When it comes to health, knowledge is your greatest ally. Nowhere is that more true than when you're dealing with a chronic condition, especially one as complex as fibromyalgia. That's why this book is so important to people who have this condition.
If you're like most people, finding out you have fibromyalgia is only the first small step on a long journey. The diagnosis gave you a label to apply to your pain and fatigue, and it provided an explanation for why you can't seem to get a good night's rest. It helped to explain why you had no energy for long shopping sprees and why you hurt when someone hugged you too hard. But everyday living with fibromyalgia is another story, one that is often fraught with challenges, despair, and great difficulty.
Like anything, learning to live successfully with fibromyalgia takes time and practice. At first, you may bemoan the loss of your former self. You wish you still had the energy to play tennis. You wish you didn't have so many medical appointments. You wish you could still persevere in the career that you worked so hard to build. As the reality of your illness sinks in, however, you begin to realize that changes are necessary, and that the things you do can make a major impact on how well you feel. Gradually, you come to realize that taking care of your health now takes precedence over anything else you do in your life.
With that in mind, you will naturally want to learn more about fibromyalgia. That's where a book like this comes in. In this book, we give you the information, encouragement, and practical tools you need, whether you're considering an alternative treatment for your pain or figuring out what to do about your job. We also give you the basic medical knowledge you need to talk intelligently with your doctor about your condition. In addition, we give you tips and strategies that will help make your life just a little easier. And we do all this in plain English, without a lot of complicated medical-speak.
As of now, no one has all the answers to the mysteries of fibromyalgia. For instance, we still have no idea why anyone gets fibromyalgia. What is the biological mechanism or process that sets off the condition in the first place? And why does one person have a car accident and come out okay, while another one develops fibromyalgia? Those questions are best left to scientists who are working hard to improve their understanding of this perplexing condition.
What we do know now, though, is that the way you live and the choices you make can have a huge impact on how well you cope with fibromyalgia. For instance, we know that the ability to handle daily stress and difficult emotions can make a major difference in the severity of your pain. We also know that making the time and effort to both exercise and rest every day can help improve your functioning. In addition, we know that practicing good sleep hygiene — which includes treating conditions like sleep apnea — can greatly improve your sleep, which in turn will lessen your pain and fatigue. You'll find tips for doing all these things right here in this book.
No, it's not at all easy to live with fibromyalgia and its myriad symptoms and associated conditions. But the good news is that our knowledge of this condition and the treatment options we have is growing every year. In the meantime, people who have it must learn as much as they can about fibromyalgia and then work hard to make sure they are getting the best possible care.