February 22, 2013
Living With Fibromyalgia: Treatment Options (Part 3)
Exercise is probably the last thing people think about when they are in pain from fibromyalgia. But it has been proven time and again that certain forms of exercise are extremely beneficial for those that suffer from different illnesses that cause musculoskeletal pain. Think arthritis. There are many reasons why exercising is so important, even when you are hurting.
According to Fibromyalgia-Fitness.com, the benefits of exercising are:
- Improving range of motion to painful muscles and joints
- Burning calories and controlling weight
- Strengthening bones
- Strengthening muscles
- Increasing energy
- Improving sleep, Decreasing fibromyalgia fatigue
- Relieving stress, anxiety, and depression
- Creates the secretion of Endorphins, the “happy hormones”
- Gives the patient the responsibility of his/her healing
- Improves a persons outlook on life
I can tell you that I really don’t want to do something that is going to make me hurt even more than I already am. But the benefits far outweigh the original discomfort I will go thru. Be sure if you have any other physical/medical conditions that you check with your doctor before doing any kind of exercise. Let them guide you to the best exercise for you and the best way to get started. As I already have a back injury, both of my doctors (my general practitioner and my rheumatologist) want me to start off slow and easy. Health.com lists 10 exercises for people in pain: All of these are gentle forms of exercise. One that was not mentioned (and one I will be using) is biking. I recently bought a basic bike to help me lose weight. It’s something I can do without hurting my back, I can start off slow and work my way up and I can do it with my family. I find that I am much more likely to exercise if I have someone to do it with. In my case, my 12 year old daughter is going to ride with me. One thing is for certain — it won’t be boring!
The important thing is to just get out there and do it! And do it regularly. Yes, some days you are going to be really sore and ready to give up. But in the long run, it really does help. The long-term effects far outweigh the short-term pain. Having said that, I’ll be the first person to admit that I was ready to give up after just 2 days. It hurt like heck! Still does. But I also know that the more I exercise, the easier it will get and the better I will feel.
Just as important as exercise is changing your diet. I honestly had no idea that diet could make such a big difference with fibromyalgia, but apparently it can. Most experts agree that eating more fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do for yourself whether you have medical issues or not. Prevention Magazine lists 5 foods that they recommend for those with fibromyalgia. They suggest things like eating more fish and vegetables and cutting out caffeine. Kind of a no brainer, right? Even if you don’t have fibromyalgia, this is good advice. But did you know there are foods that they say you should avoid? Some make sense and others don’t. My best advice is to talk to your doctor. You may have other medical conditions that preclude eating certain foods, or perhaps there are foods you need more of. Basically, eating as healthy as possible is what you want to do. More fresh foods, less prepackaged foods.
I know this is a lot to take in. I’m still trying to process it all myself. Not every treatment will work for every person; some may work better for you than others. And there might be treatments I have yet to discover. There is no right or wrong treatment, as long as it works for you. You may find one thing that is a lifesaver for you. Or, like most people, you may need to use a combination of treatments to manage this condition. What it boils down to is finding the treatment(s) that work best for you. And that may take a bit of trial and error.
Image Credit: Photos.com