Set Limits

Set Limits

When pain and fatigue set in, don't be afraid to say "no." You don't have to accept every request for your time. Learn how to prioritize your time so you can focus on feeling better.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Mood

Duration

14

Prioritize

You only have so much energy, so don't waste time on unnecessary activities -- especially when you're not feeling well. Prioritize your day with these tips:

* Do only the things that must be done that day.

* Ask yourself, "Could someone else do this?" If so, ask for help.

* Schedule exercise and rest just as you would any other appointment.

Prompt: Prioritize.

CTA: Organize your day so you can rest.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers: Excessive activity, overdoing it, overuse, moving around, overtiredness, anxiety, fatigue, stress, tension, injury, sports injury

Treatments: Stress reduction, relaxation therapy, relaxation, rest, exercise

Categories: Mood

Communicate

Pain isn't always obvious to others. When you're hurting and need help from family or friends, ask for it. Don't expect that people will automatically know what you need. Also try to be honest and open when you feel angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed by your pain. If this isn't easy for you, a qualified therapist can help you work on ways to communicate.

Prompt: Be clear.

CTA: Say what you want.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers: Excessive activity, overdoing it, overuse, moving around, overtiredness, anxiety, fatigue, stress, tension

Treatments: Stress reduction, rest, counseling/therapy

Categories: Mood

Minimize Stress

Stress can make your pain feel worse and make it hard to sleep well. Think of how you can get control over the stress factors in your life:

* Ask your employer about flex time or working from home.

* Let someone else do it! Ask for help from family and friends.

* Let yourself off the hook. So your house isn't perfectly clean or your family ate leftovers this week. It's more important to your loved ones that you feel better.

Prompt: Banish stress.

CTA: Get rid of stressors in your life.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers: Excessive activity, overdoing it, overuse, moving around, overtiredness, anxiety, fatigue, stress, tension, injury, sports injury

Treatments: Stress reduction, relaxation therapy, relaxation, rest

Categories: Mood

Life Balance

By the time you've attended to all the other responsibilities in your life, there's not much time left over. Carve out a little of that time to do at least one thing for yourself. Get a massage, read a good book, soak in a warm bath, spend time with family or friends, or just take a nap. Put this time on your schedule, just like you would any other responsibility.

Prompt: Make time for you.

CTA: Create some space.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers: Excessive activity, overdoing it, overuse, moving around, overtiredness, anxiety, fatigue, stress, tension, injury, sports injury

Treatments: Stress reduction, rest

Categories: Mood

Work Boundaries

You're learning to accept the fact that you can't do everything you once could. Now you can help your employer understand that too. Consider telling your manager about your condition, and ask for help balancing your workload so you don't feel overworked and overtired. Ask about options such as redesigning your workday, scheduling in extra rest periods, or working from home.

Prompt: Ask for flexibility.

CTA: Redesign your workday.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers: Excessive activity, overdoing it, overuse, moving around, anxiety, overtiredness, fatigue, stress, tension, injury, sports injury

Treatments: Stress reduction, rest

Categories: Mood

Housework Help

Recognize that you may not be able to keep your house sparkling clean on your own. Ask family members to chip in and help. Make a schedule so everyone knows what they need to do. If you can't get help with the cleaning, at least break up each housekeeping task into smaller segments so it's manageable. Take breaks in between tasks so you don't overdo it and wear yourself out.

Prompt: Get help at home.

CTA: Don't try to do everything.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers: Excessive activity, overdoing it, overuse, moving around, overtiredness, anxiety, fatigue, stress, tension, injury, sports injury

Treatments: Stress reduction, rest

Categories: Mood

Commitments

It's perfectly fine to put your own needs first. Don't feel bad if you sometimes have to cancel plans or miss an important event. Explain your condition to your family and friends before you commit to do something, and let them know you may have to back out at the last minute if you're having a bad pain day.

Prompt: Put yourself first.

CTA: It's OK to take care of you.

Conditions: Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Fatigue, stiffness, aching, muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, upper back pain, tenderness, joint tenderness, all over pain, tender points, aching, back pain, chest pain, deep pain, head pain, headache, joint pain, joint tenderness, migraines, muscle pain, nerve pain, pain, pain at night, pain worse in A.M., all over pain, hip pain, jaw pain, knee pain, leg pain, lower back pain, neck pain, rib pain, shoulder blade pain, spine pain, thigh pain, wrist pain, painful periods, pelvic pain, pounding pain, pulsing pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, stabbing pain, tender points, throbbing pain

Triggers: Overdoing it, excessive activity

Treatments: Stress reduction, relaxation therapy, relaxation, rest

Categories: Mood

Caring for Others

Caring for an elderly or sick family member or friend is a wonderful, unselfish gesture. Yet, if you don't take care of yourself first, caring for another can quickly drain your time and energy. Make sure to leave enough time to rest, relax, and follow your doctor's prescribed treatments. If you do what you need to manage your own symptoms first, then you'll be more able to help others.

Prompt: Take care of yourself.

CTA: Give time to yourself, too.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, migraine, nerve pain, undiagnosed

Symptoms: Fatigue, pain, tenderness, all over pain, tender points, difficulty sleeping, muscle pain, joint tenderness, feeling sick, weakness

Triggers: Overdoing it, excessive activity, tension

Treatments: Stress reduction, relaxation, prescription medications

Categories: Mood

Hidden Pain

Sometimes you may need to remind your friends and family how you feel and why it's hard for you to do certain tasks on some days. Fibromyalgia is often called an "invisible illness," because other people may not see your pain and fatigue, even when you're having a flare. Ask for their understanding, and their help.

Prompt: Invisible illness?

CTA: Tell others about your fibro.

Conditions: Fibromyalgia

Symptoms: Concentration problems, fatigue, feeling sick, difficulty sleeping, weakness, flu-like symptoms, stiffness, anxiety, depression, aching, muscle pain, pain, lower back pain, upper back pain, tenderness, unrefreshing sleep, all over pain, tender points

Triggers:

Treatments:

Categories: Mood

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on January 18, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "Fibromyalgia."

National Fibromyalgia Association: "Understanding Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain,"  "Don't Distress--De-Stress!" and "FM On the Job -- 8 Tips to Help You Keep Working."

Lawrence, R. Arthritis & Rheumatism, January 2008.

CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help: "Seven Tips for Improving Communication."

Jones K. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, Sept. 25, 2006.

Harris, R. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, August 2005.

Singh, B. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, March-April 2006.

National Sleep Foundation: "Let Sleep Work for You."

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.