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The Case for Taking Insomnia in Fibromyalgia More Seriously

Insomnia is a serious and often ignored problem, especially for people with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia.

I would like to suggest that we need to take this more seriously.

This is a long post. You may want to grab a cuppa and get comfortable! If you have fibromyalgia and brain fog is an issue, there is a handy (free) PDF document below for you to download!

The video: Insomnia and Fibromyalgia

The serious, undertreated problem that millions of people are fighting alone

Key facts about insomnia and fibromyalgia

Insomnia is:

  • A key problem for people with fibromyalgia and many other chronic illnesses
  • Debilitating and makes other already incapacitating symptoms worse
  • A recipe for a shorter, less fulfilled life
  • Pain inducing – even for those without chronic pain conditions
  • A money drain – in health care costs from those who suffer the side effects, in absenteeism from inability to work, in lost income, if you could place a value on a fully functioning human being able to participate fully in life then multiply that by the 10 million people estimated in the US alone (and 3-6% of the world’s population) it would be a massive number.

And:

  • Sleep helps pretty much every symptom of fibromyalgia
  • Sleep improves our quality of life and our emotional state
  • We can improve sleep! It might be multi factorial and a doctor needs to help in many cases, but we can improve sleep.

Shall we take a look into the literature that supports my statements?

Does insomnia lead to death?

Laboratory animals subjected to extreme sleep deprivation can die relatively swiftly of unknown causes — exactly what goes wrong is not clear, but their body temperatures start to drop and then they suffer rapid and widespread physiological failure. [1]

Does insomnia cause pain?

“According to the majority of the studies, sleep deprivation produces hyperalgesic changes.”[2] (That means yes!)

What side effects does insomnia cause? A summary based upon all of the research I have ever done and experienced after more than a decade living with it:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Headaches
  • Attention problems
  • Anxiety and/or depression

Sleep as a treatment for pain

“More broadly, our findings highlight sleep as a novel therapeutic target for pain management within and outside the clinic, including circumstances where sleep is frequently short yet pain is abundant (e.g. the hospital setting).”[3]

Why is sleep a novel (or innovative) treatment for pain??

So we have found that research supports insomnia as life threatening, costing money, leading to pain (and sleep is a treatment for pain) what is the insomnia problem specifically relating to fibromyalgia?

What is insomnia, exactly?

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking too early
  • Not achieving good quality sleep
  • Waking unrefreshed

What’s happening for people with fibromyalgia and sleep?

Dr Ginevra Liptan, MD, writes about sleep in her book The Fibro Manual (2016):

Sleep studies show that Fibromyalgia subjects show abnormal ‘awake-type’ brain waves all night long, with reduced and interrupted deep sleep and frequent ‘mini-awakenings’ (Brandi 1994; Kooh 2003). This deep-sleep deprivation leads to pain, fatigue, and poor brain function (Lerma 2011; Moldofsky 2008; Harding 1998). Treatment focused on increasing deep sleep is the key to improving all these symptoms.

In plain terms, people with Fibromyalgia don’t tend to reach stage four of the sleep cycle (the deep, restorative stage), and therefore, they suffer from chronic, deep sleep deprivation, which causes all sorts of issues with the body: pain, fatigue, fog, anxiety, etc.

Insomnia—along with poor sleep in general—is believed to make fibromyalgia symptoms more severe, which means treating your sleep problems may have the secondary effect of improving painfibro fog, and more.[4]

Let’s just repeat that – treating sleep should help with pain, fatigue and fibro fog.

How have I experienced insomnia?

Every single night for more than a decade (including my entire twenties), despite researching and using a lot of sleep hygiene tips and natural sleep aids, having trouble falling asleep, not staying asleep for more than one hour at a time, spending time awake in the night too exhausted to get up but too sore to remain lying still and waking feeling more tired than I went to bed.

This was while on the only option the doctor every offered me – amitriptyline.

Finally in 2017 I began taking low dose naltrexone and it helped me to start sleeping in blocks of up to a few hours. This made such a difference on my quality of life. But I still struggle with insomnia every single day.

I can’t imagine how much more I could achieve if I could sleep well. Or what it might have been like if my doctors had been willing to work with me to help me achieve more sleep. Even utilizing low doses of medicines for a short amount of time to achieve some rest, like two prominent physicians who have fibromyalgia and treat patients with it suggest (Dr Teitelbaum From Fatigued to Fantastic and Dr Liptan The Fibro Manual – thank you so much to these two doctors who have done so much for our community).

I was miserable and missed out on the usual things one does in their twenties. I couldn’t do my OE, I could hardly make it through the day let alone travel long distances.

Now, with the amount of sleep I’ve been able to reclaim I am managing day to day, but I still experience severe costs. I cannot stay up late, it is difficult to manage my children myself, I cannot work and when I do work I can only manage part-time work (so a cost of 30,000-80,000 per year lost there). Add the costs of things I need to manage such as the low dose naltrexone prescription, doctors’ visits, supplements, physiotherapy, and the many, many things I have tried to help myself. Add in the impact on my quality of life of dealing with chronic pain all day every day. I don’t know what a pain free day might look like!

And there are people who are worse off than me.

What do other people with fibromyalgia and insomnia say?

“Fibromyalgia insomnia is a very real issue for me. I am currently breastfeeding a six month old. She wakes for one feed a night and resettles quickly back to sleep. It then takes me two to three hours to get myself back to sleep. I am exhausted. I have not had a good night sleep in years.” – Amanda

“Where do I start? It’s a vicious cycle in so many ways. If it’s not the pain keeping me up, it’s restless leg syndrome or another of the plethora of symptoms and comorbid disorders that come with fibro. Otherwise, it’s pure anxiety from having night terrors brought on by my medication and the trauma that landed me with fibro in the first instance. The more I get into a terrible sleeping pattern, the worse my pain and other symptoms get, the worse my mental health gets, the worse my relationships get because I just cannot function or am not physically able or awake to conduct a “normal” life. And of course all of these things contribute to not being able to sleep or sleep well. Which perpetuates the issue.

While I was at uni my insomnia was seriously affecting my studies but I got flat out told by several doctors that they refused all students sleeping meds because they were so highly abused. I cried in Drs appointments, I cried as I lay awake at night in pain, I cried when I was forced to ask for extensions on my coursework, I cried when I got sub-standard grades because I knew it wasn’t a reflection on my ability but my circumstance. It’s such an underestimated burden that so many are forced to “put up with” because “everyone’s stressed” or “everyone’s tired” for one reason or another. I wish it was taken as seriously as my pain, which has had all manner of meds thrown at it. I’m sure it hurts me just as much.” – Rebekah

So for them, and for me, I want to beg doctors to take the sleep problem much more seriously. I want to beg researchers to look into how we can fix this (ideally without long term drug use).

Taking Insomnia in Fibromyalgia More Seriously

If you are suffering from insomnia and fibromyalgia what can you do?

  • Learn (I have a Sleep and Fibromyalgia 101 micro course, and offer coaching to help you work through your sleep plan and the other key areas to fight fibromyalgia)
  • Experiment
  • Beg for help – show your doctor you have tried all the things and hope for help!

References

[1] Insomnia Until it Hurts, The role of sleep deprivation in chronic pain, especially muscle pain, Paul Ingraham, updated Mar 5, 2019 https://www.painscience.com/articles/insomnia-until-it-hurts.php

[2] Kundermann B, Krieg JC, Schreiber W, Lautenbacher S. The effect of sleep deprivation on pain. Pain Res Manag. 2004;9(1):25–32

[3] Krause AJ, Prather AA, Wager TD, Lindquist MA, Walker MP. The pain of sleep loss: A brain characterization in humans. J Neurosci. 2019 Jan. PubMed #30692228. ❐

[4] Coping With Insomnia and Fibromyalgia Common Bedfellows  By Adrienne Dellwo  | Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician Updated July 26, 2018 https://www.verywellhealth.com/insomnia-fibromyalgia-716169

I’d love to hear your experience below. Comment how insomnia has affected you, have you found anyone to help you with it? What helps you sleep?

Now that you have read this information what can you do?

SHARE it – let’s get the word out there.
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The case for taking the sleep problem in fibromyalgia very seriously

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Yoga for Chronic Fatigue: A Book Review

It isn’t a secret that I adore yoga and meditation as tools for managing the chronic fatigue and pain associated with fibromyalgia.

I read and reviewed Kayla’s first book Yoga for Chronic Pain and loved it, so I was super excited to read her second book Yoga for Chronic Fatigue.

Yoga for chronic fatigue book review

In the first part Kuran explains chronic fatigue, the part the central nervous system is theorized to play and how the parasympathetic nervous system can help:

“When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, you’ll notice
that:

Digestion improves

Your muscles relax

Your heart rate slows down

You can breathe deeper” part one understanding chronic fatigue syndrome

Interestingly after years practicing my meditation and yoga I have noticed all of these benefits in my daily life – particularly improved digestion and relaxed muscles.

In part three, The Yogic View of Chronic Fatigue, we are introduced to Ayurveda and yoga’s holistic view of health.

Kuran explains complex ideas with clean, concise language such as the theory of the central nervous system’s part in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and yogic components such as Ayurveda.

Step three goes through mindfulness as a tool for healing. (Which I am super passionate about!)

Step four discusses using the breath as an energy source, “Pranayama can increase your fitness and energy levels – without getting out of bed!”

Step five is the actual yoga! Kuran provides a more active routine, a gentle restorative routine and discusses yoga Nidra.

“Like other forms of meditation, yoga Nidra helps release serotonin and decrease cortisol which lowers your stress response.” I adore yoga Nidra and it’s a vital part of my coping when I’m tired, especially when I have tiny babies and am not sleeping much at night – so I always enjoy learning more about it.

I loved the suggestion that even in a flare up we can do yoga. Practicing yoga doesn’t mean a big routine or even physical movement – Kuran points out that even visualizing yourself doing yoga poses can be useful. A breathing practice while lying in bed is sufficient. This makes yoga such a useful tool for those fighting chronic fatigue – its adaptability.

If you enact the action points suggested at the end of each step you will be a long way toward a holistic healing process.

I highly recommend this book and yoga if you struggle with chronic fatigue.

Get your reading on

Purchase your copy from Amazon here. (Affiliate link: Please note that if you make a purchase using my link, I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you).

If you love reading like me try Amazon Kindle Unlimited Membership – you can try your first month free and access unlimited reading or listening on any device! They now have magazines too! It’s also available for those of us who use Amazon.com.au *squee*.

If audio books are more your speed, as they are for me with three little ones, you know you can get a free trial of Audible on Amazon here. I’ve recently started reading a lot more audio books as the hands free option is far easier to access with the wee ones. You will get access to two audio books, plus two Audible Originals, and other cool membership options for 30 days. Cancel anytime if you don’t want the full subscription.

Yoga for chronic fatigue

See my review of Kayla’s first book!

Join us for this special course to utilise mindfulness and meditation in your journey.

Mindfulness for the chronic life

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Copaiba Essential Oil for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

Copaiba essential oil is relatively new in the chronic pain relief discussion however has been widely used in traditional health practices since the 16th century.

What is copaiba essential oil?

The essential oil is distilled from a resin that comes from tapping the Copaiba tree.

copaiba essential oil for chronic pain and fibromyalgia

What it does

It works in the endocannibinoid system- much like low dose naltrexone, cannabis and CBD oil. Copaiba is thought to directly effect receptors that deal in the nervous system with effects in inflammation, endocrine system, pain, cardiovascular system and more. The nervous system is a part we would like to positively influence in fibromyalgia.

I have found success with low dose naltrexone and write about that here. So when I found out that CBD oil can work synergistically with LDN, I put it on my mental wishlist.

Unfortunately CBD oil is classified the same as cannabis under the law in New Zealand. Meaning it will be a long time before I can try it. People with certain conditions can receive a prescription for it but if they do get one, the CBD oil is very expensive.

Copaiba is legal! And cheaper.

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible – Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

Essential Oils for Pain Relief and a Pain Cream I am Loving

Why I’ve Gone as Natural as Possible Fighting Fibromyalgia while Pregnant

How to use copaiba essential oil

Topically is the most often recommended way to utilise essential oils. You can also diffuse or inhale. Some companies say you can ingest their oils if they are food grade. Do check with a qualified professional about this as some oils can be dangerous if ingested.

Also remember that essential oils are like super charged herbal teas – they are way more concentrated so a little goes a long way. Please check with a medical professional before using essential oils to ensure safety of their use and any potential drug interactions.

My experience with copaiba

It was suggested that I try either one drop sublingually (under the tongue) or a drop with some coconut oil topically where the pain occurs.

I found it difficult to administer the sublingual drop but found you can take a drop in water or juice.

On the first night, after being unable to get a drop under my tongue I wiped the dropper saw some oil in my finger and wiped that under my tongue. I did seem to be able to fall asleep faster than I had been.

The next day I tried a drop in coconut oil and placed it directly on my neck and shoulders – my trigger points had been playing up since a car accident a few weeks prior and those muscles became more tight and sore again. It really seemed to help. The effect was probably amplified as I lay down to do a 30 minute meditation too.

It became my go to for increased muscle pain and tightness in my shoulders and neck. It was especially useful as my trigger points were flared up due to a car accident and being unable to take a muscle relaxant while breastfeeding.

I am super excited for this addition to my pain plan!

Where to get your own to try?

Eden’s Garden is voted the number one non MLM essential oil company and has copaiba – not all companies do. You can get that here. (Affiliate link, I will receive a small commission if you purchase using this link at no extra cost to you).

While you are at it you might like to add Frankincense and lavender. These are the components of my wee blend, along with fractionated coconut oil, in my roller bottle. You can add peppermint if you are not nursing. Please Google search for dilution ratios if making your own blends.

Let me know what you think of essential oils for pain relief? Have you used copaiba?


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Mindful Parenting with Fibromyalgia: Mindfully Parenting While Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia

I was so frustrated that they had woken the baby again that I yelled. I yelled so loudly I am sure the neighbour was sorry the baby was awake. My heart rate rose, my headache was exacerbated and I felt terrible. The boys didn’t mind because they were used to periodically top blowing. This was not mindful parenting.

And then it clicked for me.

Mindfulness for our parenting journey with chronic pain and fatigue`

I am a Fibromyalgia and Mindfulness Coach. I have learnt and teach others to utilise mindfulness and meditation in their fight against chronic pain, chronic fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and overwhelm. But what about utilising this knowledge in my daily life? What about using it to help not only myself but my kids?

I dug into the research. As I do.

I found this article, “Analyses showed that parents who reported more mindful parenting engaged in more positive and less negative parenting behavior, which was then linked to more positive behavior in their kids—meaning less anxiety, depression, and acting out.”

So what are the characteristics of a mindful parent?

Attentive
Non judging
Non reacting

It means managing our responses – emotions and behaviours – so that our children learn to manage theirs also.

This can be tricky when we face chronic, all day, every day pain, fatigue and insomnia.

If you wanted to practice a five day challenge for yourself here are the days:

My Mindfulness through Chronic pain and fatigue challenge

Your Free Breathing Practices

Find your one minute breathing practice – to use the calming breath from day one here.

Find your five minute breathing practice – to use in day five here.

Mindfulness for the Chronic Life

I added a module specifically on mindful parenting to my Mindfulness and Meditation for the Chronic Life: Mindfulness and Meditation to help Chronic Pain, Fatigue, Insomnia, Anxiety and Overwhelm running from 1 June. So now it’s nine weeks of content to help you utilise mindfulness in your chronic life!

Mindfulness for the chronic life

You can get in on my free Mindfulness for the Chronic Life Workshop here.

I’d be so delighted to have you join us!

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Pathways Pain Relief Application

I have seen these pain relief 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.

When I was offered the opportunity to review the Pathways Pain Relief App, I jumped! I am beginning a one year trial now in exchange for my honest review. I will keep you updated.

Pathways pain relief app

A bit about Pathways Pain Relief App:

It is designed for those of us with chronic pain – pain that has lasted more than three months, for which little helps. It provides an interactive journey through educational sessions in pain science, meditation and mindfulness and more.

What can Pathways help with?

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

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 take at the beginning of my journey with it

As a busy mama of three children five 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 am looking forward to reporting back on my progress.

Please note: I never make things look like a cure all – there is no such thing. This could be one part of your fibromyalgia puzzle.

If you want to download it and have a look at the free content before purchasing, you can find more information here.

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


One of the things the You vs Fibromyalgia free micro course will take you through is pain relief. Sign up to my newsletter and receive access to this and more free resources.

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My Gut Friendly Coffee Routine

I am a big fan of coffee. Huge. If my gut could stand it, I would rival Lorelai and Rory. If you don’t get this reference, I feel for you. Please go to Netflix and remedy this with all the episodes ever of Gilmore Girls.

I thought I would share the coffee I have been preparing to get around tummy issues, in case you suffer too.

My gut friendly coffee recipe

Affiliate notice: Some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using my link, I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

For my birthday last year, my husband bought me this Nespresso machine. Why? Because it has a tiny footprint (read: doesn’t take up too much space in our tiny kitchen), I can operate it one-handed (while holding a fussy baby), and a mama with three children under five needs coffee.

The aeroccino machine is an amazing bonus. I previously had a Nespresso machine with the built in milk frother and it was nothing compared to this. In the mornings I can whip up some frothy milk for my son’s hot chocolate (it’s how we get milk into him) in a jiffy.

Resources that might help you on your journey:

Mindfulness for the Chronic Life Course

My Wellness Planner Kit

My Goals Planner Kit

As I was playing with my new machine and coffee recipes, I noticed something awesome. Coconut oil makes the coffee more tummy friendly.

When my symptoms are higher, so is my tummy sensitivity. But now I don’t have to forego coffee when my tummy is mad, yay.

The below recipe has been my go to ever since.

20190227_084412
Draw coffee (I take a lungo)

While the coffee is pouring, I add 1/2-1 teaspoon of coconut oil, a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon and a teaspoon of maple syrup.

20190227_084246

Stir it all up and froth the milk.

20190227_084431.jpg
You can find this machine here

Pour the warm, creamy milk in and enjoy!

I have been so happy since I learnt I could tolerate lactose free milk. I just dislike all milk alternatives in my coffee. But you can easily have a go at using soy milk, almond milk etc. Here is a lovely home made almond milk coffee creamer recipe.

If you don’t have an aeroccino machine and Nespresso machine then you can make coffee (plunger, mocka pot, filter, instant in a cup – if you must). You can warm the milk in a saucepan on the oven to pre-boiling (as in, don’t let it boil) and then use a handheld frother or whisk.

What is your go to beverage?

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My Fibromyalgia Origin Story

I finally sat down to tell you about my fibromyalgia origin story. Usually I focus on the positive and where my story improved from. There is a chapter in my book explaining the progression of the illness, but in this video I share how the illness progressed, how I finally got diagnosed, how I changed my life little by little and why I do what I do.

My Fibromyalgia Origin Story Video

I also introduce my next phase – in my recent update I discussed being unsure as to what happens next with my blog. I am moving to supporting people one-on-one so that I can make a bigger impact with all that I have learnt. See my work with me page for more detail and stay tuned as I fine tune this.

Contents of the video:

Progression of the illness (it took place over a long time) 0:33 seconds

When it got better (when I started my journey and the long way I took to get here) 5:40

What I am doing next with my work 10:00

How I went from miserable to thriving the full fibromyalgia origin story

Links mentioned:

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group – do come and join and chat with us about your fight.

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book (affiliate) this is where I share my journey, a consolidated and highly edited version of the blog.

Fibro Framework Workbook (affiliate) this workbook is the framework by which I understand fibromyalgia now and helps you to work through your own plans for wellness.

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group – come and chat trying to conceive, pregnancy and early parenting with fibromyalgia.

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book (affiliate) this shares my journey through three pregnancies as a mama with chronic pain and fatigue.

I’d love to hear your origin story – did it take a long time or develop seemingly overnight? Did diagnosis take a long time?

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Fighting Fibromyalgia and Sharing the Knowledge

You may recall a few weeks ago I shared about what a coach is and why I became one. I shared about how my mission is to help other people improve their quality of life and thrive despite fibromyalgia. For several years I have been showing you how I fight fibromyalgia and now I want to help you do the same thing.

Today I want to share with you my programmes – Kickstart Your Fight Against Fibromyalgia.

These are for you if you would like to sleep better, calm your central nervous system, make the most of your energy, manage your pain and craft your vision of “thriving despite chronic illness”.

I want to also ask you a favour – if you know someone who is struggling with fibromyalgia could you please share this with them? I so wish these programmes existed when I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other as a 20-something person with nothing more than my heat pack and pain killers that hurt my tummy and didn’t help much. I definitely had no one who understood. I created these programs while remembering what I would have wished for, if I knew what to wish for!

woman punching: fighting fibromyalgia

Kickstart Your Fight Against Fibromyalgia 1-1 Sessions

The traditional coaching model where we sit down one-on-one and you set the agenda, we make goals and work on them. For 45 minutes at a time we focus on you and your well being journey – we discuss where you are at, your goals, what you are trying and would like to try and fine tune your plans with someone who has been where you are and gets it. We use the six key areas to fight fibromyalgia as our framework. Check out my work with me page to see how you can request your complimentary consultation.

“It [coaching] was like a reset point, where Melissa helped me to focus on the goals I have by breaking it down into smaller goals.” – A client

Kickstart your fight against fibromyalgia one on on sessions

Kickstart Your Fight Against Fibromyalgia Membership Program

This is the self-study or group option. As soon as you sign up you will have access to all of my best resources to help you plan your fight against chronic pain and fatigue. From the Fibromyalgia 101 Foundational Micro Courses in the six key areas to fight fibromyalgia to the Mindfulness for the Chronic Life course to help you manage the central nervous system over activation and the many bonus resources that come with it. For the group options – you simply up level your membership to premium and gain access to the exclusive Kickstart Your Fight group.

“Melissa has a wealth of knowledge and tools to help others along with a passion to help.” – A client

Drop me an email at melissa@melissavsfibromyalgia.com. Or Schedule your complimentary chat if you would like to ask any questions, let me know your goals and be sure that these programmes might be a good fit for you.

To get an idea of how I work you can:

I would be so honored to walk alongside you in your journey.

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Normal Human Needs to Help Manage Fibromyalgia -Fibromyalgia Framework Series Finale

I can’t believe it is the last part of the Fibromyalgia Framework Series! Normal human needs are an often overlooked component in our wellness journey.

In this series we have talked:

I hope that you have learnt heaps and have lots of things to try.

Today we are going to delve into normal human needs and a little deeper into how yoga helps me.

Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Eight Managing Normal Human Needs to Help Fibromyalgia

NORMAL HUMAN NEEDS

I have held this belief for a long time, that we are human beings first and foremost, so there are some crucial keys to wellbeing that ought to be followed, whether we have a chronic illness or not. We cannot heal an illness such as fibromyalgia without having an overall healthy lifestyle. We cannot throw pills at this problem while not looking after our body. Our body is an interconnected being – what effects one area will effect another.

It is far beyond the scope of anything I can go over here, but I will I briefly outline some general lifestyle tips that will help us to live well, especially once we have begun to address the other parts of this series.

Address other health issues

For me this includes managing myofascial pain syndrome as it definitely contributes to the fibromyalgia and vice versa. For some this will be thyroid issues, other nutritional deficiencies, other conditions such as migraines etc.

Gentle exercise

Gentle exercise is very useful in helping our body to move and loosen up. Every human being is recommended to exercise for wellbeing. I will go into this in more detail below.

Healthy eating

Avoiding any foods we are allergic or intolerant to and making good choices to fuel our body.

Getting enough sleep

Although this is more difficult for us than most, it is a vital human need.

Address trauma

Some of us might need to address any emotional issues that may have contributed to our situation including childhood trauma or very stressful events that have occurred. You could tackle this alone through expressive writing or mindfulness. You may benefit from finding a counsellor.

Managing stress

This is going to be an ongoing and vital part of helping us to manage our condition. We are even more susceptible to stress due to our overactive nervous system.

Human relationships

Human beings are social creatures, even introverted people need some level of social proximity. I was able to make up for the lack of people in real life who understood the fibromyalgia with virtual connections in a couple of great Facebook groups. If you have people who don’t understand in real life, try to find some online. But try to keep it positive, venting can be useful, but so can solutions-focused discussions.

Hobbies

Just because we are limited in our energy envelopes, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve passion. Find what makes you happy and pursue it. Even if you have to adapt it for now, or ongoing.

If you would like help working through all of these areas and getting some action plans in place – check out my Kickstart Your Fight Against Fibromyalgia programme options!

Below we will chat about yoga and gentle exercise.

YOGA (OR GENTLE EXERCISE)

Yoga is one of many gentle exercise options for people with chronic pain and fatigue. One of the golden rules for fighting Fibromyalgia is to keep moving. Walking is my go-to form of movement, a gentle walk in the sunshine has multiple benefits for mind and body.  There are a ton of ways to move besides yoga and walking: a simple stretch, tai chi, Pilates, swimming, aqua jogging, weight lifting… the list is long.

We shouldn’t be doing so much that our pain and fatigue levels skyrocket, the aim is for better quality of life, not worse. If walking is currently out of reach, then stretch or wander around in a warm pool or try yoga.

Type “Yoga for Fibromyalgia” into Google and you will find a wealth of information trails to follow. Countless blogs and articles cover the benefits of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness for people with Fibromyalgia.

Find an entire post here  about yoga benefits, how I utilise it and some links to get you started if you’re curious.

Yoga for fibromyalgia my experience research with podcast video

Non-Yoga Workout
Here is the YouTube channel of a person who makes fitness videos especially for people with chronic pain and fatigue.

ACTIONS: Come and chat about any or all of these things at Melissa (you) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group.

I would LOVE your feedback, so please take a couple of minutes to fill in the survey here. Your feedback keeps me on the right track when I create resources.


So that completes our series!

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If you have loved this series and would like all of the content and templates in one place, with space to write notes as you go…find it physically here (affiliate) and digitally here.

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Baby Wearing with Fibromyalgia

Baby wearing has many benefits for baby in addition to keeping mum’s hands free. My second son basically lived in our frontpack due to his reflux. It kept him happier and helped me spread the distribution of his weight. With my third son, I have delved even deeper into baby wearing. I have tried several now and can recommend a few.

Baby wearing with fibromyalgia

Benefits of baby wearing:

  • Helps baby feel secure (my son didn’t even startle when I used the blender when he was sleeping in the wrap)
  • Promotes breastfeeding
  • Enables baby get more rest
  • Babies who are carried cry less
  • Aids in bonding between mama and baby
  • Can help with colic and reflux

What to look for:

  • Holds baby close to your body for optimum comfort
  • Keeps baby high to your chest, you should be able to kiss baby’s head
  • Keep baby’s face clear
  • Protect baby’s hips
  • Get help putting it on when you are learning
  • Don’t overdress baby as they get super warm all cuddled up

Tips for wearing with fibromyalgia:

  • Baby is close to your body
  • Check the straps do not sit at high pain points
  • Maintain good posture
  • Sit when you can
  • Try to alternate between carrying and other means of keeping baby happy
  • Avoid one-sided carriers

Types of carriers

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Wrap

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The stretchy wrap, one long piece of fabric that you tie up was so amazing for our newborn/fourth trimester stage. It seems tricky but after watching a YouTube instruction video twice, I had the hang of it. Plus, you set it up before putting baby in, so it is safer when you are a newbie. It keeps baby close to your body which really helps with back and neck issues. I found this super comfortable to wear.

 

Semi-Structured

20190304_103619Once the stretchy wrap became a bit too stretchy for his weight, we moved to a semi-structured wrap, like this one. Again, it looks fussy, but one YouTube video and I was a pro. It did take some getting used to as you have to hold baby while tying the wrap up. It keeps baby closer than the below option so is useful for back problems. My picture looks a bit fussier than it needs to be as I wrapped it one last time to tie at the front rather than the back so I could sit down comfortably once he was asleep.

Fully Structured

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This is the simplest of all baby carriers I have ever tried and my favourite for bigger babies. You can use it from 3kg and there is no need for an infant insert, which means all of my children were big enough from birth (we carried baby legs in initially). My second son lived in this carrier due to his reflux. It was his happy place. My husband was also happy to use this one. Whereas the others he had no interest in at all. It is as simple as clicking the waist belt, putting baby in and putting your arms in the arm holes and clicking the back belt. It takes about a minute! It doesn’t hold baby as closely as the other two options so it is tricky for me to hold for an entire nap but it is so great to throw on when we are doing the kindy run and I have a four year old, two year old and the baby to wrangle.

I never tried a ring sling as it is too one sided for my shoulders to handle, but it could be worth a try. I didn’t bother with any that weren’t suitable from birth to toddlerhood, but you can get some structured carriers that require infant inserts for the littlest babies.

Did you baby wear? I’d love to hear your favourites. 

If you are considering grabbing your baby carrier or any other baby product from Amazon, you might like to sign up for the baby registry – it’s like the world’s most portable registry! 


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