There are far more serious diseases, conditions and illnesses than fibromyalgia, though if you ask anyone with this autoimmune disease about it and they will all have the same answer.
How did you get it?
What causes it?
How do you fix it?
“I have no idea”
Even the doctors don’t know, there is no certainty or answers. Every sufferer is different and as my journey continues with this battle against unexplained pain, tight muscles, achy joints, depression, anxiety, fatigue, confusion, foggy brain, IBS, gluten intolerances, loss of motor control I have to do everything I can to still remain fit and healthy.
The list goes on for many other people, for me I sometimes consider myself lucky. I have been fit and active all of my life, and when I got diagnosed I was already in great shape which has helped fight off symptoms, but I still have my bad days, and they are really bad. Sometimes my body just shuts down. Countless times I have fallen a sleep in odd places and not woken up for over half a day.
Being active, going to the gym and playing sports is something that only Fibromyalgia suffers could dream of, my doctors and specialists can’t believe what I am able to do.
Over the past year, learning how to manage it [Fibromyalgia] other people have come to me for advice, inspiration and help. The pain and tiredness with added depression makes staying fit and healthy a major challenge for most sufferers. With my own research and experiences I have put together a checklist for Fibro sufferers to try and help them manage their own symptoms, and I am currently working on a personal video and eBook project especially for those with Fibro.
1. Weight loss
"Well no shit Einstein” I can hear you say. When we have extra fat on our bodies it produces chemicals that can inflame our bodies and make us ache, not only that but having extra fat slows down our cardiovascular system and fatigues us. So exercise and diet come into play, some exercises may be too harsh for those just getting started with exercise, so light weights and low intensity cardio are the best place to start as the body doesn’t recover as fast as normal.
I know it’s just a bandaid fix for now, but we don’t really have any answers for Fibro, so I take Lyrica (Pregabalin) which at least helps me get to some of my goals. It's made for epilepsy patients, it works by slowing down impulses in the brain that cause seizures. Lyrica also alters chemicals in the brain that send pain signals across the nervous system.
3. Brain Training
I do a lot of Rhyming and mind games to help me stay focused, I couldn’t imagine where my head would be without it amidst this Fibro Fog. Sometimes when I talk I will have a word stuck in my head, but it just gets stuck there, so to help I'll try and rap, just connecting words together, so my mind is staying active.
Yoga, foam rolling and trigger pointing. I use all of these techniques to help take away any aches and pains and to prevent them. One theory is that our Dopamine levels are lower than usual, which results in lower pain threshold. For most people a pain is a 4/10 and it’s just a tight hip or sore ankle, this pain is an 8/10 for us and a radiating pain, so we need to try and help these as much as we can.
Physio, chiropractic, massage, getting someone else to help manipulate your body back i to place, ease off some aches and help reset the neural system is a method I use too.
Following a diet that doesn’t consist of inflammation heavy foods can help assist in lessening the pain threshold. Sugar & sugar-free alternatives, alcohol, pre-workout & other caffeinated drinks, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbs, MSG, gluten & casein are all things that I avoid.
When cortisol levels are high, it causes stress and anxiety, it sucks and also keeps us up at night and unable to sleep.
When the anxiety kicks in I take an all-natural thing called Cort RX by ATP science, which helps the anxiety levels drop. When it comes to bedtime I take Delta Zone by BPM labs, which helps you get into a deep sleep that also increases your metabolic rate and helps you recover and burn fat whilst you sleep!
It’s taken me a while to understand this but I’ve had to put my pride aside and drop the intensity of my workouts. Balanced workouts of cardio & weights with plenty of rest in-between. Finding the time to train is always a hard one, the motivation is down and so are your energy levels, but train when you can, when you have that clear mind and burst of energy take it.
9. Seeing a doctor
Getting anyone of the symptoms checked, there are so many that you don’t know are caused by Fibro, but a lot of them are linked, like rashes, eye sight and loss of concentration.
10. Check out the podcast by ATP Science
They have so many innovating solutions and abilities to understand how the body is working on a hormonal level. Having Fibro means they are all out of whack, and understanding how they work is a great tool for managing your own health regularly.
If you have any tips, or information you would like to share, please comment on our FB page!