Blog Posts

What is the Best Thing to Take for Fibromyalgia?

What is the best thing to take for fibromyalgia? The answer to this question highly depends on a lot of factors. Supplements or medicines? What are your key symptoms? What else are you doing to manage your symptoms?

I can share my personal experience and research – which I will do below. I will also share some good resources for you to look at other ideas too.

Let me preface this with a couple of things. You cannot take any one thing and be magically cured. There is no cure. You will likely end up with several, whole of life, things in your protocol. For me it includes sleep, pain management, pacing, stress management, yoga and meditation, healthy eating and some supplements and medicines.

You must carefully research the costs vs benefits of any treatment option. You must also discuss medicines with your medical team. This is just to get you started on your journey.

what is the best thing to take for fibromyalgia?

Low Dose Naltrexone – my best thing to take for fibromyalgia

The number one best thing I take for fibromyalgia is low dose naltrexone. This is a medicine that we take off-label (it was designed for another purpose) that helps up to 60% of people with fibromyalgia. I began this medicine in 2017 and after several months I began to experience improved sleep, decreased pain and increased energy. It’s been nothing short of miraculous. And there are very few side effects, most of which are transient.

Here is my one year experiment round up. I share the five ways it changed my life.

You cannot take any one thing and be magically cured. There is no cure. You will likely end up with several, whole of life, things in your protocol.

Recovery Factors

The second best thing I take for fibromyalgia is Recovery Factors supplement from Doctor Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic and someone you should be following.

Find my Recovery Factors review here.

Other Medicines

If you would like to look into the medicines often prescribed for fibromyalgia here are some resources for you. It is worth noting, that the chance of these working, with limited side effects and then continuing to work is relatively low. In other words the likelihood of side effects are high, and the chance they help and continue to help is also low. This is why I tried low dose naltrexone before going down these routes. But for some, they help a great deal.

Check out Why Your Fibro Meds Aren’t Working Post from Fed Up with Fatigue here, it includes the key medicines usually prescribed.

Check out this post about Four Existing Medications That Are Being Repurposed for Fibromyalgia from the same site. It includes low dose naltrexone!

For a long, long time the only thing I had was amitriptyline. Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that help with falling asleep and pain.

Here is my post about going off it.

what is the best thing to take for fibromyalgia, the answer may surprise you

Supplements

I have tried many supplements in my time, and shared about them on this blog. Some ideas that may be of use are:

For a round up of supplements see this post.

For my natural options see this post.

What would be a better place to start than things to take with fibromyalgia?

The first thing we need to tackle is sleep. That is likely going to take several steps including sleep hygiene, supplements and the like. But you can’t reduce pain and fatigue without some sleep.

You may like to consider trying gentle yoga for fibromyalgia – this will help with the central nervous system over activation, pain, fatigue and insomnia. Try this yoga nidra meditation that is great rest.

This has been a full post. I hope you have found some help and some ideas to try. But I also hope you found that it will be a whole of life protocol rather than one thing you can take. For me it includes sleep, pain management, pacing, stress management, yoga and meditation, healthy eating and some supplements and medicines. But it’s all worth it as I have dramatically improved my sleep and decreased my pain and fatigue.

Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue: What it is, isn’t, how I use it and you can too

Yoga for chronic pain and fatigue, it seems to be recommended a lot. It can be a really excellent addition to our whole of life plan when managing chronic pain and fatigue. But so often, people have the wrong idea of what yoga means or what they have to do in order to do it. Or, worse, they have been put off by previous experiences.

In this post I will share what yoga is not, what it can be, guidelines for practicing with chronic pain and fatigue and how I use the tools in my every day life (yes I use the tools everyday). I also share how you can try some yoga designed especially for chronic pain and fatigue for free, so read on.

yoga for chronic pain and fatigue. woman practicing gentle yoga with fibromyalgia

Let me first spell out what yoga for fibromyalgia is not.

  • It is not 60 or 90 minute classes – it is not defined by the length of time you practice.
  • Nor is it defined by what poses you can do and how far into them you go.
  • It is not even limited to your physical practice – you can “do” yoga by lying on your bed breathing or meditating.
  • You do not have to subscribe to a “lifestyle”, set of beliefs or a religion to “do” yoga.

What can yoga for chronic pain and fatigue be?

  • A set of tools you dig into when you need them.
  • Mindful movement.
  • Rest and relaxation.
  • Whatever the heck you want.

Guidelines for practicing when you have chronic pain and fatigue

1. Listen to your body. This is absolutely key, in a world where we are trained to push through and ignore our cues, you must listen in yoga. If you are feeling particularly fatigued then perhaps breathing, meditation or a restorative posture might be best for today.
2. Pay attention to your body. How does a movement feel? Should you pull back? Is a certain posture for you right now?
3. Start slow.
4. Frame practice with breathing and rest. After all my research and practice, I would say the ideal practice for fibromyalgia is gentle breathing, gentle poses, followed by a restorative pose and a good yoga nidra meditation.
5. It’s not linear. You won’t necessarily do five minutes today, seven minutes tomorrow, 30 minutes in six months. You may do 10 minutes of physical practice today, meditation tomorrow, 5 minutes of physical practice the next day and then 20 minutes of restorative postures the next. We are on a journey with our body not with our type or length of practice.
6. It should not hurt.

What does my yoga practice look like?

My daily yoga for chronic pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia, schedule

Here is a sample of my daily routine:
7.15am 5 minutes standing sun salutations when I get dressed
Neck stretches and cat and cow pose randomly throughout the day
1pm 40 minute yoga nidra guided meditation
Deep breathing breaks as needed
9pm a couple of poses by the bed, legs on a cushion pose in bed, body scan meditation.

Let’s look at when the tools of yoga could be useful for you

Deep breathing – whenever you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, sore, anxious. As a pick me up.
Meditation – first thing in the morning, during a rest, in a flare, after work, before bed, in the middle of the night when experiencing painsomnia.
Physical postures – as needed throughout the day, in “classes” a few together for 5-30 minutes, one off restorative postures for rest/rejuvenation.

What are some of the benefits of yoga practice?


For more research on this see this post here Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue, here is a summary:

  • calms the autonomic nervous system
  • help with sleep
  • reduced fatigue
  • reduced pain
  • increased physical capacity
  • decreased myofascial pain
  • less anxiety
  • reduced depression
  • relaxation
  • mindfulness of movement
  • awareness of proper alignment

Of course, it is not from one or two practices. We see the best results over time. Ten minutes a day is far better than one hour every day for a few days until you cause a flare and then never do it again!

Perhaps the most important benefit – at least for me – is the power. I can use these tools anytime, anywhere. I don’t need to wait for an appointment, I can employ them how I like and when I like. Forever. These tools are mine. And side-effect free, provided I practice safely.

Would you like to try some yoga designed especially for people with fibromyalgia?

I have a few options for you.

  • Try my Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Challenge for free
  • Check out some of my free classes here
  • Jump in and give it a good go in the Yoga for the Chronic Life studio here. We have breathing practices, slow flow practices of varying lengths, restorative practices of varying lengths, meditations and more. I add new classes monthly. I also periodically create challenges/plans to guide practice. There are several toolkits which you can work your way through as well – including the Bed Yoga Toolkit, the Chair Yoga Toolkit and the 10 Day Beginners Toolkit. The Foundations of Yoga for Fibromyalgia full course (value $199) is in there too.

The Foundations of Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Just for September 2020 you have a special option – your complete guide to starting a yoga practice and using those tools in your journey. We are working this together for eight weeks starting 14 September 2020.

foundations of yoga for fibromyalgia join us

So tell me, have you tried yoga, does it help you?

Recovery Factors: My Favourite Supplement for Fibromyalgia

Recovery Factors is my favourite supplement for fibromyalgia.

Amino acid supplementation for fibromyalgia appears to be a useful treatment option.

I had only ever thought of one at a time, 5HTP for sleep, lysine for cold sores, acetyl l carinitine etc.

At the end of 2019 Dr Teitelbaum offered an opportunity to try a supplement that he and a fellow doctor had been finding helpful with their fibromyalgia patients.

As one of the lucky participants I received my bottles and started the trial eagerly.

I noticed that the ingredients label listed iron and an extensive list of amino acids.

Recovery factors supplement for fibromyalgia

Being an avid learner – I set about researching and found some interesting information.

“Patients with sleep disorders demonstrate a nutritional deficiency of tryptophan, choline and GABA. Fibromyalgia patients also have reduced blood levels of serotonin and 5-hydroxytryptophan.
A double-blind, randomized trial compared an amino acid based medical food with trazodone to study sleep latency and parasympathetic autonomic nervous system improvement in sleeping hours. The results showed improved sleep quality without morning grogginess along with improved nighttime parasympathetic activity with the use of the medical food.” http://www.archivesofmedicine.com/medicine/nutritional-management-of-fibromyalgia.php?aid=9131

We know sleep is huge in fibromyalgia. It is a massive perpetuating factor.

Amino acids can help everything, “From treating sleep disorders and energy deficits to nervous system and methylation factors that support proper neutralizing and elimination of toxins within the body.” https://www.living-smarter-with-fibromyalgia.com/treatment-for-fibromyalgia-amino-acids.html

An old article from Dr Teitelbaum states, “I recommend supplementation with all of the amino acids as opposed to using a single one by itself, as these supplies overall nutritional support and are less likely to cause a relative deficiency of other amino acids.” https://www.vitality101.com/health-a-z/Cfs_fm-amino_acids_low_in_fibromyalgia

recovery factors supplement for fibromyalgia

My experiment with Recovery Factors

The first few nights I took the full dose as recommended and slept like I was heavily sedated. When I woke my neck was very sore from the immobility and I had a severe headache.

After struggling through a few days feeling more and more lethargic, I emailed Dr Teitelbaum’s office asking if I should decrease the dose. Dr T himself replied that I should, and take the dose that works for me.

I reduced to half and continued to sleep better but less heavily. I noticed less gut issues, slightly less pain and some more energy.

The bottles lasted me longer due to my dosage, wanting to prolong it even more I dropped to two pills at bedtime only. I continued to sleep better.

March 2020 I ran out and then the lockdown happened in New Zealand. I ended up with no supplement, no physiotherapy, a lot of stress, no childcare and a new job. My sleep deteriorated. The migraines, of which I’d had two the previous month and one a year prior, escalated.

In June my doctor and I agreed I’d go back on Amitriptyline for a time and I’d order the recovery factors supplement which was now for sale.

July Update

My bottle arrived in much quicker timing than I expected, with the pandemic slowing things down and it already taking longer to get to New Zealand. So I was very happy.

When I began again, I started at two tablets per night, I take it right before bedtime, which is contrary to the dosing recommendations. But, as I found with low dose naltrexone, dosing is individual.

Between the tiny dose of Amitriptyline and Recovery Factors I am now sleeping again! I am even getting between 10-18% of deep sleep most of the time. Deep sleep is a big issue in fibromyalgia. And for this reason alone the nearly $100 NZD for the bottle and the delivery is worth every single cent. As I take three tablets a day a bottle lasts me about 2.5 months – so it is only around $40 a month. The value of a good quality multivitamin that does so much more than a multi can do.

In addition, for the first time in many years I have nearly optimal iron levels without iron injections. This is important for me as I tend to live at the very bottom of a very big range and I feel the effects (I get lethargic, fatigued and dizzy).

You can check out the Recovery Factors site, research and grab a bottle here.

Do always remember to check for interactions. My doctor deemed the doses of Recovery Factors and Amitriptyline suitable for me. You need to check your doses with your doctor.

What Life is Like for me Now

Recovery Factors helps me with sleep. The sleep leads to less pain and fatigue. Which in turn leads to better enjoyment of life, more ability to do what I want to do (higher functionality) and better sleep. It’s like a reversal of the vicious cycle of fibromyalgia. I am not healed, but I am doing more of what I want with less pain and fatigue.

I have managed to stop taking amitriptyline again and am taking three tablets of Recovery Factors at bedtime. This is great for me as I prefer not to be reliant on too much. My sleep is trying to normalise again after the amitriptyline.

I am currently working part-time, managing this blog, the Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio, and my three small children. In terms of exercise, I am walking around 10,000 steps each day, have worked up from 15 minutes per walks to around 40 minutes several times a week. I am only hampered by weather and needing help with the wee ones when we are out. It’s nothing short of breath taking.

Do remember this is all in conjunction with my whole of life protocol. Pacing, low dose naltrexone, healthy eating, yoga, meditation and reducing stress as possible.

Have you tried Recovery Factors? Please tell us how it goes for you.

Wavelife Energy Cell Review: Did it Help?

When I was given the opportunity to try the Wavelife Energy Cell I jumped. It is a safe, natural way to relieve pain.

I was gifted the Wavelife Energy Cell through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions shared in this post are my own.

This post contains affiliate links, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own.

wavelife energy cell review

The Energy Cell is based on over thirty years of research and development in co-operation with over 2,800 clinics in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. It uses frequency waves. Their website explains it this way, “The energy cell is made possible by a patented EMF material, that can retain and emit Vital Fields with extraordinary durability
(> 6months), thereby allowing the benefits of a proven energy medicine discipline to be accessible to everyone and anyone experiencing pain.” https://wavelife.com/vital-fields/

I don’t pretend to understand this stuff but I do have an open mind at this point. Especially for natural options.

The types of pain listed on their website doesn’t include fibromyalgia. Other reviews (as linked below) say it helped with arthritis pain.

What the Wavelife Energy Cell Helps with

  • Headache
  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle sprain or tension
  • Osteoporosis
  • Post-surgical pains
  • Upper back pain
  • Post-trauma pain
  • It MAY help with migraine (it didn’t for me)

More pain relief articles:

Yoga for Neck Headaches

My top inexpensive items for fibromyalgia

Myofascial pain syndrome

My favourite five pain relief options

My Wavelife Energy Cell

It took some time to arrive due to the lock down but once I received it I found my Wavelife Cell (pictured), instruction booklet and box of 10 adhesive patches.

I preferred to use some soft bandage tape I had in the first aid kit than the stickier patches included so I felt like I had the choice of moving it around easily. You could try kinesio tape too.

You can place this on your upper spine, centre of your chest or foot for systemic pain. I tried all three. You can also try it on areas of localised pain.

wavelife energy cell up close

It is super easy to use and you don’t have to worry about interactions as its completely natural.

Unfortunately having it attached to my upper spine made it difficult to use my heat pack- something I use on my neck frequently.

On my foot it was irritating – I am a bit sensitive to things on my feet.

The lower back position seemed to help the pain associated with hormonal lower back pain (menstrual pains which I experience for much of the month).

So would I buy the WaveLife?

Unlikely, but then it doesn’t specifically state fibromyalgia or myofascial pain syndrome and it didn’t help me with these so the rest is just gravy. Delicious but not something I’d spend money on.

But as we know what works for one doesn’t work for another, so here are some other chronic bloggers who reviewed it too – and some had good relief…

Wavelife Energy Cell Review – because if Donna has written about something I want to read it

The Spoonie Mummy’s Review – recommended for rheumatoid arthritis

Looking for the Light’s Review this person experienced great relief

The Winding Willow’s Review – this person experienced modest improvement

Click here to read WaveLife testimonials from experts and professionals

Would you like to try it?

If you would like to give it a go you can get yours here. They do offer a 30-day no questions asked return policy, if for whatever reason our product did not meet your expectations. So it is a win-win!

Shop WAVELife pain-free Energy Cell

Please note this is an affiliate link, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

I hope this helped.

Do let us know your experience with it!

wavelife energy cell, did it help me

Make Money Blogging With a Chronic Illness

Can you make money blogging with a chronic illness? I share how you can in this post.

It’s been several years since I started an online diary sharing my experience of pregnancy with fibromyalgia when no-one seemed to know what to do with me. The doctors here couldn’t help me and there wasn’t information online back then.

I have been industriously sharing my journey on this blog through three pregnancies with fibromyalgia, becoming a yoga teacher and now thriving with fibromyalgia.

make money blogging with a chronic illness

My Experience Blogging and What I did Wrong

It started with a word only, diary-like set of entries. Then I learnt how to create images. I then had to figure out social media. And newsletters. Then hosting. If I had to start again today I would not even try without someone to help me out. There is a lot involved in blogging. Besides setting up the actual website. Every single blog post takes hours to create, publish and share around. Every single yoga video that I share takes hours to create, film, edit and publish.

Thankfully, I have gotten very efficient and I am able to share one or two yoga videos on YouTube per month, a full length yoga video in my studio, the occasional blog post here on the blog and look after my lovely members in the member’s only group.

But I did it all with way too much trial and error. I had to learn everything the hard way. If I could have had some help I would have taken it. Below I share my top six tips if you are blogging with a chronic illness and my only recommendation for a course for making an income from your blog when you have a chronic illness.

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using one of those links, I may make a commission at no extra cost to you. Every little bit helps me to run this blog.

In six years I have learnt six key things, so I am sharing these with you today. I am also sharing with you how to grab the shortcut that I wish I had, because I wasted far too long Googling, playing, YouTubing and experimenting when I could have had the information at my finger tips.

My Six Tips for Making Money Blogging with Chronic Illness

  1. Newsletter list is your own home, followers are your rental home. I started with a free WordPress website because I just started writing. I thought that all my WordPress followers would just migrate when I did. They didn’t. Start a newsletter list immediately.
  2. Traffic is important but the right traffic is best – I found Pinterest and YouTube more engaged than Twitter or Facebook people, so apportion your time and energy on the places that matter
  3. Hosting is tricky but important. My first hosting experience went terribly. I am now with GreenGeeks and they are great. You can check out their awesome hosting deal here.
  4. Use Canva for images, my energy-friendly tip is to make a Pinterest size image and use as the blog image and then it is easily shareable to Pinterest. If you want to get fancy make two pin images and one Facebook image for Facebook group sharing. It is worth learning to use Canva immediately.
  5. Long form content makes useful resources but make sure its very easily readable in short paragraphs. I have found a mix of personal experience, research and other anecdotal experience to be great.
  6. It is so fulfilling to be able to simultaneously write and help others. There was a time I thought I wouldn’t be able to complete my number one life list goal of writing a book but I did! Bit by bit. You just have to start.

Have you wanted to start your own blog in order to share your experience and maybe make money?

I finally have a recommendation for you. This course, Turn Your Dreams into Money: How to Build a Six-Figure Blog and Live the Life You Want, is the shortcut that I never had (when I was starting). I did this course at the end of last year, loved it, enacted many of the tips Emma shares and said I must tell yáll about it! Then life got in the road and the post sat in my drafts section for a little while.

Affiliate notice: The above link is an affiliate link, if you purchase the course using this link, I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. I am sharing this course with you because I believe it will help you with your business, and it helped me with mine.

make a living blogging with chronic illness

This course takes you through everything you need to start making an income with your blog. From the nuts and bolts of getting started to how to get people to read your work and more.

A Rundown of What You Learn in the Course

The first module is a gold mine for beginners and takes you through everything from naming your blog to setting up your theme. How many of you have been considering starting a blog but the tech or decisions like naming it have held you back? Please don’t let that stop you, take this course and get started.

The second module goes through those foundations – mission, vision etc – those things that separate a random blog from a business. The third module is all about protecting your work which is really important, don’t skip this step.

The Writing Kick-Ass Blog Posts and Images for your Blog modules are going to be a big help to you as you may have noticed that a lot goes into creating blog posts. Researching, writing, editing, remembering SEO (learning what that is!), good headings etc.

The following modules are the ones that, as a person who had been blogging for a few years when I did this course, really helped me out. You’ve created this awesome content, but how do you get people to read it? This is key – how can you help anyone if they don’t know you exist?

The rest of the course is the monetization, once you have created the amazing content, how does it help you to make a living so you can keep running the blog? It’s all here.

making a living blogging with chronic illness

Don’t forget, this is not an overnight thing. It take time, diligence and patience.

Once you’ve built your blog you might like these ideas for legitimate small business ideas with a chronic illness, using your blog as leverage.

There are bloggers who make a full-time income from their blog (and the accompanying opportunities). It wasn’t until 2019 that I considered making an income from my blog and my yoga offerings (I didn’t even know I could become a yoga teacher until 2019!). So join me as I journey through this and share what I learn with you. Join our team and receive my updates direct to your inbox in the form below or to the right.

Tell me, have you considered blogging? Are you going to try this course?

Yoga for Neck Headaches in Fibromyalgia

Recently I’ve come across many people who, like myself, struggle with headaches caused by neck (and shoulder) tension. Specifically from trigger points.

A few of the members in the Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Membership Team expressed avid interest in yoga for neck headaches when I mentioned it there.

So I shared my routine – what I have been doing to manage neck-caused headaches. This routine is the further development of one I was already doing to manage between physiotherapy appointments. When, all of a sudden, I was stuck at home with three small children, a new job that required me on the computer for 20 hours per week and no access to physiotherapy – I had to step it up in order to cope.

My team loved it.

So I created a 10 minute version for you all to try.

Yoga for Neck Headaches Video

Please remember that, no matter how gentle the sequence, you do need to be cleared to exercise by your medical team. Move mindfully and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

We utilise gentle yoga, breathing and meditations in this practice (and all of my practices).

Other articles that may help you

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points and Fibromyalgia

Restorative Yoga, the Central Nervous System and Fibromyalgia

Micro Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Let me know, how did you find it? What do you do for headaches caused by upper body muscle tension and trigger points?

This is just one of the ways in which I am making practical tools for my members to help them in their journey. If you want to join us – you can do so in the Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio here.

yoga for a neck headache
yoga for a neck headache

Pathways Pain Relief App: Review

When I was offered a trial of the Pathways Pain Relief App, I had seen these pain apps and been curious for a while. The basis of science and the mind-body connection as a way to help treat chronic pain resonates strongly with me. Clearly, as a yoga teacher!

pathways the pain relief app

When I was offered the opportunity to review the Pathways Pain Relief App, I jumped! I was given a one year trial in exchange for my honest review. Here it is!

A bit about Pathways Pain Relief App:

  • Educational sessions in pain science
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Physical exercises

What can Pathways help with?

According to their website any pain of a chronic nature (lasting three months).

What can you expect from the app?

“We take patients on an interactive journey that starts with pain science education. Understanding that pain is much more complex (and interesting!) than a signal from damaged tissues, is an important step towards turning down the volume on pain.
We then move onto breaking any behaviours that could be keeping your pain system in high-alert. We also cover physical therapy, guided imagery, visulization and mindfulness exercises, hundreds of meditations and more.
Our sessions are audio based and between 2 and 20 minutes long.”

My Experience with the Pathways Pain Relief App

As a busy mama of three children six and under I don’t have the time for full on programme. I do have time for 2-20 minute audio sessions to be completed on my own schedule. In addition there really is nothing to lose, this is all natural and is bound to have relaxation benefits if nothing else. And we can all benefit from relaxing more.

The first thing I went through was the collection of meditations, there is a great selection for pain, relaxation, sleep and more. So that is a great resource.

I went through several of the lessons and then lost steam. It felt a little like we were being told that if we ignore the pain it will just go away. I understand the basis of not focusing on the pain and letting it become part of your identity. I fully understand that the brain is the main cause of the pain in fibromyalgia but I don’t believe you can just push through, ignoring it.

However, knowledge is power, and if you are at the beginning of your journey with fibromyalgia and chronic pain – this is a great way to learn. It is presented in bite sized chunks. Easy for brain fog and to implement.

If education/information is your cuppa you might like:

Myofascial Pain Syndrome 101

Fibromyalgia 101

Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue

pathways pain relief app

Conclusion

The founder had told me that there were some extra resources coming including some physical practices. That is what I was waiting for before sharing this review.

The update is fantastic! My subscription has lapsed so I can’t try everything but it is a great resource.

There’s yoga, physical therapy, challenges, extra masterclasses, guided breathing and more. As a yoga teacher, with my own virtual studio, I don’t need the yoga, breathing or meditation myself!

The masterclasses include How to Sleep Better, Epigenetics: Reprogram Your Genes and Finding the Motivation to Heal. All interesting topics to me.

At $14.99 a month, $69.99 a year or $299.99 lifetime it is worth a try if any of these options appeal. You can also try it free using Google Play or App Store.

Check it out here.

Have you tried the Pathways app? Or one similar? I’d love to hear your experience.

pathways pain relief app

If being practical is your cuppa then you might like these

Calming Breathing Tutorial

Gentle Beginner Yoga for Fibromyalgia Class

Restorative Yoga for Fibromyalgia Class 15 minutes

What Treatments Help Me with Fibromyalgia: As Tested During Lock-down

Here I share eight treatments that help me with fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. There is nothing like a challenge for a treatment that we think helps to ensure it works. The pandemic has been a good time to test all of my coping mechanisms.

Being at home with three small, high energy boys, much of the time alone, while trying to work 20 hours and manage my health has been a massive challenge.

But here’s the thing. Despite my neck and back being harder to manage -average pain levels went from mild to moderate – I had only one neck migraine attack and that was the first weekend. So what treatments help? What have I been doing?

what treatments help me with fibromyalgia during the lockdown

Here are the treatments that help me the most

Electric heat pad

This has been my best purchase of 2020. Instead of dragging myself out of bed, standing in front of the microwave for the heat pack to warm and then trying to get it in the right spot – I just press a button and have whole back and neck warmth. It’s been the best help.

Physiotherapy

I knew this helped my neck but man it helps my back too. After more than two months without being able to see my physio my entire back and neck were flaring. I also had trigger points in my chest, arms and legs. The acupuncture needles in the neck, shoulders and upper back had flow on effects. So did the ultrasound the physio did on the middle and lower back while the needles were in the top. That feeling of all my back ribs forming a cage on my back muscles and drawing tighter came back. My lower back, glutes and upper legs were tight. Surprisingly, my neck coped alright without the needles. I thought this was a guaranteed truth. So this was a mixed finding and I’m not sure what to do with this.

what treatments are helping me most with fibromyalgia

Self-trigger point work

Following from the above point, my self-trigger point work helped me manage so much better than I thought. With the additional computer work with my new job I was needing to manage trigger points in my SCM. This one I tilt my head to the side and rub down, pressuring trigger point I find on that tight wire like muscle. My upper trapezius trigger poibts required a lot of work between my hands and theracane massager.

Regular dynamic stretches

These have been the best learning ever. After years of static stretching doing little for my neck, my dynamic stretches for my neck are so useful for keeping those neck trigger points in check. It also helped me notice where the trigger points are restricting range of movement so I can tackle them first.

Yoga, meditation and breathing (three treatments that help in one)

When we first went into lock-down my chest was constantly heavy and tight – not from being sick, from the anxiety of the situation. Take the ability to plan from a person who uses strict planning to survive and you get the perfect breeding ground for anxiety. My breathing practices got me through this.

Each day, after lunch, I have done my guided meditation. I have had about 45 minutes of decent rest and relaxation. It has helped a ton. It is my favourite tool.

My yoga practice hasn’t really looked like a class. It’s looked like cat and cow whenever I need it and some puppy thrown in for some upper body tightness. It’s looked like doing downward dog, cat and cow and forward bend with an 18 month old climbing under me. I have used these tools and used them well.

If you want to look at yoga for fibromyalgia with me, then come and join this free workshop.

Avoiding white flour

Oh how this is something that works for my tummy. In the beginning of lockdown here we were limited to two breads per shop and there was no flour. So I found a 20kg bag of white flour. And proceeded to bake to my son’s heart’s content. And ended up with a very bloated sore tummy. I stopped eating it and was fine again!

Gentle walking

We have managed to start taking a walk everyday. It feels so good to be able to. I feel strong and so happy to now walk for 30-45 minutes. With no hangover pain (stretching afterward). It helps to be outside and to move these muscles and gentle walking has always been soothing to my upper body trigger points (don’t ask me how).

Sleep

I have always said sleep is king and I will continue to do so. We cannot be well and continuously sleep poorly. My sleep hygiene routines, walks, yoga, meditation, breathing, low dose naltrexone and magnesium all help me sleep. Even when my neck is interrupting me multiple times a night I am sleeping in blocks of a few hours which makes all the difference.

You will note that many of these are reactionary to trigger points – the trigger points are related to mechanical things like using the computer but they are also worsened by things like the central nervous system flaring (hello stress). Many of these also target more than one symptom, I am nothing if not efficient, which is why I adore yoga and sleep.

Share with us- what treatments help you? What have you confirmed over this time?

We talk about all of these things and more in the Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Membership Team and you’re spot is waiting for you now. Come and join us! You can even grab the first two weeks on me.

information tools support

My Favourite Yoga Poses for Fibromyalgia

Let’s talk about my favourite yoga poses for fibromyalgia. As a yoga practitioner and a teacher I have a few poses I come back to again and again in mine and my student’s toolkit.

These are great standalone poses that have a prominent place in my toolkit and my students are loving these too.

Some of my favourite yoga tools for fibromyalgia

As you can likely tell, there are a multitude of tools on offer from the yoga toolkit and I use many. It is hard to narrow it down so in this post, I share just six.

Supported childs pose

My favourite version of this pose is supported child’s pose, but even usual child’s pose is a great restful pose. It gently stretches the lower back and shoulders (if you take it extended). Placing your forehead on the ground will calm you down. This pose comes from restorative yoga, a lovely, gentle yoga style that is great for calming the nervous system.

legs on a chair for fibromyalgia

This is such a great introductory restorative pose. One prop required. It is very calming and can be replicated with pillows/cushions/an ottoman, anything to raise those legs a little. Relieving pressure in our legs can be a nice bonus here. Place your neck on a flat pillows/cushion/folded towel if you find it uncomfortable.

cat and cow for fibromyalgia

While they are stand alone poses, I like them together, they are the perfect counter pose to each other and a great way to mobilize the back and neck. I use this regularly throughout the day. Not only does the physical movement help my body but matching the movement to my breath and moving mindfully helps my mind. It’s calming and relaxing.

forward fold for fibromyalgia

Forward bend is so great for a gentle neck and back stretch (as well as the hamstrings). I was using it for gentle neck tractions between physiotherapy appointments before I knew what I was doing (using yoga as tools).

Other posts of interest

Yoga for Fibromyalgia Giant Post

Micro Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Restorative Yoga, the Central Nervous System and Fibromyalgia

What does it mean to “do” yoga

eagle pose for fibromyalgia

Eagle is really great for helping out the upper back (a key problem area for fibromyalgia, desk workers and almost everyone). In Foundations of Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue we work through this pose as a journey because there is so much space in this pose for us to grow.

This is great if you’re not getting onto the floor and want to stretch your lower back. You could use this as a standalone pose, as part of a sequence before bed, in bed and first thing in the morning.

So these are my favourite poses for fibromyalgia. What are yours?

We talk Yoga for Fibromyalgia in my very special free webinar

  • Benefits of yoga for fibromyalgia
  • Myth busting
  • Answering your top questions
  • What about the pregnant fibromyalgia fighter?
  • Yoga as tools
  • My favourite tools
  • and more!

Breathing, the Nervous System and Fibromyalgia

Breathing. It’s not sexy. It’s super subtle. Everyone does it every day. But we need to do it better. Optimal respiration can help us to calm the central nervous system and manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia better.

So many people do it incorrectly. Not breathing fully, chest or mouth breathing and more.

breathing, the central nervous system and fibromyalgia

Correct breathing is vital so that we can take the benefits it offers.

breathing well saves energy, improves energy, reduces pain and tension, helps us to activate the "rest and digest" response and more

Breathing well:

  • Saves energy
  • Improves energy
  • Reduces pain and tension
  • Helps us activate the “rest and digest” mode or the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Improves digestion
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces heart rate
  • Decreases stress
  • Improves cognitive function
https://youtu.be/9_AUMn8Cnrg

It can help respiratory issues, back and chest pain

“One of the benefits of breathing deeply is that it helps to release tension in the diaphragm and primary breathing muscles, relieving many long-term respiratory issues such as asthma and breathlessness. It opens up the chest, releasing tension from the intercostal muscles and around the scapula, erector spinae and trapezius muscles, allowing for a more relaxed posture.” From the article The Benefits of Breathing Deeply

breathing, the central nervous system and fibromyalgia

It helps us activate the parasympathetic nervous system and helps us to calm down

Just a few deep breaths can help us to relax and calm down. Even if we have been anxious, scared or in pain. It is the quickest tool in our arsenal to respond to stress. Please note I am not saying it can cure anxiety or depression – I am saying it can help (as an adjunct to treatment with your medical team).

Just a few deep breaths can help us to relax and calm down. Even if we have been anxious, in pain or scared. It is the quickest tool in our arsenal to respond to stress

Would you like a free, simple mindfulness challenge to fit it into your daily life? Sign up here.

It improves the cardiovascular system

“Deep diaphragmatic breathing tones, massages and increases circulation to the heart, liver, brain and reproductive organs. In one study of heart attack patients, 100% of the patients were chest breathers whose breathing involved very little diaphragm or belly expansion. Another study found that patients who survived a heart attack and who adopted an exercise regime and breath training afterward experienced a 50% reduction in their risk factor of another heart attack over the following 5 years.”

From the article The Benefits of Breathing Deeply

What does this mean for fibromyalgia?

All of the benefits that optimal respiration offers us are essential for people with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. We need to save energy, get more energy, reduce pain and tension, activate the rest and digest mode and all of the rest of the benefits mentioned earlier.

It is also easy to learn. And practice. Below we will talk about what breathing well is and my easiest recommendation for breathing. I have a couple of breathing practices for you on YouTube. But you will get a whole heap of breathing support in Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio. Starting with Breathing 101 module, continuing with pretty much every single yoga and meditation practice focusing on the breath. Breath is central to yoga.

inhale, feel the air fill your lungs and expand your abdomen. Exhale slowly. Breathing practice from melissavsfibromyalgia.com

So what is breathing well?         

Using your nose and not your mouth, filling your abdomen and not your chest. Taking the time to focus on it each day. Focusing on it is actually the simplest meditation you can do!

What is my easiest recommendation for breathing?

Inhale for four, pause for two, out for six. Adapting the numbers to what works for you, focusing on making the exhale slightly longer than the inhale. For example inhale for three, pause for two, out for four.

In the video below I share this simple practice

Look at breathing and other yoga tools to help you in this free challenge