Fibromyalgia, Overcoming Early Morning Aches and Pains

I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) about seven years ago – yes, guys can have fibromyalgia too. Seven years ago, I thought my life would never be the way I wanted it to be. But now, I live a happy, comfortable, and rewarding life. It took some marvelous counseling and tons of hours studying about fibromyalgia to get to where I feel this way. Okay, to get to the point, one of my biggest challenges was getting out of bed on those days when I woke up feeling-pain-all-over and so fatigued that I just wanted to give up and let life pass by. To cut a long story short, I found a simple activity that has significantly helped me to move-on once I wake up with morning pain and fatigue along with that feeling of helplessness. Maybe it can help you too.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a complex disorder that frequently causes an “ache all over” feeling. From time to time FMS patients wake up in the morning feeling the pain throughout their whole body and say to themselves, “There’s no way I can get out of bed this morning!” But wait, the kids need help getting ready for school and there’s the job I need to prepare for or maybe it’s simply a matter of things need to be done. So how does a person with FMS get on track on these difficult days?

To begin, the following is a short list of things you can do to aid that early morning task of getting up.

1. Start every night with preparations for waking up. If you want to be warm and cozy when you wake up then make sure you have adequate cover. If you are having a hard time once you stand up then try moving a high backed chair to your bedside to give you support as you gain balance and strength.

2. Set the alarm to give you plenty of time to do a few stretches while still in bed (to be described later). The last thing you need is to be pressured for time.

3. Invite other people in the house to help you with your early morning plans. You will need to express your morning challenge with fibromyalgia to others and share with them how they can help. This may include your kids. Do they have their own alarm clocks? Are their cloths set out the night before? Ask them how they think they can help, it may surprise you what a 10 year old wants to do.

4. Utilize aromatic therapeutics. This may include applying a simple splash of scent to your pillow. We all have favorite scents that bring good thoughts. For me, I like to use a little jasmine oil on the back side of my hand. When I wake up, I smell the pleasing fragrance of the jasmine. It makes me feel good! Do you like coffee? If so, use a coffee maker with an automatic setting so when you get up you smell the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

5. If you have to fix breakfast for others then set everything out the night before. This simple task can reduce early morning stress and allow you a few minutes more to get ready for the day.

Now to get to the crux of getting up and moving on, I’ll describe some simple stretches that work for me. For some, these may be difficult and even painful. Remember, don’t overdue it, pain does not mean gain. Do the best you can and be satisfied with that. Over time these simple stretches will become easier.

Try to get comfortable while lying on your back. If you use a CPAP, remove it. Try to relax by allowing your shoulders to sink into the bed with your arms beside your body and resting on the bed. I find that doing each stretch 3 to 5 times is adequate for me, but you may wish to do each one more or less. We will start with the feet and work up.

1. Point your toes towards your chin. You will feel the calf muscles stretch, hold it for 5 seconds and return your toes to there normal position. Now point your toes towards the end of the bed and hold it for 5 seconds. Concentrate on feeling the calf muscles contract and stretch as you perform this stretch.

2. Place the heel of the right foot on top of the left knee. Stretch by lowering the right knee towards the bed. Hold for 5 seconds. Now switch heels and repeat with the other leg. Don’t use your hands to force the knee closer to the bed.

3. While still lying flat on your back, tighten the muscles in your buttocks. Hold those muscles tight for 5 seconds and then relax.

4. While keeping your buttocks and shoulders firmly on the bed, lift your tummy towards the ceiling. Your spine should rise from the bed. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds. Be sure to relax between each repetition.

5. Grasp your right elbow with your left hand. Place your right hand onto your left shoulder and pull. Do not turn your body, keep your shoulders flat on the bed and don’t over stretch. Switch hands and repeat.

6. Keeping your shoulders flat on the bed, lift your head bringing your chin near your chest. Slowly turn your head to the right and hold this position for 5 seconds. Return your head to the chin-near-the-chest position and slowly lower your head to the bed. Now repeat turning to the other side. Pillows are optional. Did you hear a lot of cracking when you turned your head to the side?

Once you have finished stretching in bed, climb out of bed, don’t delay. If you can, continue with a few stretches while standing. This is where the high backed chair my help by using it as support. Bring your arms over your head and reach for the ceiling. If you need to, support one hand on the chair and reach with the other, then switch.

Start the morning with a healthy beginning by making a promise to yourself that you will greet each family member with a smile. You can beat fibromyalgia’s early morning aches and pains. Now move on.

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