5 Fun Ways to Fight Fibromyalgia Symptoms

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Simple Self-Therapies

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Treatment regimens for fibromyalgia are generally best when they're multi-layered. But those layers don't all have to involve medications, supplements, and endless appointments with some medical practitioner. Some of them can actually be … fun.

You're doubting me, aren't you? OK, I'll prove it! I'll offer you five enjoyable ways to ease your symptoms that have scientific backing. That's right – there's evidence for all of these things.

A quick note, though, that these aren't replacements for other treatments. They're little extras that can take the edge off when you need it. Think of them as add-ons, not instead-ofs.

Here we go!

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#1 - Music: Listening or Singing

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Just 20 minutes of calmly listening to relaxing music, or even just relaxing sounds, may ease your fibromyalgia pain, according to some research.

Other research shows that it can make you less depressed and more active, as well.

It may even help with your cognitive function. A 2015 study (Sarkamo) showed that singing every day for 10 weeks improved working memory and executive function in people with Alzheimer's disease. Fibromyalgia doesn't involve dementia like Alzheimer's, but they can impair those two types of brain function.

The great thing about music is that we can listen to it just about anywhere. And you never go anywhere without your singing voice!

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#2 – Laughing

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It's not just a column in those old Reader's Digests lying around your grandma's house; laughter really is good medicine!

Sure, you know that it feels good and can brighten your mood, but what's going on in your brain and body is kind of amazing. Studies on laughter in general and for multiple ailments (but not specifically fibromyalgia) suggest that it can:

  • Lower pain,
  • Relieve stress,
  • Improve your immune health,
  • Improve blood flow,
  • Mimic the effects of exercise.

You might feel like you have precious little reason to laugh. I get that – some days, it's hard to even muster a smile. What I suggest is finding a show or podcast or type of meme that always gets you chuckling, and rely on that during the dark times.

If you truly can't find anything to make you laugh, you may have major depressive disorder. A lot of us do, and it's nothing to be ashamed about. Talk to your doctor and, if necessary, start exploring treatment options. No one should have to live that way.

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#3 – Playing Video Games

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You hear a lot about negative health effects of video games, but studies show that they can have a lot of benefits as well. Yes, researchers actually study this, and quite a bit.

With good reason, too. Video games appear to have a big impact on our brains. For example, in research on neurological illnesses, they're shown to:

  • Improve multiple types of memory,
  • Lessen symptoms of depression,
  • Improve motor skills,
  • Speed up response time,
  • Improve multitasking.

On top of all that, in fibromyalgia, they also appear to distract our brains from the constant bombardment of pain signals. They don't stop the pain, but they make you less aware of it. That's good for us, because our brains are hyper-alert to pain.

Motion-controlled video games may also offer a form of low-impact exercise that we can tailor to our own abilities.

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#4 – Having Sex

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I know, you're in pain, you don't feel good about yourself, you have no energy, you don't want to over-exert yourself…. But really, who wants to lead a sexless life?

Besides, it offers some possibly therapeutic effects. The main ones are brain-chemistry changes: oxytocin and endorphins.

Oxytocin is often called the "love hormone." It's released during sex, and it's linked to relaxation, feelings of trust, and psychological stability.

Endorphins are the "happy chemical." You release a lot of them during sex, especially orgasm. The really interesting part of endorphins, when it comes to therapeutic value, is that they work on the same receptors in your brain as opiates. That's right – they're painkillers. Free, natural, no-side-effects-or-overdose-risk painkillers.

Yes, sex can be a problem for us, but you may be able to overcome or work around a lot of issues.

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#5 – Meditation

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OK, so compared to sex and video games, meditation doesn't exactly sound "fun." However, it can be a really enjoyable activity, especially once you get the hang of it and start to feel the benefits.

Meditation helps with a lot of things, including:

  • Stress reduction,
  • Lowering blood pressure,
  • Lessening pain,
  • Improving sleep,
  • Boosting visual memory,
  • Alleviating depression.

Meditation, especially a type called mindfulness meditation, is getting more research attention and showing some promising results. 

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