This article focuses on the importance of stress management In fibromyalgia treatment. Fibromyalgia is a devastating illness that can make your life miserable. This chronic pain condition often presents itself with widespread pain, fatigue and mental impairment, making your day a constant struggle. If you have fibromyalgia, then you may have tried pain relievers, muscle relaxants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for your symptoms, but you shouldn’t forget to manage your stress.
Although the exact cause of fibromyalgia is still a mystery, many scientists believe that this condition is related to an over-abundance of pain-conducting neurons and a reduction in pain-inhibiting neurons. There are a number of risk factors like genetics, arthritis, anxiety and depression.
You are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia if you have had highly stressful or traumatic episodes in your past. Many people who experience a terrifying car crash or other life-threatening event are more prone to develop fibromyalgia. Some researchers rely on this link to argue that fibromyalgia may merely be a manifestation of trauma, while others counter this condition is based in changes to neurotransmitters. Regardless of whether there is a physiological or psychological link between stress and fibromyalgia, there is a widespread consensus that there is a strong relationship between the two conditions.
Stress may play a significant role in fibromyalgia flare-ups as well the onset of the condition. Although not a certain trigger for all fibromyalgia patients, stress is often a major factor for many fibromyalgia sufferers. In itself, stress produces many of the same symptoms that accompany fibromyalgia including fatigue and sleep disturbances, so the two conditions may be reinforcing one another through shared biological mechanisms.
That is why managing your stress on a daily basis is so essential to reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. Many fibromyalgia sufferers rely on medications without modifying enough of their life habits to accommodate their condition. Although many people respond to medication-based pain treatment, you will be helping yourself much more in the long term by adopting a stress-free lifestyle.
It can be difficult to modify your stress response, especially because the pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia are so disruptive. There is often a vicious cycle of stress which initiates a flare-up which in turn elevates your stress levels. That is why you may need to turn to a pain treatment specialist to help modify your behavior.
A pain treatment specialist may recommend one or more of the following therapies:
- Biofeedback—helps you monitor your emotional and physical responses to pain and other stimuli, as well as teach you effective coping mechanisms.
- Relaxation therapy—this includes a wide variety of activities, possibly including yoga, meditation, or music therapy. You and your physician will develop a program to help you integrate your personal relaxation technique into your fibromyalgia treatment.
- Exercise—most people respond positively to moderately strenuous exercise because it promotes better sleep, pain relief and elevated mood.
- Lifestyle changes—you may need to change aspects of your life that are especially stressful. If you suffer from stress due to job or relationships, you may need to modify your availability or eliminate them completely.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
M.D. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.