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Living with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome is difficult.
When something as simple as a strong smell or eating the wrong thing can trigger an increase in symptoms, it can be hard to know how to plan each day.
Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or have been living with the condition for years, these tips will help make managing your symptoms a little easier.
1. You Are What You Eat
Many fibromyalgia sufferers have identified food “triggers” that either aggravate or cause symptoms.
Common trigger foods include foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate), aspartame or sugar substitutes, high-fat foods and foods with a high caffeine content.
If you suspect you might have a food trigger, try keeping a food diary. That would help you be able to see correlations between your symptoms and what you’ve eaten.
2. Establish A Bedtime Routine
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome both require proper amounts of sleep.
A big step in the right direction is establishing a regular bedtime routine that winds you down to get ready for sleep.
Avoid television and anything with a screen for an hour before bed. This can stimulate your brain and keep you awake.
The next item goes hand in hand with this tip.
3. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends.
This will start to regulate your body’s sleeping cycle and get it used to when it should be asleep and when to be awake.
Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature while you sleep.
4. Don’t Overdo It
Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have trouble with simply “overdoing it.”
This can especially be a concern when you are having a good day.
Those days when you have lower pain and more energy can lull you into a false sense of security, causing you to do too much and then pay for it with a number of days of fatigue and increased pain.
Make sure to listen to your body and pace yourself, even on good days.
Keep reading to learn something that’s equally as important as not overdoing it.
5. Inactivity Is Bad, Too
Underactivity can be just as just as bad as overexertion. Staying active is key to reducing pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms.
Learn to pace yourself and listen to your body, rest when you feel you should but don’t use fibromyalgia as an excuse to do nothing.
Business also has the added benefit of taking your mind off your condition, giving you less time to focus on the pain and discomfort
6. Watch The Weather
Weather changes are a very common trigger for fibromyalgia symptoms.
There have been many studies that have shown correlations between barometric pressure shifts and flare ups of symptoms.
Since the weather is something that is beyond your control, being prepared is your defense.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast, and dress appropriately for conditions.
7. What’s That Smell?
One of the strangest and most frustrating symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia is a heightened sense of smell.
This tends to appear during flare ups and can make everyday activities like riding in an elevator with someone who is wearing too much perfume miserable.
To help keep prevent olfactory overload, try using scent free washing powders, toiletries, and cleaners.
Read on to learn the most simple thing you can do to help keep your symptoms in check.
8. Keep It Fluid
Headaches are very common in people with fibromyalgia, and proper hydration goes a long way toward helping to keep them under control.
Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and try to avoid caffeine and alcohol, which both act as diuretics that will just dry your body out more.
9. Brain Fog
An inability to concentrate and other cognitive issues, often described as “brain fog,” is also quite common among people who suffer from both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Using apps or organizers to keep track of appointments and lists are all great ways to help deal with this problem.
Stimulating the mind with word games, puzzles, cards, and other activities that require focus may also help.
The next tip is an important one that many people don’t think of.
10. Chemical Overload
Linked with sensitivity to smell is a chemical sensitivity or multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCSS). MCSS is common in fibromyalgia sufferers and causes extreme sensitivity to various chemicals and odors.
The best line of defense is to avoid any strong smelling item wherever possible and to make use of natural fibers and fabrics where possible.
11. Out Of The Light
Another aspect of the extreme sensitivity that is common with fibromyalgia patients is an over sensitivity to bright lights and sunshine.
Exposure to bright light can bring on headaches or migraines and increased muscle aches and pains.
To reduce the impact light has on your symptoms, remove fluorescent lights from your home and replace them with softer light.
Always ensure that you have a good quality pair of polarized sunglasses on hand and use them whenever you feel the sun is too bright.
12. Exercise Or Not?
It’s important to find the right balance when it comes to exercise.
While exercise is extremely beneficial to fibromyalgia sufferers, doing too much too soon can make symptoms worse by bringing on bouts of fatigue and muscle pain.
The key is finding a balance between keeping moving and not taking it too far.
Talk to your doctor about an appropriate exercise plan tailored for you.
Many people with fibromyalgia have trouble with the ability to regulate their body temperature, and therefore extremes in temperatures one way or the other can lead to an increase in symptoms.
Dress in layers, both on warm and cold days, that will allow you to adjust your body temperature by shedding or adding clothing.
14. Take A Load Off
Sitting on hard surfaces, or just sitting still for any length of time can lead to an increase in muscle aches and pains.
Practice good posture by keeping your back upright and your feet flat on the floor, and use a footrest or portable backrest if possible.
Try taking heating pads with you if there is somewhere to plug them in, or take travel heat pads that heat up when activated.
These don’t last as long but can still provide some comfort.
15. Stress Less
It is well recognized that people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome tend to experience more pain and symptoms when they are stressed.
Stress reduction is an important part of managing your condition.
Learn stress management techniques, such as visualization, meditation, and deep breathing. These techniques work to help decrease both stress and pain.