by Mara Rose. Mara has been living with chronic pain and fibromyalgia for the last 15 years.
Every morning, I wake up with a stiffness across my body that is so sharp and painful that I need to give myself anywhere from five to 15 minutes just to get out of bed. I slowly bend at the waist in a seemingly endless descent to gather objects off the floor. Pain begins to strike random joints and muscles as I prepare myself to stand. The first minutes of my day are consistently painful.
If you do not have a chronic illness, this is the only way I can describe what it might feel like to wake up with chronic pain from fibromyalgia or other pain issues each morning. Imagine the worst pain you’ve felt from exercise or an injury, multiply that all over your body, and apply that to yourself every single day. Pretty depressing, right?
Sometimes I am blessed with what we call a “good pain day,” but unfortunately chronic pain can change at any moment. My day might start out with mild pain, but can easily escalate mid-day to a level that is unbearable and unexpected. You never really know.
There are a lot of medications out there that promise “symptom-free” results, but they don’t always deliver. I was tired of the side effects and not seeing any improvement.
There ARE things we can do to help improve our symptoms of fibromyalgia naturally and they are more cost-effective than the “latest and greatest” antidepressant or pain medication (not that they aren’t ever needed).
Over the last 15 years, I’ve done a lot of research and essentially turned my body into a science experiment. With that said, I’d like to offer some tips to improving your personal health with just some small changes. Take them as you will; we are all different, so it’s important to find what works for you.
Suggestions for naturally treating fibromyalgia:
- Eliminate odors or fragrances. Beware of the invisible trigger lingering in the air. Odors and fragrances have been known to irritate fibro sufferers. I’ve found it especially beneficial by simply changing my laundry detergent to be fragrance-free. Several years ago I stopped wearing perfumes and scented-lotions. Why? Because it causes headaches and increases my allergies. The difference is amazing.
- Drink tea. Once a day or at the sign of allergy-symptoms, I will take a moment to enjoy a cup of tea. Caffeine-free is usually best but do whatever works for you. I have found chamomile and peppermint tea to be especially helpful.
- Take supplements. Our immune system goes on a rollercoaster. Supplementing vitamins and nutrients will help your body to build a better wall of defense. Again, find what works for you or get some recommendations from your doctor. I also suffer from endometriosis, so I take vitamin E, echinacea, and acidophilus. A lot of people with fibro may benefit from taking B-complex vitamins to calm the overstimulated nerves.
- Attempt exercise and yoga. It’s a known fact that fibromyalgia sufferers have a lot of muscle stiffness and tenderness. Did you know that exercise can actually help relieve that? If you haven’t been working out, I’d suggest doing a couple laps around your neighborhood. Nothing more than a mile, and work your way up each week. Try some basic yoga moves to stretch out those sore body parts. Start with five minutes and work your way up.
- Be calm and meditate. Stressors throughout the day can take a toll on your body. Meditation is extremely helpful in clearing your mind and hitting the “refresh button” on your overstimulated brain. If you have a hard time sitting up on your own, you can prop your back against a wall or piece of furniture. Inhale slowly through your nose to a count of three, and exhale through your mouth. Then repeat.
- Change your diet. Again, there are a lot of unknown triggers in food. Often times you can cut out certain foods from your diet in order to decrease frustrating symptoms. Consider cutting gluten, soy, and dairy from your diet. But remember, this is a science experiment, and you’ll need a couple weeks to determine what works and what doesn’t.
- Decrease or eliminate tobacco and alcohol. Bummer, I know. The honest truth is that your body will feel much better by eliminating or reducing extra unnecessary toxins.
- Keep it dark and quiet. I am thankful for my job for many reasons, but one of them is that I work from home. Every day I sit in a dark room with dim lighting and a comfortable chair. It helps me to stay well and reduce flares.
- Get sleep. Easier said than done, right? Let’s keep this basic, though. Try getting your body into a routine of waking up and going to bed at a reasonable time. Take naps as much as you can. Listen to your body – you will know if your body needs more rest.
Taking care of YOU is not only important for your health, but for your loved ones too. You will be a better version of yourself if you make some positive and healthy changes!
If you have any other tips for improving fibromyalgia symptoms, please leave a comment below! Also, feel free to contact me any time. Keep an eye on my blog – there will be more healthy encouragement coming soon from myself and wellness professionals.
Remember… no one has to suffer in silence! Be well.
This guest post was written by Mara Rose of WordsByMara.com and is posted here with permission.
Mara Rose is a writer living with fibromyalgia, endometriosis, adenomyosis, and degenerative disc “disease.” She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and son, Micah. She’s active in the fibromyalgia and chronic pain online communities, and she’s currently working to develop local patient mentor programs in her area.