If you have fibromyalgia pain, you're likely clenching right now.
"Clenching is an involuntary reaction to stress," says Doris Cope, MD, director of Pain Management at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "People tense their muscles, and probably don't even realize they're doing it. That reduces blood flow to the muscles, which causes pain."
That's why a stressful lifestyle -- plus too much couch time -- is a double-whammy for conditions like fibromyalgia. Too little exercise slows blood...
Whether the condition is disrupting your daily
What kinds of changes in your life you are willing and able
Getting consistent exercise, especially
cardiovascular exercise, is one of the best ways to manage fibromyalgia. Pool
exercise has been found to work well for many people.2
It's important to build up your exercise program slowly so
you don't get sore muscles that cause you to want to stop exercising. Working
with a physical therapist familiar with fibromyalgia may be helpful.1
Medicines are part of the long-term treatment of fibromyalgia. Medicines can help you sleep better, relax
your muscles, or relieve muscle and joint pain. Your doctor may suggest
prescription medicines, such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants. Or he or she may suggest nonprescription pain relievers.
Not all people with fibromyalgia will need, want, or benefit from
medicines. You might need to try one medicine before finding
one that works best for you. You may also find that a medicine that has been
helping your symptoms seems to not work as well over time.
With help, you will be able to
start working on most of these goals at home. You may have a team of health
professionals to help you. To learn more, see Home Treatment.
Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia can come and go, you
may find it hard to judge whether a particular treatment is really
working. Different people may respond differently to each type of treatment. Many people with fibromyalgia have other joint or muscle diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus) that need to be treated too.
Finding a treatment
can take time. You may have to try several different treatments to find an
approach that works for you.