Friday, January 25, 2008

Fibro Fun

Yes, that would be sarcasm you sense in the title of my post! Dealing with fibromyalgia for the past 15 years has been anything but fun. However, God is good and has blessed me with a very fun filled life despite the pain!

Last night our local news did a report on fibromyalgia and provided a list of resources. I found that Arthritis Today provided the most helpful information including a list of Fibro Fixes.

I thought I would pass along some things that have worked, and not worked, for me in dealing with my fibro.

MEDICATION: Traditional RX - not really helpful for me. I've tried a slew of things over the years and found that the side effects were more difficult to deal with than any benefit gained. That said, you need to work with your doctor to find what does work for you.

My D.O. actually ended up prescribing Nature Throid, even though mainstream docs would not have done so. In his experience, patients with fibromyalgia do best with an absolutely perfect thyroid. He was right! Mine was in normal range, but not perfect. After months of monitoring to get the numbers perfect, the fatigue began to improve tremendously. No more needing to pull over because I was too tired to drive the 20 min. home (or worse, slapping my face to stay awake!)

I also find that 4 regular old ibuprofen work wonders for me on those days when I just can't take the pain. Since I have started incorporating more of the suggestions below, I find that I only end up taking the pain meds maybe once a week and not several times a day! (yikes!)

WEATHER: Ah, the change in barometric pressure is my nemesis! As soon as all the joints in my fingers ache I can tell you that a storm's a comin'. Yes, between that and my curly hair, I'm a walking barometer!

Understanding that there is a connection with the weather has helped mentally. Somehow, knowing that the hurricane in Florida hundreds of miles away is causing my pain, makes it easier to put up with it. It's temporary and will subside when the weather calms.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE: This is my favorite treatment! If physical therapy is covered that is a great way to go or massage therapy for the "rich & famous," and for the rest of us. . .they're called husbands. Fortunately, our insurance covers chiropractic care, so that is what I like to do. I notice a huge increase in pain when I cut back to once a week. However, I used to go 3 times a week and now feel much better if I can keep it at 2. Someday I'll be even more improved and will be able to cut back more!

EXERCISE: I don't care for this one at all, but it is vital. I remember hearing a study where they deprived a bunch of people of sleep for days. The only 2 people who did not develop fibromyalgia symptoms were marathon runners! Now, you don't have to be training for a marathon to receive the benefits of exercise. Do what you can do - just make sure you do something!

Getting motivated to exercise is the hardest, because for those of us with fibro it causes a lot of pain. Doing things little by little and building up, will help. Icing after exercising helps keep my pain minimal. And of course don't forget to stretch. I stretch before I get out of bed, in the shower, throughout the day, before, during and after exercising! This, along with deep breathing, brings oxygen to those muscles and keeps them from getting too tight.

DIET: I don't like this one either. It ain't easy, but it works! Many of us with fibro suffer from food allergies and intestinal issues. Knowing what foods bother you is very important. I find that my pain increases if I eat too much wheat, dairy and sugar over a few days. Wheat causes inflammation, which therefore can cause pain and digestive stress.

Typically the foods you can't live with out, (ya know that which you crave!) are most likely the foods that are causing problems. Eliminate the culprits for a few weeks and, after the flu like symptoms of deprivation subside, slowly add them back in and see how you react. I've found that rotating wheat, sugar, dairy and coffee every 4 days has been the most beneficial in reducing the intestinal issues that go along with fibro.

PRAYER: Taking time to pray and read the Bible helps keep me from being overwhelmed and give in to the pain. Talking with hubby, playing with my kids, going to Bible study, being involved in our church and ministering to others, takes my focus off myself. . .and that's always a good thing!

I hope that if any of you suffer from fibro, or know someone who does, that these tips might help in dealing with the pain.

Now, I've been sitting at the computer way too long. . .it's time to stretch!


Heidi @ GGIP said...

Very interesting post. I have known another person with this and it looked like no fun at all. It is good that you now know what treatments work for you.

Sarah said...

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