Friday, December 15, 2006

What works for my FIBROMYALGIA.. so far?-Dec 2006 update

I am updating this from my June 2006 List.
After more than 1.5 years since my diagnosis, I am getting my hang of managing my fibro.
I used to think that my education is wasted, since fibro, ra and all these health problems prevented me from working full-time, let alone in my trained profession. 1.5 years later, I realise how lucky I am. It is almost I am trained to handle my own conditions, as doctors (except a few angels), have failed me desperately.

Things that make me feel good, or help to stop an flare in its tracks...

1) Avoid beef and red meat like hell
Of course this has no "scientific prove". I was a non-believer in food-RA/FMS link when I noticed that I get flares after taking beef, or lots of pork. No more whole Big-Mac for me, just a small bite now. The pain I get is not worth the bite.

2)MASSAGE, especially Tui Na or acupressure
I have since heard from others that deep tissue massage works well too. A good acupressure or Tui Na practitioner is really hard to find in Europe/US. I will try out deep tissue massage and compare how it goes.

I have also purchased a "massage belt"-which is essentially one vibrating thing (image from I bought one from OTO (another brand). These are hugely popular in asia now for "slimming", but I have since found better use for it. I use it on my thighs, calves, bums-places which are "fleshy" enough. I slap on my NSAID or Tiger Balm on those sore/painful/tight areas and run the machine. It works pretty well, and save me many trips for a massage!

3)Alexander Technique lessons and "practice" at home
AT is probably one of the MOST USEFUL thing I have done for my fibro!

Done every morning, without fail. It can be painful, especially when my RA flares. I use my massage belt to warm up my muscles before I stretch.

The most important thing to have, but the most easily affected/least controllable factor for me. When fibro is hitting, everything becomes painful and deep sleep is really a luxury. Sounds familiar to you?

6) Take lots of fish and omega 3 oils, antioxidants when it flares
I suppose it works for me because my fibro almost always come with my RA?

7) Ginseng and Gingko (for my brain fogs and speech slurs)

8) Muscle rubs-esp Tiger Muscle rub or Tiger Balm
Great with massages, and the massage devices to "heat up" and loosen those painful knots/trigger points.

9) Hot bath! (with Lavender essential oil)

10) NSAIDS...
The issues surronding side effect of NSAIDs, or painkillers as a whole has prevented many people from actively managing their pain.

11) Avoid using a LAPTOP!!!! (NEW! Dec 2006)
I am not kidding you! I have resumed working part time, and use a PC in office. It is a REAL difference! A few hours spent on my laptop on my "off days" is frequently more tiring than a full day with the PC in office. I think the way laptops are made and used encourages poor posture. My neck, shoulder, hands and upper back takes the brunt of it. The painful areas around my elbows, shoulder joints and upper next area quickly develop more hard painful "lumps" (as I call them). These are bad enough to cause me to feel dizzy sometimes. After the massage belt, a home PC will be my next investment.

(I took a short break at this point of writing... to do the following...)

12) HOT towels!!
(NEW! Dec 2006)
My dear rheumatologist was so kind to check out what works for winter for me. He told me a simple quickie to "defrost" my stiff feet and hands in winter is a hot basin of water. All I need is a kettle, (and someone to help with kettle sometimes ) and a basin. I have since modified it. I use hot water from the tap, and run it into my wash basin. (No kettle, no danger of scalding). Then I soak my hands there. I use a small face towel to soak up some hot water, and put in in other painful areas like my neck, knees, shoulders, elbows etc. Works fine. Only "side-effect" is I find it rather drying to the skin. That is not a problem as I apply Tiger Balm/Bengay Gel/NSAID gel after the hot towels. The heat from the towels increased the blood circulation to the area, and gels get absorbed quickly and works better. Just becareful not to overdo the NSAID gels, as the NSAIDs do get absorbed quite a lot this way. The advantage of this method is you literally have some relief on the tap. You can even do it in your office pantry or toilets.

Amitriptyline ease a lot of the pains, but I am so fatigued and knock out by it that I will end up able to do nothing but sleeping. I try to stay away from it.

Beware of many things peddled in the internet. Many of these "cures" tried to sound scientific, but provides me with nothing more than a good laugh. Please also beware of people advertising their credential as "Dr" so and so. I know that you could pay US1-2k, and get a PhD in 6 months from some dubious "universities". Some people are out there to make a quick buck out of our pain . And anyone, including myself, would be tempted to "try things out" when we are really really desperate for some escape or route out of the misery FMS and RA could bring.

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Anonymous said...

I've never trie deliminating red meat but I will. I also use hot baths & lavendar, but I'm excited to try some of your other tips as well. This is a great list hopefully it will help me through the winter much better than yelling "stop being winter" at the sky, as I usually do.

Woman said...

I think the red meat thingy is a very individual kind of thing. There are lots of people saying things from the night shade family like tomatoes and potatoes are no good, but I am fine! I seriously think that for food, we really got to observe for ourselves-what works and work doesn't cheers!

girlonarock said...

thanks for sharing your tips. i have one of those belt things somewhere, i'll dig it out. i've also tried stretching in the morning, it doesn;t eliminate the stiffness completely, but i do feel it helps.

Woman said...

Hi Girlonarock,

I agree, stretching doesnt help to totally cut out the stiffness. However, done everyday, I do feel i have less "knotty" bits.

Thanks for commenting! Now that I know someone actually reads this page, I will find some time to update it again :)