YOUR 3 FOR 3
Meet Dr. Lesley Arnold! She’s answering your frequently asked fibro questions here with our Doctor’s Corner series. In this post, she discusses how to talk to people about your fibromyalgia.
How can people with FM accurately and effectively explain their pain to family and friends?
Communication is a key element of describing your pain and symptoms. Be open and honest with your family and friends so they know what you are experiencing and how you feel. Using descriptive words can also help convey how you feel - some describe their pain as burning, aching, stiffness or soreness. Many people also say some degree of pain is always present, so they understand that this is a chronic condition. It may also be helpful to refer family and friends to educational resources that may help to explain FM, like the American College of Rheumatology or the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases websites.
Welcome to Doctor’s Corner, where Dr. Arnold fields your frequently asked fibromyalgia questions. In this post, she describes how physicians approach diagnosing patients with fibromyalgia.
What’s the difference between FM and other chronic pain illnesses? How exactly do doctors diagnose FM?
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common types of chronic pain disorders - more than five million people in the U.S. have FM. Fibromyalgia is thought to be due to abnormalities in the way the nervous system processes pain and other sensory signals. As there are no diagnostic tests for fibromyalgia, it can sometimes take time to get a diagnosis. Your doctor can't see FM on an X-ray or conduct a blood test to confirm it. Instead, he or she relies on your symptoms and a physical exam. Many doctors rely on the American College of Rheumatology’s guidelines to diagnose fibromyalgia. Learn more on the ACR website.
Thanks for visiting the Doctor’s Corner series on FibroCenter.com! In this post, Dr. Arnold tackles a question about how exercise can impact fibromyalgia symptoms.
How does exercise impact FM symptoms?
Low-impact exercise may increase your ability to function and lessen your fibromyalgia symptoms. Studies show that the physical activities most likely to help are moderate aerobic exercises (such as walking or water exercise). As always, I encourage you to check with your own health care provider before you start any exercise program. If you have not been physically active, it’s best to begin a slowly paced physical activity program and increase as tolerated. Working with a physical therapist may also be helpful when you start to increase your physical activity. FM impacts everyone differently.
Today on Doctor’s Corner, Dr. Arnold shares how certain lifestyle changes can impact fibromyalgia symptoms.
What lifestyle changes can FM patients make to ease symptoms?
Stress management may help you better manage your FM. Stress can play a big role in how you respond to different situations, both physically and emotionally. There are many different stress management techniques that are easy to learn, such as meditative movement therapies like yoga. You can also simply allow yourself time each day to relax. That may mean learning how to say no without feeling guilty. Learning to pace your activities and building in periods of rest can help you do more without worsening your FM symptoms. Finding a good balance between activity and rest is an important part of FM management. It’s also important to stay active and keep to a routine you can manage.
Thanks for visiting the Doctor’s Corner series on FibroCenter.com! In this post, Dr. Arnold discusses how to work with a health care team to develop a fibromyalgia treatment plan that’s right for you.
There is a LOT of information online about various methods for managing pain caused by FM – what is the best way to find an appropriate fibromyalgia treatment plan?
It’s important to work closely with a health care professional who understands your condition so that you can determine a treatment plan that works for you. It’s also important to have open and honest communication with your doctor so that he or she has all the necessary information to make a treatment recommendation. When I meet with my patients, I review their history, their past and current treatment, the presence of other co-existing conditions, current and past stressors, and their lifestyle before determining a potential treatment plan. You and your doctor should work together to set treatment goals. It will be important to track progress over time against these goals.
Welcome to Doctor’s Corner! In this post, Dr. Arnold shares a few tips about how to help reduce fibromyalgia morning pain.
Many FM patients report that pain levels are highest right after they wake up. What can patients do before bedtime to alleviate pain in the morning?
Patients can try a number of different strategies to help alleviate fibromyalgia morning pain. Addressing sleep quality is an important part of the overall management of FM. Poor sleep quality can contribute to the pain of FM. I routinely address sleep hygiene with my patients. Some examples of helpful tips to improve sleep quality include:
- Taking a warm shower or bath at night
- Avoiding caffeine before bedtime
- Practicing healthy sleep habits such as not watching TV or doing work in the bedroom at night
- Setting and sticking to a sleep schedule by waking up at the same time each day
If a patient has persistent poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue and I suspect a co-existing sleep disorder like sleep apnea, I refer the patient to a sleep specialist for an evaluation and treatment.
Get the answers to your frequently asked fibro questions with the Doctor’s Corner series on FibroCenter.com. In this post, Dr. Lesley Arnold talks about genetics related to fibromyalgia.
Is there a genetic component to FM? If a person’s family member has FM, is that person more likely to get it, too?
Research shows that, like many conditions, fibromyalgia may run in families. So it is likely that some people are born with genes that increase their chances of getting it. There may also be events (such as an injury or emotional stress) that trigger fibromyalgia in those who have an increased risk of developing it.
Click Here to join the FibroCenter.com Facebook Community!
Next: Fibrotalk Webchat