Five Habits to Relieve the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Practicing healthy habits can help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia and prevent complications. In this article, we’ll share the most relevant ones.
Five Habits to Relieve the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Last update: 18 April, 2020

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread muscle and bone pain. It also causes prolonged episodes of fatigue, tender points, and sleep disorders, among other symptoms. Are you looking for strategies to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Although the current medical treatment for this condition includes the use of certain drugs and complementary therapies, certain habits contribute to a greater sense of relief. In fact, doctors advise many of them, as they play an important role in coping with the pain.

What’s fibromyalgia?

A patient in pain talking to her doctor.
The fact that it’s hard to measure the pain and fatigue makes fibromyalgia difficult to diagnose.

Fibromyalgia is a disease whose main symptom is prolonged musculoskeletal pain. Patients who suffer from it tend to feel fatigued and are unable to perform many daily tasks.

However, experts consider the symptoms subjective due to how hard they are to measure with tests. In fact, many professionals questioned the existence of the disorder due to the lack of objective tests on its development. Fortunately, studies that were conducted in recent years have facilitated the understanding of the disease and its diagnosis. In fact, they’ve allowed experts to establish its relationship with other disorders, such as depression and insomnia.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia

Formerly, to diagnose someone with fibromyalgia, doctors considered sensitive areas known as “tender points”. When they’re pressed, they can cause pain. However, currently, they aren’t as relevant for the diagnosis. Nowadays, doctors take existing symptoms and their durability into account. Thus, if a patient’s pain lasted at least three months, doctors begin to consider fibromyalgia. However, they still run other medical tests to determine its cause.

The clinical manifestations of this condition can vary from patient to patient according to their age, current state of health, and habits. In general, the symptoms may include:

  • Moderate or severe fatigue
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sleeping for long periods without feeling rested
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dull pain in the lower abdomen
  • Cognitive difficulties

Habits to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia

Many treatments and therapies help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Although doctors usually prescribe complementary drugs, lifestyle changes are determining factors in reducing the frequency and severity of the ailments.

1. Sleep well

A woman sleeping in bed.
You must ensure good sleep hygiene to get restful sleep.

It’s harder for the patients afflicted with this disease to get restful sleep. As a result, a “vicious cycle” that significantly affects the severity of the pain occurs. Poor sleep increases fatigue and pain. And, in turn, pain affects sleep.

It’s essential to take steps to promote healthy sleep every night. First, it’s advisable to remove all distractions from your room, including televisions and electronic devices. Also, it’s favorable to resort to relaxing therapies, such as:

  • A warm bath before bed.
  • Meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Reading a book.
  • Aromatherapy sessions.

2. Stress management to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia

Knowing how to manage stress is one of the keys to relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia.  This emotional state can worsen pain and related discomforts. Therefore, it’s essential to eliminate sources of stress, whether emotional, mental, or work-related.

Also, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes to:

  • Meditate
  • Breathe deeply
  • Do a relaxing or fun activity

3. Exercise regularly

A couple jogging.
Exercise helps boost the musculoskeletal system.

The pain seems to hinder patients’ ability to exercise. However, contrary to what some think, this activity has positive effects on fibromyalgia management. Exercise helps to maintain stronger muscles and joints. Also, it reduces mobility problems.

However, due to the characteristics of this condition, it should be moderate and adapted. Some suggestions are:

  • Swimming and water exercises
  • Walking
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Stretching at home

4. A balanced diet

A good diet is one of the best allies to minimize the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many fibromyalgia patients also suffer from gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Thus, you should plan your diet with the help of a doctor or nutritionist.

In general, experts recommend patients to minimize the consumption of caffeine, processed and fried foods, and foods rich in sodium and sugars. Instead, you should consume meals that contain:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean meats and fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Gluten-free cereals

5. Acupuncture sessions to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia

A woman getting acupunture.
There’s evidence that acupuncture could relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

One of the alternative therapies to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia is acupuncture. This Eastern technique involves pricking the skin with needles to encourage blood flow changes to promote healing and relieve pain.

According to a study published in the Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine, fibromyalgia patients who tried acupuncture benefited from pain relief for at least two years compared to those who didn’t. Another similar alternative is acupressure.

Caution: Acupuncture can cause pain, minor bleeding and bruising after each session. Thus, it’s essential to resort to an expert, since malpractice can be dangerous.

In conclusion

Finally, experts recommend that fibromyalgia patients keep a record of their symptoms and evolution. This allows both the patient and doctor to understand what factors can worsen the pain. Also, it’s crucial to consult a doctor immediately in case of complications.

It might interest you...
What You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia
Step To Health
Read it in Step To Health
What You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia

Learn more about Fibromyalgia, also called the "invisible illness". It's more common than we think, but many people might don't even notice they ha...

  • Hegazi, M. O., & Micu, M. C. (2017). Fibromyalgia. In Comorbidity in Rheumatic Diseases.
  • Roizenblatt, S., Neto, N. S. R., & Tufik, S. (2011). Sleep disorders and fibromyalgia. Current Pain and Headache Reports.
  • Gupta, A., & Silman, A. J. (2004). Psychological stress and fibromyalgia: a review of the evidence suggesting a neuroendocrine link. Arthritis Research & Therapy.
  • Busch, A. J., Webber, S. C., Brachaniec, M., Bidonde, J., Bello-Haas, V. D., Danyliw, A. D., … Schachter, C. L. (2011). Exercise therapy for fibromyalgia. Current Pain and Headache Reports.
  • Rossi, A., Di Lollo, A. C., Guzzo, M. P., Giacomelli, C., Atzeni, F., Bazzichi, L., & Di Franco, M. (2015). Fibromyalgia and nutrition: What news? Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.
  • Targino, R. A., Imamura, M., Kaziyama, H. H. S., Souza, L. P. M., Hsing, W. T., Furlan, A. D., … Neto, R. S. A. (2008). A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture added to usual treatment for fibromyalgia. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.