Fibromyalgia is a tricky condition. Many don’t realize they have it, and even if they get a diagnosis, the next steps in your treatment plan can be hard to navigate. To top it off, there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, and doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes it.
But just because fibromyalgia relief seems elusive, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope at all.
At West Texas Pain Institute, Dr. Raul Lopez and our team take a multifaceted approach to fibromyalgia treatment. Because there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, our primary goal is to help your body help itself through a variety of natural and minimally invasive treatments.
Your treatment plan may include medication, spinal cord stimulation, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, and even mental health counseling.
However, our prescribed treatment plan works much better when you take charge of your pain management at home.
Here are a few easy things you can do at home to complement your plan and get closer to fibro-free life.
Increase your exercise
Even when you’re not experiencing chronic pain, consistently working out can be tough to do. But we can’t stress enough how important regular exercise is to fibromyalgia relief. What’s best is that there’s isn’t one type of activity you have to do — both aerobic exercise and weight lifting have shown to be beneficial.
A balanced exercise plan that includes both aerobic and muscle-stretching exercises is the most effective for reducing pain and improving overall health in those with fibromyalgia.
So, get creative with your workouts. Check out your gym a couple of days a week, and then go for a brisk weekend walk. Whatever you do, check in with our team before you start a new workout. We can give you pointers on how to protect your body and get the most out of your movements.
Try yoga or tai chi
We know there’s no one specific workout that can manage fibromyalgia in one fell swoop, but if there were, we’d say yoga or tai chi.
A recent study found that nine months of consistent yoga helped individuals with fibromyalgia experience less muscle fatigue and a better quality of life.
Tai chi received similar accolades. The study followed 226 fibromyalgia patients for 52 weeks. Those who practiced tai chi once or twice a week produced similar or greater improvements in their symptoms than aerobic exercise.
Get your stress under control
Which came first: your stress or fibromyalgia? We may never be able to answer that question, but we do know that there’s a link between stress and increased fibro symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is a stress-related condition, which means you may see a spike in your symptoms when there’s a spike in your cortisol (stress) hormones.
Stress management looks different for everyone. You may feel most at ease when enjoying a hobby, talking with friends, exercising, or meditating. Find what works for you and do your best to make those stress-relieving habits a part of your routine. We also recommend prioritizing your health by removing yourself from stressful situations when possible.
Try something hands on
Many of our patients benefit from massage therapy and/or acupuncture. Both treatments stimulate your body’s circulation, relax your muscles, and improve your overall response to pain.
They may sound like luxurious spa treatments, but they’ve proven effective. Those who received massage therapy for five weeks saw improvement in their symptoms, and one study claims that acupuncture may even be more effective than medication for some.
Get your diet under control
Your diet plays a huge role in how well you manage fibromyalgia, and you may need to start making some sacrifices (or simply smarter choices) where your meals are concerned.
We recommend sticking to these rules of thumb if you want to eat your way to less fibromyalgia pain:
- Avoid neurotransmitters like monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Opt for whole foods over processed
- Consider the DASH or Mediterranean diet
- Avoid cured meats
- Get more vitamin D by eating eggs, tuna, salmon, and fortified foods
- Get more magnesium through dark, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds
- Eat fish, flaxseed, and chia for more omega-3 fatty acids
- Eat pigment-rich whole foods to get antioxidants
- Always check labels for harmful ingredients
- Stay away from artificial sweeteners
It’s not easy to overhaul your diet on your own. Talk to us about simple ways to get started and stay consistent.
Finding relief from fibromyalgia can be a long and difficult journey — but it’s not one that you have to do alone. For more tips on how to live pain-free and to get started with a customized pain management plan, call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule a fibromyalgia appointment at our El Paso, Texas, office today.