Updated: Apr 23, 2020
Self-Care and Treatment…
In my case, I went several years coping with symptoms that were causing chronic pain, while also inhibiting my ability to sleep well and function. The pain took control of my life. It is my understanding that most people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia take years to get to the actual diagnosis point. Obviously, it can be very frustrating and hard to cope with when you know something is wrong. However, when you do receive the actual diagnosis, be prepared for the plethora of emotions that will follow.
There is a sense of relief in learning what is going on with your body, and that it is not all in your head. Then, there is some sadness and grieving, for the abilities and pain-free life you once had. Yes, I said grieving, I do miss the life I had before my illness. There are a few moments now and then where I have my crying jags. Now, I am doing my best to adjust and find my new true self. So, there is a bit of reckoning while you figure out what direction you would like to go in. I can tell you from my perspective that it is both self-care and medication are included in my treatment.
An important point here I wish to include, for awhile you will be following your Doctors’ instructions, filling your prescriptions at the pharmacy and doing your best to function. Then, there will come a time where you will learn that you have to do more. I mean more as in incorporating other self-care practices into your daily life, but also taking ownership and command of what you’re doing with your health care such as seeking out other holistic pathways to better both your mental and physical health.
Self-care is just that taking care of your own self holistically, “Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept, in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self–care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. “https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-self-care-is-and-what-it-isnt-2/. I know that I would and still do push myself too hard and overdo it, which would bring my pain to the point where it would be out of control after doing an activity. Self-monitoring and learning to balance are key concepts that need to be learned and practiced. So, I began to learn to take care of myself and try to bring into my daily practice such as stretching and light yoga. I am also learning how to slowly moderate my activities, which I personally find the most difficult. Easy to say but hard to do!
Some suggested “Self-care” practices besides my bubble bath time are;
· I plan on doing warm water aqua therapy to kick off my physical therapy. Exercising for fibromyalgia fighters is beneficial but the post work out is painful. A therapist should work and supervise with you in the pool to get you going properly and minimize pain and avoid injury. Go slowly so as not to overwhelm yourself and fear doing the activity.
· Occupational therapist (OT) to help and make suggestions for modifications in your work area and home to assist your function and ability. The OT’s suggestions will ease your daily pain and prevent the potential for injury.
· Counselling, a counsellor, a social worker, or a psychologist will assist you greatly with dealing and adjusting with the diagnosis. Often, fibromyalgia (chronic pain) , depression and anxiety are comorbid. I will tell you that I am working with a psychologist to adjust and work through all the stress and emotions and it is very helpful. Chronic pain alters how you feel about your self and your own worth. This is a crucial part of self-care that should not be avoided or overlooked.
· Float therapy involves floating in a pod of Epsom salt and water to achieve relaxation and disconnect from stress. “During a Float session, our minds and bodies are able to release from these distractions, enabling a deep relaxation/meditation. The weightlessness combined with Epsom salts also creates an ideal environment for skeletal and muscular relief of pain & tension.” If you are near the Windsor area check out Float Lakeshore http://floatlakeshore.ca/. They are the only ones in the area.
Chiropractic care and acupuncture can decrease your pain, relieve fatigue, and improve the quality of sleep. With my Doctor’s referral, I see a Chiropractor who is amazing and is familiar with fibromyalgia. She is very knowledgeable and understanding of the pathways in the body and how to restore balance in my spine and neck. I have upper cervical spinal stenosis in which the spinal canal is narrowing causing stiffness, numbness, and weakness in my neck, arms, and legs. She is able to adjust me to relieve the compression on my neck. Also, I have acupuncture and a variety of other therapies such as laser and ultrasound. I find great comfort in dealing with my chiropractor as she is understanding of what this illness can do to your body and very effective in her treatments. Again, if you’re in the Windsor, Ontario area https://radovichchiropractic.ca/.
Pain management clinics are also instrumental in managing your pain. I was referred to Pain Care Clinics in Windsor, Ontario. Dr. Logan and her staff are amazing and they assess and develop a treatment plan tailored just for me, such as trigger point injections, Intervenous Vitamin therapy, and Intervenous Ketamine therapy. I find the trigger point injections help make my neck pain more tolerable. Furthermore, the clinic understands and has other clinics to treat fibromyalgia in central Ontario. I first met Dr. Logan and she made me feel that she “got me” entirely, she gave me so much support in one appointment that I felt relief. They are positive and upbeat. I would strongly suggest if you have any chronic pain get a referral and check the clinic out. https://pcc-pain-care-clinics-windsor.business.site/#details
Massage Therapy is beneficial to fibromyalgia patients in that soft tissue massage and it will help break up tension knots, relieve tight and stiff muscles. Massage will improve circulation, lower the heart rate and relax those aching muscles. Massage therapies include myofascial release, cranial-sacral therapy are recommended for fibromyalgia patients. This may involve getting a prescription for massage therapy form you treating physicians.
Restorative Yoga is a way to softly practice yoga in a passive way by modifying routines while avoiding strenuous poses. The benefits of restorative yoga according to Melissa vs. Fibromyalgia https://www.melissavsfibromyalgia.com/ is to work with the central nervous system and calm it down, which she says is crucial with fibromyalgia. Melissa offers a free five minutes a day teachable for yoga and fibromyalgia. Over a period of time, I repeat not overnight practicing yoga will ease pain and chronic tension in the shoulders, upper back, and neck. Yoga will help reduce anxiety and teach breathing techniques that aid in restoration and mindfulness. Yoga will help in stretching the muscles out as they are constricted with pain and tension with fibromyalgia sufferers. Check out this great article on Yoga and Fibro! https://yogainternational.com/article/view/the-art-of-surrender-yoga-fibromyalgia
Remember to discuss any and all treatment pathways with your Doctor. I am not a Doctor and do not give medical advice. I am merely making suggestions that may assist someone going through this, as I go about the therapy.
Part Two Treatment will follow in my next blog!
Thanks for following along in my disorder’ ed life until next time all the best.