In honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on the 12th, we spent all of May writing about fibro on the Pain Doctor blog. While working with your pain doctor is your best bet for finding relief from fibro pain and symptoms, we also know that lifestyle changes can go a long way towards reducing and preventing symptoms as well. We discussed many of these this month and hope that some of them helped you beat your pain!
Get the facts
Fibromyalgia is considered an invisible disease because many patients have no outward symptoms. For everybody else, it may seem like everything is okay. You not only have to suffer in pain, but often in silence. That’s why this year’s theme for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was “Your Voice Matters: You Make Fibromyalgia Visible.”
To celebrate that theme, we wrote a few posts you could easily share with friends or family to help them better understand your life with fibromyalgia.
- “Top 13 Facts About Fibro“: From gender rates of fibromyalgia diagnosis to new research to the spoon theory, we rounded up a list of the most important facts for others to know about fibro.
- “Top 12 Ways To Manage Fibromyalgia“: Fibro has no cure, but there are lifestyle modifications that can reduce and prevent your pain. We discussed the ones that we’ve seen help our patients the most.
- “10 Diet Tips For Managing Fibromyalgia Pain“: Changes to diet required at least one full dedicated post on the topic. This post discusses some of the basic tips you can try out, though we also discussed some of these in more detail in other posts.
Get in the kitchen
Our diet tips post ran the spectrum from the effects of the paleo diet to a vegan diet on fibromyalgia pain, or how bread or caffeine can affect a fibro patient. We also discussed certain holistic diet truthisms (such as “focus on whole, fresh food”) that can help anyone, no matter their diagnosis.
While it’s easy to talk about diet tenets, it’s easier to implement them when you have concrete examples and recipes to work from. For example, we think using a crockpot is one of the biggest boons for a patient in chronic pain. We took that one step further, figuring out some dos and don’ts specific to fibromyalgia patients who want to try out a crockpot.
We also highlighted more actionable tips in our “Eat This, Not That” feature that had a focus on fibromyalgia foods for patients on a budget. Our tips included:
- Instead of buying gluten-free bread, try making your own gluten-free all-purpose flour
- Instead of heading to the dairy case, try making your own almond milk
- Instead of gulping down antacids or taking prescription medication for gut and bowel disorders, try healing your gut with fermented foods
- Instead of going vegetarian for your fibromyalgia, try Meatless Mondays or “vegan before 6”
Finally, our fantastic recipe creator developed some amazing recipes that are easy to make, use a minimal amount of ingredients, and are formulated to contain foods that are rich in fibro-healthy nutrients. Our May recipes included:
- Mexican quinoa with red pepper, zucchini, and corn
- Berry, spinach, and date salad
- A rich and fiery puttanesca tomato sauce with polenta
- Cinnamon and molasses roasted carrots
If you tried one of these great recipes out, let us know in the comments!
Get a move on
As we noted in a post, “For those with limited mobility due to chronic pain, injury, or other condition, the edict to ‘get more exercise’ can be intimidating.” Getting exercise with fibromyalgia is so, so important, though, so we discussed many of the reasons why patients with limited mobility avoid exercise and offer suggestions for overcoming these challenges.
In particular, we discussed the challenges of:
- Further injury or pain
- Confusion about what exercise is
- Not knowing where to start
- Fear of appearing foolish
One exercise that we know is low-impact and helpful for many fibro patients is water therapy. As we noted:
“Water is a substance that does something for our bodies like nothing else: it supports us while at the same time allowing us to work harder. The density of water creates a mild resistance to whatever we are doing, making our muscles work harder as we run across a pool than they would if we were jogging across a parking lot. At the same time, water supports us so that we can focus all our attention on the muscles being worked, not the muscles used for balance. As an added bonus, slipping and falling while in a pool is generally less injurious than slipping and falling on the road. This may offer comfort to those who are nervous about starting a new exercise program.”
You can indulge in many of these benefits by reading our tips in this month’s “How-To Enjoy Water Therapy” post.
We also encourage you to check out a specific routine of back stretching exercises that our clinicians put together specifically for low back pain. These incorporate both warm-up exercises and exercises to open up the spine. And, in discussing low back pain, we also had to mention some suggestions based on Correct Posture Month. Maintaining correct posture is so crucial to reducing and preventing future upper and lower back pain.
What was your favorite post on the Inside Pain Blog this month? Did you find any lifestyle tips that helped you or do you have some of your own fibro tips to share with others? Let us know in the comments!
Image by Alisson H via Flickr