Guest Blog: Healthy Eating with #Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disease that  causes pain and swelling at a variety of different spots in the body, and while the actual areas that hurt are different each people, the regularity of pain is common. For many people – up to 5-million, in fact – fibromyalgia is a condition that greatly affects daily life. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, despite the fact that it’s a readily acknowledged condition in the medical community. That’s why healthy living is generally the only prescription for individuals with fibromyalgia along with over-the-counter and prescribed pain relievers in some cases. 

For individuals with fibromyalgia, meal times and snacks play even more of an important role in health than they do in the lives of the average person. If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, make sure you heed these dietary tips that could help reduce your pain. 

Eat More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables 

You already know you’re supposed to be eating your fresh fruits and vegetables for good health. However, if you have fibromyalgia, making those fruits and veggies the main course instead of the side dish could be particularly beneficial.

heartfruitveggies

That’s because fresh fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that can help reduce inflammation in the body and get rid of free radicals that can damage your overall health and reduce well being. 

Whenever possible go for organic fruits and vegetables that were not treated with potentially problematic pesticides and preservatives.

 

Skip the Coffee 

That morning cup of coffee might get you out of bed in the morning, but it could also be increasing your fibromyalgia-related pain. Unfortunately, caffeine can also increase inflammation and swelling in the joints and pain points in your body, so consuming it could be making you hurt even more.

coffeecup

Instead of coffee, try drinking green or white tea, both of which are high in antioxidants. They also contain caffeine to give you that pick-me-up you need in the morning or afternoon. 

Eat More Fatty Fish 

Fatty fish like tuna, salmon and sardines is high in protein, and the type of fat in this fish isn’t the kind that’s bad for your heart. Best of all, fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which works very well to reduce inflammation in the joints and soothe pain.

fish

Look for wild-caught fish instead of farmed fish – it’s considerably higher in omega-3 fatty acid content and won’t be treated with antibiotics like farmed fish. 

Cut Simple Carbohydrates 

Simple carbohydrates like those found in white bread and products that contain refined sugar like cookies and cakes might be tasty, but they aren’t particularly good for your body or for fibromyalgia pain. Simple carbs can increase inflammation and cause you to crash when your blood sugar drops, increasing overall tension. 

While you may not have to completely remove simple carbs from your diet it is essential that you keep your intake to a minimum. Unfortunately, sugar substitutes can also be problematic for many people with fibromyalgia, so stick with fruit-sweetened products, or better yet, just eat the fruit to begin with! 

Fibromyalgia can be very difficult for many people, and left unchecked it can create long-term pain problems that are often debilitating. However,what you eat can make a big difference when it comes to helping you feel less pain. 

Eating a healthy diet can also give you more energy to do things in your life that can also reduce pain like exercise on a regular basis. And no matter how old you are, you are never too late to start eating right and to start a fitness routine. You might not be able to get rid of fibromyalgia pain completely, but with the right diet and pain management routine, you can make daily life easier. 

~ About the Author

Shannon Lochwood is a freelance writer from California. She  is passionate about health and fitness and helping people. In her free time she loves going on adventures and finding new ways to stay active. 

Posted in Chronic Pain, Diet, Fibro, Fibro Fog, Fibromyalgia, Gluten-Free, Invisible Illness | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Blog: Healthy Living with #Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic pain – pain that often has no known cause, which can leave doctors and sufferers puzzled. However, fibromyalgia isn’t just a psychosomatic illness, it’s a real problem for millions of people all over the world. 

While there isn’t a cure for fibromyalgia, living with it doesn’t have to be so stressful. In fact, the best things you can do to combat the condition are often somewhat simple, and many sufferers notice considerable relief from pain after altering their daily routines. 

Use these tips to help combat fibromyalgia and live a healthy, happy and productive life. 

Get Active 

Most doctors recommend regular exercise to fibromyalgia sufferers, and that is very good advice that will likely benefit you in the long run. However, if you’re experiencing severe pain, it can be difficult to get moving and take any type of moderate or strenuous exercise – even one or two days a week.

exercise

Instead, start slow and don’t push yourself. Go for a ten minute walk every day for a week and increase the pace after the first week. Once you get in the habit of walking 30 or minutes each day without too much pain you can try more strenuous exercises. 

Eat Right, Reduce Exposure to Certain Foods 

Eating right should be part of your daily routine no matter what health problems you have. For adults, that means a balanced diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains and lean protein sources. 

However, for individuals with fibromyalgia, that also means cutting out certain foods like MSG and sugar substitutes like aspartame. These excite neurotransmitters that can increase pain in the body and are often problematic for individuals with fibromyalgia. 

You should also reduce your overall sugar intake since refined sugar can cause aches and pains in some individuals. 

Change Your Sleep Routine 

Not getting enough sleep can be a real problem for people with fibromyalgia – often because of the pain. However, it’s essential that you do what you can to make your night as restful as possible. 

sleeping

Start by making sure your room is dark and comfortable, setting your temperature as desired. Use blackout curtains or a sleep mask to keep light from interfering with sleep. 

You’ll also want to make sure the room you sleep in isn’t full of distractions like work or TV. Keep your bedroom only for relaxation and sleeping – do everything else somewhere else in your home. 

Find Time to Relax 

If you lead a busy life it can feel difficult to find time to get away and relax. However, when you have fibromyalgia, doing something simple like getting a massage or visiting the spa can make a huge difference in how you feel. 

Try to do these things once a week. If you do go the massage route, make sure the massage therapist you’re working with is aware of your condition and any areas that commonly cause you more pain than others.  

Fibromyalgia can make day-to-day life difficult for many men and women. Despite the fact that most researchers and doctors are still puzzled by it, that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to suffer forever. 

Follow the tips above to help you live a healthy life and you may notice big changes in how you feel. Of course, you’ll still need your doctor’s advice, but a healthy lifestyle is a recommendation they’ll sure have for you as well.

~ About the Author 

Shannon Lochwood is a freelance writer who lives in California. She loves to write about health and wellness. In her free time she likes to stay active by biking as well as rock climbing. 

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Living with #Fibromyalgia and educating family & friends

First wrote on May 1, 2012

fibromyalgia

When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, it was still a disease many people knew nothing about.  As the years have passed and medicines are approved by the FDA, Fibromyalgia is becoming more and more known.  But I still have family and friends who know nothing about what I go through on a day-to-day basis.

My husband:

When I first met Aldo, he was very understanding with my health problems.  As we grew closer, he saw what a struggle I had everyday just to do simple things.  In the back of my mind though, I knew he didn’t understand.  When we got married, it was harder for him to understand because now he saw me everyday and there was no escaping it.  It was there in his face everyday.  This definitely put a strain on our relationship because I would not be feeling well when we had family obligations or plans.  He got tired of me canceling things or not being able to go to things with him.  He would always make me feel worse than I already did.  I think it really hit him though when I had to make him come home from work and help me to the bathroom.  I finally gave in and called him and it bothered him that I needed help to the bathroom.  It took that to make him understand the pain I was in.  There were also times he had to stand in the shower with me and help me shower.  He had to make sure I didn’t fall or faint because I was so sore and weak.  He still has his moments where he gets mad at me, but not like he used to.  He understands what I go through on a day-to-day basis.

My parents:

I was still a teenager when I was diagnosed so it was hard for my parents to see me like that.  I was always in pain and no energy to do anything.  My mother was more understanding than my father was.  It took my father a long time to come around and to understand what Fibromyalgia was.  He would always get mad at me when I would miss school or work.  As I have gotten older, they see how Fibromaylgia effects me.  They are more understanding now and compassionate about what I go through.

My family:

If only they took the time to learn about what Fibromyalgia is and how it effects me.  They have never asked questions about it or took any interest in learning.  That hurts my feelings because in my mind they don’t want to learn something about me.  This is a part of me and will always be there.  To this day, when I say I had a bad day or that I was in bed all day because I was hurting, all they say is “Oh I’m sorry”.  Now I just don’t bother telling them anything.  I don’t want to waste my time and get aggravated.  I think I have gotten to the point where it dosen’t even hurt anymore.

My friends:

All I can say is that you know who your true friends are when you go through something life changing.  I know it still bothers them when I have to cancel plans, but they have taken the time to learn about Fibromyalgia and how it effects me.  That means the world to me and I love them for it.  I will always be grateful that they took time out of their lives to understand something more about me.  They will never know how much that means to me.  Thank you so much for that.

How to educate family and friends:

  • Internet: search for Fibromyalgia and you will get a bunch of information.  Print important information out to show people or send them links that will help them better understand.
  • Books: take excerpts from your favorite Fibromyalgia books and show them to people.  Maybe once they start reading those excerpts, they’ll want to keep reading.
  • Write something: if you are like me and have trouble expressing your feelings to people, write them a letter or an email.  Talk about what your day-to-day life is like and how sometimes you are going to have to cancel plans because you won’t know how you are going to feel until that day comes.

In the end, you are the only one who can take care of yourself and your feelings.  I try not to let things get to me anymore and not care about what people think of me.  It is their problem if they are mad because I had to cancel plans.  I used to let it bother me all of the time, which in turn, would put more stress on me and make me feel worse.  I have to think about myself and my health first and for most.  You can only try to make people understand.  They have to want to understand what Fibromyalgia is all about.

Please comment on what you have done to try and make people understand your condition.

Posted in Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Depression, Fatigue, Fibro, Fibro Fog, Fibromyalgia, Invisible Illness, Memory Problems, Stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on how #Fibromylagia has changed my life

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know!

Back in September, 2010, I wrote a post about how Fibromyaglia changed my life.  I thought it would be fun to see how things are going since then.

  1. The illness I live with is: Fibromyalgia
  2. I was diagnosed with it:  I was diagnosed with fibro over 15 years ago when I was in my teens.
  3. But I had symptoms since: Childhood
  4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Not caring about what people think or say – It’s their problem if they don’t understand.
  5. Most people assume:  I am lazy or just don’t want to do anything.
  6. The hardest part about mornings are:  Getting up because no matter what time I go to sleep, I wake up feeling like I got no sleep.  Unfortunately, I can’t just lay around in bed until I feel better because I now have a 2 1/2 year old.
  7. My favorite medical TV show is:  Grey’s Anatomy
  8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:  Computer & Cell Phone
  9. The hardest part about nights are:  Falling asleep
  10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. Between morning and night, I take 15 pills and supplements a day
  11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Have massages once a month
  12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:  Neither!  But, for the sake of this question, I’ll say invisible.  I don’t want my medical issues to be the focus of who I am.
  13. Regarding working and career: I honestly think Fibro was a blessing in disguise because I was able to find something I really love doing, I love getting up every morning and working, I love working from home and raising my son.  I don’t miss the corporate world at all and having that stress of “When am I going to get fired?”
  14. People would be surprised to know:  Some of my symptoms.  Who would of thought at 36 years old I would be having hot flashes :(
  15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  That some days, no matter how hard I fight, I still need help and that I can’t do everything.  I am a control freak!
  16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  Start a blog and try to help people who suffer from this disease or help people that want to learn more about Fibro.
  17. The commercials about my illness:  Are ok.  I wish they would use younger people some time because it does affect us as well as older people.
  18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:  Have energy to be more active.
  19. It was really hard to have to give up:  A lot of things
  20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  Blogging
  21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  Get so much done!
  22. My illness has taught me:  Too many things to list!  Patience, compassion, and understanding and that some people just don’t care and don’t want to take the time to learn.  You know who your true friends are.
  23. Want to know a secret? I hate when people give me attitude because I may not be able to do something.
  24. But I love it when people:  Take the time to learn about fibro and just call to see how I am doing.
  25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:  Kill them with kindness.
  26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:  I am here to help you get through it.
  27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:  Who is there to support you and who isn’t (family and friends)
  28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:  my husband will cook me dinner.
  29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  It’s my personal mission to help others who live with these conditions live a better life as well as educate.
  30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  Awesome beyond belief.

Please do this list yourself and comment on this post.  Makes you think.

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Guest Blog: Living and working with chronic disease – a balancing act #fibromyalgia

To some of us hearing we have a chronic disease might come as a surprise. To others it came as a reassuring answer that there is something wrong with them and they weren’t making things up. Either way I still shake my head whenever I hear stories of being misunderstood and struggling so hard to find a place in society.

Over here in Belgium the media just launched a completely new debate on how ‘the chronically ill’ don’t want to work and are taking advantage of our health-care system. Well that it is of course utterly wrong and if you are in the same situation please don’t let it get to you.

We do want to work! We do still have a purpose in our lives and  can make a difference out there!

It is just a matter of rethinking what that purpose means and finding out what truly matters to us. That it is why I have developed a balance formula that goes like this:

Balance = awareness + purpose + prioritizing + support

First we need to become AWARE of what we can and cannot do. We need to learn how to move within the boundaries of our own body and accept its natural rhythm. We need to realize that there will be times where we can live a ‘normal life’ and days where a flare up causes us to slow down and maybe even take a break from it all. Again this doesn’t mean we are useless… we just have to write our own system and work in different ways. Accepting this and loving ourselves for who we are is the first step towards finding more balance and energy.

The next step is to have a PURPOSE that feels so strong and good you just have to follow it. It is finding a new passion or what I like to call ‘your reason to get out of bed every morning’. Once you have that I am not saying it will magically change your life but it will make you want to move through the pain and blocks no matter what. It will help you find fulfillment in everything you do.

Once you have that you will need to PRIORITIZE and divide your day in terms of energy rather than steps on a TO DO list. That way you will take into account which actions go easily and which ones will take up a lot of your time and energy. Once you realize this you can schedule them in so you can balance tasks that will require a lot of effort from your part and make sure you do something ‘light’ afterwards.

Sometimes having a chronic disease will mean prioritizing between work and keeping your house in order or taking care of your family. This brings me to the last step: SUPPORT.

We all need help from our family and friends and they will need to recognize that some days we will need that support more than others. Some days we want to do everything by ourselves and others we just can’t. However living a balanced life is not just about turning outside of yourself for help but also looking at what you can do on your own.

  • You need to respect your own rhythm and take time to recharge your batteries.
  • You need to eat healthy and find out what that means to you as it can differ from person to person.
  • You need to find a way to keep moving even if it its within your own boundaries. I am not saying you should start going to the gym but just go outside for a walk, try to swim or practice Chi gong which is a great way to stretch your body without overdoing it.

Finally do take into account that this is a formula. The steps can help you reach a balance today but can vary tomorrow. This is an ongoing process that will help you become more aware of who you are and what you can truly do.

~ About the Author

headshot_steffieVandierendonckSteffie Vandierendonck is an empowerment coach helping you move past subconscious blocks and limiting beliefs so you can effortlessly manifest your dream life and find balance, energy and fulfillment in everything you do. You can find her at http://www.zhendria.com where you can subscribe to the sacred transformations e-zine for a free series on how to move past your blocks or visit http://www.village-hearth.com to find a growing community of like-minded spirits.

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Discontinuing Cymbalta may result in severe withdrawal symptoms

In 2008, Cymbalta became the second drug to receive FDA approval for the treatment of fibromyalgia. It was classified as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. At the time, the FM community was excited to have another medication available that would hopefully reduce pain for at least some FM patients. Little did we suspect the misery that could result when those patients wanted to stop taking Cymbalta.

The medical community has long known that abruptly discontinuing any antidepressant can result in Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome. That’s why patients are (or should be) strongly urged not to suddenly quit taking an antidepressant but to talk with their doctor about gradually tapering off the medication.

To read more about the, click here.

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Great snacking ideas

If you need a pick-me-up to get through your day, why not try some of these healthy snack ideas:

  • Hardboiled Eggs – either plain or you can add paprika
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, macadamias, cashews, pistachios, etc.
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, ground flax, etc.
  • Vegetables – carrots, celery, cucumbers, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, etc.
  • Fruits – apples, pears, peaches, oranges, tangerines, grapes, melons, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, etc.
  • Energy Protein Bars – choose a healthy variety
  • Healthy Wraps
  • Veggies with hummus
  • Fruit and veggie smoothies
  • Turkey or sliced meets

Comment below with your snack choices!

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Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Have a safe and healthy holiday season!

IMG_6069

Posted in Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Depression, Diet, Exercise, Fatigue, Fibro, Fibro Fog, Fibromyalgia, Gluten-Free, Invisible Illness, Medicine, Memory Problems, Stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

December issue of LIVING WELL with FIBROMYALGIA

Check out the latest edition of Living well with Fibromyalgia by clicking on the image below.

Living Well with Fibro

Posted in Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Depression, Diet, Exercise, Fatigue, Fibro, Fibro Fog, Fibromyalgia, Gluten-Free, Invisible Illness, Medicine, Memory Problems, Stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

THE FIBRO SUCKS POEM

THE FIBRO SUCKS POEM
By: Haullie Free Volker
 
It’s 12am midnight and I cannot sleep.
Got an achey ole body from my head to my feet.
 
My muscles keep twitchin.
Don’t know what to do.
And crap, oh no, now it feels like the flu.
 
My hair’s falling out and the showering hurts.
I got major gas, I.B.S. and I burp.
 
This crabby darn head of mine won’t stop the aching.
Is it hot, warm, cold? Oh great now I’m shaking.
 
The pins and the needles they poke me all day.
My joints are so stiff I’ll just call it a day.
 
Lay in bed till I’m bored and watch too much TV.
This isn’t the life that I wanted for me.
 
Nausea, puking all over the floor.
Why does it hurt just to open the door?
 
Some doctors listen and others are jerks.
Medication should help; side effects are the worst.
 
My jaw just locked up and my chest pains attack.
What I wouldn’t give to have my body back?
 
Tender points feel like a stab in the side.
Keeps me from functions, and going outside.
 
Weather is crazy, I cannot adjust.
A self heated blanket and socks are a must.
 
Chores make me feel like I ran 18 miles.
All I did was put laundry in neat little piles!!!
 
Don’t eat this, don’t drink that, do this they say.
What if I want to enjoy my damn day?
 
So sick of these things that I do to keep up.
Get lost Fibromyalgia, I think I’ve had enough.
 
Posted in Chronic Fatigue, Chronic Pain, Depression, Diet, Exercise, Fatigue, Fibro, Fibro Fog, Fibromyalgia, Gluten-Free, Invisible Illness, Medicine, Memory Problems, Stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment