My Year End Review, Goals for 2019 and Your Free Templates

End of Year Health, Life and Goals Review Plus Free Printable to do Your Own

If you’re a planner and an analyzer like me, you’re probably applying this to your chronic illness journey. And it’s about that time of year to start our evaluations.
I like to treat myself like I’m a human in addition to having a chronic illness, in other words I don’t focus solely on the illness. So part of my year end round up includes questions like:
My Year End Review, Goals for 2019 and Your Free Templates

End of Year Review

What was my top five for this year?

  1. Going to a Celine Dion concert (this was a bucket list/life goal!)
  2. Publishing Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia (this was a bucket list/life goal!)
  3. Managing to work 24 hours despite two tiny children and early pregnancy
  4. Starting my Etsy shop 
  5. Going to Hawaii

What did I learn?

End of Year Review snip

Click image to get your free template

  1. Improved my (amateur) graphic design skills
  2. About SEO (through a course on Lynda.com)
What was my low five?
  1. Severe pelvis issues in pregnancy
  2. Having to stop work (due to above issues)
  3. Not being able to exercise (due to above issues)
What happened in my health journey this year? What did I try, what improved and what got worse?
  1. LDN really helped me to cope despite a pregnancy, two tiny children, a part time job, severe pelvis issues and life.

Planning Ahead for 2019

Goals to carry over to next year?
  1. My general sense of pacing limits – don’t get pushed back to work too soon or too much.
New Goals
  1. Survive the first year of being a mama of three!
  2. Start a Virtual Assistant business so that I can work from home and use less childcare for tiny children.

Things I want to Learn

  1. More digital skills

Things I’d Like to Try for My Health

  1. I’d like to redo some old experiments now that the Low Dose Naltrexone is making such a difference with sleep, I feel some things might have more effect now.
As I like to do I made myself a template with these questions and you can sign up for a FREE copy of My End of Year Review here.
If you are game, come and join the Melissa (You) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group and share pictures of your filled in sheets!!

 

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Fibromyalgia Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

Fibromyalgia: Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain-based illness of unknown origin and cure. It effects approximately 3-6% of the world’s population. It is said to effect far more women than men, but there are definitely men who suffer with it too. It appears in-discriminatory in race, education level and socioeconomic demographics.

I have struggled with this illness for most of my life. I have also put a lot of work into my wellness journey. In 2017 I was the most well I had been since I was 17 years old.

Fibromyalgia Definition, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

For the concise, all in one place story of my journey and all that I do see my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia. Please note that this is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

For a brief run down of what Fibromyalgia is, the symptoms and some treatments see below.

What is Fibromyalgia?

On the University of Maryland Medical Center website, Fibromyalgia is explained in this way: “Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons; fatigue; and multiple tender points on the body.”

And on the same page, they list the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

  • Widespread pain and stiffness
  • Fatigue [and]/or trouble
    sleeping
  • Paresthesia (tingling)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Heightened sensitivity to noises, bright lights, smells
  • Depression
    Headaches
  • Pain after exertion
  • Memory lapses/difficulty
    concentrating
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Hemorrhoids

However, the trouble is that Fibromyalgia seems to be very unique to each person: how it comes on, what symptoms are present, what helps said symptoms.

There is also a debate as to whether trigger points are present in Fibromyalgia or part of a separate issue called Myofascial Pain Syndrome. A lot of the above symptoms overlap with a lot of different conditions.

Some Associated Physiological Abnormalities

Research has found alterations in neurotransmitter regulation, immune system function, sleep physiology and hormone level control. A lot of research suggests that Fibromyalgia is the result of central nervous system dysfunction – specifically an overactive nervous system, stressing and exhausting the brain (Dennis W. Dobritt, Fibromyalgia – A Brief Overview).

Getting Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia

This great article from Fibro Daze explains why it takes so long to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the process and the Widespread Pain Index and Symptom Severity Scale.

Long story short, it takes a long time to be diagnosed – years on average and multiple doctors – because it is a tricky illness with no widely accepted test and because a multitude of other illnesses must be ruled out. This is particularly difficult because Fibromyalgia tends to co-exist with a multitude of other conditions. It is a disease of mimicking and misdiagnosis.

Fibromyalgia: Definition, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.

Treating Fibromyalgia

There are a multitude of treatment options on offer. Some of them help a little, some help a lot, some help one person a lot and another person a little – therein lies the difficulty.

I have been sharing my journey for the past several years because I want to help you cut down the time it takes you to find what helps you. I have carefully researched, trialed and written about all of the treatment options I have tried.

There are few certainties in treating Fibromyalgia but here are some from a seasoned Fibromyalgia fighter:

  • Treatment will require multiple options
  • One option can help me incredibly and you not at all and vice versa
  • Sleep is king. Tackle sleep first. With medication if you must. This is a widely agreed finding from key doctors who treat Fibromyalgia including Dr Liptan, Dr Teitelbaum and Dr Vallings.
  • You can impact your quality of life. 

Treating Fibromyalgia: Manuals

I wrote about My Top Five Books for Fighting Fibromyalgia in this post. Start with Dr Teitelbaum and Dr Liptan – both of these doctors have Fibromyalgia themselves and treat people with Fibromyalgia.

What Works for Me

My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia
What Works for me: 9 Things to Fight Fibromyalgia
My Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia One Year Experiment

Treating Fibromyalgia Naturally

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible – Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia
Natural Pain Relief: Supplements for Fibromyalgia Energy
Essential Oils for Pain Relief and a Pain Cream I am Loving
Natural Pain Relief: Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain
Natural Pain Relief: Herbs for Infusion or Tea for Fibromyalgia
Giant Meditation Post
Yoga for Fibromyalgia with Handy Links

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

See my resources page here with all of my articles and products to help you have the best pregnant possible despite Fibromyalgia.

All My Articles on Fibromyalgia

What I Offer – this page lists all of my articles and products that I have created to help you fight Fibromyalgia.

My Journey: 2018

As of 2018, I am struggling with my third pregnancy and severe Pelvic Girdle Pain (my pelvis separated too far causing severe pain). Despite this I am still coping better with this pregnancy than my first two. This is wholly due to Low Dose Naltrexone making such a difference and helping me sleep.

I am hopeful and I am excited as to what the future brings as I finish the time of my life where I am up at all hours of the night with babies.

My hope for you is that you keep fighting for yourself. Don’t wait for a doctor to do it for you. But do work with your doctor, find another if they won’t.


For more information

Try my free micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points, Fibromyalgia, Definition Diagnosis Triggers and Treatment Options

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points and Fibromyalgia: Definition, Diagnosis, Triggers and Treatment Options

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is a term I came across in 2017, when a physiotherapist finally explained that this is what was causing my severe neck issues. In this post we go through what it is, examine if it’s part of Fibromyalgia, and my at-home treatments.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points, Fibromyalgia, Definition Diagnosis Triggers and Treatment Options

Definition of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

A good definition of Myofascial Pain Syndrome that I have come across explains it as: “hyper irritable spots, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle or in the muscle’s fascia that is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, tenderness, and autonomic phenomena” 1

Are Trigger Points Part of Fibromyalgia?

There is often confusion between the tender points characteristic of Fibromyalgia and trigger points. This article discusses the differences and similarities and provides a chart for distinguishing between the two.

The propensity for medical professionals to throw every symptom into the Fibromyalgia basket set me back for a decade. If they had realised prior to 2017 that my neck pain was really caused by trigger points, then we could have begun working on them sooner. These tiny hyper irritable spots have caused me over ten years of sleepless nights and 24/7 pain that nothing completely relieved.

Whether or not one wants to accept trigger points as part of Fibromyalgia or separate, research has noted that where trigger points are present in those with Fibromyalgia, the treatment of trigger points relieves the Fibromyalgia symptoms associated – such as pain in that area and fatigue.

Diagnostic Criteria for Myofascial Pain Syndrome

MPS does not have universally accepted diagnostic criteria, so it also does not have reliable statistics as to the prevalence. An estimate, using data around musculoskeletal pain in general puts estimates of myofascial pain as a patient’s primary complaint at 30%. 2

Other posts you may like:

Tools to Fight Fibromyalgia
My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia
9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia (including items I use to treat trigger points)

Causes or Contributing Factors for Trigger Points

  • Fibromyalgia or other conditions, especially inflammatory ones
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Postural (including bad ergonomics at the computer)
  • Trauma to the area
  • Excessive or lack of exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Fatigue
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Excess weight

Treatment for Trigger Points

The above quoted literature review (2) discusses general treatments for MPS: aside from eliminating as many aggravators of the condition as possible (like proper ergonomic posture at computers), treating any other present diseases, the treatment usually includes NSAIDS (usually stated as unhelpful for Fibromyalgia), heat pack, and acupuncture applied by a specific methodology.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Trigger Points, Fibromyalgia: Definition, Diagnosis, Triggers and Treatment

Some treatment options

In my case, I found that placing acupuncture needles into the trigger point (gently, without aiming for muscle reactions like in dry needling) and leaving them in for 10-15 minutes followed by neck mobilisations and tractions, provides the best relief I have found. By going to a physiotherapist to do this every three weeks, in addition to my home treatment plan, is the best way to treat the trigger points. But they always come back. We have made some progress over the past year, but they are always there and re-triggered rather easily.

Whatever may work for you, it is likely to be multi modal – involving a few treatment options, including pharmacologic and alternative approaches.

My At-home Treatments for Trigger Points:

  • Heat: heat pack, hot bath or shower
  • Topical creams: Essential oil blended pain cream, Deep Heat
  • Trigger Point Massager cane for self-trigger point activation (you can use your fingers or thumbs but mine get too sore for the level of pressure needed)
  • Rest/pacing
  • Stretching
  • Limiting computer time and using good ergonomic set up
  • Medicines: Brufen, when they get to spasm level then a muscle relaxant

Your turn: Do you have trigger points too? How do you treat them?

  1. Travell, JG, Simons, DG. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. The Trigger Point Manual: Upper Half of Body, 2nd edition. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore 1988.
  2. Overview of soft tissue rheumatic disorders Author:Irving Kushner, MDSection Editor:Zacharia Isaac, MDDeputy Editor:Monica Ramirez Curtis, MD, MPH Literature review current through: Mar 2018. | This topic last updated: May 12, 2017. on UptoDate.com

For more information:

Come and join my free micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia project

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia Survey

Since I have written up my one year experiment conclusion about low dose naltrexone (LDN) and Fibromyalgia, I have developed a bit of an itch to share my knowledge. I want others with chronic pain, chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia to hear about this potential treatment option.

To this end, I am creating an eBook about LDN for Fibromyalgia.

I believe that patient-evidence (this term, which I love, was coined by Julia Schopick in her book Honest Medicine) is very important – that’s your voice, not the researcher’s voice (though, I will include research too).

Low dose naltrexone for fibromyalgia project

If you are on LDN could you please take some time to fill in this survey for me? Please do send it on to anyone you know taking LDN for Fibromyalgia. It is my hope that we receive a wide number of audience responses to really show the breadth of experience with this medicine.

For my previous posts on Low Dose Naltrexone see:

Low Dose Naltrexone: An Experiment

Low Dose Naltrexone: Update 16 Weeks

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), Fibromyalgia & Me

My Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia One Year Experiment

I also reference LDN in both of my books, more so in the Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book coverJourney Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia book – because it is a big part of why I was able to write this book.

Affiliate note: Please note that the link to my book is an affiliate link, if you make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you have any questions, please do use the contact page and send me an email. Or come along and join the Melissa (you) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook page and ask me there.

Here is the survey link.

 


For more information and to stay up to date:

sign up to newsletter

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?
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.

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

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.