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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

Understanding Fibromyalgia

Updated: Dec 23, 2018

As the weather changes, many people will fibromyalgia will notice an increase in symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic website, fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals. Women are more prone to this condition than men. Many people with this condition may also experience tension headaches, jaw disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression. It is thought that there is no cure for this condition but there are many, many resources to help in managing it.

Diet—I can’t over emphasize the importance of diet. What we eat is how we communicate with the world around us. The food we put in our mouth will do two things: enhance health or destroy health. We make food choices multiple times every day so it’s a huge influence to our overall well being. Repairing one’s gut health is the first step. Remove inflammatory foods such as grains, grain fed meats, highly processed foods and sugars. This step alone will be hard for many but will create drastic changes. The next step is to heal the damage that our guts have experienced over the many years of your life. This will take time. Bone broths, fermented foods and high quality meats, fats and cooked vegetables are best. Limiting caffeine may also be helpful in reducing symptoms.

Reduce Stress—We live in a crazy world. There are stressors all around us all of the time. Take a step back and reflect on your daily life. What steps can you take to reduce your stress levels? Yoga and meditation may be great options for you. Whatever it is, find time to take care of yourself. Not only are you the best person for this job, you are the only person who is obligated to take care of you!

Get enough sleep—We all require different amounts of sleep. Many of us aren’t reaching our quota. Sleep is so important for the body's ability to repair itself. It’s very likely you are not getting enough of it. Turn your electronics off at least an hour before your head hits the pillow. Take time to unwind. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Find more resources for improving your sleep quality here.

Exercise—This doesn’t have to be high intensity interval training. And realistically, it probably shouldn't be if you are having fibromyalgia symptoms. Simply move your body through space on a regular basis. Move more than you are sedentary. Walk, roam, lift something heavy every once in a while. Exercise has been shown to boost endorphins or our “feel good” hormones. Take advantage of this! Simply walking outside is a great way to feel better. Just don’t overdo it!

Listen to your body—You will have good days and bad days. Take advantage of those days you are feeling a bit better. Feeling overwhelmingly fatigued? Take a day off.

Alternative Therapy—Acupuncture, massage therapy, reiki, energy healing, chiropractic, naturopathy, ect. There are endless resources that may be just what you need to reduce your symptoms. Everyone is different. It’s a matter of finding the support that works best for you.

Fibromyalgia is not a condition with a quick fix method or straight forward medication. It’s a condition that will take time, diligence and hard work to manage. But, there are many options and resources available, it’s just a matter of finding the right formula for your body!

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