Because fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that causes many symptoms, it is important to have a multi-faceted treatment approach. Fibromyalgia treatment can take place in your health care provider’s office, at the chiropractor’s, or even at the dentist. However, the best fibromyalgia treatment starts at home. At-home treatment for fibromyalgia syndrome can help you to reduce your daily pain and fatigue and regain that much-needed energy.
Why Treat At Home?
You may be wondering why you need to treat your fibromyalgia symptoms at home, especially if you are having regular visits with your health care provider. Well, at-home treatment is actually the most vital and important part of a fibromyalgia treatment program. Because fibromyalgia is a chronic, long-term condition, it requires focused and meaningful treatment. Medical treatment provided by your doctor, or alternative therapies given to you by a naturopath are simply not enough to help you manage your fibromyalgia pain. Instead, steps must be taken every day to help reduce your symptoms and increase your energy. The easiest way to get this daily therapy is to engage in at-home treatments.
What Can At-Home Treatments Do?
The benefits of at-home treatment for fibromyalgia are endless. Not only can you perform these therapies in the comfort of your own home, but these therapies are typically inexpensive or even free. At-home treatments help to:
- increase your energy
- alleviate fatigue
- decrease the effects of fibrofog
- boost your immune system
Types of At Home Treatments
There are numerous types of fibromyalgia treatments, which you can pursue in the comfort of you own home.
Many fibromyalgia sufferers find that certain foods exacerbate their symptoms, while other foods work to relieve their symptoms. Though there is no hard evidence linking certain foods to symptoms flares, many patients find fibromyalgia relief through a properly managed diet. Learning to manage your diet can be difficult and time-consuming but the benefits that it can offer typically make it worthwhile.
Foods to Avoid: There are certain foods that every fibromyalgia patient should try to avoid completely or at least minimize in their diet. These foods tend to exacerbate symptoms and weaken your immune system so try to avoid:
- Alcohol: Alcohol triggers symptom flares in many fibromyalgia patients.
- Caffeine: Caffeine stresses the adrenal glands and liver, which are already stressed by the fibromyalgia illness
- Sugar: Sugar also stresses the adrenal glands, increasing the production of adrenalin. This can lead to stress and anxiety attacks.
- Processed Foods: Processed foods can increase widespread pain and swelling and may increase chemical sensitivity in some sufferers.
Foods to Include: Some foods help to decrease fibromyalgia symptoms and increase general health. These foods should be included in your daily diet.
- Raw vegetables: Raw vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that help to boost the immune system
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found in fish , omega-3 helps to minimize nerve sensitivity and improve cognition
- Water: Water helps to purify the system and increase the circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
Daily vitamins are often recommended as part of a comprehensive at-home treatment program. Vitamins can help to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients necessary to good health, as well as help to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
B Complex Vitamins: The B complex vitamins are very helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. The B vitamins, particularly Vitamin B-12, help to combat nerve problems, such as tingling and tenderness. The B vitamins also help to increase the number of red blood cells in your body and protect the myelin sheath that protects your nerve endings. Take a B complex vitamin daily, or try to get foods fortified with B-12.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is found in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. It can help you to fight fibromyalgia symptoms by building up your immune system. It also works to reduce swelling. Take 250 mg to 500 mg of Vitamin C daily.
Exercise is one of the most important facets of a fibromyalgia treatment program. Though exercise can often be daunting in the face of fibromyalgia pain, it actually helps to decrease muscle stiffness and other symptoms. This is because exercise helps you to use your muscles, preventing muscle loss and weakness. It also works to increase your energy and stabilize your mood.
Here are some tips to help you get started.
- Try low-impact aerobic activities, like walking or swimming.
- Begin with just a few minutes of exercise a day.
- Work up to 30 minutes of exercise a day, three times a week.
- Don’t push yourself too hard, or you could increase your fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Stretch before and after exercise.
Keep a Daily Journal
Maintaining a journaly of your daily activities can help you manage many of your fibromyalgia symptoms. If you're having troubles with fibrofog, writing down all your appointments and up-coming events will make it easier to remember those important dates.
A daily journal can also help you keep track of your symptoms as well as factors that may aggravate them. By making a record of these factors, you can create a clearer picture for yourself of just what triggers your fibromyalgia symptoms thereby helping you to avoid symptom flare-ups when possible.
Bringing the Doctor Home
Some treatments, like biofeedback and electrotherapy, that are normally performed in a doctor's office can now be done in the comfort of your own home. Biofeedback machines, as well as electrotherapy devices, designed for home use offer fibromyalgia patients the option of using these therapies on their own. Although these devices are smaller and more limited in ability than those machines used by professionals, they can serve to ease your discomfort while cutting back on the number of doctors appointments you may need to treat your symptoms.
Perhaps one of the easiest treatments to perform at home is heat therapy. By using heat packs, hot baths, or hot water bottles, you can help to soothe sore, aching muscles and ease stiff muscles. There are many inexpensive heating packs that you can buy at your local pharmacy which can be applied locally, where ever you feel the most discomfort.