Fibromyalgia Tips

When it comes to Fibromyalgia, we've been there, done that, now serving 184 tips in 10 categories ranging from Answer User Questions to Top Fibromyalgia Apps.

The Top 5 Fibromyalgia Apps

Apps permeate our everyday lives, allowing us to check our email and post pictures on Instagram. For those that suffer from fibromyalgia though, your smartphone can go one step further. A multitude of apps exists to help simplify your life. Here are the top five.

1. WebMD Pain Coach on Android or iPhone

This WebMD-backed program offers tips on how to reduce pain through knowledge from doctors and physicians. You can fill in your triggers and level of pain, and you can also review patterns over time to find previously unknown triggers. The program includes a journal section where you can determine how well you feel through a Pain Coach slider and note any irritating aches. The goals section lets you learn lifestyle advice and create any goals that you want to reach regarding your pain. There is no downside to this app.

2. My Pain Diary on iPhone

Similar to the WebMD Pain Coach, you can use this app for any pain, but fibromyalgia management seems to be a popular function. This program has won awards for its ease of use and has been featured in USA Today. iPad owners can download this too. The diary style lets you describe the exact pain, the location of the ache, what triggered it, and how you remedied it.

3. FibroCite on Android or iPhone

This app comes packed with informative facts from the United States Food and Drug Administration's Adverse Events Reporting System, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Library of Medicine's Clinical Trials database, and the American College of Rheumatology. For free, you can learn about your symptoms and determine if you may have fibromyalgia. Cons include inaccurate reporting on symptoms.

4. FibroTrack on Android or iPhone

Available for smartphone users, this app focuses on self-management, or taking care of your pain levels and symptoms outside of doctor's visits. You can manage your pain and symptoms with treatment recommendations. Cons include trial and error results.

5. Fibromyalgia Magazine on Android or iPhone

This app gives you access to a 28-page monthly editorial that features information, advice, and support for fibromyalgia sufferers. Unfortunately, you have to pay for further subscriptions.


How to Prevent Charley Horses Caused by Fibromyalgia

Charley horses are painful, a nuisance, you name it! Here are a few things you can do to prevent them.

  • Drink plenty of water! Often times, charley horses are a result of being dehydrated. Check your water intake and adjust it to the proper amount.

  • Take a multivitamin daily or change your diet to include healthier foods that have the daily vitamins and minerals your body needs. Especially important are magnesium, vitamin E and calcium.

  • Take a nice, relaxing hot bath with Epsom salt, lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil. Epsom salt is great for reducing muscle stiffness. Lavender essential oil is perfect for relaxing body and mind, while peppermint increases circulation. Only use a few drops. You can also do this with simply soaking your feet in a tub of water with the same ingredients. Check for sensitive, but placing one drop of the essential oil on you forearm. If you skin turns red, you may be allergic to that oil. Speak with a Clinical Aromatherpist to help you find the perfect combination for you or if you are new to Aromatherapy and essential oils.

  • Stretch your muscles before exercising to help prevent injury and to warm up your muscles. Talk with a personal trainer, yoga or Pilates instructor to safely show you stretching routines. Even if you may not exercise on a daily basis, stretching on a daily basis will help reduce muscle spasms.

  • Get a massage on a regular basis with a licensed massage therapist you are comfortable with. Massage is great for relaxing muscles, relieving pain, reducing muscle spasms and overall health.

Using some of these tips will help you prevent those annoying charley horses. Always speak with your health care provider about any concerns you may have.


What are the Best Fibromyalgia Research Centers?

Advancements in fibromyalgia research are happening every day. If you or someone you love suffers from the disease, take a look at this list of research centers. The following institutions are working hard to improve the lives of people living with fibromyalgia:

  • University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan – This institution is among the ones to receive the most grants into fibromyalgia research. They have researched use of RINCE to minimize the effects of fibromyalgia, while they are currently looking into pain and stress management plus its effects on fibromyalgia. These are just a few of the projects they are working on.

  • UCSD Medical Center in San Diego, CA – currently conducting tests on the milnacipran (a new medication) on fibromyalgia patients.

  • NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland – Researchers in the institution are more about the pain and fatigue symptoms associated with this chronic condition.

  • University of Washington in Seattle, Washington – It is involved in a number of clinical trials but their most prominent is their research into the various subgroups of fibromyalgia.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown, Massachusetts – conducting various research with a lot of emphasis being placed on brain imaging.

  • Richard Roudebus VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana – Conducting a very interesting research in pain outcome by pitting together structured exercise vs yoga, with the focus on fibromyalgia patients of course.


How to Donate to Fibromyalgia Research

There are a number of organizations which are devoted towards fibromyalgia, but the following two are among the most trusted. Your donations to either of the two organizations will be a big contribution toward the improvement of the condition of fibromyalgia patients.

American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association (AFSA)

If you are particularly interested in your donation going towards research, your best option would be AFSA. This organization directs most (90%) of the donations they receive towards research projects geared towards improving the care of Fibromyalgia patients. AFSA was founded in 1994 and they have funded an impressive total of 35 research projects within this period. The organization has placed a lot of emphasis on having volunteer members to minimize the amount of contributions that are used to cover overhead costs.

AFFTER (Advocates for Fibromyalgia Funding, Treatment, Education and Research)

Another not for profit organization that can benefit greatly from fibromyalgia donations is AFFTER. This organization pledges a big chunk of its funds towards research into fibromyalgia, but they also put some emphasis on educating the community about this chronic condition. The group, which was founded in 1999, collects contributions through private donations and charity events. They have also funded a number of research initiatives into fibromyalgia with their latest research grant awarded to fMRI research. The fMRI research was aimed at the visualization and analysis of pain processing in patients with fibromyalgia.


What are the Leading Fibromyalgia Fundraisers?

In spite of getting close to no media coverage, fibromyalgia organizations tend to receive a lot of funding from well-wishers. Most of the funding is raised for research purposes while the rest go towards creating awareness of the condition. The leading fibromyalgia fundraisers are:

  • National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association – The organizations hosts the biggest national and international events alike, including community events such as walks, picnics, zumbathons, and dinners.

  • The Fibromyalgia Awareness Foundation – The organization has a rather unique approach to where their funding goes, unlike other organizations which are more focused on research, they mostly fund very needy fibromyalgia patients.

  • National Fibromyalgia Association – This is one of the biggest fibromyalgia associations in the country with a very large following. It hosts the most events spread throughout the United States.

  • The American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association – Has raised more than $1.7 million in funding during its 14 year existence. Most of this was collected through grants while a larger chunk of it goes towards research.

  • FMA UK – This is among the biggest Fibromyalgia organization in the UK. They organize various charity events to raise funds and they even have their own magazine called the Fibromyalgia Focus Magazine.

What therapies are there for the treatment of fibromyalgia?

Tai Chi and Fibromyalgia

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that incorporates health, mindfulness, and the physical exercises often done in slow motion in contemporary practice. Although a martial art used as a form of defense, Tai Chi has recently gained attention as a form of exercise that can be beneficial for those suffering fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Fibromyalgia is a general pain disorder that affects as many as five million people in the United States. Of those suffering fibromyalgia, the majority are women. Fibromyalgia is controversial in nature because there are still no diagnostic tests to determine the presence of fibromyalgia and self-reporting still remains the major contributing factor to diagnosis. However, for patients with fibromyalgia, the pain is very real, and often medical treatments remain costly and with difficult side effects such as fatigue and weight gain.

In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers examined 66 patients and concluded that there was significant improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms versus strict medical treatment. This study is the first to recognize an alternative technique to healing and health.

If you are interested in tai chi or its sister qi gong, you can contact your local martial arts studio. Usually, tai chi is taught with other Chinese arts such as Kung Fu. There are also several videos available through online retailers and Gaiam, a company that specializes in fitness.

Further information on the study published by the New England Journal of Medicine can be found at

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Carma Spence-Pothitt