Living With Fibromyalgia

Living With Fibromyalgia

Living With Fibromyalgia
To live with fibromyalgia, work with your doctor to find a treatment that works for you and then stick to it. This will likely include regular exercise, reducing stress and getting plenty of sleep. A support group can provide ideas for how to manage the condition along with general encouragement.

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    A Geriatrics Nursing, answered on behalf of
    The short answer is 'no'. In fact a satisfying sex life should improve your fibro by reducing stress and providing low impact exercise. However you may have some special considerations that the two of you should agree upon. Unless you are a masochist, pain interferes with sexual pleasure. Anything that triggers your fibro pain will reduce your sexual pleasure and distract you from engaging fully in the intimacy. You may have to shift positions or change activities more frequently because repetitive motion will trigger pain. There may be some exotic positions that just won't work for you unless you've always been a contortionist. Bottom line, do whatever doesn't hurt you.
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    Fibromyalgia pain and/or fatigue may decrease your desire for sex. You may find sex uncomfortable or exhausting. This can be difficult to accept and deal with, but with good communication and support from your partner, it is possible to enjoy intimacy even if you feel a decrease in desire. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe medications to increase your sex drive.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    We all need someone to lean on. For people with fibromyalgia, support groups help in many ways. Support groups offer encouragement and compassion from others who have the same feelings and symptoms. While support groups are not personal therapy sessions, they do provide a place for people with fibromyalgia to vent their frustrations, ask others about treatments, and feel as if someone knows what they are going through. Contact the Arthritis Foundation to locate a support group near you or search online for "virtual" fibromyalgia support groups that you can join on the Internet.
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    The benefits you can expect from a fibromyalgia support group include a sense of encouragement and new understanding about the condition, as well as learning about positive solutions to common health issues. Many members of fibromyalgia support groups feel less isolated and appreciate the opportunity to share experiences, frustrations and advice.

    Benefits can extend to spouses and family members who attend support group meetings. As they begin to understand the issues through discussion and education, family often becomes a foundation of support at home.

    Other benefits of a fibromyalgia support group can include the opportunity to hear of new treatments or therapies that your healthcare provider may not yet offer. Local support groups sometimes bring in guest speakers to discuss new treatment options or to present their perspectives on managing fibromyalgia. Talk with your doctor to learn about support groups in your area.
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    The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. It works to support people who have chronic pain illnesses and their families and friends by contributing to caring, professional and community relationships. Through continuing education, networking with support groups and advocates, and affiliation with professional organizations, the members of the NFMCPA have a place to be informed, get involved and recognize achievements.

    The NFMCPA also addresses the controversies, prejudices and life-altering effect of fibromyalgia (FM) and overlapping conditions on millions of people. These issues, combined with the American College of Rheumatology’s FM diagnostic criteria that includes 42 symptoms in the patient medical assessment, which are all part of FM co-morbid conditions, are at the core of the formation of this association. The contributions of experienced leaders from other nonprofit FM organizations, including scientific research and doctor education, and patient outreach, including resources to live better with FM and raising awareness about the condition, are reflected in the organization.

    The organization brings together:
    • Science (research)
    • People with fibromyalgia
    • Healthcare providers
    • Thought leaders
    • Advocates
    • Complementary/alternative/integrative medicine (CAM/IM)
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    A , Anesthesiology, answered

    Overlapping (comorbid) conditions are ailments that frequently occur together. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) are generally considered overlapping conditions. FMS and ME/CFS also have a host of other overlapping conditions associated with them. These include other pain disorders, sleep problems, major depression, nervous system disorders, digestive problems and menstrual problems.

    PAIN CONDITIONS

    Many people with FMS and ME/CFS also have other chronic pain conditions that need to be diagnosed and properly treated. Often, successfully treating other sources of pain can help alleviate FMS and ME/CFS symptoms.

    Myofascial pain syndrome

    Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS, sometimes called "chronic myofascial pain") is frequently confused with fibromyalgia, but they are different conditions. In MPS, muscles and connective tissues (which make up the fascia) develop what are called trigger points. A trigger point is often a small, hard knot, about the size of a pencil eraser that you may be able to feel under your skin. Sometimes the knot itself is painful, especially when you press on it, but it often causes pain in another area.

    • Learn more about myofascial pain syndrome, including treatments, possible causes, how it's diagnosed, and how it interacts with fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia & Myofascial Pain Syndrome

    Chronic headache

    Some researchers believe that people with chronic headaches, such as migraines, and those with FMS may share common defects in systems that regulate specific chemical messengers in the brain, such as serotonin and epinephrine (adrenaline). Doctors have found low levels of magnesium in both groups as well, and when chronic migraine sufferers don't respond to usual therapies it sometimes leads to a diagnosis of FMS. Chronic headache frequently occurs with ME/CFS as well and can be relevant to diagnosing ME/CFS.

    Migraine symptoms include heightened sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, vision problems such as auras or tunnel vision, difficulty speaking, and intense pain that's stronger on one side of the head.

    Multiple chemical sensitivity

    Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) causes similar symptoms to ME/CFS and FMS, but with the trigger being exposure to certain chemicals, such as those found in perfumes, adhesives and cleaning products. Because everyone is exposed to a huge variety of chemicals every day, it can be extremely difficult to identify which ones are causing the symptoms.

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    The first step you should take to feel better and improve your quality of life if you have fibromyalgia is to find a doctor who understands how to diagnose and treat this condition. Many people with fibromyalgia suffer needlessly because they do not receive the proper care.

    You can also take steps on your own to help manage your symptoms on a daily basis and live a live a healthier, more satisfying life with fibromyalgia. For example:
    • Get plenty of sleep. Insomnia can worsen pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you're not sleeping well, tell your doctor.
    • Exercise regularly. Studies show that regular physical activity can help you to manage fibromyalgia symptoms.
    • Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to include plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and fish. These foods are all rich in healthful nutrients.
    • Control stress. It worsens fibromyalgia symptoms. Practicing relaxation therapies such as meditation and yoga can help you manage stress.
    • Prevent fibromyalgia flare-ups. Stress, cold weather, and exercising too hard are just a few factors that can cause fibromyalgia symptoms to worsen. Identify your triggers and avoid or control them.
    • Rethink your job and work environment, if necessary. If you need to rest more on the job or work fewer hours, talk to your employer. Some people with fibromyalgia find it necessary to change to jobs that are less taxing or stressful.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    Although nursing does not aggravate symptoms for most women, breastfeeding can be challenging for new mothers with fibromyalgia. Some examples include:
    • Muscle pain. This can cause problems finding a comfortable position for nursing. 
    • Fatigue. This can interfere with nursing, caring for the baby, caring for older children and keeping up with household chores.
    Making plans to frequently change positions during nursing and enlisting others to help with household chores may improve your ability to continue nursing. Remember that your baby benefits from any time spent nursing, so don't worry if you're not able to continue for as long as you might like.

    Here are some tips for successful nursing:

    At the beginning of the third trimester:
    • Talk to your doctor about your fibromyalgia treatment program after the baby is born.
    • Set up realistic expectations for nursing.
    • Consider adding booster sessions with exercise and behavioral therapists for nondrug pain management skills.
    • Consider meeting with a lactation counselor.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice problems with your mood.
    Before delivery:
    • Talk to your family about prioritizing and scheduling essential chores for the baby and the family after delivery. Delegate chores to others.
    • Make sure you eat well and stay hydrated by drinking enough water.
    • Talk to your doctor about what to expect in terms of increased fatigue after delivery.
    • Tell your doctor if you are noticing problems with your mood.
    • Review your fibromyalgia treatment plan for after delivery with your doctor.
    Before leaving the hospital after delivery:
    • Get advice from the nurses about breastfeeding your baby. Let your healthcare team know about any difficulties or concerns you might have for when you get home.
    • Remember that your baby receives important health benefits from breastfeeding, even if you're not able to nurse as long as you might like.
    • Remember to find comfortable positions when nursing, such as nursing lying on your side or using a pillow or sling to help support the weight of the baby.
    • Remember to change positions frequently during nursing sessions to reduce getting sore and stiff.
    • Plan to nurse at home in a quiet, comfortable environment.
    • If you have a lactation counselor, get in touch with her to review your concerns.
    • Review your treatment plan for fibromyalgia symptoms with your doctor. Make sure you know what to do when symptoms flare.
    • Schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor for soon after hospital discharge to reassess your fibromyalgia treatments.
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    Living with fibromyalgia doesn't mean you have to accept a life of pain, fatigue, or other uncomfortable symptoms. There are quite a few things you can do to feel better every day while living with fibromyalgia.
    • Start by eating healthy. Incorporate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, "healthy" fats, such as olive oil, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish like salmon (or take an omega-3 supplement).
    • Get moderate exercise every day -- even when you don't feel like it. Light to moderate aerobic activity such as walking, swimming, or light jogging can decrease your fibromyalgia symptoms.
    • Try a restorative yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates class. Recent research has shown all three to help ease some symptoms of fibromyalgia, particularly pain.
    •  Follow a regular sleep routine. Get adequate sleep, and try to rise and go to bed at the same time every morning and evening.
    • Focus on activities that bring you joy. Visit museums, go to concerts, chat with friends, take in a film -- anything that makes you smile and gets your mind off fibromyalgia.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    There are many lifestyle changes you can make to improve fibromyalgia symptoms. Try using moist heat applications or warm baths twice daily to help decrease pain and stiffness associated with fibromyalgia. Some people find that applying pressure to painful trigger points helps to reduce pain and allows you to move around more. Sitting properly at your work station and taking frequent breaks to stretch can help ease neck and shoulder pain. Getting up, moving around, and stretching your body are all important in reducing the muscle pain. Exercise helps boost endorphins, the body's natural opioids. Not only is exercise a good way to increase fitness, but it can also improve your mood.
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