People with fibromyalgia can have a number of discomforts and symptoms. One of the main ones is persistent and chronic fatigue. The feeling of exhaustion and weakness associated with the disease can be very bothersome, leading to other health problems such as depression, increased work absences, and lifestyle restrictions. Fortunately, it’s possible to have fibromyalgia without fatigue. There are many options to help you feel full of energy.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder in which you have pain and tenderness throughout the body. For some patients, it can be very frustrating since it’s not always easy to cope with.
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Fatigue with fibromyalgia, for example, can make you feel tired all day long. Again, it is one of the main symptoms of the disease, second only to widespread pain and body aches.
If your fatigue does have to do with fibromyalgia, you usually also experience other symptoms of the disease, such as:
- Extremely sensitive all over the body. Even stubbing your toe or other slight touches could sometimes be painful.
- The disease usually makes you feel stiff, especially when you first wake up from your bed in the morning.
- Cognitive issues (fibro-fog), which are problems associated with your mental processes such as difficulty concentrating, remembering, or confused speech.
- The disease can cause stiffness and pain in the neck and shoulders. As a result, you may have headache or migraine.
- What else? Sometimes the disease can also cause IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), more sensitive to temperature (too cold /too hot), restless legs syndrome, and psychological problems (depression & anxiety for example).
The exact cause of the disease is unknown – It’s is not fully understood yet. But experts believe that a number of conditions /factors are involved, these include:
- The imbalances of certain chemicals. Studies suggest that people with fibromyalgia tend to have low levels of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. Lack of these hormones may have a role to trigger the disease, because they’re involved to help regulate your sleep, appetite, behavior, mood, and the way of how you respond to stressful situations.
- Changes in the central nervous system. Your brain, spinal cord, and nerves work together to transmit any information (including the pain messages) all over the body. If this mechanism goes awry, this may result in an abnormal /constant feeling of pain.
- If you have a family history of the disease, you’re more likely than others to develop the same condition because your genes.
- The disease is diagnosed less often in men than in women. So in general, the risk of getting the disease is higher in women.
- Sometimes certain health conditions can also have an effect. If you have lupus, arthritis (especially rheumatoid arthritis), or ankylosing spondylitis (spine swelling) – for examples, you may tend to also develop fibromyalgia.
There is currently no curative therapy. However, some medications and lifestyle measures can help relieve the symptoms.
Though extreme tiredness is common with the disease, you can still have full of energy to enjoy your daily routines (this is especially true in the early stages of the disease, when the symptoms are still mild and don’t bother you a lot).
As the disease develops, you may eventually find it harder to cope with the symptoms. The pain and other discomfort symptoms of the disease can interfere with your daily life. Since the pain of the disease is exhausting, your fatigue can be more overwhelming and drain your energy a lot (it’s so much more draining than when you have normal tiredness).
The good news even if the disease has progressed or when the symptoms flare up, you can still have many options to banish your fatigue and feel full of energy.
Though fibromyalgia is currently incurable and it’s not easy to cope with the symptoms, you can experience significant improvement in controlling the disease with a good quality of life if you’re aggressive to acquiring self-management skills.
Discuss with your healthcare professionals for more guidance! Here are some helpful strategies:
Get used to a good-night routine!
Getting enough sleep is essential for anyone. And this is particularly important if you have fibromyalgia with fatigue. On the other hand, lack of sleep can make the symptoms (including your tiredness) worse. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to sleep well at night especially during the flare-up of the disease.
To help gain enough sleep (both quantity and quality), establishing a good-night routine is the key. Try practicing good sleep habits! For example, it’s recommended to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even weekends.
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Manage your stress!
A stressful day can be very exhausting, making your tiredness worse. Also, fibromyalgia symptoms can make you feel more stressed. The good news even though stress is inevitable, it’s manageable. See here for more information to soothe your stress!
A healthy-balanced diet is important, too
Eating right is essential to cope with fibromyalgia-related fatigue. In general, it’s recommended to eat fewer sugary foods, high-fatty /fried foods, and any else with ‘refined’ label – see more what to avoid in this section! You might feel better eating more fresh fruits, veggies, complex carbohydrates, and low-fat choices.
A healthy-balanced diet can help keep your weight off. Overweight can be a counterproductive issue, because more excess weight you gain will make you feel more sluggish and tired.
Though the disease can be so exhausting, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore your exercises. Lack of physical activity may worsen the symptoms. For example, your muscles can become stiff more easily without exercise, making your pain worse.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to keep active with the disease particularly when the symptoms worsen. At first, exercise may feel harder or sometimes increase your pain. But as you get used to it, you might feel better afterward. Do your exercise gradually and regularly to help soothe the symptoms!
Set your own pace so you can manage and use your energy effectively. Even when you have good days (the symptoms are mild or go into remission), don’t do too much otherwise you may have worse days –just keep your activity in moderation, because you can have a setback if you have too much activity.
If you haven’t been diagnosed yet, but you feel pretty much have many symptoms of fibromyalgia – it’s much better to see a doctor promptly (even though you don’t experience extreme fatigue). Because it’s possible for some patients to have every symptom of the disease, but their energy level has not been affected!
Fibromyalgia symptoms can also mimic those of other health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, and multiple sclerosis. Therefore, several tests are required to provide accurate diagnosis.
In general, procedures and tests to diagnose the disease are as follows: