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4 Simple Changes to Regain Your Life from Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrom

By Lee Berlemann

According to the American College of Rheumatology,

Fibromyalgia affects 3 to 6 million Americans. Other sources

say the total number affected could be 8 million people. It

primarily occurs in women of childbearing age, but children,

the elderly, and men can also be affected. (Approximately 80

percent to 90 percent of affected people are women.)

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by fatigue

and widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons.

At first, it was not considered an illness at all. Doctors

could not find any thing wrong with patients so they

believed it to be psychosomatic.

Slowly that dismissive view is changing. Published research

at Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania and other top

research facilities points to immune dysfunction and cardiac

abnormalities in these illnesses. It is difficult to believe

that some doctors still regard people with Fibromyalgia and

chronic fatigue syndrome as nothing more than "extremely

worried well people".

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or chronic fatigue and immune

dysfunction syndrome, CFIDS) is a chronic, often

debilitating disorder of unknown cause characterized by

fatigue, pain and cognitive disorders. Often severe

cognitive complaints differentiate the syndrome from similar

disorders and usually occur in a later stage of the disease.

There is no evidence to sustain the thought that CFS or

Fibromyalgia is a contagious disease. Contagious diseases

typically occur in well-defined clusters, either as

outbreaks or epidemics.

What Causes Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Asking what causes Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome

can be a tricky question, depending on whom you ask. Doctors

and researchers believe there is not a single cause of

Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. At this point

doctors are just not sure what causes these illnesses.

While the cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers have

several hypotheses about causes or what triggers the

illness. Some scientists believe that the syndrome may be

caused by an injury or trauma. This injury may affect the

central nervous system.

Fibromyalgia may be associated with changes in muscle

metabolism, such as decreased blood flow, causing fatigue

and decreased strength. Others believe an infectious agent

such as a virus in susceptible people may trigger the

syndrome, but no such agent has been identified.

Research proposes that CFS may be caused by an immunologic

dysfunction or altered capacity of certain immune functions.

One thing is certain at this time: there are no immune

disorders in CFS or Fibromyalgia patients traditionally

affiliated with disease.

That suggests a different approach is needed to reach the

state of health you want.

4 Simple Changes to Shift Your Life From Fibromyalgia or CFS

Many studies have indicated that a healthy lifestyle

including diet, exercise, relaxation techniques and

sufficient sleep offer the most effective approaches for

reducing fatigue and pain from CFS and Fibromyalgia.

1. Nutrition/Diet

A common thread in many cases seems to be a tendency to feel

better when refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, fried foods,

red meat, and highly processed foods, are kept to a sound

personal minimum in the diet.

Try supplementing your current diet with greater quantities

of raw or lightly cooked fruits and vegetables. Try

substituting meats that are high in fat with fish or lean

poultry. Drink plenty of water and take a good vitamin

supplement to ensure that you are getting proper nutrition.

2. Quality Sleep: Seven Ways to Become Sleeping Beauty

This is perhaps the most important component of treating

CFS/FM. The following tips will help you achieve more

restful sleep. Try to follow as many of them as possible to

obtain the best level of sleep you can:

Try to go to bed earlier and at the same time everyday.

Even on weekends, try to go to bed and wake at the same

time. This will help your body get used to a set schedule

and provide for a more restful sleep.

Try to avoid any caffeine-containing beverages such as

coffee or soda before going to bed. It is a stimulant that

will keep you awake at night. Also, alcohol drinking should

be kept to a minimum in Fibromyalgia sufferers.

Don't eat a lot before bedtime. Generally, try not to eat

within two hours of going to bed. Particularly avoid spicy

or fatty foods and try to keep your "midnight snacks" to a

minimum.

Ensure that you have a comfortable mattress and pillow.

Sometimes, people's poor sleeping habits stem from poor

mattresses. What constitutes a comfortable bed is different

for us all. Usually something that is not too firm and not

too soft should be acceptable. Cervical pillows mold to the

natural shape of your neck and eliminate any unwanted

stresses on the muscles of your neck and upper back.

Choosing the appropriate bed and pillow is often done by

trial and error. Find the combination that gives you the

most restorative sleep and stick with it.

A regular exercise program will help you have a more deep

and refreshing sleep on a consistent basis.

Try and avoid daytime naps. By doing so you will be more

tired at night and be able to sleep deeper, thereby waking

up more refreshed. Naps may seem like they provide more

sleep time, but they are counterproductive to getting rest.

Naps during the day will affect how well you will sleep

during the night and it gets the body out of sync with the

regular sleep pattern, leading to insomnia at night.

Keep a proper sleeping environment. This involves a quiet

and cool room. A slightly cooler room is ideal for sleeping

since this mimics your internal temperature drop during

sleep and silence is more conducive to sleep.

3. Exercise: You Can Be More Than A Couch Potato

Many studies have indicated that exercise is the most

effective component in managing Fibromyalgia, and patients

must expect to undergo a long-term exercise program.

Physical activity prevents muscle atrophy, increases a sense

of well-being, and over time reduces fatigue and pain

itself. Be sure to consult your physician before beginning

any exercise program.

4. Relaxation Techniques: Even When You're In Pain

Relaxation and stress-reduction techniques are proving to be

helpful in managing chronic pain. There is certainly

evidence that people with Fibromyalgia have a more stressful

response to daily conflicts and encounters than those

without the disorder. A number of relaxation and stress-

reduction techniques have proven to be helpful in managing

chronic pain:

"Deep breathing exercises.

"Muscle relaxation techniques.

"Meditation.

"Hypnosis.

"Biofeedback.

"Massage therapy.

Your goal with these lifestyle suggestions is to modify the

choices that are within your control. But obviously, many

things in your life are not in your control and impact you

on many different levels. But, you CAN gain control over

these areas too.


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