Category Archives: Fibromyalgia

What is a TENS Unit?

Picture taken by Nicole Leon

Picture taken by Nicole Leon

This is one of the top questions I’m asked on Instagram regarding the TENS unit I received from a Fibro Angel who made my Santa wish come true as I was unable to afford one. The TENS unit stands for Transcutaneous electrical neuromuscular stimulation which is a type of electrical pump that helps to stimulate the nerves.  It sends out pulses of electricity through the adhesive electrodes that is applied to the skin.   The stimulation helps to block out the pain signals and controls pain.  The TENS unit helps both chronic and acute pain by reducing pain in the area.

I have fibromyalgia which is a long-term illness that causes a number of problems including:

  • All over body pain
  • Aches
  • Tenderness in the tissues, tendons, muscles and joints
  • Sensitivity to changes in weather, activity levels, stress, and depression
  • Lowered ability to work out or exercise
  • Migraine/Tension headaches
  • Sleep disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Tingling and numbness in limbs
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain

Physical therapists use TENS units as a therapy option to help with controlling their patient’s pain.  The TENS unit is a handheld device that is small and portable.

TENS units are now more affordable and can be purchased online and at the local drug store. I have found that the device is helpful when my fibromyalgia pain isn’t too high. However, when my pain is too high it takes a long time for the TENS unit to ease the pain and at times can make the pain worse.  The TENS unit is a tool that may or may not work for others.  It’s a treatment option to look into and try it out to see if it works for you.

 

The Health Benefits of Laughter Therapy

laughingI have been using laughter therapy as a way of coping with all of my chronic disorders and diseases. While it has not been able to keep my mind completely off of the intense chronic pain and health problems I’m battling,  it still has in many ways relaxed my body. To laugh during such a difficult time in my life has helped me in more ways than I could ever imagine.  It would be hard for me to list them all.   I would say that it has saved my life.  I have been chronically ill with fibromyalgia for almost 15 years, depression disorders, and various other illnesses that completely ravaged my body making it impossible for me to control how my body reacts and functions.

I discovered that laughter has really helped me to keep my emotions in check to a degree and I feel a little better about myself.  Laughing has helped to keep my mind off of my fibromyalgia pain and side effects of my prescribed medications. There are times, such as now where my pain is incredibly high and I’m unable to find suitable assistance, I have found laughter therapy to still be a beneficial tool and a coping mechanism through all of the difficult battles I have dealt with over the years.  There are various well-documented medical research done on the effect of using laughter as a therapy tool.  The power of laughter is that it’s an antidote to relieving stress, problems and yes even pain.  Humor has the ability to bring much needed balance in the person’s life and lightens up their load too.

Benefits of laughter:

  • Reduces stress hormones such as endorphins, adrenaline and cortisol
  • Fights against respiratory infections and boosts the body’s immune system
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Expands the person’s views on situations reducing overwhelmed feelings
  • Improves the person’s overall mood
  • Add joy and excitement
  • Strengthens relationships with others
  • Defuses difficult situations
  • Attracts others to us and encourages unity amongst one another
  • Improves memory, alertness, and creativity
  • Increases memory and learning capabilities
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Gives the diaphragm, and abdominal region a good workout including respiratory, facial, back, and leg muscles

Ideas of where to find something funny to laugh at?

  • YouTube videos are a wonderful option as many videos are a few minutes long and can provide a much needed release.  My favorite type of videos to watch are primarily animal-based videos such as cats, dogs and wildlife getting themselves into the most interesting case of circumstances.
  • Reading online comic strips and cartoons.  Both of these can easily be found anywhere online, especially on Facebook.  I follow many online comics strips Facebook pages providing me exactly what I need each day.
  • Funny TV shows and movies are still the best options of watching something that appeals to you and will get you in the right frame of mind.
  • Search for comedians and people in general who will make you laugh. Attending a comedy club is the perfect way to get yourself in the laughing mood.
  • Do something silly and what that entails for me is making funny faces in the mirror.  Eventually I will laugh.  Sometimes it takes time for me to laugh but I will chuckle a little in due time.

 

So please keep in mind that laughter is truly the best medicine.

Fibromyalgia and Fitness

Water AerobicsAs a sufferer of Fibromyalgia for over 14 years it has been a continuous fight to stay healthy through eating the right foods and regularly exercising.  Fibromyalgia brings about intense muscle pain, deep aches, stabbing pain, and fatigue. The thought of exercise seems like a far fetched idea with all of the issues the person is suffering through but exercise helps in various ways.  Exercise through movement will keep one’s body fit, improve their mood, and finally relieve pain.  Keep in mind that high-impact cardio exercises isn’t the best approach to start with but low-impact aerobics such as swimming, stretching, water fitness aerobics, Pilates, yoga, walking or tai-chi.  These exercises help with losing weight, reducing overall stress, and releasing endorphins. 

Some of the best exercises that have worked for me are warm water aerobics, walking indoors, yoga, tai-chi, stretching, and Richard Simmons’ exercise DVDs.  I have found that the exercises have helped me to lose weight and bring on a sense of pure relaxation. I enjoy the feelings of relaxation and while I experience a brief reduction of pain that unfortunately comes back, I feel it is well worth the effort. 

Several things to consider:

·         Consult with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program

·         Don’t do any intense workout activities as it can increase soreness

·         Stretch before and after each time you exercise

·         Choose exercise activities you can handle and understand your limitations

·         Start out your exercise in slow increments and then build up the pace slowly

 

water-aerobicsrezAll of these exercises are the perfect options to start out with and get your body in shape.  These exercises assist with relieving stress, improves mood and depression, improving sleep, reducing pain, and bringing forth much needed relaxation. 

 

Natural Diets for Fibromyalgia Published on Mar 23 2010 – Livestrong.com

ahmet gulerFibromyalgia is a condition that is characterized by having widespread pain in muscles, ligaments and tendons. Women are more likely to suffer from symptoms due to fibromyalgia, and approximately two to four percent of the U.S. population is reported to have the chronic disease. Fibromyalgia specialists believe that some causes include genetics, infections and even some illnesses. Trauma, either physical or emotional, may also contribute to this condition. Studies show a correlation between post-traumatic stress and fibromyalgia. If you or a loved one has fibromyalgia, it is important to make healthy life choices, and one of the ways to do that is through eating a natural diet. A diet may help ease the symptoms of the disease and allow you to live a productive life with less pain.

The Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten has been linked to inflammation, headaches, fatigue and body pain that many people with fibromyalgia experience. The gluten-free diet advocates avoiding foods that contain gluten, including wheat, pasta, bread, some cereals, cookies, cake, pie, salad dressing, licorice, lunch meat, imitation meat, caffeine and alcohol. The diet allows you to eat gluten-free food such as popcorn, peanut butter, jelly, corn, rice, beans and soybeans. Dairy products such as milk and eggs are also acceptable.

Raw Food Diet

This diet primarily consists of eating raw, or unprocessed, foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, organic foods, grains and nuts. Foods to avoid on this diet include alcohol, potatoes, tomatoes, caffeine, dairy, eggs and all meat. Uncooked foods are loaded with enzymes that help the body’s digestive process. These foods also contain essential vitamins that the body needs to stay healthy. Eating fresh veggies and fruits loaded with magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D, omega-3’s and antioxidants help ease the pain.

Vitamins

Magnesium inhibits nerve receptors, which have been linked to fibromyalgia pain. Spinach is a great source of magnesium because of the chlorophyll in it. Beans, seeds and whole grains are also good sources of magnesium. Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle pain and weakness. It is recommended to take 1,000 to 2,000 units of vitamin D per day. Mushrooms have a high amount of vitamin D….

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/87289-natural-diets-fibromyalgia/#ixzz2OdmM89ES

Published: Best 3 Exercises for Fibromyalgia

Dealing with Fibromyalgia on a daily basis is a trial that many have to deal and battle with in their life. Fibromyalgia is a chronic paindisorder that causes pain all throughout the body such as themuscles, and joints. The pain is intense especially when pressure is applied to these pressure points also known as tender points. These tender points are at the shoulders, back of the neck, hands, knees, around the neck, and the hip joints.  Research has found that the illness may be hereditary being passed down the family line and more women than men have the disorder.  Treating Fibromyalgia by providing relief of the pain and other symptoms of the illness is a tricky task but it can be done.  Exercising with Fibromyalgia takes time and effort to gain relief from the pain, along with improving sleep, and alleviating other symptoms of the disorder.  Weight loss may help with reducing additional pain in the body such as pain in the legs, cardiovascular functioning, Lack of exercise and conditioning of the body brings on symptoms of increased sensitivity to pain, along with osteoporosis,  degenerative disc disease (DDD), rheumatoid arthritis(RA), lower back pain, weakened muscles in the back, lumbar, pelvis area, and thighs.   Patients who suffer with Fibromyalgia need to exercise a minimum of two times a week for a minimum of 25 minutes each time of exercise. Doing this may help to reduce symptoms of the illness.  If you’re just starting out with exercising it is best to start out slow by picking out a low to moderate intensity of exercise such as walking in the mall, water aerobics, swimming, yoga, tai chi, etc.  As time goes by then increase the amount of time and intensity when you feel ready to do that type of move.

1. Try warm water aerobics in the pool which is the perfect environment to relieve pain and stiffness in the body.  The Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program is a program that allows patients to exercise gently in the warm water which in turns helps to build up their strength and ability to be more flexible.  Many patients who participate in this exercise activity will find their pain will have decreased and lessened stiffness.

2.  Expand your mind and body with Yoga.  Yoga allows the person to train their mind, body and spirit This type of exercise fits within the alternative and complementary medicine. There are many different types of physical yoga or also known as Hatha (poses). The different types of yoga are such as Bikram which focuses on stamina and purification using heated rooms that are over 100 degrees, or Vinyasa/power yoga which helps to increase stamina, strength and flexibility.

3. Look into applying the mind-body practices Tai Chi and Qigong into your fitness schedule. Both of these practices originated in ancient China.  Anyone of any age and health condition can do these of type of movements.   Tai Chi  which is an exercise focused on easy movement mobility, breathing and improving relaxation.  Tai Chi is a low impact type of aerobics with the focus on reducing pain, and stiffness.  With Tai Chi there are 12 movements with half are basic and the other half are advanced movements. Qigong reduces stress, improves the immune system, lowers blood pressure, improves overall stamina, cardiovascular, and digestive function.

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