Fibromyalgia Flare Ups, What is a Fibromyalgia Flare Up, How do I cope with one

Fibromyalgia Flare Up, What Is a Flare Up and How to Cope

A flare up is a temporary exacerbation of symptoms in a chronic illness. A fibromyalgia flare, for example, is a period of time when one or more of the symptoms of fibromyalgia gets worse for a time.

Sometimes it can be tricky to tell you’re in a flare as it can be a progressive worsening that lasts for a period of time such as postpartum. Other times you just wake up feeling like you were hit by a bus. On yet others if can feel like you just slide into being unwell, unexpectedly during a normal day.

Fibromyalgia Flare Ups, What is a Fibromyalgia Flare Up, How do I cope with one

Possible triggers for a fibromyalgia flare up

  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Hormones
  • Weather
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overdoing it
Some people are able to accurately pinpoint their triggers and try to avoid them. For others, like me, it tends to be a confluence of events but mostly my overdoing it.

My key tip for coping during a flare is having your plan in place for what to do. 

My second key tip is to remember it will pass, and in the meantime you can do things to help yourself.

Fibromyalgia flare up planning

When my symptoms were much worse and I had flares more regularly I had a list of things I could do in ascending order of ability. I utilized this during the early and later parts of my pregnancies. In trimester one, in the midst of those weeks of intense fatigue and nausea my go-to was an audio book of Pride and Prejudice. I know the book well enough that it didn’t matter if I lost focus or fell asleep while listening with my eyes closed.

I have also found that it helps to have a few reminders set up for things that comfort me (I tend to forget even the simplest things that can help me during a flare). I will just wilt away and wonder why. Whereas if I get onto it early I can head off the worst of it.

It also helps to just immediately follow a plan rather than dwell on the severity of my symptoms. It is very easy to panic that these symptoms will never fade back to manageable levels or that the gains I have made over the past several years might be gone.

In order to help you do this, I created My Chronic Illness Flare Planning Kit which is a printable set of plans to help you make your flare plan ahead of time. It includes:

  • My Pain Relief Plan
  • My Medicine List
  • My Flare Plans
  • My To Read List
  • My To Watch List
  • My Support List
  • Bonus: Natural Pain Relief Mechanisms List

To get you started on your plans, here’s some posts that might help guide you:

Tools to Fight Fibromyalgia

9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible – Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

Here’s what some people in my groups said they do in a flare…

“Try and get home to my heat pack as quick as possible. Rest.”
“I alternate between heat and ice.  I don’t find ibuprofen or creams help much, though Tiger Balms is a nice twenty minute distraction from the pain.  Epsom salt baths don’t really help me either — actually make me feel irritable unfortunately.  Also, I’m strange in that going for my regular walks usually makes me feel better — just for the length of the walk though, then the pain returns.”
“Sleep…a lot lol. And lots of baths/hot showers.”
“Take something for pain. Sleep. Do as little as possible.”
“Snuggle up on the sofa with my quilt, pillows and teddies. Watch TV and cuddle my cats. That’s how I deal with a flare haha xx.”
Your turn, will you share your tips for coping during a flare?
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8 tips to cope with children, symphysis pubis disorder and fibromyalgia

How to Cope with Two Tiny Children, Symphysis Pubis Disorder and Fibromyalgia

As my third pregnancy progresses and the symphysis pubis disorder reduces my mobility and increases my pain, it is getting more difficult to manage everything else. Namely the two tiny children and the fibromyalgia.

In case other fibro parents are struggling, I thought I’d share how I’m managing. This is not to say I’m doing amazingly, I get discouraged and disappointed with my limitations. But I acknowledge I am doing my best thanks to several things.

8 tips to cope with children, symphysis pubis disorder and fibromyalgia

  1. I wholly believe I am coping this well this time due to sleep – or the low dose naltrexone helping me sleep. It may be disrupted by pain and pee, but it is more restorative than before. Sleep is king.
  2. Meditation– I cannot nap but the fatigue has been creeping higher so I am eternally grateful for guided meditation to help me achieve 30 or so minutes of deep rest to keep me going.
  3. Routine – my boys and I are creatures of routine. We have the same morning and evening framework daily and set plans during the week. They expect the routine and I can provide it even when greatly diminished.
  4. Flexibility – within this routine there is flexibility. For example, some evenings when husband is at work and I’m exhausted we will do a fish and chip, movie evening. Some nights we skip the shower.
  5. Time saving – I bunch jobs. I make their lunches at the same time. I throw dinner in the pressure cooker or slow cooker in a gap in the day. I shower the boys together (Wyatt adores showering with big brother). We sing a family song together at bedtime and they are going to bed around the same time.
  6. Help – we have kept them in their routine from when I was able to work. Noah does kindy two mornings and they both go to their carer’s for two school hour days. This enables me to get to appointments, cleaning, cooking and resting, which I was not managing while at work.
  7. Easy activities – I keep a snap lock bag with crayons and a scrapbook to get out on a whim. There’s a tub of outdoor chalk in the lean-to outside. A box of play dough and supplies lives in the cupboard. We have a trampoline and small slide structure for backyard fun. I keep a rotation of toys going in the lounge so they don’t get stale, the boys both love blocks. Indoor parks are great in wet weather too. And books, they both have their favourites. Don’t underestimate balloons! My boys will play balloon for ages. (Actually I can and will write a whole post on this, look out for it!)
  8. Television – at that time of day when the kids are tired and I need a break, we will sit and snuggle and watch the tele. No mama guilt y’all.

Do you have any other tips?


If you want to learn more:

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia free miro coursesee the video for the free micro course here, it has the link for the free workbook too!

You vs Fibromyalgia

Free eCourse sign up you vs fibromyalgiafree micro course sign up here.

Surviving the newborn period and baby care log printable

Surviving the Newborn Period and Baby Care Log Printable

When I was a brand new mama, waddling after my episiotomy with an unsettled windy baby, I took real solace in having a miniature framework to follow at home.

Surviving the newborn period and baby care log printable

Frameworks for the Newborn Period

I am a big fan of frameworks over rigid routines, not that newborns are into routines either.

At first it was just feeding 2-3 hourly and taking medicine at 6-8 hour intervals. This was enough to keep me feeling tethered.

A quick note on feeding in those early days (first 12 weeks): 2-3 hourly tends to be a good guide but both my boys cluster fed in the evenings and look out for growth spurts. I don’t believe in “stretching out” to a certain length between feeds until baby is bigger.

I created a chart that I populated for several months. I am a pretty chart person as opposed to an app person. But apps do the job too.

By the time my second baby came along I had learnt many good things. Including the magic of appropriate wake times per age. So my chart became augmented not just logging sleep but helping to pre-empt when it was due. It made a huge difference not letting baby get overtired. Who knew you had to tell a baby they needed sleep?

It also helped as I mix fed my second, so I had to track feeding physically and formula and expressing. It was crazy, this alone took most of my day!

I also made it a point to track my rest and medicines so it wasn’t all about baby. “Rest” includes a nap (if you can), meditation, restorative yoga, a hot bath or shower etc. Things that are nourishing for you. As in pregnancy, the postpartum period is not a time to forget mama’s quality of life.

Baby Care Log Printables

As I anticipate my third baby, I have reincarnated my chart, but not just for me this time, it is now available in my Etsy store! So head on over and pick yourself up one too. As an aside, being off work due to severe pelvis issues that left me requiring crutches to walk, I found that I really enjoyed creating templates and helpful products for those of us fighting fibromyalgia and being mamas!

I created the New Mama Daily Log which includes baby feeding and sleeps, with your own self-care such as mama meds and self-care/rest tracking. The Breastfeeding and Expressing Log is for those who want to carefully track these, this is handy for mix feeding and exclusive expressing too. The Baby Care Log has the choice of simple and complex logging – baby feeding, nappies, sleeps, expressing and bottle feeding with a log that enables more detail when you need it and one for less detail (when you’re tired?).

More Information About the Newborn Period

For more information on wake times by age, I love this article with this chart.

For more information about nursing see my article about it here and about expressing/pumping for your baby here.

I like this article on the fourth trimester (aka the first three months).

I like these tips for newborns from the author of The Gentle Sleep Book.

Did you have a framework you followed in those early days? How did you track feeding, sleeping (and other baby stuff) and your medicines and other stuff?


pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angleFor more about pregnancy and fibromyalgia, from fertility through to coping with toddlers, grab my book.

Please note that the above link is an affiliate link and if you make a purchase I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you would like to come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook community – we’d love to have you.

If you are serious about digging in and learning about fighting fibromyalgia while pregnant and during the postpartum period, you might like my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Workbook – it will take you through the information and help you to make a pain management plan as well as plans for coping during the third trimester, delivery and the first six weeks. It also goes through nursing with fibromyalgia.

Best Books I've Read about Pregnancy and Breastfeeding - they probably aren't what you expect

The Best Books I’ve Read About Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

It’s no secret that I’m a reader if you’ve been reading my blog or following my Pinterest for any amount of time. As I gear up for a third baby and delivery and get through a third pregnancy, here’s the books I’ve been loving.

Best Books I've Read about Pregnancy and Breastfeeding - they probably aren't what you expect

Some of these links are affiliate links – if you make a purchase using my link I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Expecting Better by Emily OsterMy favourite pregnancy book as a third time mama_ A review from MelissavsFibromyalgia

Someone in my birth month forum on Baby Centre mentioned this and I’m so glad they did. I adored the fact that Oster has done the research for me so I can consume the data and make my decisions about everything from sleeping position, to deli meat and epidurals.  You can see my full review on this book here.

Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

Curious after a quote I read from this book in a blog post, I ordered this book from the library. The insights into another culture’s parenting is amazing. I actually found some sleep tidbits that resonated with me such as “the pause” – where you give baby five minutes to see if they are actually waking or just transitioning sleep cycles. I liked the writing and the content.

The Mama Natural Guide to PregnancyThe Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland

This was a very pretty week by week guide from Mama Natural packed full of tips and tricks for getting through pregnancy and birth with plenty of data so you can make your own decisions.

Mindful Hypnobirthing: Hypnosis and Mindfulness Techniques for a Calm and Confident Birth by Sophie Fletcher

Meditation has made a huge difference to everyday life so why shouldn’t I employ the principles into labour? Research suggests that there are benefits to mother and baby from meditation! I like their affirmations so much that I created myself some pretty pictures with them written on for use during labour.

Other posts about pregnancy and parenting:

Fibromyalgia Pregnancy: Items on My Baby Registry
Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)
Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Fibromyalgia (2018 Edition)

A Simple Guide to the Hard Parts of Birth by Lindsey A. Van Alstyne from Mother Rising

This is a free ebook that you receive when signing up to this blog’s newsletter. It is a great, compact, not airy fairy guide to labour – the best I’ve read yet. I wholly recommend this.

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleenbreastfeeding made simple book Kendall-Tackett

This book really promotes laid back feeding as a way for mama to get more rest and help baby learn to latch well. It goes through the science of nursing and baby biology which I enjoyed. The best piece of learning – use those first two weeks to set up your supply, more milk out equals more milk made. I will really work on getting 8-12 feeds per 24 hours.

How to Succeed in Breastfeeding Without Really Trying, or 10 Steps to Laugh Your Way Through by Natasha Shur and Paulina Shur

If you want a light-hearted breastfeeding book, this is it. But don’t think it isn’t well backed by scientific knowledge. My number one take away is that postpartum women are the most undertreated of the medical world, ask for the pain relief if you need it. Labour is rough on your body. Pain relief is more likely to support than hinder lactation.

pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed anglePregnancy and Fibromyalgia by Melissa Reynolds

If you want a book specifically about pregnancy with fibromyalgia you might like my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia- its my research and experience, including the results of two informal surveys I took with advice from other mamas fighting fibromyalgia while pregnant.

 

 
If you love reading like me try Amazon Kindle Unlimited Membership – you can try your first month free and access unlimited reading or listening on any device! They now have magazines too! It’s also available for those of us who use Amazon.com.au *squee*.


If you want to know more about Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

Come and see my free micro course – here’s day one and here’s the link to sign up for the free workbook.

22 ways to increase your energy

22 Ways to Increase Your Energy

Fatigue and low energy levels tend to be significant issues when fighting chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia, chronic pain and myofascial pain syndrome. In addition, pretty much all mamas that I speak to could do with an energy infusion too, so today I am offering you a list of ways to increase your energy.

22 ways to increase your energy

Affiliate notice: Some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  • Meditation – I am a big fan of meditation, as anyone following my blog for any amount of time would know. I can’t nap so it’s been a lifesaver on the days I am too miserably exhausted to keep going.
  • Healthy eating – food is fuel, fuel it right and it will work better. Personally, cutting white carbohydrates made a huge difference. For some it’s completely cutting grains, others it’s the entire Paleo diet, it’s all worth a try.
  • Getting the best night’s sleep possible – yes, this is a minefield when you have a chronic illness for which insomnia is an issue or when you have tiny children partying through the night. Low Dose Naltrexone is the only way I have managed to sleep in more than one hour blocks. For others it increases insomnia. If only insomnia wasn’t so contrary.
22 ways to increase your energy snip

Want a free printable of this list? Sign up to the newsletter list here.

 

  • Supplements for energy:
  • D-Ribose – this didn’t work for me, but my worst issue was definitely lack of sleep so I may notice a difference when I try it again after baby comes. I have heard heaps of people who swear by it.
  • CoQ10 – again, this didn’t previously work for me, but now that my sleep is under better control, I am keen to try it again when baby vacates the building! I have also heard of a high number of people for whom it works. It’s best taken in it’s more activated form ubiquinol.
  • Ashwagandha – I find taking this a bit like having too many coffees, I can’t seem to tolerate it, but it was worth a try.
  • Acetyl-L Carnitine – this one upset my tummy so I couldn’t take it near long enough to ascertain if it would help with my energy levels (two doses and I knew). This is another some that some people seem to swear by.
  • Essential oils – I adore essential oils, especially as they are completely natural. As I was just starting my journey when I became pregnant, I haven’t tried as many as I’d like. Though lavender and roman chamomile are brilliant to massage into tired, sore legs, glutes and low backs!
  • Ginger – it is warming, soothing and comforting. As a bonus it also soothes an upset tummy.
  • Lemon – it is meant to be uplifting and inspiring a positive mood.

More posts you may like

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible
Natural Pain Relief: Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain
Five Ways I Cope With Fibromyalgia: AKA Lifestyle Choices to Live Well

  • Cedarwood – apparently this essential oil stimulates the production of melatonin, which helps you sleep better, which in turn gives you more energy.
  • Grapefruit – is meant to uplift, revive and inspire.
  • Peppermint – this one is uplifting and brightening (I find) and I also find it highly useful for nausea.
  • Yoga poses like:
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Cat and cow pose
  • Half sun salutation sequence
  • A quick, brisk walk outside
  • Vitamin D – get outside into the first morning sunshine or consider a vitamin D supplement.
  • Stay within your energy envelope – yes, this involves finding your energy envelope and it isn’t easy. I wrote about this in my book, that I was trying to fight my body as if I was at a level able to work six hours per day (and then go home to small children) when my pain and fatigue levels were more in line with four or five. This website takes you through the idea of your energy envelope. It’s pretty in depth and not a quick fix. But adhering to what I know I am capable of makes a big difference in pain and fatigue levels.
  • Diaphragmatic breathing (breathing from your tummy NOT your chest)

I hope that at least one of these 22 things are helpful for you. I’d love (LOVE) to hear of any other things you have come across to help you with fatigue/energy boosting?


For more information:

Join my You vs Fibromyalgia free micro course

Expecting Better: Debunking Pregnancy Myths by Emily Oster- A Book Review

As a third time mama there are still things I need to learn and am curious about. I am still reading up on pregnancy, labour and newborns.

Affiliate notice please note that some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using one of these links I may make a small commission at no cost to you. 

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong- and what you really need to know by Emily Oster is my current favourite pregnancy book.

my favourite pregnancy book as a third time mama
Synopsis

Pregnancy—unquestionably one of the most pro­found, meaningful experiences of adulthood—can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. We’re told to avoid cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee, but aren’t told why these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are hard and fast—and unexplained. Are these recommendations even correct? Are all of them right for every mom-to-be? In Expecting Better, award-winning economist Emily Oster proves that pregnancy rules are often misguided and sometimes flat-out wrong.

 

A mom-to-be herself, Oster debunks the myths of pregnancy using her particular mode of critical thinking: economics, the study of how we get what we want. Oster knows that the value of anything—a home, an amniocentesis—is in the eyes of the informed beholder, and like any compli­cated endeavor, pregnancy is not a one-size-fits-all affair. And yet medicine often treats it as such. Are doctors working from bad data? Are well-meaning friends and family perpetuating false myths and raising unfounded concerns? Oster’s answer is yes, and often.

“Ive always been someone for whom knowing the data, knowing the evidence, is exactly what I need to chill out. It makes me feel comfortable and confident that I’m making rhe right choices.” Pxxi

I wholly agree with Oster. There were several things in this book that immediately made me feel much more comfortable. The coffee abstaining recommendation? Nonsense. Switching to decaf, no help at all. Up to three or four cups a day, according to well constructed research is absolutely fine.

She also discusses the research around medicine use in pregnancy. It was really helpful. In fact, it enabled me to feel comfortable with allowing myself to take something to help with the symphysis pubis disorder pain. She explained the rigorous process that occurs for a medicine to be categorised at B – therefore B is likely safe. She still gives us the information, happy for us to make our own choice.

It suits my personality to look into the research, including assessing the quality of the research. I love this. But as a currently pregnant woman with a job, two small children and a chronic illness, I really appreciated that she had done the work for me.

That is what I aim to do in my writing on this blog and in my books and courses. I collate the information and give my personal experience so you can make your decisions. So you can see how a book like this would appeal.

More posts you might like

This book was thoroughly researched and the writing was simultaneously clear and yet personal. Oster wondered and worried about these things too. From deli meats, to sleep position and epidurals – this book covers the major worries.

I wholly recommend this book to all women, pregnant or trying to conceive. Or even just those who are curious!

Get your copy here!

PS: Are you currently pregnant? Do you have a baby registry yet? I created mine through Amazon – a cloud based registry ensures you aren’t stuck to one shop in one location. I have managed to find products on Amazon that I just can’t get here in New Zealand, it has the best selection and discounts. You can create yours here. I shared what is on my registry in this post.


For more information about pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia free miro courseSee the first video here with the link to the free workbook with all of the further reading links.

Learn more about the full Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia course here.

 

My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia

If you’ve been fighting fibromyalgia for any amount of time, you likely know there’s a multitude of therapies to try and that there’s rarely one magic bullet.

Fibromyalgia is an illness of unknown origin or cure and there are debates as to whether it will eventually be classed as autoimmune and/or progressive.

3-6% of the world’s population is has a vested interest in finding a cure. Until then we can only try to wade through the treatment options to try.
My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia.png
My posts about other treatment options
Today I’m sharing my top three treatments to fight Fibromyalgia- as a person who’s been fighting it for more than a decade, who’s been researching for several years and who wrote a book about all I do to thrive despite this illness.

1. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

This was something I found back in 2015 and followed the research for some time before I asked my doctor to try it. As I documented in the posts linked below, I began in April 2017. It took nine months for effect and now I can’t be without it.

My One Year Low Dose Naltrexone for Fibromyalgia Experiment

It is not a magic fix for me but the results are astounding. You see, for more than 10 years I hadn’t slept well (read: in one hour blocks with great difficulty, every night was a fight) and the LDN actually helped me to sleep in two, three or four hour blocks. This is miraculous for me and I believe the sleep is what helped the rest. Read the above posts for the full experiment and outcome.

What I love most about this medicine is that it is not a typical medicine and does not have any of the nasty side effects that most medicines prescribed for Fibromyalgia have. The worst I experienced was vivid dreams when I was titrating up to find my ideal dose. It essentially tricks the body into producing more endorphins, there is research theorizing that people with Fibromyalgia suffer from endocannabinoid deficiency. I believe it took nine months for me to see effect because my body was slowly healing from a deep sleep deprivation behind the scenes. This leads me to believe that LDN may be the only way to address an insufficiency that currently has no other satisfactory treatment option. I certainly prefer it to pain killers that have many negative effects and few positive ones.

2. Heat

If I had to choose one heat treatment, it’d be my heat pack. I use it first thing in the morning to get going, a couple of times during the day, in the evening and when I get into bed. It’s my go-to treatment. I use it mostly for my neck, but I also use it for the symphysis pubis disorder I experience in pregnancy.
I also use:
  • An electric blanket in my bed for my entire back.
  • Hot baths
  • Hot showers
  • Deep heat rub

3. Yoga/Meditation

Meditation is part of yoga, so it may be cheating to name both, if you really want one it’d be a hard call, but yoga would win and only because LDN helps me to sleep at night.
Yoga is a multi-use tool. I adore the ability to mold it to what I need: one pertinent stretch or pose (cat and cow all the time), a few poses to hit one issue (cat and cow, forward bend and eagle for the back) or a full flowing sequence (sun salutations).
It’s stretching, strengthening and calming for the central nervous system.
Meditation has been a lifesaver since I realised I could experience deep rest to help counteract the lack of sleep. The effects have been profound and I share that in my post about meditation. There’s an entire module for both yoga and meditation in You vs Fibromyalgia eCourse in addition to heat and LDN as part of the pain relief module so come and join this special course to work through the material together.

So here are my top three plus ways to fight Fibromyalgia

  1. Low Dose Naltrexone
  2. Heat
    1. Heatpack
    2. Electric blanket
    3. Hot bath
    4. Hot shower
    5. Deep Heat rub
  3. Yoga/Meditation
What are yours?

 

 

how to manage brain fog and fibromyalgia. what brain fog is, how it manifests and how we can fight it

How to Manage Brain Fog and Fibromyalgia

There’s a pernicious symptom of living with Fibromyalgia that can fall into the background of the twin peaks of pain and fatigue. Something that affects our everyday lives and we may not even realise it is a thing.

how to manage brain fog and fibromyalgia. what brain fog is, how it manifests and how we can fight it

Brain fog, fibro fog, or cognitive dysfunction (a very unattractive term, but there it is.)

It can strike during any conversation, any task, any time.

I can’t do confrontations because the stress causes me to forget how to stand up for myself. All the words or well-articulated statements I’d have written down become buried in fog when I try to access them in the moment. Even subjects I’m well researched on become minefields when reaching through my memory for the information. Which is part of why I write everything down.

There’s been a thousand conversations where I’m reaching for simple words that blew away a moment before I want them. There have been even more times when I say one thing when I mean another.  Sometimes I know I’ve done it, but often I don’t. Occasionally I’ll realise later.

As someone who loves words and writing it’s more than a little upsetting.

Brain fog was thought to be another thing that is all in our heads, however, “a 2015 study in Arthritis Care and Research found that fibro fog is a real issue. In a study of 60 individuals – 30 with fibromyalgia and 30 without fibromyalgia – researchers found various impairments of attention and memory in fibromyalgia patients when compared with healthy controls. What remains unclear is what is causing the cognitive challenges.” Reference: Fibro Fog: Sleep, brain dysfunction likely culprits for cognitive difficulties associated with fibromyalgia on Arthritis Foundation accessed here

It is thought as many as 50% of Fibromyalgia patients struggle with it, perhaps more.

Brain fog has been theorized to be caused by poor sleep, the nervous system being off-kilter, stress and anxiety, and pain severity. Though, they really don’t know the cause yet.

Here’s the ways fibro fog can manifest:

  • Clumsiness/loss of spatial awareness
  • Losing words
  • Mixing up words
  • Forgetting things
  • Confusion (I’ve never experienced this but see how it could occur)
  • Overwhelm (too many competing sensory inputs)
  • Becoming easily distracted

Here’s some things that help minimise fibro fog:

  • Get the best sleep you can get (something I have found and is supported by the literature – sleep really is king to managing Fibromyalgia symptoms)
  • Pace activity and rest
  • Manage pain
  • Give yourself time and understanding

These are not small things for us to do. I spend a lot of time working on good sleep and managing pain. However it’s far better to what it was when I was at my worst. I go through all of these things in my course You vs Fibromyalgia and help you make plans to manage pain, sleep and pacing, so do come and join us now (the early bird offer disappears on 18th August 2018) if you would like help in these areas.

Here’s some ways to combat fibro fog and the effects:

  • Lists, write it all down – even before I was diagnosed or had any idea of why life was so much harder for me, I planned religiously and had lists upon lists.
  • Routines, automatic pilot can be useful
  • Explain it to those around you often – I often tell my family that there is nothing more dear to me than a person who mercifully adds the right word in their own head for or me or gives it to me gently.
  • Check your medicines are not the culprits – sometimes our medicines cause as many issues as they solve, it’s good to be aware of what their side effects are so we can mitigate them.

Brain fog is just one of those things that come with chronic sleep deprivation, pain and fatigue, but there are many things we can do to compensate for it.


You vs Fibromyalgia, my research and your plans.

This is an excerpt from my eCourse You vs Fibromyalgia: Helping you Fight Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia – do come along and join us to if you want to learn to fight.

 

how i'm moving while pregnant with fibromyalgia despite symphysis pubis disorder

How I’m Moving While Pregnant with Fibromyalgia Despite Symphysis Pubis Disorder

Movement, or gentle exercise, is an often recommended intervention for Fibromyalgia. If you’ve followed my writing for any amount of time you might have picked up on my love of yoga.

A lot of yoga is off the table while I can’t move my legs wider than hip width apart. Most exercise is off the table due to the level of pain. Why can’t I move my legs wider than hip width and why are my pain levels so high?

how i'm moving while pregnant with fibromyalgia despite symphysis pubis disorder

Symphysis Pubis Disorder

Symphysis Pubis Disorder, or pelvic girdle pain, is a condition where the pelvis relaxes too far causing pain ranging from mild to severe. There’s a lot more detail in this article.

This article goes into good detail about symptoms, how you can help yourself and even how it may affect labour.

During my second pregnancy I endured severe pain in the third trimester which went undiagnosed until a couple of days postpartum. It usually clears up by 12 weeks postpartum, but it took me nine months for the pain to reduce. It can take up to two years.

For this pregnancy, when the pain began at week 10, I knew what to do:

  • Kept my legs hip width apart with movement
  • Rested (paced)
  • Applied my heat pack
  • Rub my essential oil pain cream (this is something you need to research- see my post on essential oils here)
  • Did pelvic tilts
  • Used the pelvic support band when needed
  • Saw my physio who gave me an isometric strengthening move (a squat with legs at hip width that focuses on engaging belly, glutes, legs and pelvic floor) to do multiple times a day
  • Asked my midwife for referral to the hospital for specialist input

For my Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries 2018 see my YouTube channel. I discuss the SPD and more.

Here’s my video on how I’m moving despite the SPD:

More pregnancy posts:

Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Fibromyalgia (2018 Edition)

Navigating Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Fibro Parents Survey Results & Big News about Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Book

Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent

Meanwhile, here are the stretches I’ve been managing:

Please do Google these for proper form and if you have never done yoga before, ask a practitioner to teach you the right way to do the poses.

  • Pelvic tilts/cat and cow pose
  • Puppy pose
  • Child’s pose
  • Mountain pose
  • Forward bend
  • Neck stretches
  • Shoulder stretches
  • Down dog

I haven’t done much other exercise as the incidental walking with work and the children is my maximum capacity physically for now.

Hopefully something here helps you but please do clear everything with a physical therapist as you need to be sure you’re moving correctly so as to not cause extra pain or damage.

If you want to learn even more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then check out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy,Pain Managementmicro course my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

Don’t forget to come along and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group where we chat trying to conceive, pregnancy, nursing etc.

You vs Fibromyalgia eCourse my research your plans to fight chronic pain chronic fatigue and insomnia

You vs Fibromyalgia Equipping You to Fight

I am super excited to announce that I am running You vs Fibromyalgia: Helping You Fight Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia full eCourse!

 

You vs Fibromyalgia eCourse my research your plans to fight chronic pain chronic fatigue and insomnia

While my micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge is a free introduction to some of the modules in the full course, it isn’t exhaustive. This course has a lot more information, so if you’re ready to dive in for more and create your own pain management plans, trial some sleep tips, learn about low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia and more – then come and join us!

If you learn only one thing from anything I ever write, I hope it is that you can impact your quality of life. I have made a huge difference to my quality of life through research and personal trial and error. But it took a lot of time. I want to save you that time.

See below for my brief introduction video about You vs Fibromyalgia

I have just enough time to run this course before baby comes in November, so it won’t be offered again until next year.

The stats of the course aka what you get

  • Seven modules with
  • Short video lessons
  • Templates to make your own pain management plans, a sleep diary, a list for keeping track of the things you’d like to try and a form for working out how you could create some space and make the most of your life despite fibromyalgia
    information sheets
  • The workbook – with all of the lessons, information sheets, templates, heaps of extra reading with space for notes!

Between this course and my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia (affiliate link) and my free resources pages – I am content that I have shared everything I can to help you not suffer as long as I had to. Obviously I am not a doctor and there are often more issues than just the fibromyalgia at play. A doctor and medicine definitely have their place in treatment, but I want to also share all of the things you can do yourself – today – to fight the fibromyalgia.

Yes, I am just as ecstatic to join the journey!