LIFE & HEALTH CHALLENGES

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is an illness characterised primarily by pain across the body, usually described as aching, stiffness and tenderness. There can also been extreme fatigue or tiredness and sleep abnormalities. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from day to day. Symptoms may disappear for extended periods of time, perhaps even years.

And, even if a chronic illness isn’t curable, there’s much that people can do to improve their overall health and sense of wellbeing.

Living with a chronic health condition profoundly impacts our quality of life and our ability to participate fully in our relationships and life activities in general. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, helpless or worried about the future as there may be unexpected challenges, including family and relationship issues, alterations in body image and fluctuating energy levels, that also impact on our sense of self.

We can’t always change the outcome of a disease, but we can change the way in which we experience that outcome, and there’s much we can do to improve our health and create an environment for profound healing.

What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can vary from mild to severe. The most common symptoms are:
• increased sensitivity to pain due to a decreased pain threshold
• increased responsiveness to sensory stimuli such as heat, cold, light and smell
• extreme fatigue (tiredness)
• problems with memory and concentration (fibro fog)
• problems with sleep.

Less common symptoms may include:
• irritable bowel syndrome
• irritable or overactive bladder
• headaches
• numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
• anxiety and depression.

Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms. Each person with Fibromyalgia will have their own unique set of symptoms.
The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can vary from day to day. Symptoms may disappear for extended periods of time, perhaps even years.

How to deal with Fibromyalgia

Discussing all aspects of the disease and treatment with doctors and specialists is essential so you can work out a way to manage your symptoms and find out what works best for you. Consider consulting with an integrative or lifestyle medicine practitioner who can assist you with a holistic approach to managing your symptoms and/or recovery.
You’ll benefit by learning how to:
• Live with the physical effects of the illness
• Minimise side-effects from treatments
• Make sure there is clear communication with doctors
• Maintain emotional balance to cope with negative feelings
• Gain deep restful sleep
• Maintain confidence and positive sense-of-self.

Immediate help

• Speak with your GP or other trusted and qualified health professional.
• For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It can take time to discover the best treatment for each person, so it’s best to work closely with your (holistic) GP or other trusted and qualified health professional to find what works for you.

In addition, complementary treatments are now widely acknowledged as being integral to a person’s healing regimen. When we actively engage in a fulfilling life and take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we create the ideal physiology in which our health can be regained or improved.

Factors that contribute to a positive healing outcome

Many factors contribute to a positive healing outcome for people with Fibromyalgia. These factors can help you begin or continue your journey of recovery:
• Addressing physical as well as the emotional distress, isolation and frustration that may accompany a chronic illness
• Improving exercise and sleep levels along with other healthy lifestyle practices
• Guidance in managing the emotional rollercoaster of exhaustion, frustration and isolation
• Improving your nutrition and ability to manage stress as both these impact considerably on your microbiome (gut bacteria) which is the foundation of your immune system
• Meditation and living mindfully can stimulate your immune system to function optimally
• Rest and patience are essential components of recovery

Toolkit

Some of these practices can help you to calm your mind and improve your wellbeing and are found on our Toolkit page:
• Keys to improving the quality of your sleep
• Meditation practices
• The Four Cs – Keys to peace of mind and resilience
Some of Petrea King’s Podcasts may be helpful and can be found on our Podcast page:
• Dealing with a difficult diagnosis
• Relax better and reduce stress using mindfulness
• Eating well in times of stress
• Talking Lifestyle Radio: Petrea’s life and Quest’s approach to healing

Wellbeing Resources

Wellbeing books including Your Life Matters – a guidebook for life and Food for Life by Petrea King
Meditations including Be Calm, Sleep, Learning to Meditate

How Quest for Life can help

While medical teams focus on eradicating disease, Quest for Life’s focus is on empowering people to heal. Quest for Life can help through our residential programs and 1-day workshops.

Our 5-day residential Taking Control of Chronic Pain nourishes, educates and supports you to adopt a healthy lifestyle which creates an environment for profound healing. You’ll learn about the factors that contribute to a positive healing outcome.

Quest for Life knows how to help: our internal research results show that participants feel better after attending a program and that this improvement increases over time.

Chemical-free environment

At Quest we recognise that many people being treated for chronic illness may have chemical sensitivities. No chemicals are used in the grounds or buildings at Quest to ensure a safe and healthy environment for people with life-threatening illnesses.

If you’re living with Fibromyalgia, fill in the Contact Form below and one of our Program Advisors will be in touch to answer your questions or to ascertain the most appropriate program for your needs.