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Fibromyalgia: Strategies for Enhancing Pain Management

I saw an article some time ago about this topic and put it aside for a while.  I have already discussed some of these concepts in some of my earlier posts.  I am going to give you the nutshell version here: you can read it in entirety by going to the link I am providing at the end!

Medications--at least to date-- are of limited use in Fibromyalgia (and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well).  So it is very important to know some coping skills.  It might take some experimentation and/or practice to see what works for you.

So, without further ado--

1)Pace yourself.

It's important to know what your limits are and to live within the confines of those limits.
No permission is needed from anyone except you!

2) Relax!

Muscle tension and anxiety can really enhance the pain you are feeling. Take time out for a massage, a whirlpool bath, or a little meditation.  It will pay off in the long run.

3) Know your triggers.

In knowing what activities, foods, sleep situations, make you feel better or worse, you can plan accordingly. Take time to know what is problematic and what is not.  Keeping a diary may be of help.

4) Emotional control

No one wants to be a robot; but strong emotions do have consequences on our bodies. By learning to manage our emotions through self-help or counseling we can prevent going into overdrive and causing increased muscle tension, anxiety, hypertension, and depression (which incidentally lowers the pain threshold)!

5) Mental Adjustments

Thinking too much or too hard about something can affect mood and intensify pain experience.  When we think too hard about the idea of having chronic pain and start to feel hopeless it can easily spiral out of control.  Take some time to read up/ think about optimism and learn to focus the GOOD things in your life.

6) Exercise and Movement

During "Fibromyalgia Week" I shared the benefits of exercise for folks with fibromyalgia. It might seem like the last thing you feel like doing but it really is one of the best things you can do.  Water exercise is of particular benefit.  Summer is nearly here, why not give it a try?

7) Pleasurable Thoughts and Activities

Here again we go back to the most basic non-pharmacological remedies available.  For some ideas I refer you to the following topics:
 Guided imagery,  in which we  mentally visualize ourselves in a pleasant relaxed situation, away from reality;
and distraction techniques where we engross ourselves in pleasant conversation with friends, a hobby, or perhaps a good movie.
I also suggest looking at a re-post that I shared some months ago.  For more information on that, go to "Fairy Tales of RA."

8) Heat/Cold/Massage

The use of heat therapy is a well accepted form of short term pain management, and fibromyalgia is no exception.  Cold applications are also appropriate for this indication.
Massage is also a great pain reliever has the ability to reduce stress and muscle tension as
described in item 2).

9) Improving sleep

Another basic tenet of pain management is to make whatever adjustments you can to improve the quality of your sleep.  Another topic I discussed during "Fibromyalgia  Week"
was that poor sleep quality is one of the big problems for people with fibromyalgia; it is thought that in this condition there is an insufficiency of deep, restorative sleep.  Learn about good sleep hygiene. Try to make changes that you think will make the biggest impact for you.

Source: Non-Drug Treatments for Pain: Nine Strategies


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