Sunday, July 25, 2010

Helpful Tips

     Modern medicine is an amazing gift, but sometimes it isn't enough. Fibro pain can be so intense, most pain killers won't even touch it.  These strong medications can cause harmful side effects that result in new medicines to counteract the original side effects.  Many children and teenagers are unable to take most medications. 
     We have gone through the same things and want to share a few things that have helped us.  We all have different symptoms at different times; our ideas may not work for you, but maybe they will inspire another idea that is perfect for you. 

Dealing with Pain
  • We have found an amazing product called Relax Pack.  You can buy them in a variety of sizes, colors, and with or without scents.  This is very helpful if you deal with sensory overload like we do.  They can be heated or chilled.  I like mine heated in the microwave and my daughter likes hers chilled in the freezer.
    The owner/creator has Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so she understands our pain.  Not only that, she has an amazing attitude that always makes us feel better.  You can buy the packs online at .  You can also buy awareness bracelets there.  All the proceeds are donated to National Fibromyalgia Association and CFIDS Association of America.  
  • Another product that helps us is Aspercreme.  It is odorless so you can put it on before work or school and not worry about everyone noticing a strange smell.  It takes the edge off the stiff muscles in the morning and relaxes them at night so we can sleep better.  There are other great products like this on the market, but they were painful for me.  One type made me cold and then burning hot.  I was in agony for several minutes and it didn't help my pain at all.  However, it may work for you, so if one type doesn't work, try another kind.
  • Warm baths.  Some people enjoy bubble bath or scented oils, but if you suffer from central sensitivity syndrome, enjoy the warm water without the additional chemicals and smells.
  • Listen to music.  There are some interesting studies showing music helps alleviate physical pain in hospitals.  Putting on our earphones and listening to our favorite music helps us a lot.  It makes our flares less severe and go away faster.
Dealing with Sleep
     Sleep is a major issue for us.  With Fibromyalgia your brain never reaches Level 4 sleep (deep sleep).  Your brain keeps cycling through earlier stages of sleep, which makes you restless and easy to wake up.  Your body needs Level 4 sleep to repair itself.  When you wake up in the morning you feel like you haven't slept at all.  There are medications for sleep that you can take.  There are also many great ideas for improving sleep for the general public, but these are some specific things that have worked for us.
  • Have several lightweight blankets on your bed.  Temperatures bother us, so we can easily adjust in the night. 
  • Have a soft matress pad placed over your matress.  We love matress pads!  The pads help us get comfortable at night so we can fall asleep.  We are less stiff and sore in the mornings since we started using the pads. 
  • Electric blankets or electric matress pads also let us control the temperature and sleep better.
  • Cuddling with soft pillows or stuffed animals help us relax and go to sleep.
Dealing with Clothing
     Since our brains process pain differently, things that don't bother other people can feel excruciating to us.  Some clothes aggravate our pain and others really help us feel better.
  • Soft cotton that doesn't bother our skin. 
  • Silk and rayon are soft, but if you are sensitive to temperature, be careful.  They tend to make us feel very hot or very cold if we are in a room that isn't just the right temperature.
  • We like looser fitting clothes that don't rub on our skin or make us uncomfortable when sitting down. 
  • Wear layers.  This way you will be warm enough, but you can take off layers if you get too warm.
  • Cut off the tags or buy clothes that don't have tags.
Dealing with Sensory Overload
  • Go to the quietest place you can find.  At school, a bathroom stall works well because it is private. 
  • Put your head down, close your eyes and take deep breaths.
  • Counting backwards helps us stop stressing and helps us focus on something else.
  • Avoid smells that bother you if you can.  Maybe there is a hall where kids spray lots of perfume and it bothers you.  Try to go down a different hall or go at a time when there are fewer kids in the hall.  If the Christmas cinnamon pine cones bother you at the stores, try going in a different entrance or holding your breath until you have walked past the culprit.
  • Avoid loud sounds if you can.
Dealing with Stress
  • Watch tv shows or movies that make you laugh.  Releasing endorphins makes us feel better. 
  • Talk to supportive friends or family.  If they aren't supportive, there are tons of support groups online.
  • Do something just for yourself every day.  It doesn't have to be a big thing.  It is the kindness to yourself that is important.
  • Write about your feelings.  No one has to see it.  It is your safe place.  You can whine, feel sorry for yourself, complain, brag, rejoice.  We both write every day.  We feel so much better and have a lot less pain after we write.
  • You can't blow bubbles and cry at the same time.  Use this tip when you don't want to break down.
 We hope you found an idea that works for you.  If you have a great idea, please share it with us in the comments below.  Sending you gentle hugs.  <3