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    Alternative Treatments
    MaggieMayMuse posted:
    Good morning!

    I am only 28 and have had Fibro for several years, pretty much since I hit puberty at age 11, but have only been officially diagnosed since January of this year (finally, thanks to finally finding a doctor who listened and cared about what I was talking about instead of just focusing on me being "too young" or "looking fine" to have the issues I was talking about).

    I am one of the unfortunate few who cannot rely on medications to manage my illness due to severe intolerances and allergies. I am on a 30mg dose of Cymbalta a day (for anxiety) and take the lowest dose of Voltaren (an anti-inflammatory med) for some damage between the discs in my lower back, a Vitamin D supplement, and that is it. I work over 40 hours a week, take care of home responsibilities, and am currently working on a 3-part certification program in various areas of healthcare. I also try to walk when I've the time and participate in yoga.

    All of that being said, please do not mistake my Fibro as being any less severe or debilitating than anyone else's on here. Among other things, there are days when it's all I can do to get out of bed or walk across a room as the bones in my feet will literally feel like they're crushing in on each other. I drop about a third of everything I touch, and normal tasks such as cutting meat with a knife is literally a pain. Not to mention I'm already exhausted after getting ready for work in the mornings, but bills have to be paid, and a life lived inside on the couch covered in heating pads and fluffy pillows is not a life (although on an off evening I will sometimes allow it). Pain medications of any form and strength, muscle relaxers, and any other type of anti-inflammatory aside from the one I use for my back do not touch my pain, so I envy anyone that can feel even a shred of relief with any of those.

    I realize that diet and vitamins and supplements are considered a big thing in alternative treatments, however, here is where it gets even stickier for me. Not being able to tolerate certain medications aside, I have several food and environmental allergies. It would shock you for me to list them, so anything having to do with Fibro and diet I pretty much have to ignore as then it seems like I would be living on water alone. Vitamins and supplements are even worse because of all of the additional ingredients and cross-contamination with various things.

    My question to anyone who's read this far is what forms of alternative treatment are you using that work for you? Any specific exercises, therapies, counselings, activities, groups, methods, even hobbies, etc that you do on a regular basis and that you see some (even if it's only a little) relief from? Anything specifically to help your hands, or to keep you distracted, or even things you do to make some everyday tasks and chores easier? This is me picking your brain- would love to know what you've personally found that helps you.

    Love to all,
    dollbug responded:
    Hello MaggieMayMuse...MiMi in the way I do like your user ID. Welcome...sorry that you are dealing with so many issues right now. The wrath of the dragon STINKS...I think we are all aware of this. Not good for someone who is only 28...(as I can only imagine)...I am now 60 years old. I have been dealing with *it* now for 8 years (at least)...probably longer. It is my own opinion that most of us use to be what is considered A personalities...we always go and do and have issues saying no. We continue until we confront the wrath of the dragon, aka FM. I think we actually *push ourselves* into this illness, perhaps along with other things that might happen along the way.

    I worked for over 14 years at a loan servicing company, doing computer work all day long, until Dec 2005, when I was laid off, 2 days after I had my first left hand surgery. I had carpal tunnel in the right hand first and then in a year and a half it was also in the left hand. In all I have had 7 hand surgeries...(2 of which was from me falling outside and breaking both wrists, at different times) I have also had parathyroid surgery, cervical (neck) surgery, right elbow surgery....all of which was since 2004. I no longer work and I eventually was approved for my disability, after several years of being denied.

    I have tried all sorts of *things* in trying to help my FM...medicines, PT and actually not had much success with any of them.

    I will also add that when I first got sick, my doctor was treating me for depression. He thought that was the only thing wrong with me. Eventually though I took control of the situation and finally got the help that I needed.

    I hope you will check out the info here under *tips* and *resources* and be sure and read the *member toolbox*...I am sure you will find some good *tools* that perhaps you have not thought of trying.

    Have you tried wearing wrist braces for your hands, hot wax therapy, soaking them in Epsom salts or perhaps using the stopain spray?

    I ended up using vitamins and supplements and other things that has allowed me to learn how to *control my FM

    I also had lower back pain and I now take P5P for this. You might want to google *Morton's toe* and read up on this. It seems like some of us are not able to *process Vitamin B 6 and this might cause other health issues for those it affects...I no longer suffer from the lower back pain as long as I take the P5P. You have to get this at the vitamin store.

    Have you tried taking a probiotic? We are all different and what helps one person may or may not help you. You have to decide for yourself what works for you. It does take a trial and error process.

    I read that you do take a Vitamin D I am assuming that you had your level checked.

    One of the best things that I have found which makes a BIG difference is to learn how to pace, pace and pace even more. I also try to keep myself on some sort of schedule of sorts....getting up and going to bed at the same time, taking my vitamins and supplements the same time each day, eating around the same time. I have found that this helps.

    Taking a hot shower at night using lavender bath salts (right before bedtime) helps to relax my body so that I can sleep better.

    It is tough each and every day....some times tougher than at other times. We, FMers, must keep on keeping on....until we figure out what helps us cope better.

    Hang in there and good luck.


    missist replied to dollbug's response:
    Hi there! Welcome!
    I was a little bit younger than you when I first got fibro, got dx'd finally a few years later at age 30. I'm 54 now. I did have a few years remission but that is gone by now.

    I'm taking RX meds now but am hoping as time goes by to move more toward supplements & herbs.

    Right now I've found that valerian is a good herb to deal with some anxiety--also-- cutting caffeine down and taking walks. I also recently got a hot tub and that is fantastic!!! (really)

    I do my morning stretches in it and have one of my couple cups of coffee while just relaxing a bit before I get working.

    Prayer-- I am serious-- this is a big help. I am learning to not only support my friends and family with prayer but also myself.

    I pray for things that bother me several times a day as I do whatever I'm doing and I have a daily prayer time as well for more focused prayer.

    Vitamins i like are B's and D. I think they really do help with depression and fatigue as well as adding pain relief.

    Another more natural help I like is nature walks.

    The Zone type of diet is supposed to be good--but it was a bit too much thinking for me. Instead I have looked at my normal eating habits and realized I do not get enough protein. So I am supplementing with 'beef jerky' and protein bars. What I like about these is when I really feel like I'm too tired to cook-- a little jerky is 11 -15 gm of protein--much better than a bag of carbs (chips, popcorn etc)

    Diet and exercise fibromyalgia style-- add some vitamins and beef jerky and take a little walk. sounds like a plan to me.

    I used to walk my dog, but my german shepherd is getting to be too much for me since hubby isn't home much these days and I don't dare take the chihuahua for a walk and leave his big fur brother--so I do little walks by myself.

    Another exercise I like is miranda esmonde white's classical stretch--but I could never do a whole session. Since I got the hot tub I do my stretches in there--and it is really helping me I already can see I climb steps better.

    Don't worry nobody here will accuse you of not really having fibro--we're all in this together. mary
    bette_kaffitz responded:

    Hi, this is Bette here in Western New York. There is one treatment that helped me quite a bit. It was accupuncture.

    No, it does NOT hurt. You do not even feel the needles going in. Each site is cleaned with an alcohol wipe, and each needle is new and taken from a sterile pack. Since there are no drugs involved, there is no chance of allergies.

    Unfortunately, when the accupunturist was working on my scalp area, somehow my scalp got sensitized. This is a freak of MY fibro. But I had to stop treatments just as they were truly working.

    I had two consecutive days with NO pain for the first time in about 30 years with the accupunture. I would still be having the treatments (even though I had to pay for the treatments myself, since our insurance did not cover them) if it weren't for the scalp issue. (Try combing or brushing a sensitized scalp!)

    The other thing that seems to help many of us is massage. This is another one that most insurance does not cover, but you may be able to sneak some in as part of a physical therapy visit. A massage is often the last few minutes of your P T session either before or after some heat and/or ultrasound.

    If you haven't made a warm bath or shower a habit morning and night, try it. I usually shower in the morning to cover the whole hair thing and take a tub bath at night. Since you cannot use the usual bath salts or lotions, you might try the main ingredient in most bath oils--mineral oil. I poke a tiny hole in the seal under the cap and can use as little as one drop at a time or as much as I wish. Another choice for your evening bath is epsom salts--a good source of magnesium--although I don't know how much gets absorbed through your skin. After a warm bath, you are more apt to actually sleep at night, too.

    meg_k replied to bette_kaffitz's response:
    Hi, MMM!

    Meg from MN here.

    Welcome and we do believe you!!!

    I agree with everything that has been said, especially the advice Bette gave about acupuncture. I was hesitant to try it but I found it really helped.

    Also, I agree part of the really hard thing with this is learning to set limits, pace yourself and say no when you have to. My physical therapist recently said to me that I need to think of rest breaks as a prescription. I don't need them any less than I need a pill. I wouldn't think of skipping that, so why would I skip my morning rest break.

    Rest before you are tired...try to stop the push/crash cycle and you will find your overall level of functioning improves.

    Best to you!
    Meg K
    ajnsmom responded:
    One thing that helps me is keeping my arms in by my sides as much as possible, especially during a flare. Re-arranging things in the kitchen especially helped so I don't have to reach as much. Reaching hurts BAD in a flare.

    Linda S.
    bette_kaffitz replied to ajnsmom's response:
    Linda and Meg are so right. It may take a while, but you WILL learn to take breaks before you need them.

    Reaching is a major no-no. It comes right after vacuuming. Hubby does this now--in his own way and as often as he sees fit. You see, part of learning to live with fibro is learning not to see the dirt and dust in your home.

    As for the reaching, I made the final effort and put my Corelle on a higher shelf and bought some lightweight plastic dishes. These are on the lower shelf now. Every now and then, I drop one. Big deal. On good days, I can load and unload the dishwasher. On poor days, I can load. Others unload. On bad days, I stay out of the kitchen. It IS possible to do that.

    meg_k replied to bette_kaffitz's response:
    Bette, this is my big takeaway from the day, "...part of learning to live with fibro is learning not to see the dirt and dust in your home." LOL! So true. Thanks for that. Meg.

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