Chronic pain is hard enough to deal with when you know where it’s coming from. But for the roughly 4 million Americans who have fibromyalgia, pinning down the source of the pain can be difficult. Not surprisingly, that makes it even more challenging to find relief.
Fortunately, Victor Mendoza, MD, and the team at Vulcan Pain Management have significant experience in helping patients find relief for their fibromyalgia symptoms. Our custom approach to fibromyalgia treatment ensures each patient receives the most appropriate care based on their symptoms, health history, and other personal factors.
Most patients benefit from a combination of medical treatment and simple lifestyle changes. Here are nine changes you can implement to start reducing painful symptoms right away.
#1: Get some exercise
When you have pain, being more active might sound counterintuitive. But mild, low-intensity exercise like walking or swimming can help decrease inflammation and stiffness, so you move more comfortably. Plus, being more active can help improve your sleep.
#2: Optimize your sleep routine
Speaking of sleep, if fibromyalgia pain keeps you awake at night, you might be able to fight back by improving your sleep hygiene. Set a regular bedtime, eliminate electronics from your room, and opt for reading or quiet music instead.
#3: Learn some stress management techniques
Stress makes muscles tighten and decreases your ability to cope with discomfort, two effects that can make your symptoms a lot worse. Sure, you can try yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. But engaging in relaxing activities that you already enjoy can help, too.
#4: Get your spa on
Soaking in a warm bath offers lots of benefits: Warm water relaxes tight, sore muscles. The scent of bath salts can help de-stress you. And taking a bath shortly before bed can help you wind down and get better quality sleep, too.
#5: Take notes
Pain isn’t the only symptom of fibromyalgia. Lots of people have problems concentrating. This symptom is commonly referred to as “fibro fog.” Taking notes, using a calendar, and minimizing your responsibilities and to-do list can help tremendously in keeping you focused and on track.
#6: Keep a journal
Journaling daily helps in a couple of ways. First, it helps put you in charge of your symptoms, so you feel less overwhelmed and frustrated. And second, it could help identify triggers that make your symptoms worse. You might even decide to share your findings with your doctor at your next appointment.
Coping with fibromyalgia can be an ongoing struggle, especially when you feel like you’re dealing with it all alone. Communicating with loved ones about what you're going through can help you get the support you need, and it also helps them understand your challenges so they can be more patient and understanding.
#8: Join a support group
Whether you opt for an online or in-person support group, sharing experiences, concerns, and frustrations with other people who know and understand what you’re going through can be invaluable. Not only can you find helpful tips to help you manage your symptoms, but just having people who are sympathetic and understanding can go a long way toward reducing your symptoms and improving your outlook.
#9: Team up with your doctor
Dr. Mendoza and his team have significant experience treating fibromyalgia, designing custom treatment plans based on every patient’s unique symptoms, lifestyle, challenges, and needs. Having regular “check-ins” is a great way to ensure your treatment plan stays on track and focuses on your health and wellness.
If you have fibromyalgia, the key to feeling better is to play a more proactive role in managing your symptoms. To learn how, call our practice in Birmingham, Alabama, or book an appointment online, and let the team at Vulcan Pain Management design a fibromyalgia treatment plan just for you.