According to statistics, about 2% of adults in the U.S. suffer from fibromyalgia. Despite its rarity, it’s been the subject of much research, as experts struggle to explain the pain, fatigue, and depression that are often indicative of the condition. If you’ve recently received a fibromyalgia diagnosis, you’re no stranger to these symptoms, and you might be wondering what’s next. Although there is currently no cure for the ailment, there are things you can do to reclaim your life. Consider the following six steps to take toward recovery and wellness.
1. Find Pain Relief
Nerve pain is the most common symptom of fibromyalgia, and for many people, it’s crippling. Finding relief can be challenging, though, without relying on pain medication that can have side effects or addictive potential. Luckily, there are many over-the-counter pain medications that can provide relief, including aspirin, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen. In addition to relieving pain, these medications may alleviate insomnia and inflammation.
2. Try Antidepressants
For many people with fibromyalgia, depression is a major symptom. You may be able to alleviate this symptom by trying antidepressants. The most common class of antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been used to treat fatigue and pain, too. Some research indicates that other types of medication may have an overall higher efficacy rate, though, so you should discuss the best path of treatment with your health care provider.
3. Try Anticonvulsants
Anticonvulsants are another potential medication option. One medication in particular — Lyrica, or pregabalin in the generic form — has shown promising results for fibromyalgia patients’ pain levels. Gabapentin is another anticonvulsant that has been shown to alleviate nerve pain in fibromyalgia sufferers. Many anticonvulsants come with unsavory side effects, though. Be sure to monitor any adverse reactions.
4. Consider Relocating
Unfortunately, for many people with fibromyalgia, their home environment can make symptoms worse. Bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells can all trigger pain and fatigue, making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep or to focus during the day. In addition, clutter and cluttered rooms can increase levels of stress and anxiety, which can amplify pain. If you live with fibromyalgia, it’s important to take steps to create a calm and comfortable environment in your home.
If you’re not able to create a fibromyalgia-friendly environment in your home, it’s time to think about relocating. Explore homes or apartments that better suit your needs. You can find rentals through online listings—many listings offer 3D walkthroughs so you won’t have to make an in-person visit to every home you’re interested in.
5. Get Enough Exercise
Exercise is one of the best weapons you have against fatigue. This is true because fitness triggers endorphins, which in turn, alleviates depression, generates energy, and minimizes pain. This makes exercise a potent treatment option for the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you’re struggling to fit exercise into your schedule and to eat nutritiously, join the Healthitude online community for inspiration and simple solutions.
6. Invest in Physical Therapy
Some patients with fibromyalgia find that they experience persistent muscle stiffness. This can affect your range of motion and your overall mobility. Physical therapy techniques can alleviate the problem, though, and help strengthen the muscles throughout your body. A physical therapist will create a program that’s customized to your unique needs and symptoms.
7. Take Your Vitamins
There is some evidence of a correlation between fibromyalgia and vitamin D deficiency. This link illuminates the need for supplements in the diet of a fibromyalgia sufferer. Taking vitamin D supplements can minimize the fatigue that you feel throughout the day, and it can also help to boost your mood. Be sure to consult with your doctor before integrating any vitamins into your regimen, though, as too many can be dangerous.
Effective Fibromyalgia Treatment Steps
Fibromyalgia may seem like a devastating diagnosis, and it’s true that it poses many challenges. With the right treatment and resources, though, you can minimize its symptoms. There are many medications that may be able to provide relief, and physical therapy, exercise, and even relocating can offer improvement, too.