Enter to win a copy of Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book!

Win A Copy of Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Book!

Would you like your own digital copy of Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia? You can enter to win below!

Affiliate note: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

melissa vs fibro new cover

Synopsis Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Book

Are you struggling with Fibromyalgia/chronic pain/chronic fatigue and insomnia? Melissa shares the ways she fights these symptoms and her journey from miserable to thriving despite Fibromyalgia.

Melissa Reynolds has fought Fibromyalgia since she was 14 years old. Only, she didn’t receive a name for her invisible opponent until she was in her 20s. Unfortunately, the name of the illness did not come with help.

However, she took matters into her own hands and in seven years, she went from miserable and barely coping with life to thriving.

Using a combination of research and personal trial and error, she has managed to bring her pain and fatigue levels down and minimise the effects of the debilitating brain fog by using everything she has written about on her blog MelissavsFibromyalgia.com.

With a passion for research, health and wellness, Melissa combines her findings (both research and anecdotal evidence) with personal experience and hopes that sharing this knowledge will make even one life a bit easier.

“I wish this book had been around when I first got diagnosed.” Deb, a Fibro Fighter

“This book is a very interesting read. It is packed full of information that is easy to understand and apply. The book reads quickly and doesn’t weigh you down with heavy text. Melissa is a brilliant writer and I enjoy her work. I recommend her book if you have fibromyalgia or know someone who does.” – Jessie

“Another fine book by Melissa Reynolds. I like that every chapter is stand alone. You can start anywhere and go anywhere. You can read from back to front if you want.” – Danny van Leeuwen, Opa, RN, MPH, CPHQ, http://www.health-hats.com 

You can enter the draw for your own digital copy here: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Redesigned MvF

Posts you might like

9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible

My Daily Log, Why I Track Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Join the newsletter list to receive my free printables and updates.

Enter to win a copy of Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book!

Advertisements
9 inexpensive items i use to fight fibromyalgia and move more freely

9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia

I haven’t tried any very expensive items for managing pain. We just don’t have the budget with all of my other vital costs. These items are inexpensive (around $30 and under) and make a huge difference to my quality of life. A lot of them are things you can do yourself to manage pain, and I am a big fan of that.
Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using the link. Every little bit helps me to keep creating resources.
9 inexpensive items i use to fight fibromyalgia and move more freely

Trigger point cane massager

This has been a great find for multiple reasons. The first of which is that my fingers can no longer massage my trigger point-laden neck. The second is that I can use it in any trigger point that I find. And the third is that I can more successfully treat trigger points at home. I still need to see the physiotherapist for intramuscular needles to release them, but this helps.

Yoga mat

More often than not, I don’t use it as I’m indulging where I am, as I am – say, next to the kids playing and I drop to forward bend for a nice back release. But when I go into my room, close the door and roll out my mat, it’s practice time! Yoga is one of my favourite ways to manage pain, fatigue and generally exercise.

Heat pack

I can’t live without this. When we went away to a house (once!) with no microwave, I tried so hard to use the oven with little luck. This is my favourite way to manage pain and my first line of defense, I haven’t had a day without using my heat pack in years.

Memory foam contoured pillow

When my neck is being more troublesome than usual, this is the only pillow I can use. I can’t really get a pillow shipped from the US so the link I provided is one that is very similar to the one I use, this also has a five year warranty (use that if needed!).

Travelling memory foam pillow

This is a life saver for the car or plane. I just don’t fit seats right, I’m quite short so I need a way to rest my neck or I get super sore super quick.

TENS machine

When I remember to get this out, I’m impressed. It helps release my back. However, I can’t tolerate it near my neck and that’s my usual issue. You attach small sticky dots to your muscles and choose a setting and level, then relax for the time you set it for. It’s like a really focused massage.

Swiss ballSwiss ball

When I am pregnant this was my best friend. I sit on it and do pelvic rocks or circles. Or I’d kneel on the floor and lean forward over it (letting my stomach chill at a slightly higher than table top position) – oh the relief. It’s also useful for exercise when you’re not pregnant, especially for core work. Remember to choose the right size for your height, being 5 foot 2 I use the 65cm, but most people will want to use the next size up. When using it for pregnancy you want to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees when sitting on it.

Foam roller

My foam roller is a very nice way to roll out tight, sore muscles in my upper thighs (on the floor on my side), lower back (standing against a wall) and upper back (standing against a wall). Do Google how to use one of these.

Deep Heat cream

This is one of my favourite creams for pain relief, aside from my essential oils, it is non-medicated and warming. Heat is my absolute favourite for treating pain. I go to bed with my heat pack and then apply Deep Heat when I wake around 3am to help release the muscles in my neck.
What items do you find useful for fighting Fibromyalgia?

For more information about fibromyalgia:

Come and join my free You vs Fibromyalgia micro course.

melissa vs fibromyalgia book angled shadowed

I wrote a book about all that I do to fight Fibromyalgia

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible

I’m over these poisons that are marketed as the only thing to help those of us with chronic pain or Fibromyalgia. Some medicines are definitely necessary, I’m not anti medicine, I’m pro natural options first.

Yoga and meditation have been my mainstays for a long time. I’ve paid $60 a fortnight for physiotherapy for a long time because I’d rather skimp and take that than utilise the heavily subsidised medicine I’d have to take instead.

Why I'm Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible

Affiliate notice: Please note that 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.

For the last few months I’ve been researching a lot of natural options including essential oils, herbs, supplements and other options. You will also notice that my book has more chapters about natural/non medicinal options as I am a big believe in things you can administer yourself whenever you need.

Here are some recent posts:
Essential Oils and a Pain Cream I’ve Been Loving
Natural Pain Relief Options – Herbs for Teas or Infusions
Natural Pain Relief Options – Supplements for Fibromyalgia Pain 
Natural Pain Relief Options – Supplements for Fibromyalgia Energy

Here’s a round up of what I’ve Been Using

Free report: Essential Oils for Natural Health sign up here and find it in the free Resources page

Essential Oils

Lavender – multi use for pain, relaxation, insomnia and more. I use it as is with coconut oil or in the bath.
Chamomile – calming and said to help with insomnia, I adore it.
Peppermint – this is handy with coconut oil for spasms.
Pain cream from Bunguin Babies– this has become my go-to for first-line pain. I use it at bedtime and throughout the day. This is not an affiliate link, I use it and love it and a fellow fibromyalgia mom blogger makes it herself.

Herbs

I learnt about thyme, borage, lemon balm and others but since finding out I was pregnant I couldn’t use these. They are still on my radar!

Supplements

Magnesium oil – I apply this nightly to my calves for the nutritional deficiency of magnesium that is prevalent these days and in pregnancy to avoid calf cramps.

MSM – this is my favourite for wrist and hand joint pain. It’s said to be good for other things too. See my post here.

CBD Oil – On my Wish List for the Future (as soon as it’s legalised here)

In New Zealand a committee is considering legalising CBD oil. They recently shot down the application to make medical marijuana available to those with chronic pain, which was disappointing. The research is positive. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. The side effects are negligible! See this post from Counting My Spoons about MMJ and CBD for more information. I would use it for sleep, pain and fatigue. If it worked, the combination of this and LDN would surely get me off the amitriptyline – and after more than ten years, that would be a massive win.

As you may have noticed, I don’t stop researching so more will need to be added to this list as time goes on. Though, my personal experiments are stalled while I am pregnant and then nursing. Look out for the pregnancy edition of this post coming soon.


For more information

Click here to sign up for the free You vs Fibromyalgia eCourse!

My Daily Log, Why I Track Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Keeping an eye on our health and maximising the many choices we make each day can have tremendous impact on our quality of life. I firmly believe that we have the power to impact our life, dramatically, with each little choice.

How Keeping a Daily Log Helps me Manage the Fibromyalgia

Even though I’m not actively logging my Low Dose Naltrexone experiment any longer (please see my Etsy store for my How to Choose a Treatment Option with template for experiments), I keep track of a few key details.

Namely: Sleep hours and quality, three key symptoms (neck, back and fatigue), medicine/supplements, exercise and self-care.

By jotting down quick notes each day, I can see patterns arise and continue the good ones and work on the bad ones.

I believe self-efficacy is vital in managing pervasive symptoms like pain and fatigue. I also believe we are our own best advocate. And with brain fog as a likely issue, we need to write things down.

You can scribble notes in a journal, make a bullet journal or try a template.

My Daily Log

I have one in my Etsy shop, it’s exactly what I use myself. There’s three options: Pink and green two to a page, blue and grey two to a page or pink and green full page with additional symptoms and a notes section. They are editable and printable so you can choose to stay digital (and save them to your Google Drive or computer) or print them out and put them in a pretty binder or punch a hole and tie ribbon.

However you choose to do it, I would encourage you to keep track of your key symptoms in order to help you manage this beast.

More about fighting Fibromyalgia:

Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible
Free Printables from Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Book
Spoonie Gifts – Birthday, Christmas, Anniversary? What to get a Friend with Fibromyalgia
My Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for Fibromyalgia One Year Experiment

My Video: How Tracking Symptoms Helps me Fight Fibromyalgia

I’d love to hear if you track your health and how it works for you.


If you’d like more information:

Come and join my free You vs Fibromyalgia micro course.

Come and join the conversation in the Melissa (you) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group. Here I share my research, articles of interest I find and my content.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 7-13

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries

During my second pregnancy I wrote diaries here on the blog to share what my experience was like in case other people with fibromyalgia were curious. I would have loved to know I wasn’t alone with my symptoms during my first pregnancy – and that is why I started this blog, wrote my book, created the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group and now am videoing my diaries.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 7-13As I’ve frequently mentioned in posts and videos the this pregnancy, despite the symphysis pubis disorder, it’s been a far better experience than my first two. It’s all thanks to low dose naltrexone improving my sleep, pain and fatigue levels. I started in a better condition and am continuing better.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Week Seven

 

 

 

 

I experienced a few weeks of rather bad nausea and fatigue which is all very normal.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 8-9

 

 

 

 

 

I went from very nauseas to very hungry (it was no joke, no food in tummy meant nausea big time!)

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 10-11

 

I started to get more tired, the 17 month old has been growing his double teeth and so has woken every night from week eight ongoing (still at week 16!). The symphysis pubis disorder (SPD) turned up *sigh*.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 12

 

 

 

We had the nuchal scan (screening for genetic disorders) and I outline some ways I am managing the SPD.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 13

 

 

I discuss the confusing matter of simultaneously being thankful that this pregnancy is not as miserable as the last two and upset because my much adored gains from LDN have started to recede (less sleep, more pain, more fatigue).

If you want to learn 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, 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.

So that’s all the videos from the first trimester. Week 14 will go up next week (I’m posting approximately weekly) so do subscribe to to my YouTube channel to be alerted about those.

Feel free to come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group where we chat trying to conceive  pregnancy and nursing with Fibromyalgia.

Don’t forget to check out my video about coping with early pregnancy symptoms and fibromyalgia.

Find my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia here for everything I have researched and learnt about pregnancy with fibromyalgia. pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angle

Check out my course Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia – it’s a full five module course for planning the best pregnancy possible despite Fibromyalgia including a module on pain management. I am experimenting with offering the course for free with the option to purchase my book (technically the textbook) and/or the workbook which is available in my Etsy store. Find more information about the course here.

Pregnancy Diaries 2018: The First Trimester of Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Surprise! We’re having baby number three. It was indeed a surprise, but here we are! During my first two pregnancies with Fibromyalgia I shared my journey. Since then I have written many articles, tips, a book and a course.

Now I can share my third pregnancy! This post is a round up of the first trimester.
Pregnancy Diaries 2018 The First Trimester
Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Baby development

A ton of physical development happens in the first trimester, baby had been conceived, implanted and developed all organs. They went from a speck in their dada’s eye (so to speak) to a fully formed miniature human.

Symptoms

The hormone overload that is growing a baby hits hard during the first trimester. I first knew I was pregnant by sore breasts, low back pain, bloating and mild food aversions.
Knowing the hormones usually hit me hard enabled me to prepare.

Early Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia
Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent
Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book 

I had my ginger lollies, peppermints, teas, acupressure bands and snacks ready.

The fatigue, as always, is a whole other story. I am always super grateful for meditation when I get so exhausted and my sleep becomes more disrupted.

I managed stiffness and discomfort in my low back, hips and shoulders with my natural pain cream and yoga stretches such as downward dog, forward bend and child’s pose.

I was super thankful for the low dose naltrexone making such a difference for me. I looked back at my nine week diary with my second pregnancy and I was in a lot of pain already and was taking codeine just to try and get some sleep. This time I was only using essential oil pain cream a few times a day and Deep Heat in the night. I was also still achieving a few hour blocks of sleep despite Wyatt waking multiple times with his double teeth coming through and peeing.

At week 10 my pelvis started to get a bit achy (reminiscent of the symphysis pubis disorder which caused miserable pain levels in the third trimester with Wyatt) and my physio confirmed that it would hopefully calm down again once the uterus had “popped” up from behind the pubic bone in the next couple of weeks. I have spoken about SPD in my most recent pregnancy diary videos on my YouTube channel here.

What’s happened

In addition to a busy nearly four year old, I had a newly walking one year old. Active is a good adjective to describe our life.

We also went to Hawaii! It was my first flight longer than four hours. It went pretty well with good planning.

I started a new job! The job is good, the nausea in the first week was not. The intense hunger in the following weeks was much more manageable.

Look out for the next updates as we go.

In the meantime you can

sign up to newsletter
Join the conversation in the pregnancy and fibromyalgia facebook group.

Have you Considered Becoming a Fibromyalgia Blogger? How To Do It.

Did you know that my blog got started as simply as me posting diary-like updates while I was pregnant with my first baby and feeling miserably sore and alone?

Once I completed the pregnancy, I began formulating what I had learnt into tips. By my second pregnancy I had hit my stride and utilised my own tips and began gathering the resources that now find their home in the free resources pages.

I wonder if you have considered sharing your unique perspective about fighting Fibromyalgia (or chronic pain, fatigue, xx symptom)? I thought I would share this post about what I did and some resources that might help you if you had though about it but didn’t know where to begin.

Have you Considered Becoming a Fibromyalgia Blogger_

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using my link, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. It all supports me running this blog.  

The Tech Stuff

I started my blog on WordPress.com the free version. After a while, reading a lot of advice that we need to be self-hosted, I chose a hosting company and transferred to WordPress.org. Well, I ended up hacked, lost my information and having to fight with the company for automatically charging my credit card three times the amount they had charged for the first year. I am now back on WordPress.com and pay for the personal plan. It’s worth it to me to not have that stress. Plus I don’t have a lot of extra money lying around, so I run my blog on the smell of an oily rag.

I pay WordPress.com a small annual fee. I pay Amazon a percentage of royalties on my books, Etsy (digital products) and Teachable (courses) take a cut from sales. So for my products, I don’t pay much upfront.

How to Start a Blog

If you want a free course on how to start a blog from the bottom up, see this free one by Michelle from Making Sense of Cents. Do also browse through her archives, she has a lot of good content.

If you want to learn about making digital products and an Etsy shop, I love Paper and Oats. Great content, free products and eCourses to get you started and products you can buy later to take the learning further.

Kenz Soliman has a cool blog, YouTube channel and free course about blogging and passive income. I enjoy her content.

A Blog I’ve Been Following for a While

I like Caroline Vencil. She talks blogging, side hustles, budgeting and making money. This link is to her whole shop which has a selection of paid and free options. I particularly like 10 Steps to Start a Profitable Blog.

The Blog Structure Blueprint, Goal Setting Workbook for Bloggers and 7 Tips to Boost Your Income Overnight are all free.

This blogging bundle is for those who are ready for the next level with their blog.

how to be a chronic blogger, blogging with fibromyalgiaa

Blogging for Those with Chronic Illness

I have done everything bit by bit over five years, as my health has allowed. Don’t be afraid to start small. Don’t be afraid to do it a little at a time.

Here’s my blog post process:

  1. Idea into Evernote
  2. Flesh it out when I have the time and energy
  3. Load it into WordPress, format
  4. Create an image for it (or ask my brother, when I wasn’t able to use the computer as much)
  5. Set it to post
  6. Share it on social media

Please don’t think that because you can’t sit at the computer for hours and hours that your story shouldn’t be heard. I’d like to hear your story.

It was only as the Low Dose Naltrexone started helping at the end of last year that I was able to start making my images myself (on Canva), put my book together, create templates and open my Etsy store. Even now it is a constant cost vs benefit analysis as to where to expend my energy: content creation, learning about marketing ideas and utilising Pinterest properly, posting on Pinterest, coordinating my Facebook group, etc etc. I just put one foot in front of the other and do what I can when I can.

My Resources

Below are the resources I have created, in the order that I created them.

My blog posts (over 180 now)

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Resource Page – this finally looks how I envisioned it, but I really had to do one step at a time.

What I Offer Page – which includes my free library of resources and printables.

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book – published first in November 2017 and updated March 2018.

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia – written slowly over five years!

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia course

You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge FREE Micro Course.

Etsy Shop with printables, templates, micro courses and workbooks.

Please do let me know in the comments if you start a blog, or if you already have one – I’d love to come visit and say hi!


sign up to newsletter

Free Printables from Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Book

Did you know that I wrote a book (well, I’ve written two, Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia and Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia)? It was a bucket list goal to write a book and a more recent life goal to write a book to share my experience of fibromyalgia in case it helps others.

In this book I provided templates and these are available in the free resources page (along with many other resources) that you can sign up for here.

Free Printables from Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Book.png

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission if you purchase using my link at no extra cost to yourself. See my full disclosure here

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book cover

These templates are all mentioned in my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia. This book is everything that I have researched, trialed and experienced in seven years of actively fighting this illness and over a decade living with the symptoms of it. I wrote this book in the hope that it helps even one other person not lose so long to the pain and fatigue – I lost the entirety of my twenties until I realised that the only person who was going to fight this illness was myself. No doctor would take the lead here. I became my own researcher, advocate, scientist and lead carer in one. It has made all the difference.

My Sleep Diary

This is to help you to track your sleep and any supplements/medicines or sleep hygiene tips you try. You can find the template here. You can download and print it out and start using it today.

My Passion Worksheet

This takes you through questions like what do I really enjoy to do? and what would my ideal day look like? so that you can see how you can incorporate your passions into your new life. Find the template here.

My Supplement Log

So that you can track and log supplements you might decide to try. I find it really important to keep a list of those I’ve tried (because I forget) and to track how they might have helped me, because supplements can be costly so we want to be taking the most effective ones. Find it here.

My Support Worksheet

Support is vital to us as human beings and fibromyalgia can be isolating. In this sheet we work through our support options such as creating a plan for the harder days. I found it enormously helpful to have a pre-written plan for flare days in ascending order of ability so that I didn’t have to think about what to do (I tend to quietly panic when the pain gets severe). Find the template here.

sign up to newsletter

 

As I said above, these are available in the free Resources page that you can sign up for here, there are also several printable reports and other resources in here to help you on your journey.

 

I hope all of these resources help you in your fight.

 

 


For more printables and templates to fight fibromyalgia:

Etsy Shop

For my free course You vs Fibromyalgia:

Free eCourse sign up you vs fibromyalgia

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

It’s been a year since my giant experiment with low dose naltrexone (LDN). What a year it has been.
 See my post LDN, Fibromyalgia and Me for my last update. Also see Low Dose Naltrexone: An Experiment my first post introducing the experiment.
How Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) Changed My Life

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How Low Dose Naltrexone works in a nutshell

It works in the endocannabinoid system – it temporarily blocks the receptors encouraging the body to make more endorphins. There’s research and explanations in my introductory post here and in the chapter about LDN in my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia. I also created a printable of the LDN chapter from my book with research list so that you can do some research and take it to your doctor in my Etsy shop here.
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.
There is also plenty of research and patient evidence available – groups on Facebook about LDN and the LDN research trust have a wealth of knowledge.

So here are the five benefits I have noted from LDN:

Five ways LDN is changing my life

Benefit One Sleep

What it’s helped me with – first and foremost is sleep. For the ten years or so prior to LDN I had not slept in more than one hour blocks, that’s rarely completing a whole sleep cycle, therefore my body was in chronic deep sleep deprivation. Since LDN, I can sleep in two, three, four or even five hour blocks! I am so grateful for this, I can’t even tell you. I believe this is what has created the other benefits.
Please do note that I still have to take amitriptyline to get to sleep and enact my sleep hygiene list daily.

Benefit Two Pain

Since about nine months into treatment I have noticed a reduction in neck pain. Neck pain has been a 24/7 issue for over 10 years. In 2017, while starting LDN, I learnt that my neck issue is actually myofascial pain syndrome. After throwing the severe, recurring “muscle knots” (trigger points) into the fibro basket, I finally had an answer. The physiotherapist has been helping me to work on these trigger points through intramuscular needling  (gently inserting a tiny needle into the trigger point and letting it relax a little) and neck mobilisations. This and the sleep (potentially reducing the fibromyalgia worsening the issue) has helped. My pain levels were 6-8/10 with severe headaches (with dizziness and nausea) daily back in 2010 before I started this journey. Just prior to LDN they were approximately 4-6/10 with occasional severe headaches. In early 2018, after one year on LDN, the average is 3-4/10 with the occasional spike to 5/6 with a bad headache and it’s usually when I’ve overdone it.

Benefit Three Emotional

If you haven’t lived with pain that interrupts sleep, interferes with daily life all day, every day for over a decade or been unable to sleep for more than an hour at a time for about the same length of time – it’ll be hard to convey the depth of impact on my emotional well-being.
Not fighting to sleep at 3am, not swapping pillows, getting my heat pack, applying pain cream and basically not sleeping due to unrelenting pain is huge for me.
My quality if life is so much better. I never let myself lose hope, but it was dwindling. This was a necessary win.

Benefit Four Stamina

Slowly my stamina increased. Activities that used to wipe me out can be tolerated for longer. I can exercise slightly more. I can do slightly more.
Having had a baby with reflux, I feel I coped exceptionally well and that is down to LDN. The demands on a mama of two is much higher than a mama with one! It’s been a busy year.

Benefit Five Fatigue

Fatigue is the second of my two worst symptoms (neck pain being the first). Yes, that’s “is” not “was”. It’s improved but I still have a limited energy envelope. I can get through the day on a 15 minute meditation and a brief sit down with the heat pack. I still can’t physically stay up past 9pm and that’s a fair trade off to me.

A Note on Pregnancy

I did some research around the use of LDN in pregnancy for my book and found a fertility doctor who has been using it for years and it’s had benefits for mama and baby.
There isn’t a lot of literature around medicine use in pregnancy, but I took what I had and presented my choice to stay on it to my doctor. We decided for my context it was worth continuing. But that is individual and you need to take the research to your doctor if you are considering taking it during pregnancy – know your stuff in case your doctor doesn’t, they’ll hopefully appreciate the information.

Conclusion

LDN is not a miracle medicine nor standalone treatment option for me, but it is changing my life and I’m so thankful.

For more information

Free eCourse sign up you vs fibromyalgia
Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book cover

My book is everything I have researched and do to fight Fibromyalgia

pain relief in pregnancy with fibromyalgia

Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Pain relief is a big issue for those who live with chronic pain. It becomes an even bigger issue during pregnancy. For those of us whose symptoms worsen during pregnancy, it’s a minefield.

Author’s Note: This article appeared first on The Mighty

pain relief in pregnancy with fibromyalgia

My fifth tip for pregnancy with Fibromyalgia is to get a pain management plan in place – preferably prior to becoming pregnant.

There are some medicines that are categorically unsafe for pregnancy. There are a lot of medicines that they just don’t know enough about, performing experiments on pregnant women, particularly involving something that may harm a baby, would be unethical. So literature relies on data provided by pregnant women. This website Mother to Baby  provides fact sheets, access to professionals about medicine in pregnancy and more.

The first thing to do when considering pregnancy with a chronic pain-based illness would be to discuss plans for pregnancy with your doctor. With my first pregnancy, we didn’t talk to the doctor before conceiving, and then when we were discussing the only medicine I was on (amitriptyline) I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of going off it. My doctor called a specialist and they agreed that the benefits outweighed the potential risks – for me and my unique situation.

Sleep is a big battle for me, I enact a long list of sleep hygiene tactics every day; take a low dose of amitriptyline at 8pm, take a low dose of naltrexone (I only started this after I had my second baby, prior to this I would take pain medicine at this time) at 9pm, get into bed with my heat pack, do a body scan meditation, and if I’m lucky, fall asleep for a few hours at a time. A good night sees me fall asleep relatively quickly and only lose an hour to awake or restless times. It would appear that the second the pregnancy hormones enter my body, sleep runs away screaming. Pain also becomes a much bigger issue when I have to lie on my side (as you must once baby gets big enough to put pressure on an important vein when lying on your back).

More articles about pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries
Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent
Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries: The Delivery
Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)

You do not have to be miserable, there’s also research that suggests that under treated pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed anglepain can negatively affect the pregnancy.[1] So if your doctor refuses to help you with pain relief, get a second opinion. Do some research for yourself and present it to them. I provide what I did during pregnancy to be as well as possible in my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia.

Here are a few natural pain relief mechanisms that I enacted during my pregnancies:

·         Heat pack
·         Warm shower or bath
·         Essential oils such as lavender and peppermint (for external use only and with a carrier oil after the first trimester) – see my Resources page for my free report about Essential Oils for managing pain
·         Magnesium oil (I never got a calf cramp in my second pregnancy using this)
·         Gentle walks and stretching
·         Meditation – especially ones specifically for pain relief on pregnancy, there’s heaps on YouTube to search up
·         Massage – either for yourself, or from a partner, friend, or therapist
·         Rest and sleep as much as you can
·         Belly support belt – I had symphysis pubis disorder (my pelvis basically widened too far) and this really helped.

If you want to learn even more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then Pain Managementmicro coursecheck out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, 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.

I always recommend remembering that pregnancy is finite, there is an end date and a beautiful baby as the pay off. I also was a bit smug in my second pregnancy because I knew that I am one of those very rare women who actually sleep better with a newborn baby than pregnant, the pain levels are just so high that sleep is almost non-existent in the final trimester. Last year, once I delivered my second baby, my bed that had previously felt as hard as a rock seemed luxuriously soft. So in those one, two or three hours that the baby was asleep – I slept like the dead, which is a very rare occurrence for me.

I really hope that this post helps you on your way to relieving some of the pain involved in pregnancy with a chronic illness.
[1] Malaika Babb, PharmD, Gideon Koren, MD FRCPC FACMT, and Adrienne Einarson, RN. Treating pain during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2010 Jan; 56(1): 25, 27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2809170/


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

This article is also available as a free PDF printable in my free Resources page.

Pregnancy andFibromyalgia_resources