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.

Want to give yoga a go? Join my free challenge! Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Five Minutes a Day for Five Days.

yoga for fibromyalgia challenge

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?

Want unlimited access to yoga made for fibro bodies? Join Yoga for the Chronic Life virtual studio!

yoga and meditation for fibromyalgia

Inexpensive Items for Fibromyalgia My Top 9

Today we are talking inexpensive items for fibromyalgia and chronic pain. I haven’t tried any very expensive items for managing pain. We just don’t have the budget with all of my other vital costs. These items are inexpensive (around $30 and under) and make a huge difference to my quality of life.
 
A lot of them are things you can do yourself to manage pain, and I am a big fan of that.
 
Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using the link. Every little bit helps me to keep creating resources.
 
9 inexpensive items i use chronic pain
 

Without further ado, here are my nine inexpensive items for fibromyalgia and chronic pain…

Trigger point cane massager

This has been a great find for multiple reasons. The first of which is that my fingers can no longer massage my trigger point-laden neck. The second is that I can use it in any trigger point that I find. And the third is that I can more successfully treat trigger points at home. I still need to see the physiotherapist for intramuscular needles to release them, but this helps.
 

Yoga mat

More often than not, I don’t use it as I’m indulging where I am, as I am – say, next to the kids playing and I drop to forward bend for a nice back release. But when I go into my room, close the door and roll out my mat, it’s practice time! Yoga is one of my favourite ways to manage pain, fatigue and generally exercise.

 

If you would like to try my yoga for chronic pain and fatigue five minutes a day for five days free challenge you can sign up here.
 

Heat pack

I can’t live without this. When we went away to a house (once!) with no microwave, I tried so hard to use the oven with little luck. This is my favourite way to manage pain and my first line of defense, I haven’t had a day without using my heat pack in years.
 

Memory foam contoured pillow

When my neck is being more troublesome than usual, this is the only pillow I can use. I can’t really get a pillow shipped from the US so the link I provided is one that is very similar to the one I use, this also has a five year warranty (use that if needed!).
 

Travelling memory foam pillow

This is a life saver for the car or plane. I just don’t fit seats right, I’m quite short so I need a way to rest my neck or I get super sore super quick.
 

TENS machine

When I remember to get this out, I’m impressed. It helps release my back. However, I can’t tolerate it near my neck and that’s my usual issue. You attach small sticky dots to your muscles and choose a setting and level, then relax for the time you set it for. It’s like a really focused massage.
 
 

Swiss ball

When I am pregnant this was my best friend. I sit on it and do pelvic rocks or circles. Or I’d kneel on the floor and lean forward over it (letting my stomach chill at a slightly higher than table top position) – oh the relief. It’s also useful for exercise when you’re not pregnant, especially for core work. Remember to choose the right size for your height, being 5 foot 2 I use the 65cm, but most people will want to use the next size up. When using it for pregnancy you want to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees when sitting on it.
 
 
 

Foam roller

My foam roller is a very nice way to roll out tight, sore muscles in my upper thighs (on the floor on my side), lower back (standing against a wall) and upper back (standing against a wall). Do Google how to use one of these.
 

Deep Heat cream

This is one of my favourite creams for pain relief, aside from my essential oils, it is non-medicated and warming. Heat is my absolute favourite for treating pain. I go to bed with my heat pack and then apply Deep Heat when I wake around 3am to help release the muscles in my neck.
 
What items do you find useful for fighting Fibromyalgia?
 
 
 
 

Hey friend are you new here?

I’m Melissa and I am on a mission to see that everyone receives resources and encouragement to thrive with fibromyalgia. Please come and join my free Five Minutes a Day for Five Days Yoga for Fibromyalgia Challenge here.

My Favourite Five Pain Management Mechanisms – Pregnant or Not!

Pain management is a big concern with chronic pain and fibromyalgia. There are a lot of things touted as helpful for dealing with pain. It can take a lot of trial and error to find what helps us. So I thought I’d provide my favourite five pain management mechanisms that I utilise daily as a potential starting point for you. These are pregnancy and nursing safe too.

 
favourite five pain relief options

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

My top five natural pain management options video for those that prefer to listen or watch

https://youtu.be/aWYv7NmhjiE

The list:

1. Heat pack

Heat is my favourite pain management mechanism ever. I use my heat pack multiple times a day and take it to bed when I first hop in. I was using a heatpack long before I started researching and fighting the fibromyalgia actively, my body seeks heat when in pain.
 
Edit 2020: I have found something even better than my tiny microwavable heat pack! An electric heating pad designed to fit the neck and shoulders. It has made such a difference to be able to simultaneously treat my neck and back at the same time. It is also great in the middle of the night, I tend to wake with a sore neck in the early hours, now I don’t have to drag myself out of bed to get the heat pack! I simply turn this on and then wake up with the children in semi-functioning shape. It is truly the best tool I have tried in a long time.

2. Warm bath

Bonus add Epsom salts
Following on from the heat pack, a hot bath is my favourite time out and relaxation technique. When my lower body is very sore, this is the only way to release the cramps – for these times I have it rather hot. When I was in my third trimester with my second baby I’d end up in a hot bath that just covered my thighs just about every afternoon.
 
Other posts you might like

3. Yoga

Cat and cow pose
Yoga is a multi use pain management tool. I use it for strength, flexibility, pain relief and relaxation. When my back is sore and tight I’ll do cat and cow pose slowly, with my breath for a minute for so. This was super useful when I was dealing with the symphysis pubis disorder (when your pelvis widens too far in pregnancy and can stay that way for some time after delivery).

If you want to give yoga a go and see how you can fit it into your journey try my free challenge: Five minutes a day for five days.
 

4. Meditation

This has been an emotionally bolstering find. Especially when I have slept particularly badly and am exhausted. I no longer bother trying to nap and then get frustrated because I can’t. It is relaxing for body and mind. It can bring pain and fatigue levels down. I wrote a giant post about this here and have a chapter in my book and an entire course dedicated to it!

Join the mindfulness for your daily life free challenge.
 

5. Magnesium oil (pregnant) essential oils (not, or after first trimester)

Every night since my second pregnancy I have applied magnesium oil before bed. I never had an excruciating calf cramp during that pregnancy. I’m only at the beginning of my natural topical pain relief journey. Lavender and chamomile is a lovely combination for massaging onto sore muscles. It also makes a lovely bath oil. This is a whole other topic that I’ll research, experiment with and write up on the blog.
Please note that it is not recommended to ingest oils during pregnancy or to use essential oils during the first trimester – for the same reasons we try to minimise medicine use in pregnancy, there isn’t enough data to consider it safe.
 
I’d love to hear your go-to natural pain relief options!
 

For more information:

Hello friend, are you new here? Please come and join my free You vs Fibromyalgia micro course 

Melissa vs fibromyalgia book

Fibro Mama Tools for Managing Early Pregnancy Symptoms

fibro-mama-tools-for-early-pregnancy-1Motherhood for a person with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is not a short sprint, it’s an epic marathon spanning pregnancy, labour and baby’s first year. So it’s really important to get your pregnancy wellness plan underway fast.

Here are some things I have learnt for tackling the early pregnancy symptoms:

Sleep – I tried as best I could, but I had a lot back pains which made lying down difficult. I needed pain relief to get to sleep and woke often either in pain or to go to the bathroom. I had pillows to alternate and utilised brief body scans to encourage certain parts of my body to relax. I found that the Chronic Fatigue was greatly flared up and the amount of sleep I got was almost directly related to my nausea levels.

Pacing – The second time around, I was super lucky that a work contract ended at week four so I had week five off to get into a routine of rest/errand. The first time around, I had little choice and needed to work the entire time, however I worked from home and was able to schedule lie down breaks regularly – for a while there I napped at 10am and 3pm (and my body’s a rigid non napper usually!) The work/rest cycle is really best for managing pain, fatigue and pregnancy. Sometimes it may feel as if the rest needs to be longer than the work portion, but try to allow that as best you can. Some days I was so (miserably) tired but couldn’t nap and  resting was the difference between coping and not. I actually lay down with my eyes closed and listened to Pride and Prejudice audio book which was a lovely treat.

Meditation – as a stubborn (my body, not me!) non napper and a troubled sleeper meditation was a lifesaver. It is useful first thing if you wake too early and cannot get back to sleep. It can be used midday, or whenever you need a lie down. Or it can be used right before bed. You can choose simple breath focused meditation, you can listen to guided meditation or do body scans. You can choose meditations specifically for pain or pregnancy. There’s a heap available on YouTube to try.

This is a free printable PDF in my Resources page, sign up here to find it.

Exercise – walking is a big part of my usual pain management plan and this is no different in pregnancy. I had to pause my experiment to see if I could increase the amount I could comfortably walk without increasing the pain or fatigue. But I was able to continue gentle 20-30 minute walks all around our neighbourhood after the hardest weeks were over. During the worst weeks I managed about 10 minutes a day. Yoga was off the menu for me due to post exertion malaise, but this could return in the second trimester for me and may be useful for others in trimester one. Your body will tell you. Anything you did before is usually okay during pregnancy.

Here are three cool yoga poses for your entire pregnancy that I found https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLoLbQHZNNqOrHOyfkvlDDvKMi1Clz309c&v=5XKaDOYUpiw

Fuel – I needed smaller amounts of food more often, so I adjusted my meals to suit this and this helped stabilise my energy levels and avoid the more severe nausea. When I was the most sick and unable to eat I found that gently coaxing my tummy back to food with diluted orange juice, small amounts of milk, toast and then whatever I fancied worked. Crackers by the bed for midnight or 3am snacks was a handy hack!

Pain management plan – my doctor helped me to put together a system for dealing with the pain using as minimal medicinal input as possible. My big struggle has always been my neck, so I needed a dose of pregnancy suitable pain killers before bed. I took a combination paracetamol and low dose codiene mixture. I allowed myself one dose per day unless my back pain was severely breaking through the more natural methods of management. You may like to look into homeopathic remedies, using an experienced practitioner’s advice – my doctor is a big fan and I used Crampmed by Naturo Pharm.

There are a ton of natural pain control mechanisms that I have written about before (links) but a snapshot: heatpack, warm bath or shower, meditation, self massage or partner massage or paid massage, herbal topical relief cream (like arnica), gentle walk (seems counterproductive but often helps my neck and back the key word is gentle), a swim, distraction (funny videos, phone a pick me up friend), self trigger point, foam rolling, yoga poses (restorative poses for pregnancy), stretch (seriously, do this several times a day!).

Nausea – this is pretty much unavoidable but I have a few tricks for reducing it: 1. Keep your tummy from getting empty, 2. Don’t get too fatigued (using tools above), 3. Ginger lozenges or mints, 4. Acupuncture for nausea in the wrist point or the seasickness bands that hold pressure in the same point.

Going to the bathroom ALL the time – I can’t really help with this, but I do avoid anything other than water after 3pm and, otherwise, just go with the flow!

Plan – if you’re at all like me, you will find comfort in planning ahead. And write everything down because it may fall out of your head. Figure out potential parental leave options.

Enjoy – you’re growing a tiny human! Revel in that a little. Also enjoy the things you can do now and will have to give up later (weird fact, I do certain stretches and legs on a chair pose like crazy because I know I’ll have to give them up from week 16 or so!)

Do you have any tips for getting through the first trimester?


 

More information about pregnancy and parenting with Fibromyalgia:


Pregnancy andFibromyalgia_resources