Here are five common "no no's" people mistakenly do when trying to manage fibromyalgia. Do any sound like you?
1. Exercising Too Much or Too Little
Fibromyalgia reflects an energy crisis in your body, so you can only exercise to a certain point. Beyond that, you get what is called "postexertional fatigue," where you feel completely wiped out the next day. Be careful to avoid this as it can discourage you from the moderate exercise that is vital to healing fibromyalgia.
On the other hand, insufficient exercise results in deconditioning and clearly can worsen your ability to function.
So what level of exercise is right? If you feel tired but good afterwards, and better still the next day, then you exercised the right amount. But if you feel like you were "hit by a truck," then you did too much. Start with a light walking program. Wear a pedometer to see your progress and try to build up over time to 10,000 steps a day by adding a minute each day.
2. Not Knowing When to Say "No"
Being too agreeable to things you don't really want to do is a major stress that aggravates people with fibromyalgia. Try more often to allow yourself to say "no" when what is being asked of you doesn't feel good.
3. Not Listening When Your Body Tells You It's in Pain
Widespread muscle pain is one of the most dominant symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. When you feel pain, remember that that's your body's protective system signaling you that something needs attention. Don't dismiss the pain or try to "play through it." Instead learn how to manage fibromyalgia-related pain using a comprehensive approach. The S.H.I.N.E. Protocol is my recommended approach to this as it can guide you systematically through the 5 key areas that you need to address.
4. Eating Excessive Sugar
Eating excessive sugar (especially in sodas or fruit juices) can severely flare fibromyalgia by worsening adrenal exhaustion and Candida/yeast overgrowth. Eat a high-protein diet and substitute Stevia or Saccharin for sugar. Sugar-free ice cream with Splenda and sugar-free chocolates with maltitol are also okay (in small amounts). Dark chocolate can actually improve fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms!
5. Not Getting Enough Sleep
It may seem counterintuitive, but people with fatigue-related illnesses, such as fibromyalgia, often get too little sleep. Getting 8-9 hours of good quality deep sleep each night is critical to eliminating fatigue and pain. If you aren't getting enough sleep, see Sleep and Insomnia to learn about nutritional support, sleep habit changes, and medications that can help you.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.