Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tips for dealing with Fibromyalgia (adaptable for any chronic illness)

Recently on a message board I frequent a lady was asking for tips for dealing with Fibromyalgia. She was recently diagnosed. Here is what I wrote:

I've had Fibromyalgia and two forms of arthritis for years and am disabled as a result.

Stay focused on Christ.

Realize it's not a sin to be sick! You haven't earned this illness and you are NOT a bad person to be sick. Sickness goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Sickness happens to good people.

Exercise daily even if it's a walk around the block. Moderation: don't expect to run marathons or become an Olympian competitor. If possible go swimming a couple of times a week. Make sure it's warm water..cold will set off a flare.

Fresh air and a bit of natural light daily helps tremendously. Do not hibernate.

Find a good support system of people who have a clue as to what you are going through. Sometimes that can only be found online. Try for at least one person locally if you can.

If you notice a muscle heating up, don't baby it but don't overdo either. Gently stretch it out. Maybe ice it or use a heating pad. Take a pain pill (different ones work for better for different people). Don't let the pain get to the extreme before you take something. Catch it early and you can keep it from knocking you down.

Avoid staying in bed too long. Once your down, it's harder to get up and move again.

Don't overdo it. Overdoing it today will cause pain tomorrow or the next day. Know your limits and realize they have changed. The world will not end if a little dust builds up or the clothes don't get washed today. Others will HAVE to learn to adapt as you have to learn to adapt.

Take rest breaks...naps ARE permissible for adults. Literally lie down for 30 minutes in the afternoon.

Pray often.

Look for certain food triggers. Mine is beef and fast food. At times I have to totally cut out meat to avoid pain.

Reduce as much stress as possible. Watch out even happy stress can trigger a flare up. The body really can't tell the difference between good and bad stress.

Stretch regularly throughout the day. Just reach up to the sky and then try to touch your toes. Don't overdo or pull anything. Just release tension in your body.

Accept there will be good and bad days/weeks.

Understand that other people can't see how awful you feel...it's called an invisible illness for a reason.

Try to keep your overall body temp the same. Avoid getting chilled or overheated. Muscles react badly to extreme temps.

Don't be afraid to ask for prayer. IT WORKS!

Try drinking chamomile tea at bedtime or taking a Benadryl to help your body relax.

Realize that you can't skimp on sleep. Sleep is when your body heals itself. It's EXTREMELY necessary to get plenty each night. Try for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Fibro messes with your sleeping ability so you may need something stronger to help you stay asleep.

Spend time in The Word daily. It will help you to relax and learn to depend on God more. It helps to focus the mind away from the pain.