Important things to consider

If I had to make a “to do” list for FM patients, it would be the following:

Get a sleep study! Sleep disturbance is a symptom and if you have any issues, getting them addressed will certainly help. A sleep study is a lot like going to a hotel for a night. They hook you up to monitors and you go to bed. They usually have a private bathroom for you to shower in the morning.

Make yourself comfortable. My recliner may not be feng shui, but it is my comfort zone. It points right at the TV so that my neck is not turned. Not doing this makes my neck hurt and causes the pain to roll on through. It may seem prima donna, but it cuts the pain back. Not to plug any specific brand, but La Z Boy is really the only way to go.

Be grateful for those who have tolerated you, even if they haven’t been graceful about it. Dealing with someone who has chronic pain is never fun. Make it up to those who still love you. Also, it’s hard to be selfless when you’re drowning, and chronic pain has a similar effect. Know this and try to compensate. Do nice things, it can help get your mind off of your own problems.

Find a positive, and preferably active, hobby or sport. Put yourself into it and have fun. For me it has been mountain biking. Granted, it is recent developments in technology that have allowed me to enjoy the sport. I couldn’t have done it 5 years ago, the technology just wasn’t there. Look at the bike section for further info. The challenge is finding sports that do not further inflame your pain. You just have to try them out for a bit. The pain from a good workout feels great in comparison to FM pain.

Find a professional to talk to. Not a pill dispenser, an honest to goodness human ear. You need someone who is properly equipped to listen to your problems and can help you. Find someone who specializes in chronic pain. Your friends and family may mean well, but they could easily send you down the wrong road. Sure, your plumber may be able to rebuild your car’s engine, but if the motor blows up, who do you really have to blame?

Get a pet that makes you happy! Don’t go willy nilly and grab up the first pet you see, do some looking and research it a bit. I have a dog we rescued who lowered my blood pressure by 15-20 points. Choose a lover of an animal, you need affection and not further stress from an overactive pet. A rambunctious pet will not sooth you. Adopt a young adult pet if you can, you can see their developed personality.

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