Living with fibromyalgia causes more than just physical pain. The emotional toll fibromyalgia takes can be equally draining. In fact, fibromyalgia is linked to anxiety and depression as well as a difficulty with focusing on tasks. Because fibromyalgia can affect more than one location at a time, it’s considered a system problem.

While pain from fibromyalgia tends to me regular, or even constant, the pain may fluctuate, going from a dull throb to an intense sensation, or it may spread. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are things that can ease some of the painful flare ups.

Increase Physical Activity

Everyone needs to work out regularly, but this is even more important if you suffer from fibromyalgia. As with many other ailments, light exercise can lessen the pain of fibromyalgia. Even if you only take a 20-minute walk, exercise can ease joint and muscle pain, boost your mood and improve sleep quality. Start with easy, low-impact activities, such as walking, biking, or swimming. As you get more comfortable with these, you may also want to try resistance training.

Change Your Diet

What you eat can also affect how you feel, so make sure that you’re eating a low-fat diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetable consumption, lean protein and whole grains. Also, be mindful of your sugar intake. Even losing a few pounds can take the stress of painful joints.

Additionally, you may find that there are certain foods that cause flare ups. You might not have even noticed a sensitivity to these foods. You can do an elimination diet to try to find the foods that are hurting you. You may also start a journal, describing your pain and food each day. You may notice a correlation between certain foods and symptoms.

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Focus on Sleep

Poor sleep quality does more than cause black circles under your eyes. Fatigue tends to be a common symptom of fibromyalgia, and not getting enough sleep can make this symptom worse. Additionally, lack of sleep lowers your pain threshold and can also increase levels of anxiety, which can magnify already painful symptoms.

Make restful sleep a priority by shutting off your phone and getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. It may be helpful to set yourself a bedtime. Setting up patterns like this will help your body fall into a more natural sleeping rhythm.

Reduce Stress

Being under constant stress causes of a variety of unpleasant symptoms from migraines to pain flares. It’s a good idea to get your stress under control. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress.

Therapy can also help you work through your stress in constructive ways which can lower your physical pain. Whether you meet with a therapist one-on-one or in a group setting, the support from a professional can help bring both your mind and body to a healthier place.

Boost Intimacy

Fibromyalgia can interfere with intimacy in both men and women. In addition to stiffness and pain, not being able to be intimate with your partner can also lead to depression. However, just because physical intimacy doesn’t seem doable, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be close to your partner. Even something as simple as cuddling can release chemicals in your brain that can do wonders for your pain perception.

Alternative Therapies

Doctors usually don’t prescribe pain medication for fibromyalgia, so in addition to stretching and at-home massage, you can also experiment with other forms of therapy. Acupuncture, water aerobics, and hot and cold therapies can also be effective.

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CBD helps ease pain, inflammation, and even feelings of anxiety, so you may find that different forms of it are useful. Because of this hemp for fibromyalgia may help you feel more comfortable for longer spans of time.

Try Supplements

While not scientifically proven, there are specific supplements that can increase joint mobility while decreasing inflammation. Glucosamine and Chondroitin work well. Turmeric is also a popular supplement that is proven to reduce joint pain.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, know that you’re not alone. Thousands of cases are diagnosed each year. Reach to local online groups for support, and don’t forget to ask your doctor about more ways to ease your symptoms.