I’m a big proponent of taking pain medication when you need it, but oftentimes it is not available or isn’t the best option. Because I have young kids I generally do not take any pain medication during the day so I’ve had to look at other options. I’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to find the right things to help me cope, so here’s a few things that have found.
1. Heating pad
Despite the ridiculously high temperatures I am nearly always glued to my heating pad (affiliate link). I cannot sleep without it because it plays such a big part in reducing my pain levels. When I’m in pain I tend to tense up which leads to even more pain. It’s a nasty cycle of misery. Luckily, my heated pad helps to relax my muscles so I’m not so tightly wound. It doesn’t perform miracles, but it usually lowers my pain level a notch or two.
2. Muscle rub
I’ve tried all different kinds of muscle rubs with varying amounts of success. My favorite muscle rub was a prescription from a compound pharmacy, but my insurance decided to not cover it anymore. Luckily I found another good option in the CBD muscle rub from Fay Farm*. It’s fairly expensive so I use it only when my pain levels are through the roof, but it is absolutely amazing. It is the only thing I have ever found that reduced the pain in my hands.
I know everyone always says exercise is helpful for chronic pain, but for me most exercise just makes me miserable. However, yoga adapted for people with chronic pain has been transforming. My muscles get so tight that I can barely walk, and yoga helps me to work out those muscles. You have to do it on a regular basis to see results, but it has really cut my pain levels when I stick with it. There are so many yoga videos on youtube, it’s easy to pick out a particular part of your body that is hurting and find a yoga video dedicating to stretching that part of the body.
Lately I have really struggled with focusing on things. My attention span seems to be about the same as a three year old, and that makes meditating somewhat difficult. However, I’ve found that if I just take 10 minutes and follow a guided meditation, it really helps me to relax. I end up relaxing not only physically, but emotionally as well. A guided meditation helps me to leave behind all the guilt I feel about my illness, as well as the loneliness that sometimes comes with being sick. I’ve noticed that I feel much better emotionally on the days I mediate compared to the days I do not.
5. Epsom salt baths
I take a bath every single day before I go to bed. It’s a spectacular waste of water, but it helps me to relax. When I first heard about epsom salt baths I thought they were another made up “alternative” treatment that someone came up with to fleece sick people. But then I heard that my nephews who are heavily involved in sports take baths after their especially strenuous workouts. So I figured I didn’t have too much to lose and I tried it, and it was amazing. They really are helpful if you regularly suffer from sore and tense muscles. Plus, Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to have a magnesium deficiency and epsom salts bath can help with that.
* I get absolutely nothing from the company for recommending this. It really is the best muscle rub that I’ve ever tried.