Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is definitive of severe body pains. Aside from body pains, two symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia are fibro fog and fibromyalgia fatigue.
Therefore, fibromyalgia fatigue management is a skill that is essential to living with fibromyalgia. You need to learn how to manage fibromyalgia fatigue when it flares up and how to limit these flares as much as possible.
I have looked for several tips on fibromyalgia fatigue management that fibro patients can use to manage and cope with fibromyalgia. This post contains twelve (12) effective and easy ways to use for fibromyalgia fatigue management.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that causes multisite musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and cognitive disturbances. The cause of fibromyalgia is uncertain, although there are different theories, including genetics and impairment in the reception of pain by the brain and spinal cord.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia takes a while because the symptoms are similar to other chronic conditions, which results in the misdiagnosis of most fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia also coexists with some autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, but it is not an autoimmune disease.
Females are more at risk of having fibromyalgia, and there is no exact cure for it yet. However, medications and natural remedies can be implemented to manage the condition and improve symptoms.
What Is Fibromyalgia Fatigue?
Fibromyalgia fatigue is fatigue caused by fibromyalgia. It is different from regular fatigue, and about 76% of people with fibromyalgia say they actively experience fibromyalgia fatigue, which persists even after resting.
Fibro fatigue directly affects a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks or engage in social activities. It can be described as unrefreshed sleep, difficulty concentrating, and severe physical exhaustion.
Fibromyalgia fatigue is suspected to be caused by the body trying to deal with the widespread pain experienced by fibro patients. Constantly dealing with musculoskeletal pain can make you exhausted in a way that even sleep cannot completely resolve it. Some fibro patients experience difficulty sleeping due to constant pain.
Fibromyalgia fatigue can also worsen when fibromyalgia evokes complications and lead to conditions like restless leg syndrome, anemia, emotional disorders, sleep apnea, and so on.
Fibromyalgia Fatigue Management Tips for Fibro Patients
Here are some ways to go about fibromyalgia fatigue management:
1. Identify the source
While the disease causes fibromyalgia fatigue, external influences (triggers) might make it worse. Carefully observe the things you do on days when the fibro fatigue is unbearable and also on days when it is bearable.
These can include factors like your diet, environment, stress levels, mood, exercise, micronutrient deficiencies, and other aspects of your daily life. The best way to do this is to track your symptoms daily and keep notes of your routine right from when you woke up. At the end of each day, journal the level of pain you experienced. If you do this consistently for about two weeks, you should be able to see a pattern and identify the source of increased fatigue. This will help you to know the things to avoid.
If you do not identify a pattern within this period, try to extend the weeks, and you should also go over the records with your doctor.
Exercising is good for your health because it helps you to increase your muscle mass and body strength, and if it is done correctly with the proper guidance, it can help with fibromyalgia fatigue.
Additionally, endorphins are released when you exercise, which are great for getting a good night’s sleep, especially if insufficient sleep is one of your triggers.
There hasn’t been any scientifically proven diet for fibromyalgia patients, but eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet might help with fibromyalgia. You need lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats to eat a healthy diet. You should also avoid trans fat, processed meals, salty foods, and even lots of sugar.
Substitute carbonated drinks for mineral water or freshly squeezed juice without additives. A healthy diet will also help you to maintain a healthy weight. When your body is in good condition, immune functions become optimal.
4. Reduce stress
Although there is no definitive proof that reducing stress can permanently reduce the severity of fibromyalgia fatigue, we can agree that more stress will probably worsen it.
You can reduce stress by engaging in meditation exercises like tai chi, yoga, qi gong, and others. It is important to note that reducing stress can be a good fibromyalgia fatigue management tip, as seen in a 2017 study, but it only applies to some fibromyalgia patients.
5. Have a routine
Routines are an excellent way to stay in habit and plan your day effectively. One of the most effective fibromyalgia fatigue management tips is setting a routine for your daily tasks.
This way, you can balance your day; it also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you can mark things off as done. To set an effective fibromyalgia fatigue management routine, you can split large tasks into smaller ones. Set your most rigorous activity for the time when you are most energized, learn the act of delegation, and be able to identify your body signals.
Also, make sure to schedule time for rest and time to take your medications.
6. Energy pacing
Energy pacing is a fibromyalgia fatigue management technique that helps you conserve energy for things you need to get done when you don’t have the energy to do them.
It is also called activity pacing. It involves you thinking of the total energy you have for a particular day and trying to total all your activities for the day under that amount. This helps you to avoid stress and get the job done. It is almost the same as setting a routine or schedule but is more deliberate and specific.
Rest and sleep are said to have little effect on fibromyalgia fatigue because most patients still complain of fibro fatigue even after a good night’s sleep.
You can take a different approach and schedule sleep in your daily routine. So, instead of focusing on having a good night’s sleep, focus on having quality rest at strategic times every day.
For example, schedule a 30 minutes quality rest at 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, and then at night. The goal is to give your body enough time to recuperate while combating the constant fibromyalgia pain. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you can schedule more or less rest time during the day.
8. Treat secondary conditions
Secondary conditions that arise as a result of fibromyalgia must be treated. It is suspected that the reason for fibro fatigue is that the body is fighting pain constantly. Add secondary conditions, and the body might overwork itself trying to keep up.
Fibromyalgia patients can experience co-morbid conditions like restless leg syndrome and anxiety, which can worsen fibromyalgia fatigue. In this situation, treating these secondary conditions would be the best fibromyalgia fatigue management tip.
Your doctor may recommend sleeping pills or give you medications depending on the type and severity of these secondary conditions.
9. Alternative therapy
Alternative therapies are ways to manage a disease or chronic condition outside of medications.
You can engage in massage therapy to help reduce muscle pain, aromatherapy to help with sleep, or acupuncture to help with stiffness, fatigue, and pain in specific parts of your body.
Some people also use herbal teas, certain types of diet, and even hypnotherapy to help with their symptoms, although there are no studies on their effectiveness. However, you can safely engage in several alternate therapies (with the guidance of your doctor) to see what might be able to work for you and what doesn’t.
Research is still vague regarding the exact nutrients that can work for fibromyalgia fatigue; the studies available are limited and cannot be counted as conclusive.
You can also use supplements like B-Vitamins, D-ribose, and magnesium to help your body regain lost vitality.
11. Join a support group
Support groups are not just there for your mental health; it is a liberty to steal from the wealth of experience and knowledge of other people experiencing the illness. Chronic illness support groups are great resources for finding answers from people who have experience or are going through the same thing as you.
If your methods of fibromyalgia fatigue management are not working, you can easily ask for recommendations; if you need emotional support, you can also get it.
12. Seek professional help
Most fibromyalgia management tips are not generalized and cannot apply to everyone. However, if you have tried several options and your fibro fatigue does not seem to improve, you should seek professional help.
Fibromyalgia fatigue management doesn’t get easier than this. However, some practices might work while some might not. This is because our body composition varies, as do some chronic conditions.
To know if your fibromyalgia fatigue management practices are working, you should learn how to track your symptoms and medications. It will give you an overview of how effective these fatigue management tips are.
CTA: How often do you experience fibromyalgia fatigue? Are there any fibromyalgia fatigue management tips you’ll like to share?