So you’ve just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The big question on your mind: is fibromyalgia progressive? While most doctors suggest that it is not a progressive or degenerative condition, it is characterized by long and frequent flare-ups that recur over time, so it may still feel like it’s getting worse.
Is Fibromyalgia Progressive?
Although fibromyalgia is often a lifelong condition, it is not progressive. This means that it does not get worse with time and does not cause any kind of lingering damage to your joints, muscles, or organs.
Even though your body isn’t actually deteriorating, it often feels like your quality of life is getting worse because you cannot do the same things you used to do. Because of how irregular fibromyalgia flare-ups can be, it can be difficult to establish any kind of routine and consistency.
When your symptoms are changing daily, it’s common to feel like you have to come to terms with your limitations and condition again and again.
How to Deal With Fibromyalgia Symptoms
If you’ve been wondering, “Is fibromyalgia progressive?” because you feel like your symptoms are getting worse, you need to be proactive in addressing your symptoms.
The best thing you can do when it comes to dealing with your symptoms is to take the time time to slow down and identify what level of consistent activity won’t cause your body to flare up. This is different for each person depending on their specific situation.
It is so easy to put too much on your plate without even realizing it. Figure out how active you are each month and then divide that by half to start with. Give yourself more free time than you feel you need.
You can always add more activity, but when you’re exhausted you’re not as equipped to deal with pain. Set firm boundaries, both with yourself and others, to make sure that your rest days really are rest days.
Instead of doing activities that put a strain on your body, leaving you frustrated and feeling worse, choose activities that are easier on your body and your mind. You can choose more relaxed forms of exercise or meet up with friends somewhere it’s easier for you to get to.
Pace Yourself, Especially When You Feel Good
Staying active is an important part of staying healthy, but when you’re dealing with fibromyalgia it’s more important than ever to know your body’s limits and not push yourself beyond them.
When you’re having a good day, there’s often a compulsion to try and fit as much as possible into it before your body starts feeling bad again, but that is exactly what can lead to flare-ups.
Pushing your body beyond its limits can cause your flare-ups to be more intense or more frequent until the good days aren’t as good as they used to be.
Start Tracking Your Symptoms
When you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it’s essential to spend some time really getting to know your body and how it reacts because every person struggling with this condition reacts differently.
While you may want to rely entirely on your medical team, if you’ve been dealing with your condition for a while you know that doctors can only help you so much. At a certain point, the onus is on you to take charge of your condition. This can be both frustrating and empowering.
better handle on your condition is by keeping a diary where you note your activities and any corresponding symptoms. While it may feel tedious at first, you’ll start to identify patterns that can help you recognize when a flare-up may be coming on and possibly even avoid it.
We recommend using a symptom log (like this one!), that you can tailor to your needs. Keep track of any symptoms that occur easily in the daily two-page spreads. You can look back through your symptoms each week or month to figure out what may be exacerbating your condition more than helping.
Focus on Reducing Stress
Stress is often identified as a trigger for fibromyalgia symptoms. Taking steps to minimize stress can improve your overall quality of life. We know that things like yoga, exercise, sleep, and meditation have been proven to reduce stress and improve quality of life.
When you start to feel stressed, taking a few deep breaths and exhaling slowly can help relax your body and mind. You can also identify certain activities that you enjoy or that you know to reduce stress for you; when you feel stress coming on, engage in those activities.
If you’re asking yourself, “Is fibromyalgia progressive?” don’t worry. It is not progressive or degenerative. Because you may experience long-lasting flare-ups over time, it can often feel like your condition is getting worse, but you can follow the steps we’ve listed to help keep your condition under control.