Knowing someone that has this condition caused me to search out WebMD which is my go to source for all things medical that I know very little about. There are also many other sources if you just take the time to google them.
Fibromyalgia syndrome affects the muscles and soft tissue. Symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger points, which can be relieved through medications, lifestyle changes and stress management. (Not much point in altering the overview that is in WebMD because it does a very good job of providing a detailed statement of this condition).
It would seem that women are far more prone to Fibromyalgia and studies show that men have seven times the serotonin in the brain than do women. About.com defines serotonin this way.
Serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain (a neurotransmitter) that is responsible, in part, for regulating brain functions such as mood, appetite, sleep, and memory.
There is no known cure for FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome) so things like medication, diet, exercise and supplements like 5-HTP and Melatonin are some of the things that help bring the condition under control. Like most medications, the addition of alcohol into the system is counterproductive and should be avoided.
It seems that regular exercise is indeed one of the most important treatments and is something that all people who have the condition can do in one way or another. WebMD suggests daily walks, stretching, swimming, yoga, tai chi or Pilates as some of the exercise programs that will help with FMS. Studies have shown that exercise does restore neurochemical balance in the body and triggers a positive mental state. With diet it seems to vary from person to person so reading the detailed section on FMS and diet in WebMD is suggested here.
So for me the understanding of FMS tells me to not add to her stress levels and do things like go for a long walk when that opportunity presents itself. The stretching exercises are something I would enjoy too and get benefit from but I think Pilates is not a good choice since I really wouldn't look real good in tights. I also think humour helps since that is known to relieve stress and making someone happy has its own rewards so both get a nice fringe benefit out of that one.
One of the realities of today’s world is we are living longer but that also means that we will also be presented with more medical conditions than our ancestors. Helping others cope with these conditions is all part of this and goes beyond just visiting a doctor who only treats symptoms and does not live close enough to the patients environment to truly understand how that all works together. Support comes in many forms and a wise person supports those in need because their turn will soon come.
If you are unsure of the symptoms of FMS, then keeping the WebMD link for these is very useful to help both parties in knowing what they are; both the person with the condition and the one who does not have it, which helps the latter to understand what the former is going through on a regular basis.