Natural Pain Relief: Herbs for Infusion or Tea for Fibromyalgia

With the world’s eye on those of us suffering from chronic pain, I feel like bad news is delivered daily into my inbox with newsletters or articles telling me I can’t access something that helps me manage. Narcotics came under fire, now NSAIDS are ready for scrutiny. We know the medicines we need aren’t ideal but neither is chronic sleep deprivation or untreated pain. Seriously, there’s research! There’s a lot more information about this in my book.
To this end, I have decided to work through as many natural options as I can find to help you navigate potential new options for treatment. I am a big fan of things you can do for yourself. 
This week are herbs you can infuse or make as tea at home. 

Some of my links are affiliate links, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.

Essential oils are an area I am just journeying into. My Natural Pain Relief Mechanisms post gives you five ideas you can enact yourself at home.
Natural Pain Relief Mechanisms

Here are some herbs I’ve been researching

Thyme

Thyme is touted as a “cure” in articles in a Google search “Thyme for Fibromyalgia”. I wouldn’t read those ones. The article Thyme: How a Herb can Help with Fibromyalgia Symptoms on Fibromyalgia News Today has a good explanation on the benefits of thyme it also has a recipe for thyme tea:
“One of the reasons thyme is so beneficial is because it’s high in vitamins and minerals, like iron, potassium, calcium, folic acid, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and C. All of these nutrients contribute to proper red blood cell formation, blood pressure regulation, and distribution of antioxidants in the body. It also contains thymol, an essential oil with potent antioxidant properties.” https://fibromyalgianewstoday.com/2017/03/17/thyme-herb-can-help-fibromyalgia-symptoms/
The other thing about thyme that is great, is that it can easily be grown in a small garden. I grow mine next to rosemary and coriander. But you could grow it in a small pot on a balcony or your kitchen windowsill. I’ll let you know when I have assessed its efficacy. Either way, it’s a good addition to your culinary forays.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is meant to help with insomnia and anxiety. On the University of Maryland Medical Centre website in an article simply entitled Lemon Balm there is a discussion on the plant itself, its uses, precautions and supporting research. there’s also a recipe for using it in tea.
I have just planted this in my garden for use. If nothing else, it also has its culinary uses.

Nettle

Nettle is said to be better than a multivitamin – and cheaper – in this article from Sassy Holistics. Nettle infusions “are full of calcium, magnesium, iron, B complex vitamins, C complex, vitamins A, D and K as well as protein, cobalt, trace minerals, potassium, iodine, boron, manganese, zinc, copper and sulfur. Stinging nettles can truly be considered a cure-all.” This article recommends drinking 2-4 cups a day, which I’d find a bit difficult given I can only manage two non-water drinks a day and I love my coffee. I am going to try to get hold of some dried nettle and give it a go.
A note for pregnant mamas: “Nettles are also perfect for pregnant and nursing woman suffering from adrenal fatigue because they are used for boosting milk supply and preventing anemia.” Though, I’d double check with your doctor or midwife for their opinion.

Red Raspberry Leaf

The same article (above) above suggests Red Raspberry Leaf is a good herb for infusions also. “Red raspberry leaf is packed with nutrients: magnesium, manganese, iron, vitamin C, b-vitamins and potassium. RRL is an amazing remedy for PMS, endometriosis, and it helps balance hormones. This herb is especially helpful for women trying to conceive as it is a very popular remedy for infertility.” Again, if you’re pregnant please check with your midwife or doctor or naturopath. I’d like to give this a go for PMS alone.

Other Herbs

An article on Herbal Supplement Resource website lists herbs for Fibromyalgia treatment. I’m not sure about growing these, but there are Devil’s Claw, Jamacian Dogwood, Cayenne, White Willow Bark and Corydalis. As always, research anything before you try them – especially for medicinal interactions.
Sassy Holistics is a good repository of natural health information, I particularly like this article for Healing on a Budget to get you started.

For more information:

For access to my free resource page, sign up here. This includes templates, reports and my free microcourses.

Sign up to my FREE five lesson eCourse You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge

My book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia is available on Amazon.

What Works for me: 9 Things to Fight Fibromyalgia

I have shared about my journey in hopes that the information helps someone on theirs. I 11am in a much better position than I was for the entirety of my early and mid-twenties. I didn’t manage to get on the path to better wellness until I was 25 and even then it was a slow process, I am still working on it.

Without rhetoric, without frills, I thought I’d share what has worked for me:

    1. Reduced work hours – my body simply couldn’t maintain full time work, plus the one hour travel each way, and cope with the pain and fatigue levels.
    2. Supplementation – I just don’t absorb some vitamins and minerals. I eat plenty of meat and leafy greens and still my iron levels hover, unassisted at the lowest of the very large “healthy” range. Finding out that they should be much higher and working toward that made a huge difference. A potent multivitamin also seems to make a difference for me, so there must be other vitamins for which absorption is an issue.
    3. Physiotherapy – this is my body’s necessary physical support. Through much trial and error, I have found that my over-reactive muscles needed less activity and a specific treatment plan. This includes neck tractions, acupuncture needles inserted into key points (neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, glutes). If I ever try a massage instead of physio, my neck pays for it dearly – nothing else activates, releases and keeps it released for two or three weeks. And my neck can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea when bad.
    4. Sleep – I have to take low dose amitriptyline in order to get to sleep, take pain relief for my neck, stay in bed for nine or 10 hours and accept that I wake every one or two hours (therefore not making a full sleep cycle very often). But if I can get eight hours, no matter how broken, it makes a dramatic impact on my pain and fatigue levels the next day. I have to go to bed by 9.30/10pm in order to hope for enough sleep before my son wakes up, reducing night activities.
    5. Reduced activity levels – my body does not cope with too much, so in addition to my reduced work hours, I must also limit my activity levels. I have to include rest periods also. We don’t often go out at night, and when we do I really struggle to stay awake and get quite sore, so it never feels worth it. This is one part of the lifestyle to cope that I am constantly struggling with.
    6. Meditation– I can’t nap no matter how exhausted and miserable I am, so meditation has been a lifesaver. Lying down for 30 minutes with my heat pack and a guided meditation makes a huge difference for me. It’s the difference between a nice afternoon and a long, tiring, painful afternoon.
    7. Exercise – stretching sore, tight muscles is crucial to keeping them moving and should never been underutilised. Gentle walking, yoga and Pilates have been useful for me to keep me active but not overdo it. My muscles tend to respond to too much AND not enough exercise, my sweet spot tends to hover at 20-30 minutes per day.
    8. Pain Management Techniques – through a lot of trial and error, I have a key list of pain management techniques that I enact every day. This includes natural and medicinal options, with a heavy focus on natural options. I have found great relief from low dose naltrexone.
    9. Hope – never will I allow myself to lose hope. There’s always more to try, there’s always a silver lining. We need to hold onto this as we journey because pain and fatigue can really do a number on your emotions, making things seem worse at your worst.

 


For more information:

Sign up for my FREE micro course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge this is part of the first module of the full You vs Fibromyalgia eCourse, coming soon!

My book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia is everything I do and have researched to fight Fibromyalgia – there are many chapters on pain relief mechanisms.

Move Every Day and Some Neck and Back Pain Yoga Links

Given that I have a lot going on between two tiny children, a shift-working husband, starting part-time work again soon, living with a chronic illness and writing about said illness – I don’t have a lot of time. Long walks, one hour Pilates and yoga routines and gym sessions are well in my past, like the distant past. Prior to Noah I had worked up to 20 minutes of Pilates and 30 minutes of walking at a time. Prior to Wyatt I had worked up to 30 minutes of both at a time. Since Wyatt I have had little energy and even less time. But movement is so important that I must prioritise it if I hope to be well.
So I try to move every day.
I have written about the adaptability of yoga – and that I love that about it – I can use yoga whatever my physical state. Sometimes it’s one pose. Other times it’s a full sun salutation series. There’s also chair yoga, half sun salutations and far more than I’ve ever delved into.
As I go into this very busy 2018, I am making a commitment to myself to move every day.

Here’s an example of how I wove yoga into my day yesterday:

  • Half sun salutations before getting dressed
  • Forward bend while waiting for baby to drink his bottle before his nap
  • Yoga Nidra meditation while baby was napping
  • Knees into the chest pose just before bed to relieve my lower back
Yoga may not be your cup of tea, and that’s OK  I’d encourage you to set a goal of movement and stick to it. In order to do that you must like your chosen movement. There are a ton of them. Walking, tai chi, Pilates, swimming, aqua jogging, weight lifting…the list is long.

I did some research into some good poses for neck and back release and strengthening because this is really an area of issue for me, here’s what I found:

10 Yoga Poses for Neck Pain and Spondylosis – That Changed my Life – the author includes sun saluations! And knee to chest post!

Here are some oldies but goodies that I’ve shared before:

10 Chair Yoga Poses for Home Practice – chair forward bend is delicious!

Bonus if you’re travelling soon!

How to do Yoga on a Plane -even just seated cat and cow pose will be nice!

Bonus if you want to build some strength while you’re at it:

 

I hope there are some things here to get you started. I’ll post updates on my Twitter @thefibromama of how my move every day challenge goes. Feel free to post yours! #moveeveryday

If you would like more information about fighting Fibromyalgia please feel free to check out my book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia
If you would like information about pregnancy with Fibromyalgia please check out my book Fibro Mama: Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia
If you would like access to my free resource page – which includes a report about Yoga for Fibromyalgia – sign up here.

Precious Knowledge for other Fibro Parents

In my quest to unearth further information and present it to those of us who need it, I am gathering a survey of fibro parents about pregnancy and early parenting for inclusion in my updated book and on the blog. 

Pregnancy and Fibro

My first book is available on Amazon now

I thought my mission would be complete upon the publication of my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia last November and the eCourse of the same name. But, alas, there is more information needed and I have taken the call to seek it out. Particularly in the areas of fertility, pain relief, labour and the fourth trimester (early months).
 
I’d be super grateful if you wanted to share your hard earned knowledge about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with fibromyalgia. This survey is just nine questions on areas we desperately need information on. Of particular importance are the three questions where you can give a paragraph on what you’d tell another fibro parent just starting their journey on the areas of pregnancy, the early weeks and parenting.
There are also a couple of questions about pain management mechanisms you enacted.
 
Every drop of information counts for those of us fighting to live as well as possible while pregnant and parenting with Fibromyalgia.
 
Please feel free to share this to get this spread as wide as possible. The more respondents, the more information we receive!
 
Click to take the survey here.
call for info.jpgThank you in advance for contributing to the mission, I will let you know the results of the survey.

For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

Find my pregnancy diaries from my second pregnancy, in 2016.
Find my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia AVAILABLE HERE

For access to my free resource page, sign up here. This includes templates, reports and my free microcourse Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge will be up there shortly.
Enroll in my eCourse Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia here.
Join the group Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia on Facebook, we chat about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with Fibromyalgia.

My Favourite Five Pain Management Mechanisms – Pregnant or Not!

There are a lot of things touted as helpful for dealing with pain. It can take a lot of trial and error to find what helps us. So I thought I’d provide my top five natural pain relief mechanisms that I utilise daily as a potential starting point for you. These are pregnancy and nursing safe too.

 

 

1. Heat pack

Heat is my favourite pain management mechanism ever. I use my heat pack multiple times a day and take it to bed when I first hop in.

2. Warm bath

Bonus add epsom salts
Following on from the heat pack, a hot bath is my favourite time out and relaxation technique. When my lower body is very sore, this is the only way to release the cramps – for these times I have it rather hot. When I was in my third trimester with my second baby I’d end up in a hot bath that just covered my thighs just about every afternoon.

3. Yoga

Cat and cow pose
Yoga is a multi use pain management tool. I use it for strength, flexibility, pain relief and relaxation. When my back is sore and tight I’ll do cat and cow pose slowly, with my breath for a minute for so. This was super useful when I was dealing with the symphysis pubis disorder (when your pelvis widens too far in pregnancy and can stay that way for some time after delivery).

4. Meditation

This has been an emotionally bolstering find. Especially when I have slept particularly badly and am exhausted. I no longer bother trying to nap and then get frustrated because I can’t. It is relaxing for body and mind. It can bring pain and fatigue levels down. I wrote a giant post about this here and have a chapter in my book and a module in my Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia eCourse.

5. Magnesium oil (pregnant) essential oils (not, or after first trimester)

Every night since my second pregnancy I have applied magnesium oil before bed. I never had an excruciating calf cramp during that pregnancy. I’m only at the beginning of my natural topical pain relief journey. Lavender and chamomile is a lovely combination for massaging onto sore muscles. It also makes a lovely bath oil. This is a whole other topic that I’ll research, experiment with and write up on the blog.
Please note that it is not recommended to ingest oils during pregnancy or to use essential oils during the first trimester – for the same reasons we try to minimise medicine use in pregnancy, there isn’t enough data to consider it safe.

For more information:

For access to my free resource page, sign up here. This includes templates, reports and my free microcourse Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge will be up there shortly.

Find my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia AVAILABLE HERE

My book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia is available on Amazon from the 29th January 2018 and is available for pre-order right now! Until the 11th February 2018 when you buy my book you will receive access to the companion course You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledgefind out more here.

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: As Close to a Roadmap as I can Give You

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book coverMy book Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia is available for preorder on Amazon now! It’s release date is 29 January 2018.

This is what I wish the doctor had pressed into my hands when I was given, at last, a reason (or as close as I can get) for the pain, fatigue and insomnia I had been fighting for nearly 10 years already.

Who wouldn’t want a road map that lays out the specific steps to take to reduce pain, increase energy and generally limit the misery of not knowing?

I can’t provide a finely detailed road map tailored to you, but I have done the next best thing – I wrote up my experience combined with the research.

What’s in it?

I share the key things that help me and what the research says about these things so that you have somewhere to start. I have gone through many books, articles and pieces of research. I’ve done numerous experiments on myself – from figuring out my ideal walk length to trying low dose naltrexone

Nothing I’ve tried has severe side effects. I do share my experience with amitriptyline, an older tricyclic antidepressant that can help with sedation (to fall asleep), pain and headaches. This has several potential side effects, mostly mitigated for me by the low dosage, that means the cost/benefit ratio doesn’t work for many. The chances of it working, of the effects not wearing off and potential side effects make it a tricky option. I’ve always said I am lucky that the locum GP – who I saw once, saw my history of insomnia and put me on it – gave it to me prior to my being able to research, because I’d probably not have tried it.

Other than the low dose naltrexone and amitriptyline, the things I do are generally low in the side effect profile and self-controlled.

Self-efficacy is vital in managing this illness. Every day we have to do the work. We can’t hand this off and expect to be well.

Free Bonus

As a special free bonus for those who purchase my book before 11 February 2018, you will get FREE access to my new eCourse You vs Fibromyalgia: Arm Yourself with Knowledge. This has five lessons and goes through what Fibromyalgia is, my six tips, the quick list of the nine things that work for me, why I consider sleep as king and a sneak peak at pregnancy, nursing and parenting with Fibromyalgia (this is the subject of it’s own full eCourse).

How to access it

Email hello @ melissavsfibromyalgia . com with the proof of purchase (a screenshot of of your Amazon orders page with Melissa vs Fibromyalgia: My Journey Fighting Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Insomnia in there) and I will respond with the password and link to the course. The course will be released the day the book is.

Are you ready to get started on the next phase of your fight against fibromyalgia?

Top Posts of 2017: What You Were Looking For

I haven’t done this before, but it’s excessively interesting! Here are the seven most popular posts from 2017.

What Works-

The most popular post of 2017 was What Works: A Round Up. I shared my seven top tips for living well with Fibromyalgia and seven fibro bloggers shared some tips of what works for them.

They talk symptom relief, diet, rest and daily rituals to manage Fibromyalgia.


Pregnancy and Fibro

The second most popular post was the one where I announced my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia. It was such a dream come true to write and publish a book and to share this hard earned knowledge.

 


Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)The third was where I shared my research and experience with low dose naltrexone (LDN). It has been such a ride since starting LDN last April. I could never have published my Fibro Mama book or written my Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book (out January 29th). LDN isn’t a stand alone treatment, but it has helped me so much.

 

 


fibro friendly links

I’m a big fan of yoga. I use it in all its forms to manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. In this post I shared My Pain/Fatigue Friendly Yoga Links from bed yoga for spoonies, to yoga for neck pain and full sun salutations.

 

 

 

 


A Tricky Parenting SecretI shared A Tricky Parenting Secret after I’d been despairing about how to help my kids have a nice time despite pain and fatigue. It really doesn’t take as much as you’d think.

 

 

 

 


A Confession on Pacing and Boundaries was also popular, it’s a really tricky balance when you have children. It sometimes feels like the biggest battle isn’t to define your boundaries, but to protect them.


I wrote my Pregnancy Diaries when I was pregnant in 2016, last year I edited and posted fibro mama weeks 31-33them. Fibro Mama Pregnancy Diaries: Weeks 31-33 was rather popular. Looking back, this was the calm before the storm.


So these were my seven most popular posts of 2017. I’d love to hear the topics you have enjoyed the most and would like me to write more about in 2018.

If you like my posts then please feel free to sign up to my newsletter. You’ll also receive my free Microcourse – Arm Yourself with Knowledge (about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with Fibromyalgia)

 

My Six Tips for Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

I have been researching pregnancy with Fibromyalgia for the past four years and have written about my own experiences here on the blog.

Based on my research and exprience I have compiled six tips for pregnancy and Fibromyalgia. I talk about them in the video below.

The six tips are:

1. Arm yourself with knowledge
2. Get your body into the best place possible before conceiving
3. Prioritise rest and sleep
4. Nourish your body with good food and supplements
5. Get a pain management plan in place- discuss with your doctor what medicines you cannot come off, what you can and get your natural pain management mechanisms in place.
6. Make a plan for the final trimester, delivery and first six weeks that involves a good support system.

For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

Find my pregnancy diaries from my second pregnancy, in 2016.

Find my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia AVAILABLE HERE
Sign up to receive my free micro-course: Arm Yourself with Knowledge coming soon to my free resource page.
Enroll in my eCourse Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia here.
Join the group Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia on Facebook, we chat about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with Fibromyalgia.

Some of my links are affiliate links, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.

Fibro Mama Interviews: Brandi from Being Fibro Mom

As we well know, our experience of Fibromyalgia differs greatly. In order to shed some fibro mama interviewslight on how other Fibro parents do it, I am starting a series called Fibro Mama Interviews: Following the Journey. Our first interview is with Brandi from Being Fibro Mom!

Please give a brief introduction to yourself

I’m Brandi, the writer and creator of Being Fibro Mom and My Fibro Journal. Being Fibro Mom was created in 2013 with the intent of helping fibromyalgia sufferers become fibromyalgia thrivers and advocating for parents enduring the hardships of fibromyalgia. I also host a live show each Friday called Fibro Live in which I discuss the latest fibromyalgia topics, news, research, and more.

In addition, I am a regular writer for the international magazine, The Fibromyalgia Magazine. My column is candid and as real as it gets when writing about the perils of fibromyalgia as both a fibromyalgia thriver and fibro parent.

As a fibromyalgia advocate, I am the Secretary and Fibro & Families program director for the non-profit organization, International Support Fibromyalgia Network.

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What are your diagnoses?

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, generalized anxiety, and depression.

How many children do you have, what are their ages?

I have four children – 11, 10, 8, and 6.

Were you diagnosed when you were pregnant?

Sadly, no. I went through all four of my pregnancies not knowing I had fibromyalgia. The symptoms were worse during those times of pregnancy, but I attributed it to being pregnant. Had I known I was living with fibromyalgia, I could have taken steps to ease my pregnancies.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to parents with chronic illness who are, or want to get pregnant?

Keep an open line of communication between yourself and physician, spouse, loved ones, and friends. Establish a solid support system and do not hesitate to say no to any tasks that will cause overexertion. And just as important, learn to ask for help.

And what is your favourite blog/book/social media about pregnancy, nursing or parenting with a chronic illness? (What resources would you recommend to support parents with chronic illness)

Shelley writes at Chronic Mom about living with fibromyalgia and lyme disease. Her sarcastic humor and straightforward ways with fibromyalgia are articles you don’t want to miss!

I would recommend joining a support group either online or in person. Talking to others that understand the struggle will be a better help than to those that have not experienced it. In 2016, I created a closed Facebook group, Fibro Parenting. The group is focused on any parent or guardian looking for support while parenting with fibromyalgia. Fibro parenting is a creative form of parenting, and is easier with the support and encouragement from fellow fibro parents.

 


For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

Find my pregnancy diaries from my second pregnancy, in 2016.

Find my book Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia AVAILABLE HERE
Sign up to receive my free micro-course: Arm Yourself with Knowledge coming soon to my free resource page.
Enroll in my eCourse Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia here.
Join the group Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia on Facebook, we chat about pregnancy, nursing and parenting with Fibromyalgia.

Some of my links are affiliate links, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.

Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia is on Sale! One Week Special

Just a quick note to let you know that my book, Fibro Mama Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia is on special starting today at just .99 cents! And it will slowly return to normal price in increments until the 12th of January. So get in quick!
Pregnancy and Fibro

On Sale on Amazon now!

So if you were curious about what pregnancy might be like with Fibromyalgia, how nursing might go and wanted some tips about each trimester of pregnancy, the first six weeks, nursing, and parenting then head on over to Amazon. My book is only one of two books about this, so I’m really proud to provide some information in an otherwise nearly blank space.

Don’t forget to check out my Pregnancy Diaries page for all of my pregnancy diaries from when I was pregnant with Wyatt last year. I also include the birth story and a diary entry from the first month.

I also provide free resources on my page of the same name – eResources that I have made for you, some key chronic illness blogs and my favourite books (these links are to Goodreads).

May I ask you a favour? After you’ve read my book could you please leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads? This way we can ensure more people who are fighting Fibromyalgia and pregnancy can find some information.

To stay up to date and receive a free copy of my eBook Fibro Mama Tips for Managing Early Pregnancy Symptoms – sign up here.