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Ease Fibromyalgia with Stress Management

Fibromyalgia and stress are a bad combo—see what you can do to avoid flare-ups.

Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue can be—needless to say—stressful. This can set you up for a vicious cycle because increased stress can make fibro symptoms worse and rob you of sleep. So, if you have fibromyalgia, it's important to find ways to break the cycle. Employing a few simple stress-management techniques can get you there. 

  • Massage for fibromyalgia: Although the findings are mixed on whether massage helps with fibromyalgia pain, it can help reduce stress. In fact, a recent study of fibromyalgia patients showed that mood, sleep, physical comfort and overall quality of life might be improved with some forms of massage. 
  • Mindfulness training: Meditation, deep breathing exercises and progressive relaxation techniques may reduce not only chronic pain, according to research, but also the stress and anxiety that can come with it. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of talk therapy teaches people how to use positive self-talk to change negative thoughts and behaviors so that they develop more helpful and less stressful responses to problems. For people with fibromyalgia, it can help them change their thoughts and beliefs about their ability to cope with fibromyalgia stress, as well as fatigue, pain and insomnia. 
  • Exercise: Staying active can help reduce fibromyalgia pain. But almost as important, it can help reduce stress and anxiety and may also improve sleep. 

Medically reviewed in August 2018. Updated in March 2021. 

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