Deal with Fibromyalgia
Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Lynn, Eng, VC
Pain is a terrible thing to deal with once it strikes. Imagine it taking over your body on a long-term basis. One of the known conditions that cause pain is fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is generalized pain in the musculoskeletal region that is accompanied by mood, memory, fatigue, and sleep problems. Experts say that this condition is able to intensify pain because it affects the pain signal processing performed by your brain. The symptoms usually build up gradually over a period without anything that triggers them. Fibromyalgia is a condition that more often affects women than men. Since there is no known medical cure for it, patients depend on pharmacological solutions to help manage the symptoms. You have to learn how to deal with fibromyalgia if you want to live a full life. It's all about overcoming the challenge of fibromyalgia and not being overwhelmed by it.
- 1 What You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia
- 2 How to Deal with Fibromyalgia through Relaxation and Meditation
- 3 How to Deal with Fibromyalgia with the Right Diet
- 4 How to Deal with Fibromyalgia in the Workplace
- 5 How Employers Can Help an Employee with Fibromyalgia
- 6 Tips
- 7 Comments
What You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia gives a person an ache that is dull, usually coming from the muscles. It is widespread pain if it occurs all over your body - both below and above the waist. More pain is experienced when tender points are touched with pressure. Such tender points are:
- Between your shoulder blades
- Front of your neck
- Back of your head
- Top part of shoulders
- Outer elbows
- Upper crest
- Sides of your hips
- Inner part of knees
- Upper hips
A patient with this condition is usually very fatigued, even if they sleep for hours. The sleep they experience is interrupted by pain and other sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Other symptoms are depression, anxiety, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), headaches, and endometriosis.
The main cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown to experts, but several factors have been associated with it, including emotional or physical trauma. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is also usually associated with fibromyalgia.
Different infections. A number of ailments aggravate or trigger fibromyalgia. Genes. Fibromyalgia tends to be an inherited illness in families. Mutations in genes make you highly likely to develop this disorder.
Central sensitization is the theory behind what happens in fibromyalgia. It states the decreased pain threshold of people because of the heightened sensitivity for pain in the brain. The brain seems to develop a pain memory that makes it overreact when it receives pain signals.
You are at a greater risk of having fibromyalgia if you are female because the hormonal fluctuations in women are said to play a significant part in how pain is experienced. If fibromyalgia runs in your family, you have an increased risk of getting it. Rheumatic disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to fibromyalgia. Fortunately, fibromyalgia doesn't pave the way for another disease. It's just that the inadequate amount of sleep and the pain do interfere with your daily activities at home or in your workplace. Anxiety and depression usually results in your inability to do things with ease.
How to Deal with Fibromyalgia through Relaxation and Meditation
Pain and stress are directly related to one another. Pain results in stress and stress aggravates pain. This vicious cycle can be broken with the use of relaxation, meditation and hypnosis. Pain therapists believe that the body and the mind have a special relationship. That is why focusing on it is said to yield positive results. Below are some of the common ways to relax and meditate to relieve the pains of fibromyalgia:
- 1Hypnosis. Medical or clinical hypnosis is used by licensed pain therapists in treating physical or psychological issues. This method involves temporarily tuning out the conscious part of the brain so that the patient can focus on relaxation. The brain becomes more powerful when the mind becomes more focused and concentrated. The patient experiences slowed respiration and pulse rates. There is also an increase in alpha brain waves. These events open up the patient to suggestions such as pain reduction. Through hypnosis, pains caused by cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and burns are lessened. Anxiety is also reduced.Advertisement
- 2Meditation. This technique is helpful in relaxing the body and quieting down the mind. In transcendental meditation, a mantra is repeated by the patient to let feelings and thoughts pass. Mindfulness meditation pays attention to the person's sensations and thoughts. It is usually taught in many programs for stress reduction. Through meditation, depression, stress, use of pain relievers, and anxiety are reduced. The patient's self-esteem, pain tolerance, and activity levels are increased. Meditation makes use of body awareness, breathing techniques, and visual imagery.Advertisement
Relaxation allows you to reduce your chronic pain, insomnia, and muscle tension. Activity levels are increased through the right relaxation techniques. You can be guided by a trained relaxation or meditation practitioner who teaches a group. The patient then practices the techniques at home.
How to Deal with Fibromyalgia with the Right Diet
Modifying your diet can help you go through fibromyalgia. There are certain foods that may help you with your pain episodes. The following are some ways you can use a diet change for your fibromyalgia:
- 1Know how food makes you feel. Sensitivities to various food items may aggravate your fibromyalgia. Identify the foods that make your fibromyalgia worse. A food journal can help.
How to Deal with Fibromyalgia in the Workplace
Fibromyalgia patients can work, but they should be allowed some modifications in the workplace for them to function well. If you have fibromyalgia and you still want to work, here are some of the things you can consider:
- 1Discuss your condition openly. You should discuss fibromyalgia in detail with your colleagues and employer so that they may understand what you're going through. Tell them that you have bad and good days. Doing so will help you have some considerations for your fatigue so that you can effectively do your work even if you have your episodes of pain and fatigue.
- 2Perform your work the best you can. Show your boss and co-workers that you can be functional, provided that you are given the support and understanding that you need.
How Employers Can Help an Employee with Fibromyalgia
The following modifications can be made by your employer to help you with your condition:
For concentration problems
- 1Minimize distractions
- 2Allow work hours that are flexible
- 3Allow workload that can be done at your own pace
- 4Provide instructions in written form
- 5Provide an increased structure in assignments
- 6Allow rest periods
- 7Reduce work related stress
- 8Give memory aids
For anxiety and depression
- 1Provide a list of things to do
- 2Reduce the distractions
- 3Remind you of your meetings and deadlines
- 4Allow you to have counseling time
- 5Hold a sensitivity workshop for your colleagues
- 6Provide breaks for stress management
- 7Help you with strategies in problem solving
- 8Give information on employee assistance programs and counseling
- 9Allow you to make phone calls to your doctors and other people
For weakness and fatigue
- 1Reduce stress and physical exertion
- 2Allow rest time
- 3Allow flexible work time and leaves
- 4Allow you to work from your home
- 5Give an ergonomic design for your work station
For migraine attacks
- 1Give task lighting
- 2Get rid of fluorescent lighting
- 3Provide air purification gadgets
For sleep problems
- 1Allow you to work from your home
- 2Allow you to have flexible breaks and work hours
- Consider career alternatives for your condition.
- Always consult your doctor about the developments of your condition.
- Never treat your fibromyalgia on your own.
- You can apply for disability with your fibromyalgia.
- If you plant to use more alternative solutions, tell your doctor about it.