Lifestyle Recommendations for Fibromyalgia Symptoms
By Shannon Morehouse MA, CHHC
Fatigue, chronic pain, and psychological distress are symptoms or cofactors for those who have fibromyalgia. The following lifestyle recommendations have been proven to reduce pain, improve mood, and/or reduce stress for sufferers of fibromyalgia.
A 2007 clinical trial conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville found that an eight-week mindfulness meditation program significantly alleviated depressive symptoms among patients with fibromyalgia; even better, the gains were maintained after a two-month follow-up.
Tai chi is an exercise regimen that involves a series of movements and postures. It has become increasingly popular among sufferers of fibromyalgia, arthritis, and depression. Because it is low-impact, it is generally safe for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. It has been shown to reduce muscle pain, muscle weakness, joint stiffness, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
Water Aerobics or Swimming
In general, exercise has been proven to ease pain with those who suffer from fibromyalgia because it increases blood flow. Researchers have found that water exercise, whether it is swimming or water aerobics, is perhaps the most effective mode for those with fibromyalgia. The buoyancy of water takes stress off joints, considerably decreasing pain.
Several studies have found that increased consumption of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, while avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and products with refined flour or sugar, can increase wellbeing and reduce pain for fibromyalgia sufferers. Vegetables are particularly important; some of the most beneficial include: carrots, squash, sweet potato, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.