Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a celebrity being diagnosed with a condition for people to take notice of it. This may have been the case recently as Lady Gaga revealed that her chronic pain is due to fibromyalgia. In fact, severe pain from a fibromyalgia flare-up has caused her to cancel part of her concert tour.
Fibromyalgia is hard to identify
A few core symptoms characterize fibromyalgia and are shared by most people with the condition:
- Pain in joints and muscles throughout the body, which can range from dull to burning and worsen due to circumstances like cold weather, stress, or time of day
- Small tender points on different parts of the body
- Chronic fatigue
In addition to these, there are dozens of other potential symptoms that sometimes overlap with other conditions and vary from person to person.
For a complete list, see Characteristic Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Tips to manage fibromyalgia symptoms
Because the symptoms for fibromyalgia are so varied and unique to each person, so are the ways it’s treated. After a diagnosis, you can work with your doctor(s) to create a treatment plan that will manage symptoms and make daily living easier.
A few tactics are central to nearly all fibromyalgia patients’ treatment plans to improve their quality of life and overall health:
Among its many benefits, exercise strengthens muscles, lowers stress, triggers the release of endorphins, and enables a better night’s sleep. If exercise is difficult or painful for you, consider trying low impact, gentle options like water therapy, tai chi, or yoga.
People with fibromyalgia are also more likely to have food sensitivities or related conditions that make diet choices difficult, such as irritable bowel syndrome. There’s no single diet that works for everyone with fibromyalgia, but in general people with the condition should choose anti-inflammatory foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, beans, nuts, and healthy fats like olive oil.
Many experts believe that pain can be exacerbated for those with conditions like fibromyalgia because the perception of pain causes negative thoughts and emotions, which increases suffering. People can counteract this by learning how to harness the power of the mind to alter how pain is perceived. This can include biofeedback, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy.
As for Lady Gaga, she states on her Instagram account, “As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference.”