An estimated 1.5 percent of the adult population is affected by fibromyalgia in Canada. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) affects approximately 1.4 percent of Canadian adults. Both disorders share similar symptoms. Most experts agree that these two conditions are probably related; however, some believe they may actually be the same illness.
If you suffer from pain an fatigue caused by fibromyalgia, read up on these 7 tips to help manage your symptoms:
1. Assess symptoms on a day-to-day basis.
People with fibromyalgia and CFS experience varying levels of pain and fatigue, including periods of remission. Assess your condition each morning, and try to adjust your plans accordingly. When you don’t sleep well, engage in less activity. When you feel well-rested and pain is tolerable, do more. Moderation is key.
2. Get regular exercise.
When you’re tired or in pain, moving might be the last thing you feel like doing. However, regular, moderate exercise can contribute toward alleviating pain symptoms, reducing stress, and helping with sleep. Pace yourself, based on how you are feeling each day.
3. Use massage to treat pain.
Massage is a proven way to reduce stress and muscle pain. It can be used to improve range of motion and treat depression and anxiety.
4. Apply heat.
Heat boosts blood flow and can help to relieve stiff and sore muscles. Apply a warm, moist washcloth; have a hot shower, or soak in the bathtub. You can also treat deep muscle pain caused by fibromyalgia with an ice pack.
5. Try alternative therapies.
Some people find that alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, can help with fatigue and pain, but studies show mixed results. To find out more about alternative therapies, speak to a healthcare practitioner.
6. Prioritize sleep.
Both fibromyalgia and CFS can make sleep difficult. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day—and avoiding naps—can help. Some people find that having a relaxing bedtime routine can make falling asleep easier. This could include taking a warm bath or reading before bedtime.
7. Say no to excessive engagements.
Learning how to say no is important in minimizing stress, coping with fatigue, and dealing with pain. Living with CFS or fibromyalgia means accepting that you might not be able to accept every social invitation. Similarly, you might not be able to take on extra responsibilities at work.
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