When it comes to your energy, it may help to consider it as pennies in a piggy bank. You need to make sure that you prioritize your tasks so that you don’t run out of those energy pennies before your day is over. Make sure that you pace yourself and take breaks as necessary. Your mindset is critical on the days that you have fibromyalgia flares.
Take some time to pay attention to what’s coming up on your schedule. Figure out what is absolutely necessary and what you maybe can do without. Make sure to place your focus on those necessary tasks. When you prioritize your tasks, you can reduce your stress levels. Many times, those individuals who are stressed have tense muscles, which causes the pain of fibromyalgia to be worse.
Ask for Help
Think about who you can reach out to when you’re having a bad day. For example, maybe you have a friend or family member that would be willing to cook for you or run errands for you- or with you- on one of your rough days. You may be afraid that you’ll be a burden, but your friends and family do love and care about you- they want to be there to help you.
Additionally, you may be able to locate other resources in your community to offer assistance to help you to complete necessary tasks when you’re having a really bad day. You may be able to make some temporary changes such as shopping at a grocery store that delivers. Also, using a taxi or public transportation may help you to get where you need to be and you can think about hiring neighborhood kids to help you with yard work.
Find Some Distractions
You may find that some activities cheer you up and distract you from your symptoms. Some of these activities may include:
- Funny, quick-read books
- Funny movies
- Going out with friends
- Beautifully decorated walking paths
- Favorite museums
Take time to Relax
You should always make sure to set aside some time to relax during the day. Make sure to allow for extra relaxation on those days when you’re having a flare-up of your symptoms. Following are some great relaxation techniques:
Take a deep, slow breath counting to five. Hold it in for a count of five and then breathe out through your mouth for a count of ten.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Starting at either your head or your feet, tighten and then relax body parts one at a time.
Quiet your mind and relax your muscles by focusing on a single object or repeating a certain sound.
Go on an imaginary trip to a beautiful place. Make sure to use all of your senses to experience the location as much as possible.
Remember- Practice Makes Perfect
Of course, these strategies are not going to go smoothly the first time you do them. You will need to practice and the more often you practice, the easier it will become. Keep in mind that different things work for different people and just because something works once for you doesn’t mean that it will work again. Always be flexible and try something else on your list.
If you have fibromyalgia, you should be aware that difficult days will happen. However, planning ahead will help you to control your bad days so that the pain will not take control of you.