Wednesday, April 24, 2013
TIPS FOR THE NEWLY DIAGNOSED... FIBRO/CFS.. BUT APPLIES TO OTHER ILLNESSES ALSO....
Tips for the Newly Diagnosed
Don't let pain from Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), keep you down. Small changes to your daily routine can keep you active and enjoying life. Here are some tips to help you improve your quality of life with FM and/or CFS/ME.
Always Believe in Yourself
And what you are feeling both emotionally and physically. No one can tell you that what you are experiencing is not real! FM and CFS/ME are chronic medical disorders just like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. While there are still gaps understanding these disorders, and disagreements among researchers as to specific causes, the symptoms are very real, and your suffering is legitimate.
Never Feel Guilty
FM and CFS/ME aren't something you wished for, and they aren't something you can wish away. Healthcare providers have had trouble accepting FM and CFS/ME as bona fide medical conditions because of the lack of readily available blood tests or X-rays that show there is something wrong with the FM and CFS/ME patient's body. However, research studies have revealed problems in such areas as the chemical content of the spinal fluid, the manner in which certain endocrine glands and the autonomic system respond to stress, in brain function, and in patient performance during tests of cognitive and physical function. FM and CFS/ME are not psychiatric conditions or character flaws.
FM and CFS/ME Can Wax and Wane
So on the days that are extra challenging, remember that it will get better. FM and CFS/ME involve much more than just pain. In fact, surveys of patients have consistently suggested that fatigue may be just as problematic, if not more so. Other leading symptoms that are associated with these disorders include sleep disturbances, stiffness, and problems with concentration and certain forms of memory. While many clinicians associate FM and CFS/ME with depression, it appears that anxiety-related issues may be more prominent. Appropriate therapies can help keep flares under control, and good self-management techniques can help stave them off.
You're Never Alone
FM and CFS/ME can sometimes make you feel very alone. Keep in mind that over 10 million Americans have FM and/or CFS/ME and feel just like you do! Our Support Group Database consists of 638 Support Groups in 16 countries worldwide that offer support to people with FM and/or CFS/ME. Help is just around the corner.
Get Enough Sleep!
Many of us are plagued by sleep disturbances, so it is extra important that you do everything you can to make sure that you sleep as well as possible. Go to bed at the same time each night. Develop a bedtime routine. That will help your body to know that it is time to relax. If your bed is uncomfortable, consider getting a new mattress. If a new mattress is not financially feasible, a mattress pad and new pillows might help. Make sure that your bedroom isn't too hot or too cold.
During the day when you get tired, it is important to rest. Rest can be lying down in bed with a book for half an hour or watching TV with your feet propped up. It can be doing a sitting task at work. Whenever I am tired, I do something to make myself more comfortable. That invariably leads to me having more energy for the next thing I need or want to do.
Find A Good Healthcare Provider
Some doctors are more familiar with FM and CFS/ME than others. Ideally, the relationship between a healthcare provider and a patient should be comfortable and based on mutual respect. When considering potential providers, patients should do some "homework." Do they have good reputations among professional colleagues, and do their patients speak well of them? Do they have a positive attitude toward FM and CFS/ME, do they keep up with current insights on treatment options? These are all questions you need answers to when searching for a healthcare provider. Our Doctor Database consists of 5953 doctors in 80 countries worldwide that specialize in helping people with FM and/or CFS/ME.
Try Hot Baths
Soaking in a hot bath is an excellent way to relieve stress and relax your muscles. Thirty minutes in a hot bath (or even better a hot tub) can be a great way to start the day or a relaxing part of your bedtime routine.
Use Gentle Massage
Ask you partner or a friend to rub an aching back. Aching arm or leg muscles can even be massaged by yourself. The trick is keeping the massage gentle. You don't want to trigger a pain reflex, just to signal to your muscles that it is ok to relax.
Ask For Help!
This one is perhaps the most difficult but very important. There are most likely people in your life who would be happy to help out on an occasional or regular basis. Even asking for help with little things can make a huge difference. Can your partner bring you a drink so you don't have to stand up? Can your kids make their own lunches? Is your mom willing to run some errands for you when she is going out to do her own? Asking others to help you with simple things will give you more energy for the important things.
Don't Be Afraid of Pain Relievers
Talk to you doctor about what types of pain relievers might be best for you and then when you need them, take them. I know too many people who suffer because they are afraid of their medication. If you are worried about possible side effects, talk to your doctor and pharmacist about it and change medications if necessary.
Leave Work Stress at Work
Life is hard enough without bringing home stress from a stressful job. This is especially important when you have FM and CFS/ME. Carefully consider each of the sources of stress at your place of employment and come up with a plan to improve things. Can you alternate physical and nonphysical tasks? Share sources of stress with co-workers. It will not be to your benefit to take all the worst things on yourself. If your job causes a lot of stress, see if you can cut back on hours or transfer to a different position or location. It might even be in your best interest to leave. Usually there are other options for cutting work stress, but if your job is making you sicker, it might be best to cut expenses for awhile and find less stressful employment or another way to support yourself.
Keep The Lights On!
Sunlight improves mood and reduces stress. It also helps in the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to bone pain and muscle weakness. Try to take a leisurely walk outside each day, or if you aren't up to it, just sit in a sunny spot and relax. Obviously there are times of the year in some climates where sunshine is a rare occurrence. During those times, keep your house as bright as possible. Turn on the lights when you get up in the morning and don't dim them until it is time to start your bedtime routine. You will find your mood brighter and have fewer FM and CFS/ME symptoms.
Learn to Listen to Yourself
The thing that has helped me the most is learning to stop regularly during the day to see how my body and mind are doing and then to do what is necessary to make myself more comfortable. So many things can make bad flare days worse. Learn to ask yourself if you are hungry or thirsty or need to move or rest. Have you been on the computer too long? Do you need company? It is too easy in our busy lives to just push past our needs, but in the end, learning to listen and respond to yourself, will lead to a happier, less stressful, and less painful life.
Never Give Up Hope!
Every day we are making advances in the awareness, research and treatment of FM and CFS/ME. People, organizations, companies, and medical experts are all working to ensure a better future for people with these medical conditions! There is hope. In the last 15 years, medical science has made tremendous strides in our understanding of the basic pathology of these disorders, and advances are rapidly being made in the manner in which they are being treated.