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Effective lifestyle changes that can help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms – The Indian Express

Occasional mild pain in any part of the body may not be a cause of concern, but when it is recurring, it requires immediate attention. As such, “if you are experiencing widespread pain on a regular basis, it’s possible that you may be suffering from a condition called fibromyalgia,” said Dr Anjali Mukerjee, a nutritionist. “Coupled with fatigue, altered sleep patterns, memory problems, and mood swings, this condition is quite common as compared to rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome,” she added.
Agreed Dr Chetan Rai, Orthopedic surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, who informed that fibromyalgia is associated with widely spread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, tiredness, and sometimes sleep disorders.
According to the experts, there can be several causes for this condition, and for those diagnosed with fibromyalgia, adopting a multi-disciplinary approach and seeking the support of family and friends, can help manage it. “At least 3 per cent of the general population suffers from the painful condition called fibromyalgia. It is characterised by generalised pain and fatigue from head to toe. However, the location and intensity of soreness changes regularly and usually tends to intensify with time,” Dr Anjali wrote in an Instagram post.
While the condition requires proper treatment, making certain lifestyle changes may help relieve the symptoms. Some of these changes include consuming antioxidant-rich foods (that decrease inflammation) like local, seasonal fruits, vegetables, millets, and pulses than consuming sugary-refined – ready to eat foods. “Include fruit smoothies, fruit juices, fresh cut fruits, cooked vegetable curries like sambars in your meals,” Sharanya Shastry, sports nutritionist, clinical dietitian Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, told indianexpress.com.
“But, first it is of utmost importance to rule out food intolerances if any. Most people with fibromyalgia tend to have gut issues or elevated inflammatory markers because they could be intolerant to gluten, dairy, some seeds, non-veg, or nuts. So, it is essential to rule this out,” pointed out Sharanya.
 
A post shared by Anjali Mukerjee (@anjalimukerjee)
 
Dr Anjali listed the following changes one may include in their day-to-day life:
*Take a hot water bath to relieve early morning stiffness, improve blood circulation, and reduce pain experienced during movements.
*Hydrate your system with fresh juices and at least eight glasses of water daily.
*Eat antioxidant-rich foods such as cabbage, carrots, spinach, garlic, and onions in the raw form to reduce tissue inflammation.
*Meet your daily protein requirements to maintain muscle mass and build strength. Eat 2-4 tbsp of flaxseed powder daily as it contains an omega-3 fatty acid that helps to reduce inflammation.
*Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they lead to sleep disturbances. “Caffeine, when consumed in larger quantities (more than 250 mg – 350 mg/day), smoking and alcohol can increase the cellular inflammation/oxidative stress in the body leading to irritability/mood swings, fatigue, deranged gut health and other problems. Hence, a moderate amount of caffeine consumption (1-2 cups of tea/coffee a day) with a strict cut down on alcohol and smoking can save you from experiencing severe fibromyalgia pain,” said Sharanya.
*Avoid fried foods and refined flour products to reduce the frequency of painful episodes. “Refined and sugary foods cause more inflammation in the body at the cellular level resulting in more abdominal discomfort, bloating, acidity, irritability, muscle fatigue or neck pain, and an unhealthy bowel,” added Sharanya.
*Incorporate calcium and magnesium in your diet through dairy products, nuts, and supplements. According to studies, women with fibromyalgia have lower levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese in hair mineral analysis. “Hence, sufficient calcium intake is important to reduce the risk of osteoporosis or fractures. Some good sources are home-set curd/buttermilk, fermented products (cabbage/fermented soya/fermented curd), cooked green leafy vegetables, seeds, lean cuts of meat, mutton leg soup (fresh, in moderation provided you’re not intolerant) can help,” added Sharanya.
*Improve your overall fitness levels through low-impact activities like swimming and walking.
*Engage in relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga and get massages to help relax cramps and relieve pain in tender points.
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