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8 Tips for Preventing Fibromyalgia Flare Ups

If you’re living with fibromyalgia, you already know that there isn’t one magic “cure” for flare-ups. As much as we wish that were the case, currently the best way for fibromyalgia patients to treat their symptoms is through lots of smaller steps. Here are eight effective tips for preventing fibromyalgia flare-ups and living fully despite your illness.

Woman suffering a fibromyalgia flare-up

1) Eat Right

This tip is first because it’s one of the simplest things you can do to prevent fibromyalgia flare-ups. Simple doesn’t always mean easy, and believe us when we say we are also humans who understand how delicious a Boston creme donut tastes with that morning coffee.

But eating right gets easier with time, and your lessened flare-up frequency will be one of the reasons you keep going. Many fibromyalgia patients worldwide cite a healthy diet as their number one life-changing tip. Here are some ways you can get started.

Try to avoid:

  • processed foods
  • gluten
  • sugar
  • starches

Try to incorporate more:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • healthy fats
  • lean meats

Everyone’s body and fibro triggers are different, so it can help to try an elimination diet. This way, you can best identify your specific triggers. Regardless of whether your body responds best to a higher fiber, plant-based diet or a low carb diet that’s rich in good fats and protein, no fibro warrior has ever said, “I started eating more white sugar and processed snacks– and my flare-ups lessened significantly!”

Everyone’s body and specific definitions of “healthy diet” are different, but some things are consistent across the board.

2) Stay Warm

One seemingly obvious trick that’s easy to forget in the midst of a busy lifestyle is to stay warm. Most spoonies benefit from wearing layers, buying an electric blanket, and never traveling without heating pads or hot water bottles. Don’t wait until you’ve let yourself get too cold and your symptoms worsen. Adding stick on heating pads, an extra jacket, etc, to your “phone, keys, wallet!” list of things to grab whenever you head out is a habit your won’t ever regret.

3) Move Your Body

One dangerous cycle that can be hard to break is falling into a sedentary lifestyle. When your energy stores are depleted and all you want to do is lie on the couch, taking a gentle walk may seem synonymous with climbing Mount Everest. But sometimes those are the times you need it most!

We definitely don’t encourage pushing yourself to your breaking point, since overexertion can definitely cause flare-ups. Sometimes when you want to lie on the couch, you should do just that. However, if you always choose rest over activity, your overall health will decrease and your symptoms will be worse in the long run.

Exercise produces endorphins, which can help with depression and the emotional exhaustion that can often accompany fibromyalgia. Get started on the right track with these fibro-friendly exercises.

4) Sleep Tight

One of the biggest, most unfortunate paradoxes that fibro patients face is sleep. You need to catch plenty of Zzz’s to help prevent fibromyalgia flare-ups, but your fibromyalgia also makes it hard to fall and stay asleep.

Here are some things that can help:

  • Long hot baths before bed
  • Weighted blankets
  • Non-caffeinated hot tea
  • Melatonin
  • Relaxing “white noise”
  • Magnesium
  • Herbal therapies

Remember to consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your supplement regimen.

5) De-Stress

We know, we know, this is another piece of advice on a seemingly endless “easier said than done” list of things that people like to say to spoonies. De-stressing isn’t easy for anyone, let alone someone fighting a battle with chronic pain.

That being said, stress relief is like anything else: practice makes perfect. Finding strategies, products, and techniques that suit your body and lifestyle can be like keys unlocking the doors of greater quality of life. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, prayer, St. John’s Wort or SAMe, there are countless different things to try. As always, make sure to run these things by your doctor. Even natural supplements can product side effects and interfere with other medications.

Don’t forget to zoom out and look at the bigger picture too! Do you hate your job? Perhaps it’s time to start the search for a new one. It doesn’t have to be daunting if you stay patient. Just spend an extra half hour each evening writing cover letters with a cup of tea in hand, and let the journey unfold.

Are you a stay at home mom who feels in over her head? Maybe it’s time to examine whether you and your spouse can afford a part time babysitter or mommy’s helper. No matter who you are, what you do, and what’s causing your stress, there are ways to find solutions. They may not be easy now, but can make a huge difference long term.

6) Find a Doctor Who Gets It

It seems like every spoonie has been there: the doctor who doesn’t understand. The one who hints that it’s “all in your head” or says the pain will subside if you lose a few pounds. Physicians who can’t understand what it feels like to live with chronic pain, and don’t try to understand.

It can be heart-wrenching to experience judgement and lack of sympathy. When you’re already in physical pain, the last thing you need is to have that topped off with some emotional pain to boot. Not to mention that a doctor who not-so-subtly thinks he or she has given you a “cop out” diagnosis for fake pain is hardly going to be very skilled at helping you prevent flare-ups.

The good news is that if your doctor is unhelpful or unsympathetic to your struggles, you can replace him or her! Sure, it can be stressful to make the switch to a different office or practice, but this is another situation in which any temporary inconveniences may make things far better in the end. There are plenty of wonderful physicians out there who understand the legitimacy of invisible illnesses. Finding one of them (if you haven’t yet) is definitely worth the search.

Women finds nurses and doctors who understand her fibromyalgia

7) Seek Support

In the same way that it’s important to have a doctor who “gets it,” it’s important to have friends who get it too. Perhaps not everyone in your life can be empathetic because not everyone has fibro, but they should at least listen and be sympathetic to your struggles. They should try their best.

If you have any friends or family members who are judgemental or unkind about your illness, it might be time for some distance. On the opposite side of that spectrum, don’t forget to express your gratitude to loved ones who are particularly compassionate and helpful.

Also don’t forget that the internet can be a great place to find encouragement through online friendships with other spoonies. There are Facebook groups, blogs and countless other online forums that can provide support and information. Connecting with people who can relate to exactly what you’re going through can be very healing! Not to mention that these resources can also be goldmines of information. You could find life-changing tips for preventing fibromyalgia flare-ups from fibro friends across the globe.

8) Stay Positive

Positive thinking, positive results!

This applies to so many things in life, and fibromyalgia flare-ups are no exception. The better you feel about life and the better you’re treating your body, the stronger you will be. Plus, a more positive mindset leads to being more proactive about finding the treatment measures that will work best for your body. Feeling like a victim isn’t going to help you get better sleep or find the perfect fibro-fighting diet or help you discover that one herbal supplement that ends up making a difference.

While it may be unfair that life dealt you the fibro card, remember that it doesn’t define the whole deck. Doing your best to love your body and thinking of it as a co-warrior against your illness (rather than considering your body the enemy) can make a world of difference. Letting your other gifts, talents and character traits define you above your illness can boost your confidence and illuminate your path. There is a greater connection between your body and mind than most people realize; take advantage of that!

Conclusion

We hope you’ve gained some value from “8 Tips for Preventing Fibromyalgia Flare Ups”!

It isn’t an easy journey, but there are many other people walking your same path. The dedicated team here at Achieve is working hard toward the goal that one day fibromyalgia will become a condition of the past. If you live in the Birmingham area and are interested in helping us further this goal while fighting your own fibromyalgia, be sure to check out our fibromyalgia clinical trial page or call us at (205) 757-8208. Here’s to a fibro-free future!

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