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Fibromyalgia Prevention

Preventing fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia cannot be prevented. Proper treatment and lifestyle changes can help reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. People with fibromyalgia attempt to prevent flare-ups rather than trying to prevent the syndrome itself. There are many things you can do to prevent aggravation of your symptoms.

Get adequate sleep

Lack of restorative sleep is both a symptom of fibromyalgia and a cause of flare-ups. Poor sleep creates a cycle of more pain, making it harder to sleep, which causes more pain, and so on. You may be able to break the cycle by going to bed at the same time every night and practicing good sleep habits.

Try relaxing one hour before bed by shutting off the television and other electronic devices. Reading, taking a warm bath, or meditating are all good ways to unwind and prepare for deeper sleep. Your doctor may prescribe a sleep aid if you have persistent problems falling or staying asleep.

Reduce emotional and mental stress

The symptoms of fibromyalgia get worse with stress. You can reduce flare-ups by minimizing the things that cause you stress. Eliminating sources of stress, such as unhealthy relationships or tense work environments, is one way to do this.

Some stressors cannot be avoided. Learning coping techniques can help minimize the effects of stress on your body and your mind.

Positive stress-busters include:

  • meditation
  • relaxation
  • acupuncture
  • deep breathing techniques

Moderate intensity exercise is also a good way to blow off steam in a healthy way.

Some people turn to alcohol and drugs in order to handle stress. This coping behavior is counterproductive. It can make symptoms worse or increase your risk for dangerous health complications that result from frequent alcohol or drug use.

Get regular exercise

Regular, moderate exercise can keep the muscles and joints healthy. Don’t go overboard. Rigorous fitness plans can make your symptoms worse. Walking is a good way to stay healthy and active without strenuous effort.

Eat a balanced diet

Some people with fibromyalgia find that certain foods make their symptoms worse. Gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, sometimes accompany this syndrome. You can reduce flare-ups by eating a balanced diet and avoiding foods and drinks that make your symptoms worse. It’s often best to minimize:

  • caffeine
  • fried foods
  • foods high in sodium

Monitor your symptoms

Keeping a diary about your symptoms can help you pinpoint the things that cause flare-ups for you. Listing information about what you ate, how you felt after eating, and documenting your daily activities can provide insight into what’s aggravating your symptoms. The diary can also be a useful tool for your doctor in prescribing the best treatment for your condition.

Each case of fibromyalgia is different. You may find other approaches that work better for lessening your symptoms and reducing flare-ups. Talk to your doctor about treatment options and lifestyle changes that will suit your specific needs.

Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Medically reviewed on: Dec 12, 2016: Brenda B. Spriggs, MD, FACP

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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