Where to Start When Newly Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia

Doctor feeling woman's lymph nodes
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It's normal to feel overwhelmed when you've been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Even if getting the diagnosis was, in some ways, a relief, it's a huge blow and a really scary time.

The good news is that now you do know what is wrong and can start figuring out what that means and how to manage it. While there's no known cure for fibromyalgia and you may always have some symptoms, with proper treatment and management, you can start to feel better and regain your quality of life.

Getting a Handle on Your Illness

One of the first things you'll want to do is gain an understanding of what's going on in your body. Then you can start making informed decisions about what direction to take next. Take a moment to review this symptoms list and learn more about the possible causes of fibromyalgia.

You're probably anxious to start exploring treatments and feeling better. Each case of fibromyalgia is different, so you'll likely need to try a lot of things before finding some that work. It's important to know that you'll likely face setbacks. Also, some treatments may only help a little. That's ok—the key is to look for several that all help some; no single treatment will take away all of your symptoms.

While you and your doctor are searching for effective treatments, there's plenty you can do on your own. Most of us need to make changes to our lifestyles and daily habits in order to make real improvements. It's normal to resist these changes. Change is always hard, and unwelcome, unasked-for change is especially difficult.

However, if you can identify and change things that make your illness more severe, the benefits are worthwhile.

It's Not All Physical

Emotionally, this is probably going to be a difficult adjustment to make. It's completely normal to go through a range of emotions and to have ups and downs. Most of us go through a type of grieving process and have to reach a place of acceptance.

If you feel like you're "stuck," at any step of this process, remember that your doctor is an important resource. He or she may be able to offer solutions or, if needed, refer you to a mental health specialist. That's something a lot of people with chronic illnesses need—not because their illness is psychological, but because living with illness is hard.

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