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7 Tips for Reclaiming Control over Fibromyalgia

Awareness for fibromyalgia is much greater than it was two decades ago, but how far have we come in understanding this invisible illness? As I look at the research regarding the physiologic effects of fibromyalgia, I believe we have moved forward. We know there are physical, measurable changes in our brain, and we see differences in our central nervous system, including autonomic, metabolic, and immune effects. These effects contribute to restless leg syndrome, abnormal sleep patterns, headache, irritable bowel or bladder, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD). Genomic research [1] is moving forward using the FM/a blood test to identify study participants.

These are exciting times. But, we don’t have a cure, so we must find ways to manage. Following are seven tips for how we can reclaim control over fibromyalgia.

Tip 1: Identify symptoms

Tip 2: Communicate

Tip 3: Know our medications

Tip 4: Utilize management skills

Tip 5: Manage our fibro aggravators

Tip 6: Explore other things

Tip 7: Enjoy the wait.

Who enjoys waiting? I do. For instance, I plan to arrive early to appointments, and with the advent of the GPS, I don’t get lost so easily. What started as a routine to avoid panic and anxiety now means so much more to me. I used to take magazines, but now I can read books on my phone or read the blogs of my fellow bloggers. I have learned to love the wait so much that I have to remind myself not to get upset if the doctor is actually on time.

I think we can all agree that life with fibro is unpredictable. We can’t control that, but we can control the way we respond. Let’s support one another and share with each other as we raise awareness this month.

“And so I wait. I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to me feet once again –
so that I can start a new path, my own path, the one that will make me whole again.”
~ Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II

Celeste Cooper, RN, is a frequent contributor to ProHealth.  She is an advocate, writer and published author, and a person living with chronic pain. Celeste is lead author of Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain and Broken Body, Wounded Spirit, and Balancing the See Saw of Chronic Pain (a four-book series). She spends her time enjoying her family and the rewards she receives from interacting with nature through her writing and photography. You can learn more about Celeste’s writing, advocacy work, helpful tips, and social network connections at CelesteCooper.com [8].