Because the cause of fibromyalgia is unfortunately still unknown, it’s hard to tell whether or not fibromyalgia is a preventable disease. Things like physical trauma, surgery, infection, and deep-rooted psychological stress can cause a flare-up in fibromyalgia symptoms, but this isn’t true in all cases.
There also seems to be a potential link between low serotonin levels and fibromyalgia, as well as insomnia (which leads to low serotonin levels) and fibromyalgia. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about this; if you are a woman, you could also talk to your doctor about new research regarding potential links between fibromyalgia and menopause. Some research speculates that the chemical and hormonal changes during menopause can jumpstart fibromyalgia.
People who have a family member with fibromyalgia are eight times more likely to develop fibromyalgia themselves. While knowing your medical history won’t keep you from getting fibromyalgia, it might help you to be a little more proactive in your own wellness and self-care.
People who aim for a healthy, well-rounded sleep schedule, diet, and make efforts to preempt stress and anxiety may have a slighter chance of developing fibromyalgia. The potential genetic correlation, however, suggests this is unlikely. You can, though, effectively try to preempt a fibromyalgia flare-up.
Getting enough sleep is key to feeling better and preventing a flare-up. It is difficult, because sleep is naturally elusive when you have fibromyalgia, but there are some good guidelines to get a good night’s sleep: have a regular sleep schedule; avoid alcohol and caffeine in the late afternoon; exercise regularly during the daytime, but don’t exercise within three hours of bedtime; don’t nap during the day if you can avoid it, but if you do need a nap, don’t nap for more than an hour; only use your bed for sleeping, not for watching TV, reading a book, or working on a laptop; create a dark, quite, cool environment in your bedroom; do some sort of wind-down activity before bedtime such as taking a warm bath (which can also help relieve sore muscles!) or listening to soft music.
Exercise can also help your body ward off a fibromyalgia attack. It’s hard to get up and exercise when your body already hurts – if daily activities are already hard, how can I possibly exercise? – but it’s vital to keep your body moving as much as possible. Repeatedly, studies have shown that exercise is one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Begin with walking or other gentle exercises – exercising in a swimming pool is a great way to get your muscles moving, but the water ensures that it is extremely low-impact – and as you develop your strength and stamina, you can slowly increase the intensity and endurance of your exercises.
Eating well can also help you feel better. There are no diet guidelines for people with fibromyalgia, but anecdotes from people with fibromyalgia suggests that certain foods can cause a fibromyalgia flare-up in certain people. Learn what works with your body and eat for health. Having a well-rounded diet, particularly a vegan diet, leads to overall health in everyone, and it’s important that you have a good, healthy foundation that can help you stay strong and resilient when combating fibromyalgia.