Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia? Here Are Your First Steps

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Coping and Acceptance

It’s easy to feel anger toward yourself, thinking “maybe if I only took better care of my health….” You might feel distress that doctors didn’t recognize your condition earlier. But the truth is, there isn’t anything you could have done differently to prevent the onset of fibromyalgia. This realization might lead you to experience some level of depression. Should your thoughts lead to self-harm, talk to your doctor immediately.

The goal in coping is accepting your new normal. Remember, acceptance is not giving in; it shows strength. It is the ability to own your condition and take control of your life with respect to your body’s limitations.

Coordinate Your Healthcare Team

Now that you have concrete details about what you are dealing with, you should contact each of your healthcare providers and make sure they all connect with each other. Chances are you already have a primary physician, a neurologist or rheumatologist who diagnosed you, a pain treatment specialist, a psychologist or other therapist, and possibly a physical therapist. Building this network of communication will keep everyone aware of your latest medication regimens, changes in condition, and what treatment successes you may have experienced.

Develop a Pain Management Routine

Taking a whole body approach, work with your healthcare providers to develop a successful program for keeping your pain at bay. This routine might include some type of exercise, relaxation techniques like meditation and massage, biofeedback, and physical therapy. If you’ve never tried a therapy before, like deep breathing or acupuncture, don’t be afraid to ask questions about how it works and how it may help.

Educate Yourself

Get to know how fibromyalgia affects your body, and learn how each medication fights it. This knowledge will help you communicate clearly with your healthcare providers about the effectiveness of medications and therapies and how they can be altered. It also helps you prepare for the onset of sporadic symptoms like brain fog.

Educate Your Friends and Family

You’re not in this alone. The people you spend time with, whether they are family, co-workers, or friends, want to do the right thing. It’s hard for them to understand the level of pain you are experiencing or comprehend what it means to have chronic pain. Rather than letting them feel frustrated in not knowing how to help, educate them on your condition and the details that are specific to you. Direct them to articles, blogs, and other literature about fibromyalgia. Let them support you equipped with the tools to do it well.

Now you understand your condition and know how to treat and manage it. Life may have changed, but it’s not over. You are still you.

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