Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fibro Flare -- 10 Things That Help

Hello Everyone!

I hope your day is better than mine! I shouldn't complain....this is really a Small Flare Day and it could easily be much worse. How I'm currently feeling: body aches, specific muscle pain, painful skin, brain "not quite right", and super tired. Even raising my arm takes real energy. Yuck!

I felt a lot like this yesterday, but tried to just push through it. That laundry isn't going to put itself away, ya know!! Being "uncomfortable" got progressively worse throughout the day and by the time the evening rolled around, I was in a full-on Bad Flare!!

Instead of complaining, I thought I'd write a post about some things that work when I'm hurting. Not everything works all the time, and the same things don't always work. Even so, these are my standard go-to's. I'm always experimenting in order to find the perfect formula to alleviate the effects of fibromyalgia.

I'd love to hear about the things that help you!

1) My loving and supportive husband!!!!!

Dave is AWESOME!!! He is so gentle and kind! He has NEVER gotten upset with me, even when my flares impact something we had planned. He ALWAYS puts me first and nothing else matters. I know that sounds cliché, but he has proven it to me over and over. He can take 1 look at me and know exactly how I feel. (I have a love-hate relationship with that particular skill!)

He is always looking for ways to help me and in fact, he's usually the one who insists that I get some rest. (All of those chores that I "had" to do, were self-imposed. He ever asks or assumes that I'll do the dishes. I just like doing things to take care of our home and make it look nice.) Just last night when I was struggling to get my leg into my small SUV, he suggested that we look at installing running boards so it will be easier for me.

I am very, VERY blessed!!

Everyone needs a support system. Living with fibro has a lot of ups and downs. You have to have someone who will love, support, and help you through this!

2) Rest!!

One of the best investments we've made is our Sleep Number Bed with the adjustable mattress. It has honestly made a tremendous difference in the quality of my sleep and just general resting. This picture shows the bed in its "Zero Gravity" setting. I use this a lot. I can still watch tv and work, but the shape takes the pressure off my body. Sometimes I turn on the vibrating feature, and sometimes that's just too much. Have I told you I LOVE this bed?? It's worth every penny. (And it requires more than a few!!)

Rest in general is very important!! It's possible that last night wouldn't have been quite so bad if I had listened to my body and rested during the day, instead of trying to do "just one more thing."
3) Temperature control

This one is tough, because I never know exactly what will work. My body doesn't tolerate extreme temps anymore. Being too cold is The Worst!! I have a lot of pain associated with being cold, especially coupled with a biting wind. Unfortunately, rapidly changing weather with lots of wind characterizes our weather perfectly!

I almost always have a blanket while I'm in the family room. In the bedroom, we have recently added a new comforter to our bed. This comforter came from Sleep Number and we love it. It's very light-weight, so you don't feel like you're smothering in your sleep!

4) Heating pad

This is my favorite heating pad. It's the perfect small size, it's super soft, and it has a great "sleeve" feature. I can easily put my hand or arm through and put the heat just where I need it. I wish it had adjustable heat and a vibrating feature, but that's OK. It works well for what I need it to do.

It's small enough that I generally take it with me on road trips and vacations. Luckily, our pick-up has a regular plug in it, so I can use this heating pad even while we're driving.

We purchased this at Walmart last year. I  haven't looked for it in a long time, so I don't know if they still carry it. It's definitely worth picking one up if you can find it!! 

5) My lavender neck wrap

I received this as a gift a few years ago and I love it. The outer cover is really soft and it feels good against sensitive skin. When you unzip it, you find a muslin sack filled with lavender. You can add your own essential elements to adjust the level of smell to suit your preferences.

You can also place the inner bag in the microwave for about 20 seconds to heat it up. (I don't put the purple cover in the microwave.)

One of my little "quirks" is that I like to touch and feel things, so I'm frequently "playing" with this pillow. I actually find this very comforting, and I think that helps with my fibro, as well.


6) Medication

My Cymbalta has helped a great deal in stopping the Bad Flares (for the most part), but those bad times still happen every once in a while. SOMETIMES, other mediations like Aleve or Tylenol will help. Also, please don't underestimate the power of sleep, even if it is "aided" by medication. We need to do what we need to in order to be healthy!! Our bodies don't function like everyone elses and our ways of coping shouldn't be the same!

7) Chocolate

Well, DUH!! Need I say more????

8) Hot bath

I think this one addresses both relaxation and temperature control. This doesn't always make the pain disappear, but it does relax my muscles enough that I can rest a little easier. The heat is soothing and it also helps my muscles relax. Sometimes it is hard to get in and out of tub, especially mine with the high sides, but it's always worth it. Sometimes the jets help and sometimes they are just too much. As far as my fibro goes, the stuff I put in the tub doesn't always matter. Sometimes I add bubble bath and sometimes I just use plain water. That just depends on my mood.

Some items that almost always help are:
Epson salts
Oil (NOT good for jetted tubs)
A relaxing scent

I have taken detox baths and find they are helpful, but I don't usually have long-lasting relief.

9) Light exercise

When I'm really hurting, just walking is painful. Even with that pain, I know what getting my muscles moving is important. At the very least, I will try to stretch both my upper and lower body for a few minutes. So much of fibro pain involves muscles, so it's important to keep them as flexible as possible.

Don't misunderstand me.....I am NOT a work-out person! I am just talking about doing some very simple and slow stretches. (Maybe after you get out of the tub!!)

10) Time!!

Sometimes, all you can give yourself is time!!! You've tried everything and you still're still're still tired. It's OK!! Just experience it and allow yourself to be where you are. That intense pain will not last forever! You will get through it!!

Well, there you have it......a few things that help me when I'm having a Flare. I would really love to hear what works for you! We can all learn from each other!!

Be Well and at Peace!!

*I was not compensated for any of the above These are my personal items, experiences, and opinions.
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