Fibromyalgia: Tips to manage the painful health condition post Covid-19
- Troubled by frequent muscular pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances post Covid? It could be due to a chronic health condition called fibromyalgia which is affecting a lot of post Covid patients. An expert suggests ways to manage it.
Post Covid-19, if you are experiencing a number of health troubles from joint pain, fatigue, memory issues or sleep trouble, you could be suffering from fibromyalgia, a chronic health condition which is increasingly affecting people who have recently recovered from the deadly infection.
Many patients who suffered from Covid-19 not long back, are being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that is characterized by widespread and chronic pain in bones, muscles and ligaments. It is often accompanied by chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, irritable bowel disease, depression, and anxiety.
It is not easy to diagnose the disease as there is no specific test for it. The health condition affects more women than men. Obesity, treatment with supplemental oxygen and intensive care unit (ICU) admission are the other risk factors for developing fibromyalgia.
"The cause of fibromyalgia is yet to be fully understood. Preliminary evidence suggests that several disease-specific mechanisms may explain the pathophysiology of this musculoskeletal syndrome, including virus-induced injury to blood vessel lining or neuromuscular structures, immunological derangement and smouldering inflammation that occur due to COVID infection," says Dr Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.
Fibromyalgia is not a life-threatening disease and with certain modifications in lifestyle like exercise, limiting alcohol, meditation or diet changes, a person can recover over a period of time.
"Worries over Covid-19 can cause undue stress which is a big trigger of fibromyalgia flares, and it can worsen symptoms like sleep problems, pain, and depression," says Dr. Goel.
Here are some techniques suggested by Dr. Goel to ease stress and fibromyalgia symptoms:
Relax: Meditate or practice deep breathing for a few minutes each day. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation exercises involving all the muscles of hands, belly and legs.
Stay active: Exercise helps to relieve fibromyalgia pain and stiffness. Take a walk, ride a bike, or do another aerobic exercise that you feel comfortable with. You can also practice yoga which combines deep breathing with gentle movements.
Limit alcohol: Excess alcohol can disrupt your sleep and lead to other health problems.
Watch your diet: Avoid the temptation to eat junk food and high fats. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Get enough sleep: Go to bed at the same time every night. Before bedtime, take a warm bath or do meditation.
Find support: Social distancing might keep you away from your loved ones, but remember that they are just a phone call away.