06.03.2016

My 6 favorite things for fibromyalgia relief

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The original version of “My 6 favorite things for fibromyalgia relief” was first published on NationalPainReport.com. It has been updated and is being reprinted here with permission from the editor. 

Fibromyalgia is extremely difficult to treat. Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite tools for reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

I bet that headline caught your attention. I know it did because I’ve read my share of these types of articles over the years, hoping one of my fellow fibromyalgia warriors finally figured out a way to bring my suffering to an end.

But if you have fibromyalgia, then you know it is the ficklest of conditions. What works for one of us does not necessarily work for others. We have three FDA-approved drugs on the market, and yet none of them work more than half of the time. No one even knows what causes fibromyalgia, much less how to get rid of it.

So we are left to cobble together our own treatment plans, rejoicing for small victories when a particular drug, supplement or dietary change seems to help.

We are all on our own paths of managing this challenging condition, but I do think it’s valuable for us to share what has helped our symptoms and what hasn’t. That way, we can all learn from one another.

So, today I’m sharing a few things that have helped reduce my fibromyalgia symptoms, in hopes that this information might help others. I want to be clear: None of these are cures, and they won’t take away all of the pain, fatigue and other symptoms. They’re just tools that I’ve found helpful in my own treatment plan, and maybe you will, too.

My 6 favorite things for fibromyalgia relief

    • Magnesium supplements – When I was first diagnosed, I spent hours online trying to figure out the best ways to treat fibromyalgia. Magnesium came up over and over in my searches because it’s one of the most researched supplements in fibromyalgia. I take magnesium malate every day, and it seems to mitigate the all-over achiness that we all associate with fibromyalgia. It’s also supposed to help with sleep, so I take it at bedtime.
    • Magnesium lotion – My fibro pain tends to get worse as the day progresses, so it can be brutal by bedtime. On my worst days, I always slather my entire body in magnesium lotion before going to bed. It usually takes the edge off enough for me to fall asleep. I’ve used Morton Epsom lotion for years, but the company just discontinued it. (Some Walgreens locations may still have some bottles on clearance. They are usually located beside the Epsom salts.) When my supply runs out, I plan to try Ancient Minerals, which is recommended by fibromyalgia doctor and fellow warrior Dr. Ginevra Liptan. (You can read my recent interview with Dr. Liptan here.)
    • CBD oil – Without question, CBD oil has been one of the most helpful things in treating my pain. There are two different kinds: hemp-based CBD, which is sold online, and cannabis-based CBD, which is sold by dispensaries in states where cannabis is legal. When I’ve interviewed cannabis experts, they all tell me that cannabis-based CBD is the most potent form because it contains so many valuable cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. The hemp CBD sold online is not regulated, so buyers have no way of knowing whether the product is safe or if it even contains CBD at all. There’s also debate over whether hemp CBD is even legal. (The DEA says no.) I’m planning to apply for my medical marijuana license and am anxious to try cannabis-based CBD to see if it works even better than the hemp version. In the meantime, I’ve been using American Shaman CBD oil off and on for the past few months. (I wrote an extensive post on using CBD oil for fibromyalgia pain last year. You can read that here.)
    • D-ribose – In two studies conducted by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, supplementing with d-ribose improved the energy levels of fibromyalgia and ME/CFS sufferers by up to 61 percent. I’ve had good results when using Teitelbaum’s d-ribose protocol. It dramatically cut down my afternoon napping and gave me an extra boost to get through the end of the day. I no longer take d-ribose because my doctor has switched me to a new supplement protocol for mood/energy, but it worked so well that I still mention it to others. Note: D-ribose may affect blood sugar levels, so diabetics will want to research it carefully. (I share more info on d-ribose in a post here. Two of my fellow fibro bloggers, February Stars and Grace is Sufficient, have also found d-ribose helpful for lifting fatigue.)
    • Low-dose naltrexone – I’m sure my longtime readers are so sick of hearing me talk about low-dose naltrexone (LDN), but it’s definitely a contender for this list! When I was first diagnosed, I tried a string of different pharmaceuticals, and I couldn’t take any of them. Either the side effects were too severe, or they just didn’t work. During a desperate Yahoo search one day, I stumbled upon an online survey that showed LDN was the most effective treatment for fibromyalgia. In two small Stanford University studies, LDN was found to be more effective than any of the three fibro drugs approved by the FDA. It’s the only pharmaceutical that’s helped relieve my pain, and best of all, it has a low side effect profile. A growing number of fibromyalgia sufferers have found LDN to be helpful in decreasing pain and fatigue. (I’ve compiled a helpful page of LDN resources here.)

And I’m going to add one more to my list. It’s a recent addition since writing this original article for National Pain Report:

  • Quell – I had the opportunity to try the Quell wearable pain relief device as part of the Chronic Illness Bloggers network, and I love this thing! It’s a little electronic device that you wear in a band velcroed around your leg. How it works is too complicated to explain here, but I wrote an entire post about it a few weeks ago. It’s been a surprising new addition to my pain-fighting arsenal. I was fortunate to receive my unit for free, but if mine dies tomorrow, I will be ordering another one to replace it by the end of the day. It’s that good!

These are a few things I’ve found helpful since my diagnosis. What helps to reduce your symptoms? Share in the comments below!

You might also like …

What you need to know about CBD oil and fibromyalgia

What you need to know about using CBD oil to treat fibromyalgia pain. Is it legal? Find out here. |FedUpwithFatigue.com

12 bloggers share their best tips for reducing fibromyalgia symptoms

Top fibromyalgia bloggers share their best tips for reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. | FedUpwithFatigue.com

Low dose naltrexone changed life of fibromyalgia patient

Low dose naltrexone is an emerging treatment for fibromyalgia. In early research studies, about 65 percent of patients experienced a significant reduction of symptoms.

Why d-ribose may become your next favorite supplement

Tired all the time? D-ribose has been shown to increase energy levels in those with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. | FedUpwithFatigue.com

Each week, FedUpwithFatigue.com covers the latest news, research and practical tips to help you live better with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. If you liked this post, please sign up for updates below.







Sign up for updates and receive my free report, “There’s an effective drug for fibromyalgia and/or ME/CFS that your doctor might not know about.”

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Comments

  1. judith says:

    I always take magnesium with malic acid which is what helps curb your pain. It’s been my
    staple since going to a reflexologist and yes even she was able to help with some of the pain.

  2. JennyD says:

    Y’all know that naltrexone is narcan, the drug given to reverse the effects of opiates/narcotics in a drug overdose right? It’s funny, the only way I can get relief is from narcotic medications, never had to take them until I got sick. I just can’t see how something that can completely take away my only source of relief could help?!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Yes, at full dose (usually 50mg or higher) naltrexone is used to treat drug addiction, but at low doses, it boosts the body’s own ability to fight pain. Many with fibromyalgia are finding pain relief using LDN. This article that I wrote for Pain News Network explains two theories for how LDN works for fibromyalgia: https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2015/12/11/naltrexone-changed-life-of-fibromyalgia-patient

    • Jennifer says:

      Actually, Narcan is Naloxone. Naltrexone is Vivitrol which also helps with addiction issues but they are two totally separate drugs. Glad to hear these things help with pain. My husband struggles to find pain relief, even with the medications he is on now.

      • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

        Vivitrol is an extended release, long-acting form of naltrexone. We don’t use vivitrol for fibromyalgia. We use the regular formulation of naltrexone at a low dose (usually 1 mg-4.5 mg) for fibro.

  3. Sandra says:

    Donna
    I felt so badly for you when you wrote before Christmas that you were to sick to make the trip out state for Christmas. I thought how could that be. Well, didn’t I wake up Saturday morning to fatigued to get out of bed and missed my Christmas with my son’s family in Vermont. Now I know how it could be. Today was my first good day, thankfully, as my son and daughter with their families arrive tomorrow through New Years.

    I don’t know how you manage all you do to write your articles. You provide us with information that we haven’t found out about and provide remedies tested by you. Thank you so much and I hope you are feeling better.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Hi Sandra,
      I’m glad you’ve recovered enough for a visit from your son and daughter. I hope you enjoy your time with your kids. Happy New Year!
      Donna

  4. I ordered Pure Vitality Mineral Oil spray and have had good results with muscle cramping (my hubby). I’m still working on trying to lessen fibro pain (just started with this) and am hoping that the cumulative effects will help. But it does feel relaxing. Like everyone else, I’ve tried many things to alleviate the pain, fatigue, etc. and what works for one may not work for another. I’m always looking for more natural methods. I keep following the chronic illness blogs and FB groups to see what others have tried and what seems to make a difference. Thanks, Donna!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Hey Jane, glad the mineral oil spray is helping you! I’ll have to check that out! Always interested in trying out new products. Thanks for sharing!

  5. sandy konstantinidis says:

    Noxicare did nothing for me! Tried it several times. Mu husband also tried it with no relief. Very disappointing. Now I just bought the CBD Muscle Rub….not sure of that yet. FM/CFS is very devastating but it will not kill us WARRIORS. I will never ever give up!

  6. Aina Yvonne Kehus Sivertsen says:

    I use painkillers with a hint of morphine in them..LDN did not work, D-ribose makes me throw up, haven’t tried the oil…in Norway doctors does not take fibromyalgia serious at all…we are hypoconriacs wanting drugs…it is a struggle…I can not exersise at all…that makes me so ill I’ll be in bed for days…Hot baths, warm weather, tons of rest, books and painkillers are my best friends😊

  7. I agree with you on LDN, it is very effective.
    Wonder if you or any of your readers have experience with hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy??

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I’ve never tried it but I know some people with fibro are. It sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

    • Suzanne says:

      I have tried hyperbaric and it did nothing for me and was very expensive. Now Ozone Therapy on the other hand has offered amazing results especially in conjunction with Gerson Therapy.
      With Gerson most people with Fibro become pain free within 2 weeks while ozone offers energy.

    • Cristal Perez says:

      My mom went through the hyperbaric oxygen therapy and it was a blessing. I can say that about 50 to 60% of her symptoms. Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t pay for it and it can get very very expensive.

  8. Judy Brock says:

    I started taking Magnesium and Potassium at bedtime, and it really seems to help. Of course with all of Fibros wonderful sidekicks, I take a lot of herbs & supplements. But I read on one of the Chronic pain sites I get, that the combination of the two would help, and it sure seems to. Talked to my Dr. in the past about LDN, but will have to have that conversation again at my next appointment. Also started using Noxicare cream a couple weeks ago, and it is a Godsend. It has taken pain away, with just one use. And it stays away, without applying it again, for days, some for weeks. It is gardening season, and I love getting out there and working in the dirt. It is truly like therepy for me. But had to cut way back in the last few years. This year I am back out in my flower and veggie gardens, and can work for hours again. This stuff is completely natural, just a bunch of spices, herbs combined in just the right proportions. My husband has Arthritus and muscle pains from being a farmer most of his life, and I may have to hid my Noxicare so I can have some when I need it. He has given up on all the other rubs, creams and meds, and just uses it now. I can’t say enough about it. And I got it on a free trial, just paid the S&H. I had it recommended from one of the Fibro sites I get newsletters from; I think it may have been “My Counting Spoons”, and I can’t thank them enough. God bless you all, I will pray for you, please pray for me.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Hi Judy, I’m actually trying out a tube of Noxicare right now. So far I haven’t felt that much of a relief, but I’m planning to use it a little more before I make a final verdict. So glad it’s helping you and enabling you to get back out into the garden. My mom used to say gardening is great therapy!

  9. How many mg of Magnesium do you take? Just curious, I’ve started as well, but am wondering if I am taking enough. Thanks in advance!

  10. An awsome list Donna, thank you. I will be trying LDN for the first time in a couple of months, and I am SO EXCITED! I have yet to come across anything truly negative about it. From what I have read and heard in the FMS community, it’s about the best thing to come along since sliced bread! Thank you so much for linking up @ChronicFridayLinkup! Pinned/Tweeted/Shared♥

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Hope you find it helpful. I continually hear a lot of good feedback about it!

  11. Stephen Rodrigues, MD says:

    Stephen Rodrigues, MDJune 3, 2016 at 12:38 pm
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Fibromyalgia is the most complex disease known to mankind. It is caused and result in a bewildering array of overlapping issues: mind, neurotransmitter, electrical, body, cellular, DNA, chromosomal, muscular, spiritual, environmental and societal chaos.
    Using a narrowed treatment will only scratch the surface and frustrate everyone involved.
    This disease is best attacked with a complete set of treatment options to be used in a personalized and tailor made manner. This recipe has evolved over 2 decades:
    The patient must engage in a self-care plan of action with is mandatory to keep the healing fueled and activated. This will speed up, add certainty and predictability to the overall recipe.
    Self massages, aerobic exercise program, i.e. take the stairs and doing floor exercises.
    Take time every day for yourself by relaxing by Tai Chi and/or Yoga. Stretching of the major joint areas. Massage yourself on a daily basis.
    Herbals and Supplements:
    Multivitamins; an A-Z type + B Complex 100 + Vit C 1000mg/d.
    Magnesium Glycinate 400 mg/day by mouth. Epsom Salts baths (the magnesium will be absorbed through the skin), 2 cups per tub of warm water for 10-15 minutes. Trace Elements.
    The patient must avoid:
    Raw simple sugar foods like sweet drinks/sodas. Highly refined starches such as white breads, corn oils, and fat-free snacks. Caffeine >2-3 cups/day and tobacco products. Over the counter sleep aids.
    For your medically trained helpers who can blend all these forces into treatment sessions:
    Hands-on PT options @ 2-3 x per week:
    Massage. Tissue release options. strain and counterstrain. Joint Manipulations. Spray and Stretch.
    Thin intramuscular needling options @ 2-3 x per week:
    Dry needling, GunnIMS, various other “Acupuncture.”
    Hypodermic intramuscular needling options @ 1-2 x per week:
    Wet Needling [50/50 NS/Lidocaine] aka Tender Point Stimulative Needling. Tendon and Ligament Injections.
    The goal is active innate healing process so that these natural forces can to “whittle down” as much of the intramuscular damages so the tissues can rebuild back to a healthier state. This is not a quick fix, it will take 6 to 24 months or up to 2-4 years.
    Unfortunately in the early 90s many venture capitalist, investors and specialist with the AMA’s permission were able to take many of these options out of your insurance plans. Making then out of your reach thus funneling you into taking more toxic meds than needed. Be aware. Try not to short change yourselves. Godspeed.

  12. I have fibromyalgia chronic fatigue is bad as well as my pain for ten years!
    Age 38 tried everything from perscription meds to numerous nautropaths stuffling single income couch surfing!
    Most of my life spent working for supplements pain creams pills ect to survive:(
    Denied disability twice hard hold a job depression gets bad with pain and fatigue how cani go about getting a quell little to no cost does anyone have a answer?
    Take biotin selenium magnesium
    B php, zinc, lexapro, adrenal support, pain creams with cbd oil, dim,topamX for mood stabilizer, tramDol for bad pain relief.
    Help please just lost ohp insurance to
    Tara scared lost lonely looking

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Some companies offer discounts to people in need. I don’t know if Quell does that or not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Their website is http://www.quellrelief.com. There’s a customer service link on the site.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Tara,
      Normally I wouldn’t do this but I’m 37, and for me it’s been 7 years. I TOTALY understand . It is scary and lonely and confusing and I have found a long my journey just having a someone to unload to and bounce thoughts and ideas off of is so helpful and hopeful.
      After a hip injury, besides the worst pain I’ve ever felt,..I’ve spent so so much time and money trying to stay on top of it. Chiropractors, massages, PT, specialist chiros, TMJ specialists, counsellors, nauropaths, pain meds, all natural stuff, cbd creams , vitamin and more vitamins. Lots of yoga…sometimes some work and sometimes nothing works. I’ve quit my full time job twice. These days I realize my attitude and outlook on life, my faith…keep me going. You’re not alone . I

    • Doreen says:

      Are you using an attorney for Disability? Many people told me to go that route. Yes, they will get their 33 1/3%, but they are the experts. Even with the attorney I was denied once and got it after that. With attorney I got it in about six months. You definitely need it from reading your post.

    • Julia says:

      Tara, I have had fibromyalgia since I was 8 years old, probably born with it. It is easier for me then it would be for you, because I have had a lifetime learning coping skills, just as if I had been born with a physical disability, as supposed to becoming disabled later in life. I’m now 53, and menopause has become a new trigger. Some of my past “triggers” have included normal childhood illnesses, puberty, death of loved ones (sister, father, friends, grandparents, etc), viral illnesses including measles as a young adult, pregnancy & childbirth, family stress, and trust me the list continues. I can’t hold down a job and our financial situation is desperate.
      The first thing I’d like to say is: Breath . . .
      I know you’re scared and isolated. I understand. I become overwhelmed all the time and have to take downtime just for me.
      Second: The food, exercise, supplement, stretching recommendations are all valid. You have to work them in to your DAILY routine until they become routine. But they will not cure you. They will at best help you manage.
      Third: Stress is your enemy. We can’t live in a bubble . . . But when you start to feel overwhelmed, just walk away and tackle the issue when you have the mental energy. But, at all costs, don’t abdicate or run from your responsibilities. Take control, as hard as this may seem.
      Fourth: Learn about what the future holds from God’s Word. This was not part of his plan, so find out why there is so much suffering and how it’s going to be resolved. You will be amazed at what you discover!
      And Fifth: Practice smiling. Find things that give you joy very single day, no matter how small or insignificant. Work on your sense of humour. Practice kindness regardless of how others response. Develop a thankful attitude toward life every day no matter how you feel, especially if your feeling depressed and/or especially suicidal (PLEASE talk to a real person if your depression is sever! Your life is precious and things will improve!) It takes mental discipline and a lot of practice, but it s very beneficial! And don’t forget to smile today!
      Sincerely Wishing You Success,
      Julia

  13. Thanks for the tips! I’m interested to read more about low dose naltrexone. I also use a magnesium rub by Natural Calm and d-ribose. Magnesium malate upsets my stomach unfortunately but I’ve read many positive reviews. Great advice!

    • Been on LDN for almost 2 years. Don’t take anything else. Do I still have pain? Yes, but not too the extent I used to have.
      Piece of advice. Print out the info and take it to your doctor so that they can see it. Luckily, my PCP is wonderful and is open to almost anything within reason.

  14. Jenny Stallings says:

    Hi Donna! I started using the Ancient Minerals Magnesium lotion a couple of weeks ago after reading the article. I have found it to be a great help in alleviating pain during the day and especially at night. I will definitely keep this stuff around!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      That’s great news! So glad you’ve found it helpful! It seems to get really good reviews.

  15. Kris Boydstun says:

    Question about Quell: I have very large calves. Is the strap going to be big enough for a larger calf? I don’t see anywhere on the website to ask this question.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      The band is really stretchy so it should fit a larger calf just fine.

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