Millennial with Chronic Pain, But How??
Hey y’all! Today I wanted to shift the focus and share a little about my health and wellness routine. As some of you may know, a few years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Up until then, this was a diagnosis that as a medical professional and a close relative of someone who was diagnosed with it, I did not necessarily believe in. However, I soon learned that fibromyalgia runs in families, and my symptoms became too overwhelming to ignore.
I felt weak, tired, achy and was constantly complaining. It was not a fun place to be in, and I was not a fun person to be around. I started a FDA approved fibromyalgia medication to manage my symptoms, only to end up with numerous side effects and discontinue years two years later. It was then I decided to take my health into my own hands. As with a lot of health conditions, medication alone was not going to do it for me. It was going to take much more than that for me to not only function, but thrive in my everyday life.
Taking Control of Fibromyalgia: Focusing On Wellness
Fast forward to now- almost 4 years later- I have established a pretty solid wellness routine that keeps me moving, my pain under control, and the fatigue well managed. Most people would never even know I am diagnosed with fibromyalgia unless I freely share it like I am now. For those out there suffering everyday from chronic pain, fatigue or other unmanageable fibromyalgia symptoms, I want you to know I have been there, and there is HOPE. There is more than the confines of western medicine to help yourself. Do your research, experiment, and most importantly find what works for you and your body.
The next few sections outline my general health and wellness routine, including the things work for me, which therapies I prioritize each month, and different ways you can help yourself at home today. Keep in mind that everyone and every BODY is different. What works for me, may not work for you, and that’s ok! But you don’t know until you try.
My Wellness Routine
Deep tissue massage– at least once but usually twice a month. I’m not talking a light, relaxing massage, but deep myofascial work. Some people with fibromyalgia cannot handle this type of work, and that’s ok. See what you can tolerate. You’d be surprised how your tolerance can improve as you start to notice how your muscles feel afterwards and especially the next day. This is not something I consider a luxury, but rather a necessity to keep my fibromyalgia in check and body where I want and need it to be.
Acupuncture– at least once, sometimes twice a month. This was something that took me awhile to get on board with, but I sure am glad that I did. Talk about the missing link I wish I had known about sooner! Shout out to Sandy, my amazing massage therapist, for finally convincing me to try it. And it’s not just for pain or fibromyalgia either, there’s TONS of benefits. Do your research!
Yoga– I do my best to get to a class one to three times a week. I do mostly hot yoga for stretching and strengthening. My muscles CANNOT handle heavy weight training. I find yoga provides me with just the right amount of stretch and resistance (gravity, my own body weight) to strengthen and tone up. Yin yoga is also another practice that helps so much with deep stretching and aiding myofascial release. It is also very meditative and stress relieving. I need to be more consistent with it and go more regularly!
Flotation Therapy–Ideally I will float once a month; I’m trying to be more consistent with it. Floating is another super meditative practice. It is very detoxifying due to the quantity of Epsom Salts in the water (~1000 lbs!) and helps to ease sore muscles. Floating something I plan to incorporate more this year as I have purchased a membership to a local float spa. I plan to provide a detailed review on this soon.
Supplement Regimen- Fibromyalgia can be a beast y’all. We tend to lack certain minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that supplementing can make a huge difference for us. These specifically are Vitamin D and Magnesium, which I have been taking for years. In addition, I take Omega-3, a probiotic, digestive enzymes, a greens supplement, a sulfur supplement, and an AgilEase, an anti-inflammatory supplement I have written about before. *If you’re interested in learning more about any of these, please message me, I will send you the deets! I can also write a detailed post about why I take all of these in the future.
What Works Best For Me
I have found that not getting enough sleep and eating like crap are the two worst things I can do for my body. I still sometimes struggle with the sleep thing (I’m a night owl but I am working on it). Eating a ton of processed foods, foods that contain MSG, fried foods, or too much meat are specific triggers for me. They may look different for other people, but I would say eliminate as many processed foods and unnecessary preservatives as possible. My diet is FAR from perfect, but simple steps like these have helped a lot.
I prioritize yoga, massage and acupuncture because they help me the most. This may look different for someone else, and that’s ok. I encourage you to try things, listen to your body, and decide what works best for you.
Ways You Can Manage Fibromyalgia Pain At Home
Rocktape– Taping is freakin’ amazing y’all! Talk about a miracle remedy! I never know exactly how to explain how it works, but it certainly does. Basically, it provides extra support to joints and helps reduce strain on the muscle and soft tissue. I recommend the Rocktape brand because I’ve found it stays on longer. There are good YouTube videos and google images that help explain how to apply the tape. Simply google “kinesiotape or rocktape for knee (or shoulder, elbow, low back, etc.)” Regardless of the need, if it’s joint or soft tissue related, taping can usually help a ton!
Self Massage / Body Work– You don’t always need to go to a massage therapist to get the relief you need. Lately, I have been incorporating self work into my practice with my own patients to educate them how to help their bodies and relieve trigger point pain before it gets to that point of being unbearable. You can use many things to accomplish this, including a theracane, tennis balls, acupoint balls, foam rollers, guasha tools, or a hypersphere. (I linked the amazon listings for the theracane, guasha tools, and hypersphere). Some cost more than others (obviously a tennis ball being the cheapest), so find what works best for you and stick with that! My personal favorite is use of a guasha tool, but that’s my preference from being Graston Technique Certified and understanding the benefits of soft tissue mobilization.
Epsom Salt Baths– If you have that general body ache / Fatigue feeling that it’s nearly impossible to pin point or localize “one pain,” then I’d recommend taking an Epsom Salt Bath to help detoxify your body and relax your muscles. This is a cost effective and pretty doable practice, as long as your have a tub and the ability to get up and down from one safely. I like to keep Epsom Salts on hand and add some essential oils to my bath (good oils for muscle pain are peppermint, wintergreen, copaiba, lavender, rosemary, and marjoram.) You can add any combo of them to your oils to take your bath to the next level. I recommend soaking ~20 mins for optimal benefits.
Self Care Is The Best Care!
You don’t need to have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or suffer from chronic pain to invest in self care. I would say the average working mom (or dad, or dog mom, or athlete, etc.) is probably worn down due to the fast paced world we live in and the demands put on our bodies each and every day. Taking time for yourself is crucial to reset, feel better, and prevent burnout! So don’t be afraid to try new things to take care of yourself and improve your overall health and wellness. You just may be surprised how much better both your mind and body will feel!
Questions??? Need help understanding any of this?! Let me know in the comments or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook- both are linked at the top of my page.
Thanks y’all for stopping by! Until next time, Namaste!