These lifestyle tips can make your treatment more effective.
Fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain all over the body with no clear cause, requires a combination of treatments. Because it doesn’t have a clear and simple cause (for example, there is no inflammation involved), there is no quick cure or perfect pill.
“Individuals need to have physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication management, and self-care,” says Anita Gupta, DO, PharmD, pain specialist. “[Self-management] is a critical component for patients to overcome the pain.”
To support patients' fibromyalgia treatment, doctors recommend the following self-care tips for patients:
1. Adhere to your medication regimen.
Taking your pain medication as prescribed is critical for controlling fibromyalgia pain. If a medication isn’t working for you, or is causing unpleasant side effects, talk to your doctor before changing or discontinuing use. They may be able to help you tweak your treatment regimen more safely and effectively.
2. Have good sleep hygiene.
Sleep challenges are common among people with fibromyalgia, so following through on good sleep habits can be an important component for fibromyalgia management.
To reduce sleep problems and improve quality of life, make the following sleep habits a priority:
- Set a sleep schedule and go to bed (and wake up) around the same time daily.
- Take a warm bath or shower before bed, if it helps.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or spicy foods before bedtime. “Those things can interrupt your sleep, and make your sleep more restless,” says Dr. Gupta. (Learn more foods that can disrupt healthy sleep here.)
“Ensure that you talk to your doctor about sleep; it’s an important part of your treatment,” says Dr. Gupta.
3. Manage your stress.
Emotional stress is a common trigger for fibromyalgia, according to the American College of Rheumatology. The relationship between stress and fibromyalgia is reciprocal, since dealing with fibromyalgia can also increase stress.
“Consult a psychologist,” says Dr. Gupta. “Cognitive behavioral therapy has been particularly effective for fibromyalgia and exacerbations of pain, for coping with pain, coping with stress, and also the symptoms related to fibromyalgia.”
It’s also important to find a supportive network of friends, family, or fellow peers with fibromyalgia (such as in a support group).
4. Enroll in physical therapy.
Staying active is a crucial part of fibromyalgia self-management. According to a 2017 study, therapeutic exercise was associated with reduced pain, improved quality of life, and reduced symptoms of depression for people with fibromyalgia.
“Oftentimes doctors will prescribe physical therapy to allow for fibromyalgia patients to stretch their muscles in a safe environment, to have guided strengthening of those muscles, to allow these patients to move, and also to improve their functioning,” says Dr. Gupta.
“Doing those simple steps will get them on the path of recovery early on in their treatment and ensuring that you’re empowering your own health,” says Dr. Gupta.
Dr. Gupta is a board-certified anesthesiologist, pharmacologist, and pain specialist.
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The treatment of fibromyalgia
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Individuals need to have physical therapy,
cognitive behavioral therapy,
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medication management and self-care,
which is a critical component for
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patients to overcome their pain.
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Things that you can do to
improve your symptoms,
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ensure that you're following your pain
medication regimen as you're instructed to
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make sure that your
pain's well controlled.
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Individuals who have pain in fibromyalgia
often have difficulty sleeping.
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Make sure that you're regular
in your sleep habits, so
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that you're going to sleep on
time regularly each day, and
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taking warm baths sometimes
before going to bed.
00:00:45,524 --> 00:00:48,993
Make sure that you're avoiding caffeine or
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spicy foods right before bedtime.
00:00:51,570 --> 00:00:56,198
Those things can interrupt your sleep,
and can make your sleep more restless.
00:00:56,198 --> 00:00:58,600
Ensure that you talk to
your doctor about sleep,
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it's an important part of your treatment.
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Dealing with fibromyalgia
is inherently stressful.
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It can also significantly affect
your ability to function.
00:01:09,080 --> 00:01:11,030
So it's important to control stress.
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Consult a psychologist.
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Cognitive behavioral therapy has
been particularly effective for
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fibromyalgia and exacerbations of pain.
00:01:19,750 --> 00:01:22,560
For coping with pain,
coping with stress, and
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also the symptoms related
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Find a social network, sometimes friends,
family, or individuals
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around you can help talk through
some of the problems that you have.
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Getting physical activity is such an
important part of treating exacerbations.
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Oftentimes doctors will prescribe physical
therapy to allow for fibromyalgia patients
00:01:44,270 --> 00:01:48,480
to stretch their muscles and in a safe
environment have guided, strengthening of
00:01:48,480 --> 00:01:53,420
those muscles to allow these patients to
move and also improve their functions.
00:01:53,420 --> 00:01:57,260
Doing those simple steps will get them on
the path of recovery early on in their
00:01:57,260 --> 00:02:00,447
treatment and ensuring that you're
empowering your own health.
00:02:00,447 --> 00:02:05,160
Fibromyalgia. Atlanta, GA: American College of Rheumatology. (Accessed on February 28, 2019 at https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Fibromyalgia.)
Fibromyalgia. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Accessed on February 28, 2019 at https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm.)
Sosa-Reina MD, Nunez-Nagy S, Gallego-Izquierdo T, Pecos-Martin D, Monserrat J, Alvarez-Mon M. Effectiveness of therapeutic exercise in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:2356346.