At this point in my journey, it’s rather hard for content I read to contain new information. However, these are my top five books for anyone with Fibromyalgia, whether you are starting out or a veteran. Often I will re-read these and glean new threads to follow up on to take me further into my healing journey.
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1. The FibroManual: A Complete Treatment Guide to
Fibromyalgia for You and Your Doctor by Dr Ginerva Liptan
Dr Liptan is a doctor who has Fibromyalgia. She developed it while in medical school, with little recognition of it among those in the mainstream medical field at the time. Through research, trial and error, she has managed to recover from (not cure) Fibromyalgia.
Her book The Fibro Manual: A complete Fibromyalgia Treatment Guide for You and Your Doctor (2016) is a revelation. Not in that it has entirely new ideas for me, but her research coupled with her experience (personal and professional) has produced conclusions that resonate with me.
For example, she believes sleep to be a vital factor in treatment:
“Sleep studies show that Fibromyalgia subjects show abnormal “awake-type” brain waves all night long, with reduced and interrupted deep sleep and frequent “mini-awakenings” (Brandi 1994; Kooh 2003). This deep-sleep deprivation leads to pain, fatigue, and poor brain function (Lerma 2011; Moldofsky 2008; Harding 1998). Treatment focused on increasing deep sleep is the key to improving all these symptoms.” The Fibro Manual: A complete Fibromyalgia Treatment Guide for You and Your Doctor (2016) Dr Ginevra Liptan p25.
She has chapters dedicated to helping us achieve a whole night’s sleep. This includes a table of medicines that can help the different parts of the brain with sleep disturbances. (I always look up medicines online to check potential side effects etc.)
Once sleep is tackled, she explains how to approach the rest – food intolerances, nutritional imbalances, pain, fatigue and fibro fog.
The structure is such that it is designed for us to gain an understanding of our illness and the ways forward (vital as we are often our own advocates) and also to share the information with our doctors (who, as a profession, like evidence-based treatment).
There is a handy appendix with a useful treatment plan that you can show your doctor. Liptan also provides tips for how to effectively work with your primary physician (who sees many patients a day in 15 minute slots and doesn’t necessarily have time to read all the research on Fibromyalgia) including to break up your issues (ie. fatigue, then pain, then other) and how to approach treatment ideas.
I’d wholly recommend reading this book. I had marked several pages to show the doctor at the pain clinic at my follow up, however the doctor I saw was not interested at all.
2. From Fatigued to Fantastic! by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum
Dr Jacob Teitelbaum is one of a few prominent physicians who treat Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He wrote From Fatigued to Fantastic! And has developed the SHINE protocol to help manage the illnesses. An important part of the SHINE protocol is nutrition. Based on research Dr T found that people with Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome tend to be short on some key nutrients, including the B complex, vitamin C and D and magnesium.
I’m a real fan of Dr Teitelbaum, he has so much information freely available online. He has a real wealth of information on his website. I’ve slowly come back to each letter of his SHINE protocol as I’m ready to tackle it. Currently I’m working on H – Hormones. This is where the adrenals and thyroid come into play. My thyroid results are considered optimal. But I am taking an adrenal supplement – a completely natural one made only from herbs. I have read his books multiple times. Each time I glean new understanding. There is an entire checklist section at the back for you to work through.
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If audio books are more your speed, as they are for me with three little ones, you know you can get a free trial of Audible on Amazon here. I’ve recently started reading a lot more audio books as the hands free option is far easier to access with the wee ones. You will get access to two audio books, plus two Audible Originals, and other cool membership options for 30 days. Cancel anytime if you don’t want the full subscription.
3. Take Back Your Life: Find Hope and Freedom From Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Pain by Tami Stackelhouse
I enjoyed this book. This woman has achieved a lot. In addition to this book, she has set up the International Fibromyalgia Coaching Institute to train fibro coaches – these people work with and advocate for people with Fibromyalgia. I read this book on Amazon Kindle and have dozens of bookmarks and highlights all throughout. She talks about managing pain, increasing energy, improving sleep, how to work with your doctor, how to help yourself heal, and bring more joy into your life. She talks about her own journey which I feel is really important, and she is real. She is proud (and rightly so) or working her way in her chosen career (helping others with Fibromyalgia) by putting in workable boundaries – she takes regular breaks, has Wednesdays off for recovery and works to her body clock starting and finishing later than the usual expectations.
4. The Fibro Fix: Get to the Root of Your Fibromyalgia and Start Reversing Your Chronic Pain and Fatigue in 21 Days by Dr David Brady
Dr Brady’s big thing is that a lot of Fibromyalgia patients are misdiagnosed, that there are not as many people with classic Fibromyalgia as those diagnosed as Fibromyalgia – simply because the doctors give up. After reading the first part of his book, I confirmed that I probably am a “classic” Fibromyalgia patient – my thyroid levels are considered optimal (not just “normal” as most doctors look at), I don’t have candida etc. He prefers natural treatments over pharmaceutical and puts emphasis on diet. His 21 day plan involves detoxification, diet and movement. I don’t necessarily believe that the body cannot properly detox on its own. Nor that a special diet will “cure” us. But there are a lot of useful nuggets in this book.
Overcoming Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Lyme by Dr Bill Rawls
Another physician who has tackled the fibro beast themselves, and Lyme – his protocol focuses on rooting out the infection that causes Lyme. He sells a vitamin pa
ckage that I have read positive reviews about. However, it doesn’t cure these people, it is an addition to what they already do. I wouldn’t purchase the whole set as a lot of the ingredients I have already come across and/or tried. It is also expensive to ship these things to New Zealand. There’s a lot of good, natural information here.
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