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Fibromyalgia: How to Feel a Little Better

Updated on January 25, 2011

 When you have Fibromyalgia you may find yourself constantly consumed by once simple desire, the desire to feel better. Even if its only a little. I found that when I gave two aspects of my life the special attention they require I experienced pain relief stronger than a double dose of Tylenol 3 could provide. 

I still have Fibromyalgia, I am by no means cured, but I certainly feel a lot better. Doctors tend to ask FM patients to pick a pain level between 1 (really bad) and 10 (really good). Where once in my life I was a 1, 2, or 3, couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t walk a block, couldn’t exercise etc. today I am a very happy (though not quite content) 5 or 6. The perfect word to sum up how I feel about this transformation would be BOOYAH!

Sleep

For folks with FM sleep is a slippery, tricky, evasive and sniggering little bugger. Personified he would be a sharp-faced little imp who laughs cruelly at us while dancing on lighting-fast feet just beyond our reach. Unfortunately we cannot give up, we need him. We need him to replenish dopamine and serotonin (our bodies natural painkillers), to refresh ourselves, to produce growth hormones and to generally feel better. So, how do we go about getting him? There are a few tricks that I have recently learned that I feel compelled to share with the world:

  • Don’t nap during the day
  • Exercise as much as you can every day, but never after 6 pm (lack of exercise contributes to insomnia)
  • Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
  • No caffeine intake after 4 pm (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate)
  • Take a hot bath 90 minutes before you go to bed, raising your body temperature makes you sleepy
  • Try to maintain a positive, relaxing image of sleep in your mind
  • Don’t try to go to bed until you are sleepy
  • Create and maintain nightly sleep rituals
  • Have a light snack before bedtime (nothing too sugary)
  • If you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes get up, do something tedious in low light, and try again 10-15 minutes later
  • Go outside first thing in the morning to regulate your sleep/wake cycle with natural light

Relax

I’m glad I can’t see the inevitable evil glares when I tell people with FM and jobs and families that they need to relax but (don’t kill me) it’s true. New research as come to light that suggests that FM is caused when our super-stressed bodies overproduce adrenalin and run out of dopamine. So, the key to reducing pain (maybe even the key to a cure) is reducing stress. Here, there are a number of tricks to try as well:

  • When you notice your heart beat rising (whether it’s because your 4 year old just bit someone, your dog peed on your new carpet or you can’t find your car keys) stop, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself a simple question: is this situation threatening my survival in any way? If the answer is no you have the green light to relax.
  • Eat dark chocolate, yeah, you heard me right. A recent study from Switzerland suggests that people who eat 1.4 oz of dark chocolate every day for two weeks have significantly lower cortisol levels which means, less stress. Granted, the Swiss may just be trying to sell us chocolate, but I’m not going to argue with good news.
  • See above, getting more sleep will help you stay relaxed during the day.
  • Exercise as much as you can. I know that exercising may seems like an impossibility right now, but work with a physical therapist or doctor if you need to to find an exercise routine you can do. I promise that you will feel a lot better for it. Exercise is a no compromise absolute necessity.

That’s the trick, plain and simple. Sleep and relaxation are your tickets to feeling better, even if it’s only a little bit better.

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    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      After reading this I realised that since I started taking a magnesium supplement I've not had 1 chocolate craving. It kind of made me want to stop taking the vitamin!

    • profile image

      UrsulaRose 

      7 years ago

      Just the thought of eating Swiss Chocolate brings a smile to my dial ... :-)

      I remember a Doctor telling me that women typically crave chocolate because it is actually magnesium that the body is needing especially leading up to the dreaded 'monthlies'.

    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      I hope they work for you. I know that I have been feeling better since I've added them to my daily routine.

      Not sure if the chocolate one works but it sure is yummy. I never realized though how much 1.4 oz of chocolate is. It's a lot of chocolate!

    • equinelover909 profile image

      equinelover909 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I will definitely try out some of the sleep ones tonight, and of course I'll be using the chocolate one on a regularly basis!

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