I am currently reading The Fibromyalgia Handbook: A 7-Step Program to Halt and Even Reverse Fibromyalgia, Third Edition by Harris H. McIlwain, M.D. and Debra Fulghum Bruce, M.S. I have to start out by saying that after my last post, I finished reading Step 1: Start With Medical Treatment and found that the author said almost the same thing I did.
“Although there is no quick fix, you can find success with treatment using a trial-and-error procedure.” (pg. 97)
While this is an extremely frustrating process and can leave you feeling like a guinea pig, with Fibromyalgia, there is little choice. That doesn’t mean that finding the correct mix of medications and supplements is impossible but it is different for everyone. My doctor made a very valid point to me. It was something that I had read before but didn’t really consider being a problem for me. Just because you have fibromyalgia, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything else. The majority of blogs I’ve read on Fibromyalgia are written by people suffering from more than just Fibromyalgia. My problem is that my old doctors were saying that all I had was Fibromyalgia and wouldn’t look at anything else or even consider that maybe my normal was different than the standard normal. As soon as I said the “F” word (Fibromyalgia), nothing else was considered. My doctor is currently running a clinical trial on me to see if thyroid medication would help me because I have almost every symptom of under-active thyroid. He also has me taking adrenal support and magnesium malate. My previous doctors wouldn’t even consider doing anything like that. My former neurologist also gave me a big speech about how the vitamin industry is not regulated and tried to tell me that generic medications are only required to contain 20% of the medication (according to my insurance company this is false). He really discouraged anything not put out by the drug companies. Step 1, in a nutshell, is start with moist heat twice a day and if you still have pain then add medications.
Step 2 is to exercise daily for mobility and energy. One of the big questions I had at the beginning of this chapter came out of this statement:
“…exercise is more effective in easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia than medication or alternative treatments.” (pg.99)
If exercise is so successful, why not start with that? I’m pretty sure that every doctor I’ve seen has suggested yoga, but I was reluctant to believe that yoga would cure all my ills. One of the hardest things for me to understand with this disease is that there is no quick fix and no magic pill. At least not yet. I’ve since started doing the stretches contained in Step 2 and have begun to notice the benefits. I listen to my body and when I feel the tightness start, I do the warm-up and then the stretches. I’m considering going back to a physical therapist, although the last time was torture. One of the ideas in this chapter that I really like is to warm-up and do stretches before doing daily living activities like showering, laundry, or dishes. My biggest obstacle to working out has always been that I don’t have time with all the other things I have to get done, especially when most normal daily living activities take all the energy I have. I also have the DVD Anchor Bay’s Healing Yoga for Aches and Pains (thanks again to my awesome library) and whenever I am at home and feel in a lot of pain despite all the pills I’m taking, doing just the first section of deep breathing and stretching helps. I would also like to try out the warm water pool we have nearby (25 min. drive) but I’m still waiting to hear on my disability appeal.
This chapter has a lot of great alternative ideas for getting exercise daily and explains how to divide your day so that you do get in the necessary exercise and stretching. I would encourage all my fellow Fibro Fighters to check out this chapter if you are having trouble getting motivated to exercise or if you are like me and just don’t think you have the time.