Fight Fibromyalgia

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Live the life you want with new science secrets

New brain imaging confirms what people with fibromyalgia have always known: The smallest thing can lead to big pain. "People with fibromyalgia really do process pain signals differently: It's physical, not just 'all in your head,'" says Stuart Silverman, MD, medical director of the Fibromyalgia Rehabilitation Center at Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles.

Here's Preventions update on new science that can help you relieve fibromyalgia's allover body aches and fatigue.

> Slip away from pain--in a warm pool. In a Harvard Medical School study, women with fibromyalgia who walked and did muscle-strengthening exercises had less pain, stiffness, and fatigue.

The secret: They began with gentle water routines. Water supports and soothes your body while you improve flexibility and strength. "Look for a warm pool," Dr. Silverman advises. "Exercising in cool water may make muscle pain worse."

> Try on a new attitude-with real-skills therapy. In a British study, 25% of the people with fibromyalgia who tried cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) found that daily activities were easier.

The secret: CBT can help you transform false, negative beliefs such as "I'm helpless against the pain" into "I can manage this pain, and still enjoy my life."

If you can't find a CBT class, call a local psychologist. "Most therapists have some knowledge of cognitive behavior therapy," Dr. Silverman says. Among the life skills you'll learn: recognizing and "rewriting" negative thoughts; making time for pleasure; setting priorities so you're not overwhelmed; and heading off stresses that trigger pain and fatigue.

ALERT!@www.prevention.com
If you've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, don't go it alone. Click on www.prevention.com/links for online resources--from Prevention and other trustworthy sources--to learn how to cope with this mysterious condition that affects 5 million Americans, most of them women.

PHOTO (COLOR): This therapy feels like a Caribbean getaway.

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edited by Sarí Harrar

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