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Fibromyalgia self help

Tips to help yourself if you suffer from fibromyalgia

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  • Samantha's photo avatar
    Samantha — 20.09.2017 13:01
    It is my 38 year old son that has recently been diagnosed and I am trying to find as much information as possible to help him. His doctor will not prescribe painkillers as he is a recovering alcoholic and although he has been 'dry' for over 15 years, she claims he has an 'additive personality' so he is at present living in pain.

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    • Earle's photo avatar
      Earle — 22.09.2017 08:24
      Hello Samantha Managing fibromyalgia is hard work, involved and rarely produces a miracle cure but there are a variety of small things to do that together can help a lot. No-one really knows of a magic bullet for fibromyalgia, whatever you take or do but we would very much hope that engaging in measures such as low impact exercise, addressing sleep quality and dealing with the IBS that is common to fibromyalgia would at least minimise its impact. Getting to the root cause is difficult, as it isn't really agreed. It is believed that there is reduced blood supply to the part of the brain that processes pain and perhaps to the affected muscles too, so a herb such as Ginkgo Biloba could hold some promise. Remedies such as Dormeasan could help mood, pain threshold and energy levels by improving the quality of sleep and water-based exercise, Tai Chi or Yoga can aid circulation and maintain flexibility. A recent trial comparing swimming and paracetamol for lower back pain found the swimming outperform the medicine. There's no way that the drug would help mood, energy levels, sleep quality, joint mobility, self satisfaction and overall health at the same time as easing pain, so please consider moving more when you're able to, as the medicines will never cure the condition and encourage people to become inactive. There is no drug cure, as you are probably aware and we know that those who retreat to inactivity see their symptoms worsen, so the best chances of recovery seem to be in those who find the determination to take action and keep active. Often the biggest barrier to doing so is that first 10 minutes, ie: getting changed and out the door, because depression can make it hard to find the motivation and pain makes the first few steps uncomfortable. He'll need to find a balance between the excessive exertion levels involved in moving heavy tables and doing nothing through fear of exhaustion and walking, yoga, Pliates or swimming tends to hit the spot about right for most. The worst thing he can do is to simply stop as joints and muscles only stiffen up further. I'd strongly advise arranging to see a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist to learn some pain management techniques. You can get 5x30 minute sessions for free on the NHS but that 2.5hrs total doesn't match the amount found in clinical trials to be of benefit, so contact a CBT practitioner for better results. As to what the future holds, no-one knows of a cure but it's most likely true that the answer doesn't lie in a single pill or measure. CBT, addressing sleep issues, the right amount of exercise and a bit of bloody-mindedness are the most basic requirements and something most people who contact me with fibromyalgia haven't even begun to try. Trials have shown significant benefits for each of these (well, perhaps not the bloody-mindedness) separately in Fibromyalgia, so there's a fair chance a comprehensive approach will achieve much more.

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