Helpful Little Tricks for Dealing with Chronic Pain

It’s been a while since I focused on Fibromyalgia and other similar illnesses which cause chronic pain, and I’ve been doing a whole lot of research recently. I’ve been struggling with pain levels and have been looking for some new tricks to help. And I found some!

For those who don’t know, I slipped a disc in my spine last year (don’t worry it was a car accident not in the gym). I thought Fibro was tough, a slipped disc was a whole new level of pain. I’ve also recently had two surgeries to kill the nerves in my lower back and whilst it has 100% helped the slipped disc, my Fibro has not reacted well to the trauma of being fully awake during two spine procedures. So I’ve spent a huge amount of time in the last 6 months trying to find little things that help. Here’s my list!

  • As always, keep moving!! The pain from my slipped disc kept me in bed a lot, and there was a time where I missed over a week of gym sessions (I usually train 5 days a week) and I could feel my Fibro getting worse and worse with every day. I know the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain is workout but I promise you’ll feel the difference. You don’t have to take it as far as I do with the weight training, start gently with a 15 minute daily walk and build yourself up, but strengthening your muscles will strengthen your body and help you fight back against Fibro. Exercise loosens your muscles, gets the feel good hormones going and more importantly it gets you out the house which is so so so important for your mental health

  • Vitamin D. A lot of doctors are now talking about whether a vitamin D deficiency could actually be a part of the cause of illnesses such as Fibromyalgia and surprise surprise, I’m severely deficient! I’ll be on at least 1000mg of vitamin D for the rest of my life, but I sure do notice the difference without it

  • Glucosamine is a great supplement for joint pain. It’s recommended for people with arthritis which my darling mother happens to have. I figured if it helps with joint paint in arthritis, why wouldn’t it help with Fibro? Guess what. It does!

  • Omega 3 is just an all round amazing supplement that everyone should take. Do it. Now.

  • Acupuncture – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this treatment is amazing! Admittedly it is a short term relief, but it’s an amazing relief that’s worth every penny

  • Get yourself checked for Hyper-mobility Syndrome. I didn’t know that I had this until last year – I just always assumed I was flexible and my injuries were always down to my own clumsiness. Turns out I was wrong! Hyper-mobility is essentially where your joints all have a larger range of motion which can result in pain and injury. Now that I’m aware of it, I’m just conscious of how I’m moving on a daily basis and I fall less now!

  • I’ve been very blessed to have a partner who happened to be a masseur, but massages are a great way to relax and help to ease any tension within your muscles

  • Sports massages are a new thing that I’ve tried, but I found all my time in bed not moving meant that my muscles were seizing up and it was super painful. I thought a sports massage would be quite traumatic for my Fibro, but it actually welcomed the release of muscle tension

  • So I read about Turmeric and how it has anti inflammatory qualities so I figured I would give it a go and it helped! It’s not a huge improvement, but it’s a noticeable one (though please note that I take this in addition to my other supplements and have not tried this by itself)

  • Baths and Epsom salts are great for helping with sore and achy muscles, as well as having the much needed relaxation factor. Give it a go and see if it helps

  • Check yourself for any food intolerance. Sadly they tend to go hand in hand (mine being wheat, gluten, dairy, caffeine and nuts), but discovering if you have one and cutting it from your diet makes the world of difference to your pain levels!

  • Meditation is something that I’ve always been really sceptical about. I’d tried doing it a few times and my mind always wandered off and I gave up. Your mind wandering is natural, you just need to learn to pull it back. It has given me a focus and I can feel the difference in my body before and after

  • From meditation to medication, I’ve always been very vocal about my hated for medication. After being put on 26 tablets a day to manage the pain I starting hearing voices and I can assure you they weren’t friendly. I cut my medication back to 3 tables a day (Pregabalin and Baclofen) and it’s enough to keep the pain mostly under control but not so much that it makes me feel like I’m medicated all of the time. Pregablin is AMAZING! I met with a pain specialist who changed me from Amitriptyline to Pregablis and it’s made a huge difference. Consider talking to your talking to your doctor about changing to this medication

  • Take time out to do the things you love. With Fibro you need to be a little selfish. You can’t go to every party, sometimes you will need to cancel at the last minute, and you will forget a lot of things that you really shouldn’t, but who cares? Anyone who doesn’t understand what you’re going through is not worth having in your life. Ditch those people and spend time with the people you love doing the things that really relax you. My go to? Spa day with Mumma M

  • CBD oil – we can now get CBD oil in the UK which, whilst it tastes disgusting, is really helpful for pain relief. Sadly medical marijuana is not yet legal in this country, but if you’re lucky enough to be in a country/state where it is (shout out to my US readers) then it is prescribed as the mean treatment for chronic pain and fibromyalgia

  • Talk, talk and talk some more. Bottling everything up will not only harm your Fibro, but it’s tough on your mental health too. Fibromyalgia, or any chronic illness, is hard to accept and harder to cope with. Talk to people who don’t have it, talk to people to do, just make sure you’re not bottling this stuff up. Suicide rate amongst people with illnesses like these are shockingly high, and I’ve been on a waiting list for nearly 8 months for CBT to help cope with the mental health side of things. Until you can get professional support, seek help from those around you

I think the important thing is to remember that everyone is different and certain things might not help some people, whilst being a miracle for someone else. Be open minded to trying things. I went from being bed bound a few years ago to working full time in London. It’s not always easy, but it’s better than the alternative.

Stay strong and be happy, and remember you can always reach out to me and I’ll always be happy to answer your questions or if you just need someone who understands

Zoë Louise Mason x

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