If you live with fibromyalgia, living with pain is typically a given. Along with the well-known, widespread pain of fibromyalgia, the condition can also cause sleep difficulties, cognitive disturbances (sometimes called “fibro fog), headaches or migraines, depression, anxiety, and extreme fatigue.
Fibromyalgia is a fairly common condition. Across the United States, approximately 4 million people are living with fibromyalgia. Although it is about 7 times as more common in women, men and children can certainly suffer from fibromyalgia as well. Nobody knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia to develop. Some known potential risk factors include age (most commonly diagnosed between 35 and 35 years of age), preexisting conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, family history, experiencing a stressful or traumatic event (i.e. car accident or PTSD), or illness.
Five Tips for Better Living with Fibromyalgia
Just because you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a lifetime of pain. There are many things you can do and little steps you can take to feel better on a daily basis:
- Sleep better – getting good quality, restorative sleep can be one of the biggest struggles for those living with fibromyalgia. Fortunately, there are ways to optimize your sleep environment to improve your odds of getting a much-needed night of rest:
- Keep your room dark. While it might seem extreme, even the light from your cell phone, LED alarm clock display, and other electronics in your bedroom can disturb your sleep. Blackout curtains to block out light from outside your bedroom window can also be a huge help.
- Keep it cool. If you are too hot at night, it can lead to a night of unrest. Keep the thermostat on the low side and your bedroom nice and cool for a better night of rest.
- Keep it quiet. To the best of your ability, keep your bedroom as quiet as possible. Even in the hour or two leading up to bed, try to minimize loud TV or music that can stimulate you before laying down for the night.
- Learn to manage stress – stress can be one of the biggest triggers for fibromyalgia sufferers. Nobody can avoid stress altogether, but there are things we can do to learn how to cope with stress better:
- Learn to meditate – meditation can take on many different forms. You might choose to sit quietly and focus on your breathing, or you can do a walking meditation while you repeat a positive phrase to yourself.
- Have a soak – taking a nice bath before bed can not only help to relieve stress, but it’s also a great way to wind down the day. Using things like Epsom salts can also help soothe tight, painful muscles.
- Try yoga – yoga is not only a great way to take care of your body, it’s also a great way to take care of your mind. Yoga is a nice, gentle option for fibromyalgia sufferers to start to navigate their way through stress more effectively.
- Get moving – regular exercise is a very important part of living with fibromyalgia. We’re not talking about overdoing it with rigorous exercise but getting at least 30 minutes a day of movement in can make a world of difference. If 30 minutes seems like an impossible task, building up slowly will help you to reach that goal. You may start with stretching in bed and work up to a walk to the mailbox and back. Other great exercise options for fibromyalgia sufferers include:
- Cycling or using a stationary bicycle
- Tai chi
- Strength training
- Watch what you’re eating and drinking – your daily food and drink intake can have a big impact on your pain levels and overall sense of wellbeing.
- Avoid caffeine – caffeine is a stimulant, and it might serve to increase stress, anxiety, and sleep troubles.
- Eat energy-rich foods – avocado, almonds, fresh wild-caught fish and other sources of lean protein, and dark leafy greens are good examples of foods that can boost energy levels.
- Avoid possible food triggers – some fibromyalgia sufferers find that they are sensitive to gluten, food additives (like MSG), dairy and other problematic food additives.
- Care for your spine and nervous system – your central nervous system (CNS) is responsible for coordinating the function of your entire body. For fibromyalgia sufferers, this means regulating the sleep cycle, brain function, and pain sensation. If your nervous system is not functioning optimally, it can create the conditions in your body for fibromyalgia to develop. Upper cervical chiropractic care is a way to care for fibromyalgia at its root cause, leading to lasting results and a return to a better quality of life.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care for Fibromyalgia Brings Hope to Many
At New England Spinal Care, we take the time to get to know each of our patients as individuals and craft a plan of care to get them back on track. Our focus is on restoring normal alignment to the upper cervical spine, which lies at the junction between the head and neck. This critical area of the spine houses the brainstem, which plays a major role in your body’s life-giving functions. One of the most amazing benefits of upper cervical chiropractic care is how gentle our adjustments are, which for people who are already highly sensitive to pain can be an important factor. We are able to make such gentle corrections because each adjustment we give is extremely precise. By focusing on the area of the spine that has the biggest impact on central nervous system function, we give your body the chance it needs to heal from fibromyalgia symptoms naturally. For more information about our unique approach to care, don’t hesitate to call us to set up a complimentary consultation.