(ARA) - Do you have pain and tenderness all over your body, with no obvious cause? Do you have trouble completing chores and everyday activities? For millions of Americans, these issues are a daily reality.
An estimated 6 to 12 million Americans, mostly women, suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, decreased physical function, and other non pain symptoms.
David Edelberg, M.D., founder of WholeHealth Chicago and author of the bestselling "The Triple Whammy Cure," sees patients with fibromyalgia every day, most of whom have struggled at some point to find help. Dr. Edelberg has the following tips for those who may suffer from fibromyalgia:
Describe your symptoms in detail. The way you explain your symptoms can be a critical factor in diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia, so try to be as detailed as possible. Be sure to explain the type of pain, where it occurs, when and how often you feel it, what triggers it, and how intense it is. Also describe your non pain symptoms as best as you can. Finally, tell your doctor how these symptoms affect your ability to perform basic daily activities such as lifting groceries, walking short distances, and climbing stairs.
Consider lifestyle changes. Changes in medication, diet, and exercise are also factors you and your healthcare provider may consider changing to help you manage your fibromyalgia. Although no specific diet has been shown to relieve symptoms, eating a healthy and balanced diet can give you more energy and help prevent other health problems. Fibromyalgia sufferers may also benefit from moderate exercise, such as aerobics or daily stretching. Swimming and water aerobics are also two excellent low-impact exercises. Before starting any exercise program, ask your healthcare provider about safe ways to exercise, and start slowly.
Ask about FDA-approved treatment options. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a medication specifically approved for fibromyalgia.
Find support from loved ones and others. Your family and friends are a vital support network for you, so it's important to open up and be honest about how you feel and what you need. Make it clear what you can and can't do, and talk about your pain - how it feels and what makes it worse. Ask for their understanding - and be sure to let them know how much it means to you. Also, try to find support outside your circle of loved ones. It may be helpful to join a fibromyalgia support group so you can share everything from frustrations to future hopes and goals with fellow sufferers.
Above all, try to stay positive. If you have fibromyalgia, the best thing to do is educate yourself about the condition, find a doctor you feel comfortable with, and talk to other people who have been diagnosed with the condition. To learn more about fibromyalgia, visit www.fibrotogether.com.