9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia

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.
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9 inexpensive items i use to fight fibromyalgia and move more freely

Trigger point cane massagertrigger 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.

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

tens machineWhen 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 ballSwiss 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

Deep heat regular relief creamThis 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?

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My Favourite Five Pain Management Mechanisms – Pregnant or Not!

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 top five natural pain relief mechanisms that I utilise daily as a potential starting point for you. These are pregnancy and nursing safe too.
My top five natural pain relief mechanisms

My top five natural pain management options video

 

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.

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).

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 a module in my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia eCourse.

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!

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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:


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