When you first got your diagnosis of fibromyalgia, did you ever wish you had a guidebook to help you find your way through this ‘new normal’? Recently, I found just that.
Many of you know I use the Mayo Clinic a lot for their resources on all kinds of Wellness matters. When I saw in their newsletter that they had published a new book about fibromyalgia, Mayo Clinic Guide to Fibromyalgia, by Andy Abril, M.D. and Barbara K. Bruce, Ph.D., L.P., I went straight to Amazon to see if I could find it.
I expected a lot from a book by the Mayo Clinic, and I wasn’t disappointed. If there’s one resource I could recommend for someone who has just been diagnosed, this would be it. It’s written simply and to-the-point, and gives you practical strategies to help manage symptoms and, in their words, “return to a life that’s meaningful and enjoyable.”
This book contained so much helpful information I thought I’d share a quick review.
The book is divided into four parts, each with answers to questions we may have and practical guidelines to help us navigate through the maze of symptoms we experience with fibromyalgia.
Part 1 focuses on what fibromyalgia is, and covers topics such as its history, myths versus facts, potential causes, and the diagnosis process.
The book discusses some of the most common symptoms that we experience, including, of course, pain and fatigue, but also numbness and tingling, headaches, brain fog, sleep problems, dizziness and lightheadedness, and more.
“It’s important to remember that the symptoms you experience with Fibromyalgia are real.”
This may be one of the most empowering statements included in this section of the book for anyone who has been struggling with symptoms and trying to get answers. When we first start experiencing all these symptoms that can’t be explained, we start to feel we may be losing our minds….. This lets us know this is real – it’s a real physical issue.
The authors do an outstanding job of explaining Central Sensitization and the role the Central Nervous System plays in Fibromyalgia and other conditions caused by Central Sensitization. They also explore potential reasons Central Sensitization got started in the first place.
Part 2 is all about treating fibromyalgia. This section covers medications, as well as other approaches to pain management. The authors cover the different types of medications that can be used to treat symptoms, as well as things such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), integrative medicine, and interdisciplinary pain management programs.
They do a good job of explaining how the different medications work, how effective they are, possible side effects, and who shouldn’t take them.
“Drug therapy is rarely recommended as the only treatment for fibromyalgia’s symptoms. It may help, but it should be used as only one part of a comprehensive plan.”
Part 3 is all about managing symptoms. The authors talk about setting goals, retraining our brains, pacing, stress management, and other strategies that we all know can be effective in helping us manage symptoms.
They include sections on self-care, depression and anxiety, and addressing sleep issues.
“Managing fibromyalgia is a process, not one single act. It involves weaving together a series of wellness-related lifestyle changes that build on each other to help you manage symptoms and enjoy life again.”
Part 4, called Living with Fibromyalgia, covers subjects such as partnering with your doctor, family support, making the decision of whether or not to work, and creating an action plan for living well with fibromyalgia.
This section helps you make a personalized plan for treating your fibromyalgia and learning to live well in your ‘new normal.’
“The purpose of this section is to take what you’ve learned and put it into action.”
While this book may seem ‘too simple’ or may not seem to offer new information to some who have been living with fibromyalgia for a long time, I’d say it’s still worth the read. Sometimes we need reminders, and sometimes we need to get back to the basics.
The authors have created a resource we can use to create a treatment plan, in conjunction with our medical team, that works for us.
Although I was familiar with most things discussed, I still learned some things, and found this to be an outstanding resource. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I wish everyone who received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia would receive this book along with it. If you’d like to get your own copy, you can find it here:
As I said earlier, the Mayo Guide to Fibromyalgia is simply written and to-the-point. When we’re facing a dramatic life change such as the change fibromyalgia brings to our way of life, sometimes simple and to-the-point is exactly what we need.
What kind of guidance did you receive when you were diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Were there books or other resources that helped you develop your fibromyalgia Self-Care Plan? Please share!
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All quotes from
Mayo Clinic Guide to Fibromyalgia, Andy Abril, M.D. and Barbara K. Bruce, Ph.D., L.P., 2019, Mayo Clinic Press, Rochester, MN