I often get questions about how I manage my fibromyalgia pain and survive the dreaded fibro flare. There are so many things in my arsenal now, but I wanted to share with you just a few of my favorites. ** Please note that the products listed below are ones I actually use and love. I’m not receiving payment for talking about them. Also, I am not a doctor. So make sure to consult your healthcare professional before integrating new treatments, diets, or exercise programs into your life. 🙂 **
TenneCBD I am late to the CBD party, but better late than never, right? I had been hearing a lot of buzz about CBD oil and what it can do for chronic pain. So, I went to The Herban Market in Franklin, TN to learn more. Upon their recommendation, I purchased TenneCBD Black Label and I have been floored with the results. The first night I took it, I felt as if I had taken a muscle relaxer minus the doped up feeling. My body relaxed and I got the best night’s sleep! (My fellow Fibro Warriors know how rare that can be!) For the first few days, you definitely want to take it at night in case it makes you drowsy. I have now begun taking mine during the day because it helps me so much with my brain fog. Though I definitely feel it helps my pain, the benefits to my brain fog are what keep me taking it. If you’re local to the Middle TN area, I urge you to check out The Herban Market! If not, you can also order online by clicking the link above!
Exercise Listen, y’all. Ever since my battle with chronic pain began back in 2004, people have told me all I needed to do was exercise. Specifically in the form of yoga. Do some downward dog or whatever and suddenly I would be cured. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I could retire to some gorgeous island and have my own cabana boy feed me grapes. If only it were that simple! BUT…..there is a grain of truth to this. Recently, I discovered barre and am now attending regular classes at Village Barre in Nashville, TN. I was extremely nervous to try the class because I haven’t done a lot of group fitness classes. I imagined myself faceplanting in front of everyone because my coordination is basically nonexistent. (My middle name may be Grace, but that’s purely for your amusement, because there ain’t a graceful thing about me y’all.) But let me tell you guys, every fear I had was unfounded. Not one of these women have made me feel less than because I have to reset basically every five seconds. Rachel, the instructor, makes the rounds helping us to achieve the correct form. She pushes us but also encourages us to take a reset. She is a believer in the mind/body connection and I think part of that is knowing your body. Knowing your limitations and also knowing when you can push a little harder. She will always remind you that this is your workout. When you take the pressure off of competing with the person next to you and put all that focus and energy into your own workout, you get so much more out of it. I am far from having that barre body and strength, but I feel myself getting stronger every day.
Healthy Eats I know this one can be tough when you don’t feel well and don’t feel like cooking. I always make sure to keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand so I always have an easy, healthy snack and the makings of a delicious salad. Don’t overcomplicate it! Add in some chia seeds, protein of your choice, and as many veggies as you like! I make my own salad dressings so I know exactly what’s in them. I love the Sunshine Salad Dressing from Cookie and Kate (I omit the honey/maple syrup) and the Creamy Homemade Ranch by Instant Loss. But for those days where I don’t feel like making a lot or I just need a boost, I love Suja juice. Honestly, I could drink these every single day. My favorite is the Uber Greens because the sugar content is very low. If you don’t like the taste of green juice, you may want to try one of their varieties with fruit added. I noticed they also have Wellness Shots and Plant Protein Milk that I can’t wait to try!
Hot and Cold Packs and an Aromatherapy Unicorn This seems so basic, but sometimes going back to basics is needed. Alternating warm and cold compresses when my pain is flaring helps a lot. And the unicorn? I mean, who doesn’t love an aromatherapy unicorn that also doubles as a warm compress?! Functional and cute to boot, honey! I got mine at Walgreens!
Massage I’ve been getting massages for several years now. But it wasn’t until I found my massage therapist Cynthia Ledley that I began experiencing real pain relief. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine gifted me a massage with Cynthia with a promise that she would help my pain immensely. It’s been over two years now and I haven’t seen anyone else. Cynthia is what you would consider a medical massage therapist. This isn’t just a fluffy, pampering massage- though you will certainly leave feeling relaxed. After every session, I feel like I am suddenly standing three inches taller and I have so much energy! She also does cupping treatments for me every other session. This helps to reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Word of warning: you will have bruises after a cupping session. However, I don’t find it to be painful or uncomfortable. Find a therapist who is willing to work with you and your pain tolerance!
Water Again, another basic, but we can’t flush our bodies properly if we aren’t hydrating! I love coffee as much as the next girl, but our bodies crave H20. I drink at least 2 liters a day, sometimes closer to 3. I got a couple of reusable water bottles off of Amazon and they are always within arm’s reach. Staying hydrated also helps to ward off the brain fog, so drink up!
Electric Blanket I love fall and cooler weather. LOVE. But when the temps start dropping, my pain turns up the heat. I have found if I warm up with my electric blanket first thing in the morning and do some gentle stretches, my body feels significantly better.
Pen/Notebook/Note Taking App Brain fog sufferers, where you at? Listen, I have lists for my lists, y’all. I love the iPhone Notes Feature as well as the Couple App where you can keep shared lists with a spouse or partner. I am also a fan of handwriting my notes and appointments because it helps me to commit them to memory. I love office supplies so I am always raiding the dollar section at Target for cute pens and notebooks. Because Target is bae.
Queer Eye Seriously. Hear me out on this one. The Fab 5 are like having five fabulous, on demand besties. True story: if I’m having a fibro flare or am just in a funk, I will flip on an episode of Queer Eye and let Jonathan, Tan, Antoni, Karamo, and Bobby give me an attitude adjustment. I talk about them as if they are my actual in real life BFFs. But so far the closest I’ve come is Bobby liking my comments on Instagram and Karamo telling me what his favorite karaoke song is on Twitter. (Crazy in Love by Beyonce if you were wondering). A girl can dream, right?
A Strong Support System This last one is quite possibly the most important. It can be difficult to find people who truly understand what you’re dealing with on a day to day basis, but there are people out there who will get it, so don’t stop till you find your tribe! It’s taken me over a decade to build my support system, but these people are my whole heart. They are there with gentle reminders to slow down when I start trying to do a little too much and they remind me that I’m enough exactly as I am. And you are too, sweet spoonie.
For more tips and chronic illness support, connect with me on Instagram!