I Am Not A Doctor, But… Issue 1: Fibromyalgia

First, a disclaimer:
That said, I am a person with fibromyalgia, and I recently posted to a list I’m on about the “natural” remedies I use. I thought it might make for interesting reading, and if nothing else, I figured I might as well put it on the web, eh?

Herbal/OTC/remedies Ealasaid uses for fibromyalgia:

  • Baths help me a TON. Not super-hot, just regular warm baths. I put a fair amount of epsom salt in, and add a concentrated comfrey tea when I have access to fresh comfrey (chop up 3-6 good-sized leaves, steep in boiling water for 5 minutes or so, pour into bathtub right before you get in, and soak for 10-15 minutes.). I’ve found that making the bath TOO hot actually aggravates my fibro a bit – damn tempurature extremes.
  • Fresh ginger tea. (grate/mince up a couple teaspons of fresh ginger, put in tea ball, put tea ball in mug, pour boiling water over, steep about 10 min, add honey to taste. Drink.). Ginger is cheap, and helps when I have flares. Takes the edge off WAY better than any OTC painkiller I’ve found yet.
  • L-Triptophan capsules. (yeah, the stuff that’s in turkey!) to help me sleep. They ROCK. Very effective and without the nasty side effects my Cymbalta has been giving me. I get ’em from my nutritionist. Better sleep = less pain, at least for me. I have that thing where the fibro means I wake up all the time for no apparent reason, and the Triptophan helps me sleep through the night without making me feel all wobbly. As I’m coming off my Cymbalta, it’s keeping me sleeping through the night. Well, provided the #@^! cats don’t have a wrestling match right in the damn bedroom like they did last night.
  • Sleep. This is probably an obvious one, but it bears saying. If I get my 8+ hours a night all week and 9+ a night on the weekend, I feel a lot better. Short nights = higher pain levels for me, almost guaranteed. Another important thing: Good Sleep. If I’m waking up all night, I’ll be miserable the next day. So, the fiance and I have worked to find ways to remove disturbances from the room when I sleep – even things as little as not leaving Zephyr’s cat food bowl in there after he’s done eating (he gets penned up so Mauser can have the run of the apartment and eat as much as he wants while the food is available). When Zephyr licks the bowl after finishing, his tag chimes against the bowl and it wakes me up, even with Triptophan. So, the fiance removes the bowl. Voila.
  • Low Stress. I meditate every day for 20 minutes. I have cleared up my schedule as much as possible and try to spend at least a couple nights a week sacking out with my fiance, just hanging out and chatting and watching TV or whatever. I maintain to-do list in my PDA and work hard to keep up with it. I keep my schedule in my PDA religiously because otherwise I forget things. This simplifies things and keeps me from forgetting to do stuff, which stresses me out.
  • Avoid body temperature extremes. If I get too hot, I have a flare. If I get too cold, I have a flare. The heat wave in August ’06 set me back really, really badly. Then winter came and it took me a while to realize that yes, I have to actually wear warm clothing in winter, so I had another damn flare. I am investing in sweaters (yay for sales!) and wearing them. I have nice jackets and coats, so I am wearing them. The trick is to keep myself at a comfortable body temperature all the time.
  • Keep active. If I sit still all day, it makes me sore. I need to get up and move around. Ideally, I exercise 4+ days a week, but lately that hasn’t been happening. I gotta get back into it, it’s messing me up. Even just taking a walk helps a lot – not sure if it’s the exercise per se or the endorphins it generates, but really, I don’t care. I like that it helps my mood and my pain.

I’ll update this as I think of things. Anybody got any suggestions?

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