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5 Safety Tips for the Holidays for Persons Living with Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Celeste Cooper, RN.

Patients with fibromyalgia and/or chronic myofascial pain from myofascial trigger points (MPS) are subject to proprioception – a loss of ability to know where our limbs are in space in relationship to our body. This puts us at risk for soft tissue injury, falls, and even fractures. Prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Following are five tips to minimize risk of injury over the holidays.

  1. Don’t create clutter. Our home décor is familiar to us, yet we still find ourselves walking into things. Imagine what can happen when we add more to the mix. Instead of adding Christmas trees, Menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, decorative statues, gifts, etc., exchange them for something occupying that space. Place items on surfaces well away from the edge, because if it falls, we can too. (We all know what it’s like to do a juggling act trying to prevent an egg or favorite souvenir from breaking.) Accidents do happen despite the best plans. Let the items break instead of your hip.
  2. Don’t overtax yourself. When preparing food, bring your work area to you. Work at a table and prepare as much as you can in small increments ahead of time. Sit in a stable chair with arms. Use large grip utensils to help avoid the “droppsies.” When we are off balance, we can fall out of a chair.
  3. Do a quick assessment of the environment when visiting others. Be aware of the number of people in your space. Gatherings of celebration often include crowded rooms and little ones under feet. Lighting may be insufficient because of a subtle ambiance, decorative throw rugs may be present, and footpaths may be cluttered with decorations that wouldn’t normally be there. Find your place and stay put as much as possible.
  4. Ask for help. Celebrations usually include food. Carrying a plate or drink can divert our attention. We need to act defensively, because we cannot predicts others’ behaviors, especially when alcohol is involved.
  5. Beware of what you wear. Holiday clothing may be something you wear once a year. What we wear can be restrictive to our normal movement and gait. Ill fitting clothing, fancy shoes, not wearing glasses, etc. are all things that can put us at risk.

Practicality is especially important when dealing with the proprioception and balance problems associated with fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. Make a plan so you can enjoy a safe holiday season.

Source: TheseThree.com, Blog posted November 28, 2014.

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About the author: Celeste Cooper is a retired RN, educator, fibromyalgia patient, and lead author of the Broken Body, Wounded Spirit, Balancing the See Saw of Chronic Pain, Fall Devotions devotional series (coauthor, Jeff Miller PhD), and Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (coauthor, Jeff Miller PhD) She is a fibromyalgia expert for Dr. Oz, et al., at Sharecare.com, and she advocates for all chronic pain patients as a participant in the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy. You can read more educational information and about her books on her website, TheseThree.com.

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