Signs that Fibromyalgia May Be Right Around the Corner

Physical activity is vital in managing fibromyalgia pain. Getting physically active may sound like the absolute last thing you want to do when your whole body… Trista - January 14, 2022

Physical activity is vital in managing fibromyalgia pain.

Getting physically active may sound like the absolute last thing you want to do when your whole body aches. However, experts recommend getting moderate activity for a minimum of 150 minutes per week (via CDC). Walking, swimming, or biking 30 minutes a day for five days a week can reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases like heart disease or diabetes. Think about strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility and balance!

If the thought of how to properly exercise eludes you, join a physical activity program designed explicitly for arthritis or mobility issues. Cost does not need to be a factor. Why? Because you can find free tips and courses for managing fibromyalgia pain online! There are plenty of joint-friendly movements that are low-impact exercises. That means they put less stress on the body and reduce the risk of injury. Think SMART: Start Slow and Modify. The Activities should be joint-friendly, Recognize safe places, and Talk to exercise specialists (via CDC). Most importantly, if you feel sharp pain or unusual pain, stop and see your doctor.


Consider some holistic or natural treatments for pain relief.

Over the counter and prescription drugs can be miracle workers. The advances in modern technology are nothing to scoff at, but sometimes it may be worth looking at alternatives or additional treatments to supplement your current medical treatment plan. Many natural treatments aim to lower stress and reduce pain. Physical therapy can be a great option for joint strengthening, for example (via Healthline). Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles to various depths into strategic parts of the body and can cause a change in the physiological response of the body. 

Meditation, yoga, tai chi, and massage therapy can be additional natural remedies, though their effectiveness has not been thoroughly studied or proven (via Healthline). Though most people think of yoga when they hear the word ‘meditation,’ the practice may include walking, gardening, or other gentle forms of movement. It is essentially just an active form of meditation where the movement guides you into a deeper connection with your body. Other types of meditation include mindfulness, spiritual, focused, mantra, transcendental, progressive, and visualization meditation. Tai chi is a popular, gentle form of exercise that increases body awareness, cognition, improves balance, flexibility, and coordination.


If you have fibromyalgia, try eating a balanced diet.

Though research has not proven that any specific diet improves fibromyalgia symptoms, some people still report feeling better when following a set diet. This makes sense, considering that even someone in excellent health will feel better if they follow a balanced diet, so let’s go over some of those balanced nutrition principles. Fruits and vegetables should be the main staples, along with whole grains, dairy, and lean protein. Water is essential to keep our bodies hydrated, and we should eat more plants than meat. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and exercise as often as possible (while keeping it reasonable, of course!). 

A recent study showed that cutting out fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) could positively impact pain levels for people with fibromyalgia (via Healthline). Some ingredients or foods might make things worse for some individuals, like gluten or MSG (via Healthline). If some meals make you feel lethargic or increase any pain levels, track what you eat and share it with your healthcare professional to determine the best course of action. The following steps might be an elimination diet or an allergy panel if deemed necessary.


You may hear about ‘tender points,’ but they no longer indicate fibromyalgia.

At one point, doctors thought fibromyalgia would cause more pain in some regions of the body than others, specifically the back of the head, inner knees, and outer elbows. Pain can also be more elevated in the neck and shoulders, the hips, and the upper chest. Doctors formerly diagnosed fibromyalgia by applying pressure to these points and evaluating the patient’s reactions. However, with more research available, doctors no longer use this as a diagnostic tool for fibromyalgia. Furthermore, they don’t use tenderness as a reliable indicator of fibromyalgia (via Medical News Today).

Pain is a very subjective term with widely varying thresholds. It also presents differently in individuals, with different people reacting differently to the same pain level. As Mr. Adam Felman stated in Medical News Today, “Instead of specific areas or points of pain, fibromyalgia is identified by the severity and chronic nature of the pain (via Medical News Today).” Keep reading to discover more information about fibromyalgia, and what to do if you have it.  


Some vitamins and supplements could also be beneficial to those who have fibromyalgia.

We have limited research available on the subject of vitamins and supplements benefiting fibromyalgia symptoms. However, researchers do know that some vitamins and herbal supplements can help with fibromyalgia symptoms in some form. At the very minimum, their effect is not detrimental to anyone’s health and cannot worsen the symptoms. For example, both vitamin D and magnesium tend to be low in individuals with fibromyalgia. Vitamin D can affect nerve and muscle function, which can logically be associated with the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. A vitamin D supplement could be a safe intervention after discussion with your healthcare professional.

SAMe, or S-adenosylmethionine, is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. You can also purchase it as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. It can help treat depression and the chronic pain that comes with osteoarthritis (via Everyday Health). In one study from the Journal of Clinical Psychology, taking SAMe offered pain relief from fibromyalgia, fatigue, and stiffness. Melatonin may be a familiar hormone, as sleep aids commonly use it. Less commonly, people may also take SAMe for depression, fatigue, and fibromyalgia (via Everyday Health). There is more research from the Mayo Clinic that you can discover about this topic.


Polymyalgia and fibromyalgia may sound similar (and even seem) similar, so how do we tell them apart?

Both polymyalgia and fibromyalgia symptoms display muscle pain, stiffness, and fatigue. However, there are significant enough differences between the two that you can tell them apart. Polymyalgia (or polymyalgia rheumatica PMR) is also a musculoskeletal condition, like fibromyalgia. However, with PMR, you would feel pain and stiffness in your shoulders, upper arm muscles, and hips. This soreness will be most prominent after resting or sleeping. Though fibromyalgia can cause pain in these areas, it is typically more widespread and severe (via Healthline). Fibromyalgia symptoms typically involve a longer list, such as extreme fatigue, sleep problems, brain fog, and gastrointestinal problems. 

Older adults (65+) typically develop polymyalgia rheumatica, which is rare in people under 50 (via Healthline). However, fibromyalgia is less selective about whom it affects, and you are already familiar with a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Doctors mainly use an elevated inflammatory blood test to diagnosis polymyalgia rheumatica. That, and the symptoms of pain in the shoulders and hips. Oddly, medical professionals diagnose polymyalgia rheumatica more frequently in specific seasons. What does that mean? There could be a link between the two that scientists should research. If there is a potentially indicating an environmental factor, there could be a way to cure it, or better treat it.