At Share Lawyers, we meet with people with long-term illnesses, like Fibromyalgia, every day. In our conversations, we’ve learned that one of the most stressful aspects of living with a chronic condition can be dealing with the unknown. In many situations, symptoms can vary and change over time, as can the effectiveness of various treatments. Without a clear path for dealing with pain, a person can become anxious, stressed, and depressed.
Fibromyalgia is long-term condition that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body. When symptoms temporarily increase in severity, it is called a flare-up. Due to the nature of fibromyalgia, flare-ups can make many activities in day to day life more difficult. Various factors may trigger a fibromyalgia flare-up, and it can often be difficult to identify which ones may have a stronger effect than others. They include diet, hormones, physical or psychological stress, change in schedule or sleep, weather, stressful events, surgeries, accidents, and too much or too little exercise.
The connection between fibromyalgia and stress is cyclical. The varied symptoms of the condition can cause extreme stress, and stress, in turn, makes symptoms worse. This is a cycle commonly associated with chronic conditions, and addressing it is not easy. There are however various recommendations for ways to have greater control over stress, and therefore other symptoms.
Doctors recommend keeping a log of triggers. Tracking activities, meals, sleep times, and symptoms may help identify particular triggers and allow more control over them. As fatigue is one of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, it is essential to allow for enough sleep on a regular basis. Consistent physical activity can often decrease or improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, so exercise is key. However, it is also crucial to limit overexertion and find a good balance. Finally, although there is no specific diet recommended for people with fibromyalgia, there are certain foods that can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. It is often recommended to try an elimination diet to see if symptoms improve.
“Fibromyalgia is one of the most common conditions that bring people into our office,” says Wendy Share, Executive Director of Share Lawyers. “We’ve learned through our clients that it is much more difficult to maintain physical health if mental and emotional health are not being addressed and cared for.”