Coping with Fibromyalgia
The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are chronic pain, fatigue, tenderness and difficulty sleeping. The condition is caused when nerve fibres running through your body become sensitive and more active than normal, causing the patient to suffer more pain than that experienced by someone without fibromyalgia.
It is estimated that more than a million Canadians suffer from fibromyalgia and women are 3 times more likely to experience it than men do.
As a caregiver there are several things you can encourage your care recipient to do to help cope with the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Avoiding noisy environments when possible and playing calming music may help. Keeping the body warm with proper clothing, soaking in a hot tub or using heating pads to relax muscles and increase blood flow may also help. Practicing methods of deep relaxation can reduce the tension and stress which cause muscles to tighten up and increase pain. As with any condition or disease, consult with a doctor about daily practices which can reduce the pain.
Although it may sound contradictory to the relaxation encouraged above, it is beneficial in the long run to follow an exercise program. While a fibromyalgia sufferer is more likely to experience pain and fatigue when exercising, it is important to increase general strength, a sense of well-being and improved cardiovascular health. The key is to start slowly and not over-exert oneself. Try a variety of exercises until you find the ones that work for your loved one and cause the least distress. Over time the pain will lessen and the exercises will be easier. Again, confer with a doctor or health practitioner before starting any exercise regime or other practices and discuss a variety of alternatives to find what works best.