Headaches, neck pain, back pain, inability to concentrate, or struggling to remember things? You may ask yourself “is there something wrong with me?” Well, yes. But it is not what you may think.
This misunderstood nervous system disorder was once thought to be ‘only in your head.’ Research now points to the fact that it may be far more complicated than that.
As a writer with Fibromyalgia, I know first-hand the daily struggle of trying to accomplish all the tasks in a day while experiencing pain and other issues.
Combating FMS symptoms isn’t just about the physical side of things, a large part is about the psychological aspect of this condition that affects all areas of the body.
Let’s get creative and explore the steps to get the most out of the ‘bad’ days.
In order for us to change our ‘behaviour’ or reactions to circumstances, we need to change our perception to what is occurring. This is not just about always thinking positively, it is also about coming to terms with what has happened, educate yourself on the condition you are experiencing in order for you to realise why it is happening, then organize steps that enable you to take control back into your life.
One of the most frustrating aspects to any medical condition is not knowing the ‘why’. Once you have come to terms with the ‘why’, the next step that can be addressed is – ‘what to do about it now?’
Create an environment that puts you in the right head space to get those creative juices flowing.
I combat writer’s block by using word excel to write out a chapter outline.
I know what I need to focus on, and I work around that with research. Instead of sitting down and trying to think where to start, that process has already been covered, and helps to get those creative juices flowing.
This can be used for any occupation. Set realistic daily goals. Prep for those goals by writing out the small steps that are required. Focus on attaining one step at a time. Complete.
Maintain a diary to set daily goals. When you are experiencing fatigue, pain and headaches, it can be difficult to get motivated. When you already have a plan, all you need to do is begin.
Start your day with a quick workout and a healthy breakfast. This kickstarts the metabolism, and boosts brain function.
Take regular breaks and pace yourself. Get up and do some stretches or another activity to give the brain a breather.
Sip on water throughout the day. Headaches, fatigue and brain fog can result from minor dehydration.
Set up your personal space in a well-ventilated and sunny spot. If possible, be close to nature to enhance feelings of wellbeing. If you are not close to nature, perhaps add a Japanese sand garden to the desk, a pot plant to purify the air, or a small waterfall to mimic the sound of nature.
Restrict social media! Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing. When serving the web, try to surround yourself with productive and constructive ways of improving aspects to your life, rather than spending too much time on social media where it can suck a lot of energy out of you without any fruitful results.
Tips for Alleviating Pain, Insomnia, and Fatigue.
Doctors theorize that FMS is the result of a neurochemical imbalance. As a result of this imbalance, alpha waves invade your sleep when they are not supposed to. Due to the deprivation of delta waves (the deep sleep waves we need to recover from the day), the body lacks enough growth hormone to adequately break down lactic acid, and repair the muscles, resulting in more pain and fatigue.
80% of this growth hormone is produced when we are sleeping. Therefore, when we do not undergo a deep sleep, not enough of this ‘recovery’ hormone is produced.
Additionally, FMS patients do not produce enough serotonin and melatonin in their blood stream to regulate sleep and the pain response. Tryptophan is the amino acid required for the synthesis of melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle and appetite; and serotonin regulates sleep, mood, pain, energy metabolism, and DNA production.
In order to encourage a deep delta wave sleep, establish a sleep routine to wind down before bed. Stretching or meditating before bedtime is an ideal way to relax the mind and body, and relieve some of the pain that could contribute to the difficulty in getting to sleep.
A regular workout and sleep schedule, avoiding stimulants, drinking a glass of warm milk before bed, avoid napping during the day, reduce the amount of light you are exposed to before you go to sleep and in your bedroom, and ensure you have a supportive pillow and mattress to assist in improving your sleep patterns, and aid in regulating alpha and delta waves, hormone production, and the pain response.
Other ways to manage those pesky pain flare-ups is to take regular breaks to stretch, place a warm heat pad on painful areas, change positions you are in when sitting, and practice self-hypnosis to move your brain away from the pain.
Cognitive Behavioural therapy is a useful therapy to look into in order to manage symptoms of Fibromyalgia by approaching your situation from a different perspective. In addition, CBT teaches self-hypnosis techniques through triggering anchor points that can take you into a calm place you have previously imagined when the anchor points were first integrated.
There is not a one size that fits all, or just one method that works for everyone. Instead, it is a combination of different approaches used consistently that can ease symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is not the end of your life – it is just another path you take.
There is not a one-way approach to Fibromyalgia. There is no cure. And people that do not have it may struggle to understand what you are going through. However, it does not have to rule your life. You can be successful in whatever area you want to be in. It just means you need to focus on techniques to manage the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days.
In many cases, it is about being realistic. Some days you may not be able to do everything you want. Make the most of the ‘good’ days, and prepare to do other things that are less taxing on the ‘bad’ days.
Changing your mindset around the Fibromyalgia diagnosis might be your best approach to managing all the symptoms of FMS. As the saying goes “whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger.” FMS does not have to be your weakness, it can be made into a strength, and despite everything, you control it, it does not control you.