Do you struggle with chronic pain and fatigue due to fibromyalgia? Do you experience headaches and sleep disturbances because of this pain? You and the 10 million Americans like you can experience respite from your chronic pain through practicing meditation and yoga for fibromyalgia symptoms. At our yoga and mindfulness facility in Rancho Mirage, California, we provide classes that are perfectly suited to helping you live a life that is free from stress and pain.
Yoga For Fibromyalgia
What Causes Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
There is still much to be learned about fibromyalgia and how it manifests. The latest information tells us that some people are likely genetically predisposed to the disease, which is then triggered by acute stress or a traumatic incident like a car accident or repetitive-motion injury.
In short, fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder, but under the surface it is so much more. Flare-ups can involve severe joint and muscle pain, headaches and nausea along with severe fatigue, all of which can make the simplest of daily activities impossible.
It is often a misunderstood disease since sufferers can go days or weeks feeling perfectly fine, and then suddenly have a bad day that feels like backward progress every time. Because of the unpredictable nature of its symptoms, fibromyalgia can be very isolating, and can cause anxiety and depression as well. It tends to create a negative cycle that is difficult to get out of.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Physicians and therapists have a hard time prescribing one mode of treatment for fibromyalgia, since it is such a multi-faceted illness. Pharmaceutical drugs have been developed to treat pain and soothe the nervous system. Certain foods are believed to be a trigger for symptoms, so a healthy diet low in sugar and processed items can be helpful in preventing flare-ups. Massage and acupuncture have shown to produce results for pain and stress relief as well.
How Mindfulness Practices Can Help
Along with these tools, meditation and yoga for fibromyalgia are a perfect compliment to help manage your symptoms and cultivate freedom from chronic pain and depression. Since fibromyalgia takes a physical, mental and emotional toll on a person, yogic practices are the obvious answer, since yoga can have a positive effect on all three!
The muscle pain of fibromyalgia causes tension, which then results in shortening of muscles. In its simplest application, a gentle yoga practice can help lengthen and relax those muscles again. This can be the first step to relief from the pain of fibromyalgia.
Through brain imaging, doctors have determined that people who suffer from the disease process pain differently than those unaffected, due to hypersensitivity in the nervous system. Meditation and breathing exercises have been shown to calm the nervous system and quiet the mind.
Chronic pain causes your body to be in a constant state of fight-or-flight, which affects breathing, digestion and other basic metabolic functions. Mindfulness practices such as deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga for fibromyalgia can reduce production of stress hormones like cortisol, and help your body return to its normal rest-and-relax state.
From this state, you are better equipped to deal with pain and physical and emotional stress. Yoga and meditation essentially break up the cyclical nature of stress-pain-depression that fibromyalgia can cause.
The Best Yoga for Fibromyalgia
As with any exercise regimen, you should consult your physician before starting yoga. The best types of mindfulness practices will be ones that aim to evoke a relaxation response, which will help you battle the stress, pain and depression of fibromyalgia. Here are a few suggestions for where to start:
*Deep Stretch Yoga: allows you to slowly relax and elongate the muscles according to your body’s limits and needs.
*Body Scan Meditation: fibromyalgia can make it scary to connect with your body. Body scan meditation provides a safe, calm headspace for you to explore your body and its sensations. Cultivating comfort and awareness in your body is a great way to combat the hypersensitivity that fibromyalgia can cause.
*Restorative Yoga: uses props to support your gentle yoga poses so you can fully relax into your asana and pranayama. Maximizes the benefits of your poses without causing too much physical or mental strain.
*Yoga Nidra: improves awareness of body, mind and emotional state. Is also an amazing sleep aid.
There are a few things to think about when starting to use yoga for fibromyalgia symptoms:
*Start slowly. This will allow you to be gentle with your body and to get to know your specific limits, so you don’t exacerbate pain or cause flare-ups. Avoid strenuous poses until you have built up strength and stamina. Be patient, and allow yourself to work toward a full hour of practice. Even 5 minutes at a time to start is amazing!
*Practice yoga for fibromyalgia with an experienced teacher. We highly recommend our classes at our mindfulness facility in Rancho Mirage. Our yoga is pain- and trauma-sensitive, and you will be guided by someone who understands your specific needs. If you take a studio class, it’s best to choose gentle classes with a teacher who has plenty of experience. Be sure you let your instructor know what limitations you have so they can provide you with the appropriate modifications and props.
*Try not to eat anything at least 1-2 hours before class. This can help you avoid fibromyalgia nausea.
*Stay warm. If necessary, take a warm bath before you practice, and wear warm clothing. Muscles relax and lengthen more easily when they’re warm, and you want to be as comfortable as possible so you can focus on physical and mental release.
*Even on days when you don’t feel up to a physical asana practice, sitting quietly for at least a few minutes each day and concentrating on your breath can do wonders for your day. This will improve your ability to deal with pain and keep your head clear. It will also soothe your nervous system so stress won’t intensify your symptoms.
A gentle, mindful approach to treatment is important for all fibromyalgia sufferers. A safe, supportive environment like the one we provide at our stress prevention center in Rancho Mirage is ideal for achieving freedom from stress and pain. Meditation and yoga for fibromyalgia might be the best thing you can do for yourself! Take a look at our offerings and come visit us today!