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What To Expect From Your Doctor

There are no specific tests or scans that can be used to make the Fibromyalgia diagnosis, so it depends on both symptoms and signs, how long you have had symptoms and ruling out other conditions. Your doctor/GP will also perform a physical exam. As part of their assessment, they will assess if you have tender points in several areas of your body. Sometimes tests are suggested to eliminate other causes of your symptoms. A blood test to rule out inflammation include C’Reactive Protein (CRP) and Erythron-Cyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR).

Your Doctor/GP will
ask about:

  1. Your pain and symptoms and how long you have had them,
  2. Your level of fatigue,
  3. If you feel refreshed when you awake from sleep, and
  4. If you have had problems with memory and concentration.

SELF MANAGEMENT

Learning how to self-manage your Fibromyalgia treatments will help you get relief from pain, improve sleep and help you cope emotionally.

Exercise

Regular exercise is important. Despite exercise being painful and difficult initially, with time you will become aerobically fit, though it may take longer to achieve than someone who doesn’t have Fibromyalgia. Start slowly – initially aim for just a few minutes of easy exercise several times a week. Increase gradually. Low impact exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling are ideal. To help reduce symptoms, including pain, sleep problems and fatigue, exercise can maintain a healthy weight. This is important as being overweight makes symptoms worse.

Stress Management

Psychological factors are important in managing Fibromyalgia. Some find stress acts as a trigger for their symptoms, so stress minimisation and avoidance are important. Find balance between work, rest and play with strategies to deal with everyday stresses and those associated with the chronic pain you are experiencing. This may simply require an attitude change – viewing your problems as opportunities/challenges and replacing negative thought with positive ones. The help of a professional, such as a doctor/GP who deals with chronic pain, or a clinical psychologist to assist you with strategies for stress management.

Relaxation

Many techniques for relaxation, such as pursuing a hobby or increasing the amount of free time you have, is beneficial with Fibromyalgia, though you may need formal techniques to deal with the muscle tightness and the emotional problems of this condition. Meditation and mindfulness practises help too. Learning breathing, yoga, meditation or tai chi may also be of benefit. Massage and acupuncture help many Fibromyalgia patients. Some even find a warm bath before bedtime helps with muscle pain and helps them get to sleep.

Sleep Management

Good sleep hygiene principles (no day napping, having a regular walking time, regular exercise, follow a wind-down routine at night and restricting bed use to sleeping only) can lead to improvements to your sleep. Therefor improving your symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

Managing Time

People with Fibromyalgia find they manage better if they pace themselves. Learning to say ‘NO’ to avoid over committing and undue stress, which will only serve to increase Fibromyalgia symptoms. Work within your energy levels and leave enough time to nourish yourself with gentle exercise and rest.

Eating A Healthy Diet

A variety of healthy foods and getting good nutrition will help with energy levels and maintain a healthy weight. Avoiding caffeine will reduce anxiety and restlessness, making it easier to sleep at night. Recent studies have suggested having good ‘Gut Health’ drastically changes pain receptors in your brain.

Learn more about your pain from the professionals.