Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects millions of people — but even with so many fellow sufferers, it can also be one of the most isolating conditions.
Don't go it alone.
We know how overwhelming the battle for relief is when you have fibromyalgia. So, our team at West Texas Pain Institute led by pain-management specialist Dr. Raul Lopez fights alongside you, providing you with the tools and treatments you need to manage your pain.
Here’s a closer look at our favorite fibromyalgia management strategies.
1. Diet and exercise
One of the best ways to manage fibromyalgia pain is to start with your diet and exercise habits.
Exercise for fibromyalgia
It may seem counterintuitive to increase your activity levels when experiencing chronic pain, but it can be one of your most effective pain-fighting tools. The best exercises to try are low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga, which help reduce pain and stiffness without putting stress on your achy body. Bonus: Exercise can improve your mood and give you an energy boost.
Remember to start with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase the intensity, frequency, and duration. Always listen to your body and stop if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Diet changes for fibromyalgia
You can't eat your way out of fibromyalgia, but what you choose to fill your plate can impact your pain and other symptoms. Aim for a well-rounded diet packed with:
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats
- Low-fat dairy
- Lean protein
Do your best to avoid anything processed, especially foods high in saturated fats. Not sure where to start? We can help you create a fibro-friendly diet that's both nutritious and delicious.
2. Massage and physical therapy
Massage therapy is another effective strategy for managing fibromyalgia pain. A professional massage relaxes your muscles, improves your range of motion, relieves muscle tension, promotes circulation, and reduces stress and anxiety.
If you can't get a professional massage, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to give yourself one at home. Try self-massage by rolling the painful areas of your body over a foam roller or tennis ball to relieve tension.
Physical therapy techniques provide similar benefits, but instead of massages, they involve stretches and strength-building exercises. Your physical therapist creates a customized program to address your specific needs and even gives you a few self-care techniques to take home.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on your body. The goal is to tap into your body's energy flow to relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall health. Acupuncture can also:
- Encourage natural self-healing
- Stimulate change in blood flow
- Change the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain
Research has shown that acupuncture can effectively treat fibromyalgia pain — some experienced pain relief for up to two years.
4. Heat and cold therapy
Alternating between heat and cold therapy is another great way to address fibromyalgia. Heat therapy increases blood flow, which relaxes your muscle and reduces fibromyalgia pain and stiffness. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm towel to apply heat to the affected areas. Alternatively, you can take a warm bath or shower to help relax the muscles and relieve pain.
Cold therapy, on the other hand, numbs the painful areas of your body, constricting your blood vessels and decreasing blood flow to reduce inflammation. Ice bags, cold compresses, and even ice baths are great options for getting started with cold therapy.
5. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Most don't realize that chronic pain conditions are just as much a mental health issue as they are physical. So, we often recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of talk therapy that helps you manage the emotional and mental impact of fibromyalgia.
Through CBT, you can better identify negative thoughts and behaviors contributing to your pain. CBT can also help you develop coping strategies to manage pain and improve your overall quality of life.
There are several medications available that can help manage fibromyalgia pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve mild pain.
Prescription medications such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants can also effectively manage fibromyalgia pain.
Always talk to us before starting new medications to ensure they're safe and effective.
7. Other treatments
We also offer advanced treatments like spinal cord stimulation and regenerative medicine, such as stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to help you address fibromyalgia from multiple angles.
If you're sick and tired of living under the weight of fibromyalgia, call our friendly staff or book an appointment online to schedule a consultation with our expert and get started feeling better today.