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"I have fibromyalgia and I am bipolor. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia at about age 15, my doctor limited all my activities and now, at age 26, I feel like I'm 80. I'm always tired and I don't know what to do to build my health back up. I have a 16-month-old son and I'd like to be around for a while. I know my health is not very good but I don't know what to do. I walk one mile each day and now I'm trying this new supplement. What else should I be doing? What would be too much?"
Our Health Guru's Answer:
FMS (fibromyalgia) is deeply connected to sleep disorders. Make certain the quality of your sleep is excellent before embarking on a rigorous exercise program. Look for an exercise program that includes time in the water initially. Also, consider beginner's level yoga, which will address the pain and lack of energy you feel.
The pain of fibromyalgia responds to a number of treatments including acupuncture, dl-phenlyalanine and a prescription medication called Lyrica. Check with your doctor to see if any of these treatments would agree with your current medications. In addition, ask your doctor about the supplement you mentioned you are taking to determine whether it is appropriate for you.
Finally, symptoms of FMS can be significantly worsened by stress, and from reading your email I am guessing that you do have stress. So I encourage you to explore stress management approaches, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and other ways of successfully coping with stress. To begin with, here is a simple step you can take. Periodically throughout the day, spend five or ten minutes sitting in a comfortable chair with your eyes closed and your feet on the floor, with your hands resting on your lap. Then gently inhale through your belly, taking in as much air as you comfortably can. (Don't strain.) Then exhale in a relaxed manner, and repeat this simple breathing process for the full five or ten minutes that you can spare each time. Not only will you find that performing this exercise will help to alleviate stress and tension in your body.
Over time, you will also notice that it improves your energy because of increased supply of oxygen you are breathing in. This exercise may also help your bipolar condition to some extent, because of the way deep breathing has been shown to promote calm and elevate mood.