02.26.2016

Fibro warriors share their best tips for reducing symptoms

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Last month, I asked several of my fellow bloggers to share their best tips for reducing fibro symptoms. At the end of the post, I invited readers to chime in with their own tips. This post highlights some of their responses.

We all know there is no cure for fibromyalgia – at least not yet – but there are steps we can take to try to reduce and manage symptoms. Until the research can tell us more about fibromyalgia and the best way to treat it, I think it’s a valuable exercise for us to share what’s working and what’s not, so we can learn from each other. These sharing posts are a way to do that.

Once you’ve read through the responses, I’d love for you to leave your own tip in the comments section answering the following question: What helps you the most to reduce your fibro symptoms? 

Find out how others with fibromyalgia reduce their fibro symptoms. | Fed Up with Fatigue

From Beckie Abbott: 

“My most helpful changes have been no red meat – this decreased the intensity of my pain fairly substantially – and adding d-ribose for more energy. I began feeling energy improvement after 2 1/2 weeks.”

From Michael Guidera, MichaelGuidera.com

“During my 20 years of fibro, I tried many therapies, lifestyle and nutritional changes, and supplements with varying levels of remediation. Now, 10 months into a year-long protocol of flotation therapy combined with some psychotherapy, pain levels and psychological symptoms are way down, and physical and mental functioning is increasing apace.

“I had been using float tanks for more than 25 years. It had helped for stress, but made little impact on my fibro. Things improved within a few months once I changed to the protocol outlined in “Case studies on fibromyalgia and burn-out depression using psychotherapy in combination with flotation – rest: Personality development and increased well-being.” Adapting their program and floating systematically has, for the first time since it began, given me a reason to think this hideous disease will soon be in my past.”

From Jackie Hartman:

“The biggest change I’ve made is going vegan. It has totally eliminated my fibro fog. I also have less pain. It still flares up with the weather, but it is much more manageable. Also for pain I’ve found compression helps – compression arm sleeves, pants. Now if only I could find something for energy!”

From Lisa Kabalu:

“I found adult colouring books, and it has made a huge difference to me. Not only does it help me to deal with stress, as it completely relaxes me, but it also gives me a sense of achievement. I colour away my stresses, and I am distracted from pain, plus it gives me something to focus on instead of moping about feeling sorry for myself.”

From Jmia Kaith:

“Fibromyalgia is so complex . What makes it flare is also stress and too much stress hormone in your body. You need to live a stress-free life. Meditation, yoga. Many pain drugs only take the edge off pain. Even the pain is so complex. Be gentle to yourself, and know your limits. Zinc and magnesium are good to take. Also a gluten-free and sugar-free diet all help. It’s trial and error. If you don’t get enough sleep each night, pain will increase.”

From Margaret Karen: 

“It’s not just one thing – it takes many to manage this and stay out of a flare. Low-dose naltrexone has reduced the pain and increased my energy significantly. D-ribose also helps with energy. An anti-inflammatory diet – sugar, nightshades and many other foods cause joint pain, so I tend to eat a grain-free AIP [autoimmune paleo] diet. Last but probably the most important is stress management. If I don’t keep my stress levels in check, the immediate response is pain, which of course adds to the stress. Very gentle yoga and meditation are great for stress management.”

From Ann Martin:

“I went from being a highly active person to being almost completely bedridden due to pain and fatigue. I worked hard to get my movement back, and it took years. I will never be back to where I was, but what has worked for me is exercise for muscle strength and learning to say no to stress. Like many of you, I feel guilty if I cannot do something, but I am learning to focus on what is good for me, and if something is causing me stress, I try to get rid of it.”

From Adriane McCullagh:

“Please search tank flotation! It helps me so much. Like meditating in a pool!!!”

From Terry McSweeney, Fibromyalgia Pathways:

“As with each of us, my research is ongoing. So far I have found that having a strong support system is a priority. Because of my husband and other family and friends, I am able to have a positive attitude, which keeps me hopeful. I no longer am silent about having fibromyalgia, which is liberating and allows me to be truthful with myself and able to support others with fibromyalgia.”

From Lisa Milne:

“I, too, have so many other conditions that impact fibro. The main meds that work for me are Neurontin at the max dose (be prepared for other doctors’ questions) and Mobic 15mg.

“Otherwise, it is very much like others. I get a 1 1/2-2 hour deep-tissue massage every week, myofascial release every week, acupuncture and chiropractic as needed.

“I am a serious morning person, so I plan all appointments by noon, try not to overload myself, take 4-6 hours to rest, read, watch TV, online shop, etc. I say no a lot, nap when sleepy, try to walk slowly for an hour at a time two times a week, eat a somewhat healthy diet (I bake and love sweets), make plans with at least two friends a week and mostly try to cut myself some slack when I can’t do something or get confused or make mistakes. [Also,] marijuana. Daily.”

From Renny Pomeroy: 

“After trying all the prescription meds and having nothing work and praying for an answer, I decided to try medical marijuana. It is the only thing that relieves my pain and helps me sleep. It is high CBD, low THC, so I do not get high, which was one of my deciding factors. I take it in butter form in gel caps. I still have flare ups, but when that happens, I add hot baths to the mix. Still looking for help with the fatigue. I’ve also vastly improved my diet, but I really have no appetite these days.”

From Angela Pridmore: 

“I am so pleased to say that most of what I do has been said. Eating and drinking clean, pay for it if you do not! Pace each day. Read, stretch, prepare some food, dishes, cleaning a little at a time, for everything. If you have a busy day, you pay. I conserve some energy the day before going out with my friends and also the day after.

Plan, plan and more plan. Organize your wardrobe, clothes, shoes, etc. Only keep what is comfortable. Buy clothing that needs little care such as ironing. I wear nice pajamas or long maxi dresses during the day at home. It saves my good clothes, and I feel better, too.

“Do not shower or wash you hair just prior to going out. Plan that too. Have Epsom salt baths with lavender oil whilst listening to meditation music or white noise or even listen to a book. My hands suffer with a lot of pain and [loss of] dexterity, so no ‘real’ books unfortunately. Please treat yourself with care, love yourself, be good to yourself, be a little selfish, too.”

From Claire Toone:

“My main way of dealing with fibromyalgia is a terrific support group. It has helped me so much as I am no longer ‘on my own.’ I cried when I left the first meeting, and it has been the best thing for me. I have a great group of friends, and I know I can ring, text, email, etc. when I need support or help. My other thing is pillows. I have a v pillow, body pillow and ordinary ones, and use them to support my arms and knees. They take the pressure off the joints.”

From Beverly Runnels: 

“I am a 30-year sufferer of fibromyalgia, and that should tell you that I have tried thousands of ideas to help me. I was bedridden for a year because I tried to ignore my syptoms. That doesn’t work for anyone. Now I pace my life and try to live my new normal. I got my diagnosis at age 48, and I am now 78, but doing much better than I was 30 years ago.

“I do supplements and herbs and no prescription drugs. I do chlorophyll once a day and probiotics that are 20 billion per capsule. Coconut oil keeps me lubricated, and life is better now. … I had good support from my husband and friends, and no one else to care for but myself. I feel very blessed, and when I look back over the years, I feel better today than I did when I first got sick. I can function now, and that means everything to me.”

From Megan Schartner, LiveKen:

“For me, listening to my body and pacing my activities has been a lifesaver. A big part of that is regular meditation or downtime during the day and giving myself permission to have days off when I need to.”

From Valorie Snider: 

“I recently found a new product on the market called My Pain Away Fibro Cream. It is endorsed by the National Fibromyalgia Association. I have tried several pain creams, and this one is by far the best one. I also use medical marijuana and Tramadol.”

From Joan Walter:

“My best tip is taking hot baths with Epsom salts. I add lavender essential oil or lavender bubble bath for the added relaxation.”

Now it’s your turn. What helps the most to reduce your fibro symptoms? Leave a comment below!






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Comments

  1. blair says:

    its helpful when my boyfriend is near, honestly laying ontop of him is very relaxing and comforting (hes very soft n squishy) i smoke weed but because of being young, doctors are hesitant to give me a medical marijuana card, and the thc makes me feel really bad, but the pain doesnt feel as bad. it kinda just makes me forget the pain is there. it doesnt rly stop the pain.

  2. Christine says:

    Nine years into this diagnosis and I cannot tolerate any of the recommended pharmaceutical treatments. I do take a prescription pain med but heat is my go to. Heating pad, hot bath. My hands are my most painful area usually so I bought fingerless gloves and put hand warmers in the palms for a hand heating pad! I also made myself a weighted blanket! It has been an amazing (and surprising) help! I don’t keep it on for long 5-10 mins or it starts to have the opposite effect! It doesn’t even matter that my skin hurts to touch or whatever. The pressure of the weighted blanket actually relieves that. Many times it has stopped me from going into an all out horrible flare. I use essential oils too. Peppermint oil with coconut oil to rub on my skin….helps for minor pains. I have it in a diffuser as well and use lavender oil in that for sleeping.

  3. Regina Sullivan says:

    I have been diagnosed for 10 years. I have tried many things but the best tips I have that make a huge difference for me is….Hot bath soak with mineral salts, heating pad or ice packs, 1000mg of Magnesium a day, and I take a high dose Vitamin D because I have Vitamin D deficiency. I also use Active On Arthritis for joint pain and muscle pain. it is a rub. I rest when I need to no matter if that is an hour or three hours or as short as 20 minutes. I try to plan my day so that my activities are in the morning, then in the afternoon I rest, read, watch movies, or nap. I drink hot herbal teas when I have flare ups.

  4. My main trigger is sulfites , these are in so many foods and even dried fruit, Tortillas, grapes, some apple juice, vinegar, pickles, tinned foods, cheese. Look it up. I have struggled trying to be healthy for years but was eating triggers without knowing. They are hidden in many ingredients too so I am just learning what has it. I have noticed a huge change in pain levels from discovering this and hope to lead a full life again. I juice every day now too with fresh tummeric and ginger. I take magnesium, vitamin b12, d3, multivitamin. I am vegetarian but hardly have any dairy and want to stop having it completely. I hope this helps someone else. I was always allergic to so many things growing up. I would get wheezy and itchy eyes. However I didn’t realise that this kind of allergy is different and causes built up pain like you feel your are being poisoned. I am so thankful I’ve discovered the trigger for me. I’m 34 and things seemed very bleak the last 4 years but now I have some quality of life back. If I eat sulfites it can be so severe I struggle to walk.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      That’s great news, Michaela! I’ve heard of sulfites in food, but haven’t researched it much. Thank you for sharing! It’s a new path for us to explore. 🙂

      • Elize Le Roux says:

        I also have found that sulfites causes sever flare ups. And I use to love drinking the occational wine. Now it is a big no-no as with red meat, dairy (not just gluten) but wheat products as well.

  5. Xiomara says:

    What I find more useful for easing the stiffness is taking turmeric supplements! Seriously, you need to take 3gr per day ( mostly equivalent to 6 capsules per day) I swear that after a month you will see a little improvement, also omega 3,6,9 is great for easing the fatigue and makes you sleep better. Melatonin supplement is great too to regulate your sleep cycle, if you can find a mix with vitamin B and Valerian root is even greater; vitamin b12 is good for the fatigue. Taking probiotics is really good for your tummy and helps with horrible IBS.
    Then monthly my doctor gives me a massage to get rid of all the knots on my neck, arms and hands, is very painful but then is worth it.

  6. Natasha says:

    Gluten free diet….cutting out processed food…eating boring meat and veg dinners and lots of fruits….learnt to read labels a lot of food has wheat in it so making own food i know what i am eating and not making my pain worse by eating something with eat in it as it makes me very ill and severe stomach cramps which ends up with a bad flare up…i have only recently being diagnosed but have had fibro for a while drs couldn’t figure out what was wrong was glad that it wasnt all in my head

  7. Sarah says:

    I find D ribose and Umbiquinol (co q 10) good for energy. Also take magnesium citrate and turmeric.
    Hot baths great. Electric blanket, massage chair, foot massager and an hour’s massage therapy twice a month.
    Amitriptyline helps with sleep and pain.
    Low dose naltrexone has helped loads reducing flare ups, joint pain and fatigue.
    Gabapentin also great.
    I work and study so I pace myself as much as I can, rest up in evenings and aim for 9 hours sleep a night (Amitriptyline helps with this a lot).

    Holidays in the sunshine, as much as I can afford.
    Balance having fun and living life with minimising stess caused by a busy diary. Learn not to feel guilty; you are amazing for managing to live with this!
    Yoga and mindfulness for pain and relaxation.
    Be kind to yourself x

  8. Sarah K says:

    The best thing for me was my daughter telling me about an all natural non gmo, non synthetic high grade vitamin.It has changed my life. I now have more energy and it has made me feel happy once again. I was so tired of being tired and depressed and am so glad my daughter told me about this. I can actually wake up feeling better about myself and look forward to the day instead of dreading it. If anyone is interested, please email me at koernersmail@yahoo.com. Looking forward to helping you make your life a little better.

  9. Walking and keeping active but within limits. Build up to it. I need to get enough sleep and do whatever it takes to sleep. I know my limits and try not to exceed them. If I do exceed my limits I pay for it. I watch my diet carefully. I am better early in the day so plan accordingly. I take a nap if I need to. Do a little at a time of work around the house. I work fulltime in a stressful job. I believe I have had this since I was 12 years old before anyone knew what it was because I had the same symptoms as a child.

  10. Margaretbeggs says:

    I use a 75 ltr fexi tub filed with warm water a stool to sit on and feet and legs in the tub while the shower cleans and refeshes exremely relaxing very beneficial x

  11. Betty says:

    Has anyone used Dr Rodger H Murphree for their Fibromyalgia? He claims to have helped a lot of people.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I’m actually one of his patients. Happy to answer questions. Just email me at donna [at] fedupwithfatigue.com

  12. theresa squires says:

    I take no prescription meds as i found the side effects worse than the condition itself. I do regular exercises for muscles and joints as i have osteoarthritis as well. I have cut out gluten which helps the irritable bowel. Setting myself just a few jobs during the day to do then rest. Keeping to goo sleep pattern going to bed the same time and getting up etc. Putting myself first and not feeling guilty about the things i cant do.

  13. Aliyah Brody says:

    Firstly, Donna, thanks for creating a wonderful site, providing great information and resources for those of us who tackle fibro and me/cfs. It’s also great for readers to share their comments so we can all learn from each other. Thanks for making that possible, too.

    That said, these are the lifestyle changes that have had a positive impact on reducing my fibromyalgia symptoms:

    1: I pace myself and take a 10-15 minute break as often as needed when I start feeling sore or very tired. I’ve stopped worrying about how much I’m resting, realizing instead that when I’m refreshed, I accomplish more over the course of a day than when I push myself and crash, taking days to recover.

    2: When I’m tired, I nap or sleep, regardless of the time of day. I know I’m fortunate that our sons are teens and can manage when Mom’s resting.

    3: I regularly take magnesium supplements (in consultation with my doctor) and pretty much daily, soak in an epsom salts’ bath for additional absorption of magnesium. I buy scented salts (lavender is soothing) but I’m going to try unscented and add my own mix of essential oils in the future. I typically schedule the bath for when I’m most sore or just before bed to relax my muscles.

    4: I’ve virtually eliminated dairy from my diet, except for the occasional splash of milk in my black tea as a treat. I drink 8-10 glasses of water a day and enjoy herbal teas, often with lemon and ginger, for their relaxing and curative properties.

    5: When it’s cold or damp outside (basically, life in Montreal for half of the year), I wear wool ‘sleeves’ over my elbows and knees, two trigger areas. The sleeves are simply the cut upper half of wool socks. Since I’m allergic to wool, I wear the sleeves over my top and leggings and, by choosing coordinating and attractive socks, I simply don’t worry what anyone thinks about the look.

    6: I’ve learned to relax more than previously: if the house is imperfectly clean or messy (I’m a tidy freak), who cares? As long as our family is happy and healthy and guests feel welcome, housekeeping has been minimized to preserve my health (and sanity).

    7: I ask for (OK, demand, my sons would say!) regular help. I’m blessed that my husband has always been right in the trenches with me, as I’ve been with him, and we share/trade off work and household responsibilities based on our strengths and my state of health.

    8: Lastly, by reading and watching videos, I’ve taught myself a version of acupressure and practice it regularly on my elbows, knees, shoulders and neck area as needed, lightening or deepening the touch according to my pain level and responsiveness at the time.

    I sincerely hope and pray we all benefit from one another’s tips so that we can function optimally and enjoy every day of life to the fullest. God bless you, Donna, and your readers, too.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Thank you for sharing your tips, Aliyah! I’ve enjoyed our conversation via email.

  14. Beverly Runnels says:

    If I am having a bad pain -fibro fog day the best thing for me is rest. I will take a tramadol pill for pain and try to sleep during the day. I do not force myself or ignore the problems because that just makes me worse. After 30 years of suffering I am doing better than when I started. I have increased my pro biotics to 30 billion and so far it seems to be working.

  15. Janis says:

    To help increase energy I use: Ribose, Ubiquinol (CoQ 10) and Astaxanthin. To help me sleep I use GABA and Magnesium. I haven’t been as lucky finding natural remedies for pain.

  16. Kathy Bartkowiak says:

    Never giving up and a positive attitude. That helps to reduce my symptoms. I fight the pain every day and every night. I give into taking a little prescription meds and no longer feel guilty about it.

  17. Kelly Solomon says:

    I forgot to mention I also have mid to low back painincluding sciatica, & although I’ve had both knees replaced, still have considerable pain on both sides in my knees. I also have no pain tolerance at all. I just finished my 2nd diagnostic shot for my back & will go back in a few weeks for a nerve block that may take up to 6 weeks to kick in, if it does work I may get relief for 6-8 months. Anyone have any experience with these injections? I know it’s not fibromyalgia, but it seems that a lot of times there are other conditions that make the fibromyalgia more complicated?

  18. Kelly Solomon says:

    I haven’t been diagnosed yet with fibromyalgia, but saw my primary Dr yesterday & asked her about a screening. She suggested I get my depression & anxiety under better control (I’ve recently started counseling & she agreed to increase my xanax to twice a day), improve my insomnia (she doubled my sleep medicine & suggested I try to focus on my breathing for 5 minutes before I fall asleep & no tv, reading or cell phone for 30-45 minutes before going to bed). She also suggested no sugar & no processed foods. Certainly not any quick fixes but she said people with fibromyalgia tend to feel better with these recommendations. I’ll try those for 1-2 months then see how I feel. I was encouraged that she didn’t just dismiss my symptoms & questions, & gave me some ideas to try. Hopefully these ideas may help someone else? If they don’t help, then at least I have my depression & anxiety under control, I’m sleeping better & I’ve lost weight with no sugar or processed foods (another goal to lose weight) so I’ll be healthier! Anyone have any comments. I’m new to having fibromyalgia & am definitely open to suggestions!

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Lifestyle changes do help many of us. Getting better sleep, eating better and improving mental health definitely won’t hurt you. 🙂

    • Beverly Runnels says:

      I was on xanax for several years but found it made me more anxious so I tried a stress pill which is made of vitamins and minerals (B mostly) that I bought from puritan.com. I slowly took myself off the xanax and on to the stress vitamin. I take valerian root at night 1/2 before bedtime to relax me too.

  19. Marion May says:

    I bought Memory foam SHAPED pillows,which I then cut with a Stanley knife lengthways down the centre making 2 perfectly shaped supports which can be placed anywhere that they are needed. ( between knees, under knees, back, hips and anywhere that extra comfort is required) . Just pop them into in a pillowcase.
    I did this to 2 pillows so when ever I am away they just fit into a bag and I take my comfort with me.
    Also so much cheaper than the advertised supports.

  20. Icy Hot, a massage pillow, and a heating pad, Tylenol Arthritis (when I’m in a lot of pain) and my prescriptions are all helpful for me. I keep the temperature in my place at 72-74(F.) degrees to deal with my low body temp. If I could control the weather, it would be wonderful, because rain and snow affect me. I look forward to the day I can get medical marijuana in my state, but I might have to travel a long distance to get it – they are talking about only opening them in one part which is a 3-4 hour round trip.

  21. I love the idea of hot baths, BUT I have hip and knee problems, and can no longer get in and out of the bath. Last time I did it took me 5 mins to get in and 5 to get out. I pulled the plug before I got out just in case I fell. Living by myself makes it harder, and there is a limit to how long I can stand under the shower – which is over the bath, and I can’t afford to replace it with a walk in one.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Have you seen the shower stools? That might be an option for you. You can get them on Amazon. I know some people w/ fibro use them.

    • Taking a shower is very tiring, especially when adding on the time to towel off. I now take “sponge baths” like my grandmother used to – I wash my body with a wash cloth because I can wash in stages and sit for most parts. I wash my hair in the sink with the sprayer.

    • Jerri Peterson says:

      I began using a shower chair after surgery and it is now part of my regular routine to reduce stress. I take tramadol, an antidepressant, Tumeric, magnesium, vitamin B12, B complex. Regular water exercise really helps reduce pain. It seems like every day there is something different to deal with, but I am more comfortable with my limitations and saying no.

  22. I was in a car accident 6 years ago that triggered the fibro. I’ve tried many prescription meds which all made me worse not better. It’s only in the last 2 months that I’ve found what works for me and that is a low carb diet. No wheat, no sugar, especially fructiose, no rice, no potatoes … well you get the idea. My IBS symptoms are gone and for the first time in 6 years I don’t have horrible lower back pain when walking. I have a little more energy as well. I’m still in pain but I’m hoping things will continue to improve. I take magnesium, multi B vitamin, D, C, Fish Oil, calcium, and a fiber supplement. Bathing in Epson salts is great as well as your body absorbs the magnesium from the salts.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Thanks for sharing. A lot of those same things have been helpful for me as well.

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