Tips for Managing Fibromyalgia
I was sad to see that Kirsty Young was having to step down from her news reading position due to her fibromyalgia. But the publicity is certainly helping to raise awareness of this condition as indeed did Lady Gaga’s declaration that she has the same condition.
It is an immensely challenging condition to live with and many of my own clients have been diagnosed with this. They ask how can they reduce their dependency on the prescribed drugs in order to lead a fuller life and be able to work to their full capabilities. Fibromyalgia syndrome is characterized by scattered musculoskeletal pain (involving the muscles and bone structure), tenderness in specific areas, and generalized fatigue. It can also include aching and stiffness in areas around the neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back and hip areas, and may occur alone or in conjunction with rheumatic disorders such as arthritis, osteoarthritis or lupus.
As with most back pain issues, it is a matter of
- Keeping moving, gentle exercise eases tension build up – find what works for you (ie Tai Chi, Pilates, Yoga, brisk walking)
- Keeping a pain diary so you know what works and what doesn’t, or identify triggers
- Following an Anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Fodmap
- Vitamins – certain vitamins help the body boost its anti-inflammatory ability
- Posture – when a body is sensitised by pain, knowing how to keep a healthy upright posture is key
- Explore complementary treatment
- Reduce your stress, where possible! A stressed body is a tense body.
- Try and take time out for yourself and relax.
The NHS website recommends
- medication – such as antidepressants and painkillers
- talking therapies – such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling
- lifestyle changes – such as exercise programmes and relaxation technique
Indeed, due to the range of symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, an interdisciplinary health care team is generally beneficial. In addition to the main treating physician, who is usually a rheumatologist, a physio or chiropractor, neurologist, pain specialist, psychologist or psychiatrist may also be involved. It is a matter of finding ways to reduce the tension build up in your body which will contribute towards your pain levels. So it is worth exploring the following:
- Ergonomist to provide posture advice – are you sitting correctly when working and relaxing?
- Physiotherapy – to massage out the tension build up and prescribe key exercises for you
- Nutritionist – to assess your diet and help identify any food triggers or recommend key anti-inflammatory foods
- Therapist to help assess any emotional triggers
There are many arthritis charities that can help, indeed Arthritis Research UK and Arthritis care have just merged to become Versus Arthritis to raise awareness and provide support.
For Ergonomic Advice, do contact us to find out about our ergonomic assessment services or check out our chairs and back supports to ease your discomfort and reduce tension build up when sitting at your home or office