Welcome to part six of the Fibromyalgia Framework series! I hope you’re enjoying this series and have come to join the conversation in You vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group.
The fibromyalgia framework series has been presenting my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research.
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We have discussed:
PAIN MANAGEMENT FOR FIBROMYALGIA/CHRONIC PAIN
We could spend a long time going through pain management options in depth, but that is outside the scope of this series. I will give you a brief introduction to the multiple options and give you extra reading you can follow up on. As you will recall from my fibromyalgia puzzle, low dose naltrexone and physiotherapy are key pain management options for me. Yours might be entirely different.
We will look at:
- Pain management for Fibromyalgia/chronic pain
- Lifestyle-focused pain management
- Specific for pain
This part would have looked differently if I had written it prior to 2017. I seem to have gathered the right strands together to create the best pain relief plan possible.
The first rule is that you can’t control pain well without first reducing what causes or amplifies the pain. There is no point popping pills if you are not taking care of yourself. Most of the things I do to be well are basic healthy living guidelines. Please don’t be daunted by all the things I do – it is an exhaustive list because not everything works for everyone; it is my hope there is something here that helps you.
LIFESTYLE FOCUSED PAIN MANAGEMENT
- Gentle movement
- Seeing food as fuel
- Observing your work/life balance
SPECIFIC FOR PAIN – WHAT I DO:
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- Heat pack. This is my first line of defense, I use it on my neck first thing, whenever I can during the day, in the evening and at bedtime.
- Essential oils – lavender is my all time favourite for sleep, pain and relaxation.
- Deep Heat, a non-medicated heat producing rub that eases muscle pain, especially when combined with a good massage.
- Biofreeze – a cooling pain reliever, especially good for during warmer weather.
- A hot bath is my best treat and the first thing I want when the pain increases.
- I see the physiotherapist every three weeks and they do neck tractions and place acupuncture needles in trigger points in my neck and shoulders. This is the only thing that keeps the neck free and keeps the severe headaches, dizziness and nausea that accompanies the severe neck pain away.
- A Theracane trigger point massager for self-trigger point release. You can use your fingers, but mine get too sore for this now, you do have to push rather hard.
- Magnesium oil on my back and shoulders at bedtime.
- Low dose naltrexone. Over a period of 12 months, it has decreased my neck pain levels more than anything ever has. It is not a miracle drug – if I don’t take it, the fatigue skyrockets, and if I overdo it, my neck pain increases. It is not a standalone treatment. But I am super thankful for it!
- It helps me get to sleep where nothing else has ever worked. I do have to combine it with a heap of sleep hygiene routines, but it’s the base of the plan. In addition to helping me sleep (and thereby, reducing pain), it reduced the wider spread pain and near constant headaches.
- MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) for muscle and joint pain. It helps with the pain in my index fingers as well as a little difference in my neck.
- Slow release, high dose ibuprofen for period pain, for about four days – it’s pretty severe.
- Ibuprofen or paracetamol (Acetaminophen) for headaches or low level pain that breaks through.
- A muscle relaxant for spasms in the neck or back – the frequency of these has decreased since I began LDN.
OTHER PAIN RELIEF OPTIONS:
- TENS machine
- Foam roller
- Essential oils
- Devil’s Claw
- Jamaican Dogwood
- White Willow Bark
- CBD oil
For medicinal pain relief, please discuss these options with your doctor and do your own research. Do always check for interactions between herbs/supplements and medicines that you are on.
LOW DOSE NALTREXONE
I haven’t been quiet about the benefits of low dose naltrexone (LDN). Since beginning it in 2017 I have experienced the best improvement of any single thing I have ever tried. I believe it is all down to sleeping better. The offshoots of this have been many. I have decreased pain levels, increased stamina, decreased fatigue, dramatically improved quality of life.
Find my Low Dose Naltrexone One Year Experiment post here. It includes a full write up of how it is changing my life with some links to further information.
For an overview of LDN see this website.
You might like:
My Printable Pain Plan Set to help you make your pain management plans – available in my Etsy store now.
Do you wish that you could have all of the parts of the Fibromyalgia Framework Series, along with the templates to help you plan with space for notes in one place? There is! The Fibromyalgia Framework Series Workbook is available here. Find it physically here. Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.