Fibromyalgia is a pain condition that is typified by widespread chronic pain along common tender points along the body. Symptoms of this condition include pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. As we’ve covered extensively on the PainDoctor.com Inside Pain blog this month, fibro is an often misunderstood condition, that averages five years for a diagnosis, that affects approximately ten million people in the U.S. Fibromyalgia is serious and patients who suffer from it deserve all the information, guidance, and support healthcare professionals can provide.
120+ tips and tricks for living with fibromyalgia
33 facts to confront the misconceptions about fibromyalgia
To start with this month, we tackled the basic understandings and causes of fibromyalgia in our “What Causes Fibromyalgia?” post. In it, we discussed how there are a few causes of fibromyalgia that are currently being studied as possible sources for the condition. These include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Viral infection
- Lifestyle and environment
- Hormonal changes
From there, we discussed the 25 most common fibromyalgia symptoms. Knowing these symptoms can help someone find a diagnosis, feel less alone in their pain condition, and find therapies for reducing symptoms. These can include anything from gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea to cognitive symptoms like the much-hated fibro fog (more on that shortly).
Fibro is a wide-ranging disorder with a variety of symptoms. Add to that a long history of misdiagnosis before official guidelines were created, and you have an environment where there’s a lot of confusion about the condition. Some of that confusion can even become damaging to patients in their journey to pain relief. In particular, we talked about (and debunked them with facts) the “7 Damaging Misconceptions About Fibromyalgia” in post on the topic. These include:
- Fibromyalgia is all in your head
- Only women develop fibromyalgia
- Diet can heal fibromyalgia
- Fibromyalgia isn’t a real disease
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same thing
- People with fibromyalgia should avoid exercise
- Fibromyalgia is not serious
44 tips, tricks, research discoveries, and areas of support that could provide help to fibromyalgia patients
On the PainDoctor.com blog, we always endeavor to bring you the latest in pain research and news. This month, we took a look at four recent research studies on the topic of fibromyalgia treatments. Click here to learn more about:
- Hyperbaric oxygen as a fibromyalgia treatment
- Tailored acupuncture for fibromyalgia patients
- Drug targets for sleep intervention
- The effects of mindfulness meditation for relieving pain
Another key tool in your fight against fibro pain may fit in the palm of your hand, and live right next to your Candy Crush app. FibroMapp App is a new app that allows fibro patients to track their pain, sleep, and activity. It also provides functions for patients to journal or report a pain flare-up. As one excited patient wrote:
“Best thing for chronic pain and depression. I was having a really hard time finding an app that would track both pain AND depression. This one not only tracks both but also keeps track of the meds you’re taking and allows you to keep a journal.”
If you’re already tracking your activity, try out one of these “11 Best Exercises For Fibromyalgia” we rounded up this month. As we noted in the post, “new research has shown that exercises for fibromyalgia help during a fibromyalgia flare-up and may actually help prevent them from occurring in the first place.” Recommended exercises range from walking to stretches for the upper body to swimming to gardening. Get moving to help improve your symptoms!
While we know it’s important to focus on the basics like exercise and research, we also know that fibro patients sometimes simply need something to help them smile and get through another day. This month we found a light-hearted, fun activity that we think is perfect for pain patients: coloring. As we noted in our post on the subject:
“Coloring used to be an activity reserved for small children in elementary grades, but these days adult coloring books are topping bestseller lists and flying off the shelves. Turns out, coloring and adult coloring books may have therapeutic benefits for many different conditions, including anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.”
Another light-hearted way of dealing with pain is humor. This month, we looked at 26 of the funniest fibro fog memes we could find online. Sometimes help doesn’t come down to exercise or trying new treatments or meditation. Sometimes it’s as simple as someone understanding what you’re going through.
Similar to that was our coverage on “Why Spoon Theory Is So Important To Chronic Pain Patients.” Spoon theory can be one of the most effective tools a pain patient can use to help others understand their energy levels and pain flare-ups.
43 ways to support a mother in pain
As we noted, fibro doesn’t only affect women. But, it does affect them disproportionately. An estimated 75-90% of patients are women. In order to support the women in your life who may be suffering, and to tie into the Mother’s Day celebrations in May, check out our posts on:
- 25 gift ideas for mothers with chronic pain
- How it feels to be a stay-at-home mom with chronic pain
- Six ways for a parent in pain to manage
- The top ten most inspiring blogs by moms in pain
- How to support a parent in pain
We know that not even 120 tips, tricks, areas of support, recent research information, and facts can touch on what it feels like to live with fibromyalgia every day. We hope it helps a bit, though. For anyone suffering from fibro, know that we are rooting you on in your fight against pain and admire the strength you show every day.
What other tips, tricks, techniques, or facts would you add to our list?