According to everydayhealth.com, there are more than five million people in the U.S. living with fibromyalgia. Living with the condition can be incredibly challenging, but there are things you can do to lessen the risk and frequency of flares and live a more enjoyable life. Although there is no guaranteed way to avoid fibro flares, there are strategies you can develop to be more proactive in your defense against them.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal of things you’ve done, places you’ve been and the foods and drinks you’ve consumed each day will create a document that you can reference to see if there are any specific triggers that can set off a fibro flare. Often it can take a few days before a trigger manifests itself into a flare, so a journal can help you identify any patterns.
We know it’s impossible to avoid stress completely, but you can help reduce your stress load by not overexerting yourself, delegating tasks to others, and not spending time with people who stress you out. Do things that counteract stress such as spending time listening to music, taking a walk, practicing yoga, or watching a comedy film.
Check Your Posture
Sitting, laying or standing with poor form can create additional pressure in muscles and joints and compound any joint and muscle aches you already have. Think about standing tall with your shoulders pulled back. If you have to sit all day at work, ensure you have a supportive chair and try not to slouch forwards. Stretching exercises such as Tai Chi, yoga and Pilates are good for correcting postural problems.
MORE: Five types of exercise to help relieve fibro pain
A balanced diet — filled with plenty of fiber, fruit and vegetables, low-fat protein and whole foods — is a must. Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats. A food diary will help to establish if certain food groups such as dairy or gluten trigger flares.
Try Complementary Treatments
As well as taking your prescribed medications, you may want to check out a complementary treatment like acupuncture, massage with essential oils, or herbal supplements. It’s advisable to only do one complementary treatment at a time so you can monitor its effects.
It’s not always easy, but keeping a positive attitude will go a long way in helping you prevent fibro flares. If you feel you’re not coping well emotionally with your condition, speak to your doctor about seeing a counselor or prescribing medications to help with depression or anxiety.