Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fibromyalgia Updates

The past few weeks have been busy implementing some new things to help my symptoms. I'll try to write them out to share any ideas that may help others and maybe it'll help track progress too. 

 Of course, I like to share the photos I capture along the way too! It's my favorite. 

New Specialists
I started seeing new fibro specialists and feel like I've finally found a place where they get what I have going on. It seemed like most other doctors I've seen were overwhelmed with my list symptoms, so they chose the one main symptom to work on. I have so many symptoms every day that working on them one at a time just isn't effective and I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. These specialists see so many patients with fibromyalgia that they understand there are lots of symptoms that need to be addressed. On day 1 with them, we went through the list of symptoms and started a plan to work on all of them. I'll touch on a few things I'm trying...

TMJ Physical Therapy
One of the big things they wanted to do was have me see a TMJ physical therapist they know that is the best in the area for helping with the teeth grinding issues I have. They believe the teeth grinding may be keeping my headaches around so consistently and could be causing other issues. I had my first visit at the TMJ PT this week and am very hopeful! 

A few things she had me do have already helped *knock on wood* and my headache actually lifted more yesterday than it has in a loooonng time (huge praise!). Since I grind my teeth so hard while I sleep, my jaw, cheeks, the sides of my head up through my temples hurt all the time. Eating breakfast is often not comfortable since my chewing muscles "ran a marathon" (her terms:)) overnight. She also has me eating a soft food diet until I get it under control. She pointed out that my muscles are busy busy all night then I talk on the phone all day at work, eat hard foods and basically, my jaw and those muscles really never get a break. I'll be visiting her often to get it under control and have made some good adjustments already.

Heat Pads

I use my heat pad every morning on my neck/shoulders since that's an area I have constant problems with. In addition to that, the fibro specialists have me wearing my heat pad (a microwaveable one) on my way to work, and on my way home. They like to have me do consistent things like this to prevent flare ups. Rather than taking care of it when the problems arise, they like to prevent them from happening, so like me to do it every day to keep my muscles relaxed. Here's the kind I use (Earth Therapeutics), I got it at Kohl's, they also have them at Bed, Bath and Beyond and I'm sure other places. I love them and have a few:)

Pain Relief
At my most recent fibro appointment, they gave me some samples of pain reducing gels that can help with pain. So far so good with the trials. I've only tried the "cool" Sore No More one and I like it! I've used it on my knee, ankle, hip, neck, shoulders, temples, jaw... I think that's it. I think she said it can be bought at health food type stores.

I've also been using pain patches. The ones I've been using are prescription, but I'm surprised I hadn't heard about these before! They apply pain medicine/anesthesia to the area and actually stop the nerves in the area from sending pain signals. I've used them on my shoulders and neck and really noticed improvements wearing them. You wear them for 12 hours and they take it off for 12 hours. They worked really well for me. I also just noticed there are over the counter patches as well- it's in the article cited under the photo below. 
Gluten Free
I've known for quite a while I may try eating gluten free to see if helps my fibro or IBS. I've read about so many people with fibro that got their pain in control by changing their diet (here is Carly's story that inspired me), specifically excluding gluten. I started eating gluten free (while still not eating dairy... and only soft foods now... haha, this is going to get interesting!) earlier this week. So far so good! I must say my pain levels were down this week and I seriously think eating no gluten is what did it. I'm not getting ahead of myself yet, but am hopeful this will help. 

Sue Ingebretson (author of Fibrowhyalgia) posted on Facebook something that really struck me that she asked a trusted doctor friend of hers, "In the thousands of patients you've seen with fibromyalgia, what percentage of them have a problem w
ith wheat/gluten?" His answer? 100%!!! It doesn't necessarily mean we have celiac disease.
It means it's a problem. Big or little, it's still a problem!"
Here was someone else's response to Sue's post that day, "
 All of my tender trigger points disappeared after going gluten free". I decided I'd be silly to not at least try it. The fibro specialists were also ok with the idea as they have lots of patients find different diets that work for them. So far so good!

I also have stretches I should be doing every day to help with my muscles. I did this through the physical therapy programs I've done before, but they recommend doing a little each day to keep from flaring up. In addition to this ear-to-shoulder stretch, I do the ear-to-armpit stretch and a few others. 

Here's her headache remedy. At the acupressure part, I use 2 tennis balls inside of a sock and lay on the floor with them behind my neck at the base of the skull. It feels so good. I've only tried it once so far, but need to keep trying it.

Best Husband Ever
Nick has been having to help me wrap heat pads around my face, wake me up in the mornings to start on my heat pad routine before work, brings me whatever I need when I'm not feeling well, gives me neck/back/shoulder massages each morning to "break up" the stiffness in those areas, and so much more. I couldn't ask for anyone better at helping me through all of these crazy things I have to do each day to tackle this pain. He truly lives this with me and is in this battle with me every day. He helps me  through this physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He's amazing. Thank you babe:) for being the best husband ever.
Here we are a few nights ago after our dinner date for our 3rd anniversary! 

The world was very photogenic yesterday! 

Here's today's Pinspiration:  
Success! We don't have to wait until our goal is accomplished to have the feeling of success. We can enjoy it on the way there. 

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