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16 'Small,' but Significant Lifestyle Changes That Help People With Fibromyalgia

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Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

Though everyone experiences fibromyalgia differently, one thing most fibro warriors can agree on is that your lifestyle usually changes after fibro enters your world. If you don’t have fibro you might be able to stay out late or get ready in the morning without thinking twice, but with fibro, you may realize making small changes to your routine can actually lead to less pain later on.

Of course, changing up your lifestyle habits doesn’t mean your fibromyalgia will be “cured,” and it’s important to talk with your doctor about any changes you want to make to your health (and keep doing any prescribed treatments you’ve already discussed). But it can be really helpful to hear what other people have done to help make life with fibromyalgia a little bit easier. We asked our Mighty community to share a small, but significant lifestyle change that helps them deal with fibromyalgia.

Everyone reacts to fibromyalgia and its treatment strategies differently, but perhaps you’ve tried (or have been curious about trying) some of the ideas below. Let us know if you have any additional ideas in the comments.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. Taking Relaxing Baths

“Take hot Epsom salt baths. Helps those aches and pains. Add in some lavender essential oils for extra therapy. Twenty minutes to feeling a bit better.” — Jenn B.

“Taking baths instead of showers. Helps with the pain and allows me to get clean at the same time.” — Krystina F.

“Taking baths with salts and giving myself that time to soak, de-stress, turn my phone off and really unwind.” — Lauren H.

2. Saying “No”

“Knowing when to say no. It sucks, I don’t like doing it, but sometimes your body needs rest.” — Melissa H.

“Saying no more often. I can only do so much in a day.” — Lisa B.

“Saying no. I used to be a mega people pleaser saying yes to everything. That’s too exhausting and stressful. Took a lot of practice and many others were shocked at my drastic change, but it has been beneficial to my health and well-being.” — Sarah N.

3. Gentle Exercise and Stretching

“For me, doing gentle exercise like Classical Stretch really helps me feel less stiff. It doesn’t take away all my pain but it helps me slowly build strength while loosening up tight muscles.” — Jenifer J.

4. Practicing Mindfulness

“Mindfulness. I meditate twice a day and it helps to relax me and helps me sleep. It has helped me to manage the fatigue.” — Joanne R.

5. Buying Pre-Cut Produce

I buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables to help me be able to cook and have healthy snacks when I just don’t have the strength.” — Kendra S.

6. Pacing/Spreading Out Activities

“Living in a small town, I used to do a full day of errands whenever I was in the city. Now I limit myself to two and limit errand days to one or two a week. It takes a lot longer to get things done, but I crash less frequently.” — Marian V.

“Pacing myself and being kind to myself.” — Lakshmi R.

“I try to avoid making plans for mornings. I almost always have a rough night so I need those extra hours to recover. Knowing I’ve no plans till the afternoon at least, takes that stress off and it means less cancellations from me and less guilt.” — Dawn M.

“Plan my schedule with rest days before and after events.” — Melanie C.

“Knowing I cannot have two appointments in the same day… must be one day off between.” — Carolyn M.

7. Using Mobility Aids

“Walking stick. Keeps me balanced on bad days as my knees give up on me.” — Kirst F.

“I got a cane. With the weakness, dizziness, and balance issues that crop up, it’s helped so much having something there to keep me from falling. I have more confidence going out by myself now because I don’t need another person to constantly lean on.” — Bonnie P.

8. Getting Massages

“Massages help with my stiff, tight muscles. The pain is so severe and unforgiving at this point I’ll try anything (including shots of lidocaine in my neck) to alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia.” — Tea M.

9. Investing in Strategies That Will Help You Sleep

“Thinking of sleep as important as any pill or supplement. I make time for sleep, invest in sleep (good bed, high quality comforter, sound machine), and believe in sleep!” — Naomi B.

“My weighted blanket. I used to have a lot of pain at night but the weight reduces it.” — Amanda V.

“Chillow Pillow. Keeps me cool all night so I can get some rest.” — Melanie C.

“Naps. So many naps.” — Candess K.

10. Adjusting Your Diet

Be sure to check with a doctor before making any dietary changes.

“I upped my protein intake, a lot. 80 to 100 grams a day is what I aim for, which is about double the daily recommend amount. Makes a huge difference.” — Zoe S.

I recently started eating a ketogenic diet and it has helped me reduce my pain medication and has increased my energy!” — Jess M.

“Reducing sugar helps me so much. It cuts out bloating, IBS, recurring cold sores, headaches and overall pain. I try to have zero sugar intake, yes, that means fruit as well. I stick to the low glycemic fruits like blueberries and blackberries when I need a fix.” — Heather C.

11. Keeping Your Hair Shorter

I spent a few years growing my hair out after cutting it chin length only to find my pain had progressed to a point where it was too hard to deal with long hair. I had to cut it shorter to make it easier to care for again.” — Carrie M.

12. Wearing Comfortable Clothes

“Insoles in my shoes. The insoles help cushion my feet and reduce my nerve pain enough to walk on them.” — Gemma C.

“Leggings. I always swore I’d never wear them. But changing to leggings instead of living in jeans has made life so much easier. They’re more comfortable, cheaper, and don’t put pressure in unwanted places.” — N.A. L.

13. Using High-Quality Pillows and Mattresses

“Drinking water and also a good memory foam mattress.” — Amber O.

“Using memory foam pillow and mattress. It made a huge difference in my pain levels.” — Livi D.

“Giant U-shaped pillow — helps me get a restful night’s sleep as well as reducing my morning aches.” — Clare H.

14. Two Words: Heating Pad

“All the heated throw blankets, and the heated car seat covers.” — Mikayla L.

“I bring a heating pad and pain patches if I’m going to be somewhere for awhile.” — Brittany H.

15. Not Worrying About Household Chores

Not worrying about some house chores, like dirty dishes in the sink or dust on not-used surfaces. And focusing on ones that are more important to me, like food plan/prep so I have healthier options.” — Moomi H.

16. Seeking Out Things That Make You Happy

“I follow many positive, healthy, inspirational pages on Facebook and Instagram. I find that if I’m in a good mindset, it helps my overall health.” — Kristen R.

“Most importantly, laughter. I try to laugh as much as possible because not only does it release endorphins, it works the core muscles.” — LillieJo L.

Originally published: May 17, 2018
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