Fibromyalgia And Depression Often Go Hand In Hand

Fibromyalgia And Depression

Fibromyalgia And Depression
Fibromyalgia And Depression

Fibromyalgia And Depression Often Go Hand In Hand

If you are living with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, it should probably come as no surprise to you that fibromyalgia and depression often go hand in hand. Many people with fibromyalgia suffer from more than the physical symptoms associated with the disease but also suffer from emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety. 

The reasons why these things are related are not yet completely clear and yet researchers are actively trying to find the connection.

Scientific Reasons Why Fibromyalgia And Depression Might Be Related

The fact that depression and fibromyalgia related is indisputable. What scientists do not yet know for sure is why the two are so intricately intertwined. Some believe that the answer lies in the neurotransmitters in your brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers produced in the brain that have functions throughout the body. There are many different kinds of neurotransmitters that function in different areas of the brain. The neurotransmitter that doctors are looking at when it comes to fibromyalgia and depression is called serotonin.

Serotonin is produced by the brain and is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for having an improved mood. People who do not make enough serotonin will feel both depressed and anxious. In some research studies, it has been discovered that people with fibromyalgia also do not have enough serotonin in their brain.

Whether the lack of serotonin also contributes to the perception of pain is not yet clear. The lack of serotonin in the brain may be causing both depressive symptoms and the fibromyalgia symptoms.

This may be why people with fibromyalgia experience a reduction in pain when they take antidepressants that raise serotonin levels. Many of the older antidepressants, called tricyclic antidepressants, are often used in chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia with some success in lifting both the depression and easing the pain.

The newer antidepressants have a lesser connection to pain relief but are used in some people with fibromyalgia to treat depressive symptoms. The newer antidepressants have fewer side effects than the older antidepressants but they are beneficial in people who have fibromyalgia associated with depression.

It also explains why people with fibromyalgia get some relief of their pain when they take 5 HTP. This is a compound that is a precursor to serotonin and may increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Taking five HTP is generally considered as being safe and, if it raises serotonin levels, there will be an improvement in both depressive symptoms and in fibromyalgia symptoms. 

Things You Can Do To Improve Depression And Fibromyalgia Symptoms

When you live with the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, just the pain alone may trigger you to be depressed. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve both your symptoms of pain and symptoms of depression.

Some things you can do include the following:

  • Have a gentle exercise routine. Having fibromyalgia does not mean you cannot exercise. Even gentle stretching exercises will ease your pain and improve your mood. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are East Asian forms of exercise that are known to decrease stress, improve your mood, and improve your perception of pain. You can learn these forms of exercise at your local health club or through DVDs; you buy on the Internet or at a store. They are gentle on the joints and have emotional advantages over other types of exercises you might do.
  • Take an antidepressant or supplement with 5 HTP. As mentioned above, people with fibromyalgia tend to have less pain and less depressive symptoms if they have higher levels of serotonin in their brain. If you choose to take five HTP, you can get it at a pharmacy or health store. If you decide to take an antidepressant medication, you will need a prescription from your doctor in order to take it. Do not take 5 HTP and an antidepressant together as that can be too much.
  • Reduce stress levels. Fibromyalgia is known to be worse under situations of increased stress. The more you can do to decrease your stress levels, the better your depression will be, and the less pain you will perceive.
  • See a therapist that can help you deal with the emotional consequences of chronic pain and all the lifestyle side effects that you may endure because of your fibromyalgia. Positive affirmations can help you reset your mind and empower you by changing your perceptions of pain and how your life is affected by it. Your perception is key in improving your outlook towards the positive that in turn helps alleviate and prevent depression. Stay well and take care!

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Tips To Improve Your Emotional And Mental State When Living With Chronic Pain

Tips To Improve Your Emotional And Mental State When Living With Chronic Pain

Improve Your Emotional And Mental State
Improve Your Emotional And Mental State

Improve Your Emotional And Mental State

Dealing with chronic pain can exact a toll on your emotional and mental state of being. You may be constantly stressed by your pain and may even suffer from depression because the pain is affecting all areas of your life and your ability to do the normal activities of daily living.

There are ways to improve your emotional and mental state when you are living with chronic pain. Here are some tips that may help you:

  • Use a heating blanket. Chronic pain is often made worse when you are exposed to the cold. If you snuggle under a heating blanket, especially with a good book, you can lift your spirits and improve your emotional state. When you are more comfortable, you think less of your chronic pain and can feel emotionally better.
  • Have a massage. Make sure the massage therapist knows you are dealing with chronic pain and ask them to give you a gentle massage. Massages are known to reduce pain and decrease stress levels. When you are more comfortable and have been properly pampered, you will feel better physically and emotionally.
  • Practice yoga. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that is good for people who have chronic pain just as much as it is good for people who do not have chronic pain. Choose a style of yoga, such as Hatha yoga, that is gentle on your joints and the rest of your body. The practice of yoga will relax you and will make you feel better on a physical and emotional level.
  • Positive affirmations. Use positive affirmations to reprogram your mind towards a positive mindset. Affirmations can help you accept your life as it is and this means more peace of mind and a better quality of life.
  • Practice qi gong. This is another ancient form of exercise brought to the West from ancient China. Initially a form of martial arts, it is a good form of exercise for people who have chronic pain. It involves smooth, fluid movements and is simple enough that anyone can learn it and it can even be practiced by those who cannot even get out of bed because of their pain. It is known to reduce stress and improve emotional health.
  • Attend a support group. Many large hospitals and HMOs have support groups for people who have chronic pain and other maladies. When you can share your story of chronic pain with others and get support around dealing with chronic pain, you feel better and you know that you are not alone in your struggle with pain.
  • Practice meditation. Mediation requires no physical activity at all and can be done sitting up or lying down. While focusing on relaxing your muscles and controlling your breath, your stress level goes way down and you feel more relaxed. This results in less thought about your chronic pain and more inner peace. The best part about mediation is that anyone can learn it and it can be done just about anywhere.
  • See a therapist or counselor. When you are dealing with chronic pain, it often causes depression and anxiety. These things can easily be managed when you find a compassionate therapist who can hear your concerns about the pain you are experiencing and can help you devise coping skills that can be practiced on a daily basis to improve your spirits and enhance your mental health.
  • Think about an antidepressant. See your doctor about taking an antidepressant if you are suffering from chronic pain and it is effecting your mental and emotional state. Some of the older, antidepressants, called tricyclic antidepressants, have been found to be useful for people who have pain issues as well as depressive issues. Even some of the newer SSRI antidepressants have been successfully used by people with chronic pain in order to relieve underlying depression associated with having pain every day.
  • Practice Tai chi. This is an ancient form of Chinese martial arts. It is now a practice mainly used for healing. It involves doing fluid movements in tune with your breath and has been known to reduce stress, improve balance, and improve perceptions of pain in those who are dealing with chronic pain.

Read more about it in this great book.

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