Tips for the Newly Diagnosed
Don't let pain from Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), keep you down. Small changes to your daily routine can keep
you active and enjoying life. Here are some tips to help you improve your quality of
life with FM and/or CFS/ME.
Always Believe in Yourself
And what you are feeling both emotionally and physically. No one can tell you that what
you are experiencing is not real! FM and CFS/ME are chronic medical disorders just
like diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. While there are still gaps understanding
these disorders, and disagreements among researchers as to specific causes, the
symptoms are very real, and your suffering is legitimate.
Never Feel Guilty
FM and CFS/ME aren't something you wished for, and they aren't something you can wish
away. Healthcare providers have had trouble accepting FM and CFS/ME as bona fide medical
conditions because of the lack of readily available blood tests or X-rays that show there
is something wrong with the FM and CFS/ME patient's body. However, research studies
have revealed problems in such areas as the chemical content of the spinal fluid, the
manner in which certain endocrine glands and the autonomic system respond to stress, in
brain function, and in patient performance during tests of cognitive and physical
function. FM and CFS/ME are not psychiatric conditions or character flaws.
FM and CFS/ME Can Wax and Wane
So on the days that are extra challenging, remember that it will get better. FM and
CFS/ME involve much more than just pain. In fact, surveys of patients have
consistently suggested that fatigue may be just as problematic, if not more so. Other
leading symptoms that are associated with these disorders include sleep
disturbances, stiffness, and problems with concentration and certain forms of memory.
While many clinicians associate FM and CFS/ME with depression, it appears
that anxiety-related issues may be more prominent. Appropriate therapies can help keep
flares under control, and good self-management techniques can help stave them off.
You're Never Alone
FM and CFS/ME can sometimes make you feel very alone. Keep in mind that over 10
million Americans have FM and/or CFS/ME and feel just like you do! Our
Support Group Database consists of
681 Support Groups in 16 countries worldwide that offer support
to people with FM and/or CFS/ME. Help is just around the corner.
Get Enough Sleep!
Many of us are plagued by sleep disturbances,
so it is extra important that you do everything you can to make sure that you sleep
as well as possible. Go to bed at the same time each night. Develop a bedtime
routine. That will help your body to know that it is time to relax. If your bed
is uncomfortable, consider getting a new mattress. If a new mattress is not
financially feasible, a mattress pad and new pillows might help. Make sure that
your bedroom isn't too hot or too cold.
During the day when you get tired, it is important to rest. Rest can be lying down in
bed with a book for half an hour or watching TV with your feet propped up. It can
be doing a sitting task at work. Whenever I am tired, I do something to make myself more
comfortable. That invariably leads to me having more energy for the next thing I need or
want to do.
Find A Good Healthcare Provider
Some doctors are more familiar with FM and CFS/ME than others. Ideally, the
relationship between a healthcare provider and a patient should be comfortable and based
on mutual respect. When considering potential providers, patients should do
some "homework." Do they have good reputations among professional colleagues, and do
their patients speak well of them? Do they have a positive attitude toward FM and CFS/ME,
do they keep up with current insights on treatment options? These are all questions you
need answers to when searching for a healthcare provider. Our