Developing Fibromyalgia taught me something very important – your body is your temple. It’s the only thing that you’ll ever truly own. So each month I invest a lot of time and money in to looking after my body to keep my pain levels low and prevent injuries.
I get a lot of questions about how I manage my pain, so I wanted to share my routine with you! Alongside this, I also do a minimum of 10 minutes of stretching a day, 5 days in the gym a week (usually 3 during the week and both weekend days) and daily supplements!
Every other Monday I see my chiropractor at Inspired Health in Chelmsford. I was referred there by my sports massage therapist and the difference that it’s made to my quality of life is incredible. Whilst I initially went about my slipped disc, my chiropractor takes a holistic view and tackled my physical and emotional problems.
I slipped my disc due to a little girl coming out from behind a wall on a scooter in to the road. I slammed on my brake pedal so hard that the impact herniated my L4/L5 disc. I had radiofrequency to freeze the 8 nerves around it in an attempt to make the pain more bearable, and whilst it did help, each day was still a massive struggle. The pain was awful and I had so much resentment towards the little girl that I was living in so much pain and she was fine. Of course I knew it wasn’t her fault, I was just so blinded by the pain. My chiropractor explained the relationship between mood and pain and I came to realise that until I let go of the emotional pain (I had CBT for this), the physical pain couldn’t get better.
But of course she also helped me physically! I initially saw her twice a week for six weeks, then it was once a week for six weeks. I was meant to go down to once a month after this like most patients, but my joints stiffen back up so quickly that I decided to drop to fortnightly appointments and even still I end up counting down the days to my appointments. Not only does she help with me with the joints around my herniated disc, she also knows and has taught me so much about Fibromyalgia, she helps to keep all of my joints mobile whilst constantly being aware of my over active nervous system.
She does manipulations on my hips, spine and neck, then if I have other trouble areas like my AC joint separation, pinched nerves, hip alignment issues etc. she helps with those too!
Tuesday’s are sports massage day. I visit Chelmsford Sports Massage in Ab Salute Gym. Initially it was for the convenience that it was in my gym and I wanted to give it a try, then I soon realised these guys were bloody good at their jobs. I try to get one or two sports massages in a month, depending on pain and energy levels. Better to prevent than try to recover!
I get sports massages for both Fibromyalgia pain and to help keep my body in top shape in the gym. I weight train five days a week to control my pain levels, but that’s a lot on a body that suffers with a chronic illness so my muscles need some serious TLC a lot of the time. It’s not my favourite hour of the week if I’m honest as it can be pretty painful when your body feels pain so much more intensely than the average person, but my therapist is a good laugh so he makes the time entertaining (though does tell me off for swearing!) and I always feel so much better after.
Pain clinic! Every Wednesday I go to the Pain Clinic for Acceptance therapy. I’ll be honest, I’m still pretty sceptical about how it’s going to improve my pain. I’m six weeks in and my pain levels haven’t improved. Mentally however! It’s like I’m finally starting to become the person I want to be. I’m happier, I’m nicer, I’m more positive. I lost my Tiffany necklace that has been on my neck every day for nearly 11 years last week. Previously I would have had a complete meltdown, and sure I was a little upset, but I know that getting overly upset about it wouldn’t bring it back. All it would do is ruin the rest of my day, probably ruin a few other people’s day in my meltdown, and make the pain so much worse!
Luckily, I put a sign up in the gym where I lost it and a very kind and generous woman returned it to me, but it just goes to show what therapy can help achieve. I run through my mental processes from Acceptance Therapy every day to better manage my pain, but more importantly, I really do love the person that I’m becoming.
Thursday is cryotherapy day At Cryo Wellness in Brentwood. 3 minutes in a chamber at -140 degrees Celsius. What’s more fun than that right… To be fair it’s a lot of fun and it lifts your mood so much! I’ve been having it once a week and it 100% helps so much with DOMS after heavy workouts, but I’ve not seen a long term difference in my Fibromyalgia pain sadly. Short term it feels great, but sadly like all of my other treatments, the pain always ends up coming back. The good thing is it helps me through that day, and that’s really the point of my treatments. Nothing will ever really help my pain get much better now, but I can maintain this lower level of pain.
Then Friday, Saturday and Sunday are mine to do whatever I like with!
Sure sometimes having so many treatments is exhausting, and goodness knows it’s expensive – I actually used to see an Acupuncturist once every three weeks too but found the chiropractor was much more effective and couldn’t afford both – but it’s worth it to be able to live a life where I can experience things that I love because of lower pain levels.
I hope this helps, and it’s always worth exploring new treatments to see if it helps you at all
Zoë Louise Mason x