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    Fibronomics Part 1
    Mark Pellegrino, MD posted:
    I see everyone is having a pain-free and stress-free week so far......! I hope you all can get settled down over the long weekend. There is much to be said for the "weekend psychology" where we tend to feel better once Friday rolls around. It is partly a placebo effect combined with decreased physical activity, increased relaxation, enjoyable interactions etc that can help fibro. (I know, you're saying "WHAT?" "Whose weekend is like that??") But I trust you know what I mean....

    Remind me to discuss "placebo" sometime in the future; it's interesting. (I know, you're saying "Remind HIM?!" "Does he remember we all have fibro fog?") I trust you all......

    One of my favorite "tips" is something I first came up with about 15 years ago called Fibronomics, originally published in my second book, The Fibromyalgia Survivor in 1995 (Anadem Publishing) Over the years I have enjoyed teaching these strategies to patients, and seeing them applied and referenced. Last week I saw our very own Fox has memorized the 4 rules. Cool!

    With fibro, we have to pay extra attention to our bodies' postures and mechanics to avoid increasing pain when doing anything. Ergonomics is the scientific study of posture and body mechanics and its relationships to various tasks, usually applied in the work setting. The most natural body positions are sought to minimize strain on the joints and soft tissues. Proper posture is the goal.

    But with FM, we have to develop a different concept of what is considered proper posture. Remember how our Grandmothers always told us to sit up straight and don't slouch? Well it hurts to sit up straight too long; slouching feels better! And how many of us are really trying for modeling careers? We just want to be comfortable.

    A different set of rules apply to fibromyalgia posture. We need to reprogram our minds and muscles. We need to learn Fibronomics!

    Fibronomics definition: the art of properly manipulating our fibromyalgia bodies in the environment to enable completion of an activity with minimal pain.

    The 4 Rules of Fibronomics
    1. Arms stay home
    2. Unload the back
    3. Support always welcome
    4. Be naturally shifty

    These are easy. You have to train yourself to do them and once you've learned and applied them your body will automatically follow them. This week, let's expand rule #1: Arms stay home.

    Fibro muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back do not like activity that involves sustained reaching or overhead use of the arms. Isometric contractions occur when muscles stay continuously contracted as when the arms go away from the body. Most of us notice immed pain when we reach with our arms, but sometimes the pain may sneak up on us and then it's too late to correct the flare-up.

    The favorite postion of our arms is at the sides with our elbows touching our sides and bent at a 90 degree angle. Our arms should stay home and not reach away while performing a particular task. We try to maintain this position so we need to move our whole body, not just our arms, to confront and continue each task.

    Ok, here's your task for this week. Give us tips on how you successfully applied Rule #1 to something you did. I'll start: I kept my arms home while I typed nearly 4000 characters on this discussion! I avoiding reach out to the keyboard and was able to sustain and finish this fun task.

    Your turn!

    Dr. P
    karenrugs responded:
    Good morning Dr. P

    Thank you for the good advice. It's been a long time since I've been to the FM board and didn't realize there was a doc on board. I'm certainly happy I did today.

    I learned how to vacuum with my body. Instead of just using my arms, I was taught by a physical therapist (after shoulder surgery) to step into each push I did. It was amazing how easy housework became after I put his techniques into every aspect of cleaning. Dusting, bathroom.

    Thank you again. I will make sure to check in more often to read your hints.

    Mark Pellegrino, MD replied to karenrugs's response:
    Hi Karen,

    Nice to meet you. You look so young in your photo ;)

    Great tip!!

    Dr. P
    Socialwrkr responded:
    I use a broom then mop on my kitchen floors. I try to always keep it small motions and through that, my arms stay in the "home" position. Definitely does make a difference on being able to get things finished!

    BTW, one of the hospitals here runs a month long, outpatient pain education clinic. You attend for 7 hours, each day and during that time, they do just about everything imaginable. One of the biggest blocks of education involved fibronomics! It didn't click until right now, I think they are using your book!

    They video you doing every day tasks, brushing your teeth, vacuuming, etc and then use that to help teach you the best way to do it. Great info!

    Thanks Dr. P!
    ~~Aimee Be Gentle on Yourself!
    MagPrincess replied to Socialwrkr's response:
    I kept my arms home when I was reading my book today and while I was typing this message as well.

    After having doing some physical therapy its amazing how much more you notice your posture and constantly correct it!
    TCL38 responded:
    Oh boy do I need this in a big way!

    If I clean the bathroom all at once, all by myself I am in bed for up to three days! It's on my list of things to do today so I will keep this in mind because I have too much to do to be in pain. I wonder how I can apply this tip to cleaning the mirror but I'll take some time and see what I come up with. I also don't sweep, vacuum or mop (thank goodness for a teenage son with more compassion than any 10 people I know) because those tasks are 100% bringers of pain.

    Ohhhhhh great tip doc!

    alispazz responded:
    Hi DR Mark,

    I have a garden tub in my bath, trying to bend over and stretch to clean it was more than I can handle...A male friend who is a neat freak like me gave me two tips,

    1. Let everything dry out, then use a vacumn cleaner hose and sweep the bottom, adding pieces as needed/

    2. take a sponge mop and do sides and bottom to remove any dirt, rinse and whalaa.

    I thought he was nuts till I tried it. whole lot less stress on back and you don't have to stretch far.

    I also use it to clean shower floors in other 2 bathrooms.
    Follow your heart and not your dreams..the dreams are from your mind and can lead you astray, the heart never can..SMOLOL Hugs Ali
    Booch007 responded:
    Good Morning Dr P....
    Well, I really love this one. It is perfect for me. This is how I have survived for all these years. First complaint I shared. Can't work above my head...hold things out ward.

    Found laundry *killed me...I always....did I say always.. keep my arms home.....(used to be in the ICU) now I am in a Nuclear stress lab where I take so many blood pressures..the patients are elevating on the treadmills and I need to follow them (SO I use a stool)...I get up where they are so my arms stay home !!

    I bought a front loading washer on pedestals so it is in front of me...arms stay home...

    I bought Corelle dishes so the weight I carry is low....and short lived leaving the cabinet.....(home)

    I LOVE is the best survival note I have seen in a while.

    You are truly a treasure, an asset to the fmily for the newbies and us oldies.......

    I spent alot of money on a physiatrist to tell me to straighten my posture and breathe deep (and correct) with the oxygenate my muscles.

    All these tools help so much. I consider myself CMP not FM...but they are close cousins and all the mechanics that can help I will take. I will post these on the refrigerator.......they are well put !! Thanks, Nancy B
    doodlesnana responded:
    Hi Dr.P

    I put this to the test folding laundry I know It looks silly but it works great!

    Thank you so much

    CDeanne responded:
    Hi Dr Mark
    I have finally been able to talk my doctor into giving me B12 shots. Yes, sorry I have been diagnosed with Fibromaylgia a year ago now, but have been coping with longer. Though, after many doctor visits it was just a case of being two lazy, having to have sleeps in the afternoon.
    Yes, had the first B12 shot on Monday and believe it or not I have noticed the difference in my back pain within 24 hours.
    Hoping this last even longer as I need to be able to sleep on my back.
    hurtingsue responded:
    I liked the post. I never thought much about the use of my arms ,but I surely will be more awasr. I do have one problem I can't find an answer to. I can not find a specialist that will take my ins. It is ChanpaVa. I am covered under my disabled vet husband. Is ther anyone who can help me with this. I live on Ocala Fl. I have checked as far as 30 miles fsrom where I live. I am desperate now.
    Thank you
    Mark Pellegrino, MD responded:
    Just checking in mid week, and bumping up in case others want to add their favorite "arms stay home" tip before this thread gets buried. (Yes, I've picked up a few thread tips from you!)

    I'll add another Rule #1 tip for the morning routine: I learned to keep the blow dryer close to my side pointing up at my hair while bending my head down, and holding the brush "home" in my other hand. This is so ridiculously more tolerated than looking in the mirror and holding the dryer and brush up over your head. Keep your arms home especially early in the morning.

    Dr. P
    bradygram responded:
    Wow! I'm glad I found you Dr. these are some great tips...I have recently been diagnosed with Fibro although I have been suffering with it for over a year now. I'm now taking Darvocet twice a day
    along with Vit. D, mag. and Lidoderm patches...these patches are great at night I cut them in half and put them on my knees , and on my back...but i'm really interested in pain management...I never thought of the posture positions. I look forward to more good tips.
    It's comforting to communicate with a doctor who knows what we're feeling. Thank you !!! I'm a 68 yr. old gramma of 11 who was very active with the kids until a year family has been very understanding but I am very disappointed that I can't keep up with the kids anymore..... I have been keeping my arms home while I watch TV and also my laundry room is next to my bedroom
    and I have my grandson put the laundry on my high bed and it helps alot to fold at the same level as my arms....Thanks again Bradygram
    icyhotmama replied to Mark Pellegrino, MD's response:
    If you sit down and dry your hair you can save your neck and back, and you can still keep your arms home. I have a portable mirror I use.

    bradygram responded:
    Hi Dr. P.
    thank goodness you;re here! I was diagnosed with fibro 8 months ago and the doctor just gave me a script for Tramadol and basically said good luck....I'm very frustrated....Tramadol just takes the edge off the pain so I have been taking darvocet and lidoderm patches at night so I can sleep. I also have constant Atrial fib , just had an operation and had 18 inches of my colon removed and now they think I might havea bleeding ulcer! I want to go to the Cleveland Clinic and see a specialist but a nurse told me that they would only help me with pain management...I can't take some of the other medications because of my heart and the medicines I 'm on for that problem....I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    what would you recommend I do next?
    thanks for listening....diane B.

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