I am a by nature problem-solver, so I obsessively investigated the best strategies for reducing fibromyalgia two years ago when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. There are no easy answers, I found out. Some medicines work, not for others, for some. Some are relieved by massage, others howl by pain when they think of it. Most of us have medical offices full of supplements to make our pain or exhaustion easier. Some of them helped, some of them did not. Some of us find exercise useful and some of us shout silently every time somebody talks about it.
Patients with Fibromyalgia are a complicated bunch but I believe we can learn from what others have done. So, I asked a group of fibromyalgia bloggers how to respond to this question: What has helped to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia the most?
I believe your answers are interesting, and some of them are even a bit unexpected. I would love to leave your own tip in the comments after reading these!
“The fibromyalgia patients have no clear plan of treatment and we are all so different that our solutions often come from hours of personal testing and failure. But heat, heat and more heat are the only thing I would highly recommend to every spoonie.
“When I get out, I have two bottles of hot water at home, two herbal heat packs, an electric blanket and a bottle of hot drinking water at work in my desk drawer, and a few stick-on heat pads. I’ve got thermal babysitting–which I wear in the summer–and my wardrobe is securely layers. My scarves double as blankets, my fingerless gloves of arthritis keep my arms hot as I blog, and during a migraine we have been aware that I am sleeping in a beanie hat.
“For me, heat is relaxing and soothing. It’s comfortable, too. My heat packs are like safety cloths, and without them I don’t go away. That’s not groundbreaking news, I know, but so many of us have gotten cold, and worsening our symptoms. Heat is straightforward, easy and cheap. It’s a nonsense.
“One of the most important things was just to stop pushing myself day after day beyond my limitations. Actually, I didn’t choose, but when my body crashed, I had to do something.
“I learnt a lot about my health from that time on. Fortunately, I have made some important changes, and I’m not in terrible pain anymore. This was not easy, of course; it took a certain amount of discipline, patience and an endless capacity to accept changes, but I got there.
“Indubitably Dr. [William] Rawls was met by the improvement catalyst and his recovery protocol–the Vital Plan Restoration Programmed–changed my perspective and fibromyalgia approach. I now think of the underlying causes rather than treating symptoms. Examples of such problems as poor sugar function, mitochondrial dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies and poor immune function have seen my body cure to such an extent I did not believe possible. Herbal therapies were key for me and I managed stress, changed diets, paced and finally listened to my body.
“Although this sounds very regimented, every day has been essential in my recovery to take an undressed approach and make time for rest and relaxation. My point of view is to make daily decisions that help me feel as good as possible. If you persist patiently, small changes gradually occur over time, leading to healthier conditions.
“When I took many small steps, I have been able to lower my fibro symptoms. First, I found a doctor who knows the underlying causes of fibromyalgia and tries to treat them in a attempt to cover up the symptoms (a strategy that often doesn’t work).
“The high doses of melatonin, 5Htp and Adrenal Calm cream were suggested in my doctor’s proposal in order to improve my sleep. Furthermore, my urologist has tweaked my blood medication to ensure that I do not wake up to urinate every two hours. It is incredible to be able to sleep 6-7 hours at a time!
“I use supplements for SAMe and DLPA to improve my mood. I found that my surrender glasses weren’t working correctly through testing, and I could stabilize them with more supplements.
“The cleanup of my diet has translated life. (Doing this helped with sleep too!) Now I’ve cut out processed sugar, gluten, starches and other bad-for-me junk foods, which makes me less pain and tired. I learnt that gluten triggers boring nerve pain and tiredness through a elimination diet, so that my pain can be controlled.
“I am not my normal self, but when I started this journey, I’m much better than I was.”
“Missing sleep is one of us who live with fibromyalgia’s biggest foes. Sadly, with FMS, sleep deprivation goes hand in hand with sleeping disorders. Eight hours ‘ sleep is like a proverbial’ slumbering carrot,’ whether it is restless leg syndrome, broken sleep due the pain on your hip and back or the refusal of the central nervous system to allow restful state in mind.
“It was a great reduction in my fibro-symptoms to discover methods that allowed me to sleep for at least 4-5 hours without interruption. Some of these include: taking long / hot soaking baths prior to bed, heavy / weighted blankets and relaxing ‘ White Noise. ‘ “It is also good to eat healthy and soothing foods to prevent any reflux of nightly acid in the digestive system. Naturally, it always helps you to get a warm, furry partner in close proximity!”