After having this illness for 16 years, one is likely to become quite resourceful when it comes to finding an ounce of relief from the pain. Between my husband and I, some helpful nurse co-workers, and a WHOLE LOT of trial & error, these are what I have found to be my MUST HAVE items. They travel well too!
1) A Contour Pillow:
Any brand of this is fine. Its more about the shape than the brand or quality, as I don’t recommend sleeping on this pillow. I use it stacked on top of my regular memory foam pillow (this one) to watch TV in bed, despite the fact I know its not good to have a TV in the bedroom, blah blah blah. Ha ha! I have a long neck, so this keeps me from collapsing it while laying down, leaving space in my spine. I am a side sleeper, so it gets tossed onto the floor when its time for me to actually sleep. (Travel tip: if you fold this in half it can fit into one of these Ziploc Travel Compressible Travel Roll Bags.) This pillow is extremely important to use with my next recommended item.
2) A Large Flexible Heating Pad:
My favorite is the Sunbeam Contoured Heating Pad with Digital LCD Controller. Its flexible, large, and powerful. I like to throw an old pillow case over it that I can remove and wash when I need to. Every night, I place it over my contour pillow and lay back to where its pressed right up against my neck and upper spine. Sometimes I’ll do that for about 20 mins, then drag it down to my lower back. When I was having ankle pain, I used my yoga strap (or you could use a belt) to wrap it around my calf and foot for some relief from the throbbing.
Its great because it has different levels of heat, is flexible, and has an automatic shutoff so when Fibro Fog kicks in, I don’t burn the house down. (OK, that was dramatic, but it IS an energy saver.) I have to admit, I’ve had to wrestle one of my kitties for it more than a time or two!
You can buy it HERE for about $35. Mine lasted 3 years, so it was well worth it. (To be honest, the only reason it died was because I forgot to use a converter when we were in France… and yes… I blew it up. It made for a good laugh, but I was bummed the rest of the trip!)
3) Pain Relieving Patches
Tiger Balm Pain Relieving Patches are a very old idea, but re-done in a modern and improved way. I don’t like regular Tiger Balm because its messy. I can battle my pain during the day, but at night in bed is when it becomes quite a bit more challenging. Tiger balm ointment will end up all in my sheets, all over my pillow, and knowing my luck… in my eyes! So these are great because they are a piece of cloth with a sticky side that has the ointment already on it.
They are large, so I like to cut them to the size I need, then stick the rest back into the great RE-SEALABLE package. I put them on my neck, etc at night, and they are still there in the morning. They also are great for traveling. They take up no room at all, but can provide relief during long road trips and flights.
I buy them on Amazon Subscribe & Save and get a great deal on a ton of them. Important note: Don’t use them WITH the heating pad. They’ll get super hot and irritate the skin majorly… trust me! You can find them HERE.
This is a God Send. For us Fibros, we have “spots” that hurt incessantly. Some people aren’t as lucky as I am to have an amazing massage therapist in a husband. (OK, he’s not really a massage therapist, but he’s just as good as one!) This Thera Cane is something you can do for yourself and get out major knots with minimal effort. Sometimes I even lay on my pillows in bed, and wedge this under my shoulder blade. I immediately get the “Ahhhhh” feeling.
You can buy it HERE, and also see pictures of actual people using it to get a better idea of how it works.
5) A Professional Massager, key word: PROFESSIONAL
Last, and certainly not least (especially when it comes to the price tag), its the Thumper Mini Pro 2 Massager. This is not your ordinary massager you buy at the drugstore, department store, or even Brookstone. This was introduced to me by my husband’s Chiropractor, who used to work at a pain clinic. He knew about our illness before Lyrica commercials were airing on TV, and way before doctors were labeling every mystery illness as Fibromyalgia. As the Thumper web site says, “It delivers a full strength percussive massage that penetrates deep through all fascial layers. It’s ideal for warming up muscles, increasing blood flow to the area being treated and releasing muscle tension.” Yes, to all of that, but really… it feels so good!
As I mentioned, this one is more of an investment. You can find a great deal HERE on, you guessed it, Amazon!
Amazon Subscribe & Save and Amazon Prime are a Fibro’s best friend. There are things we need, but when we are having a flare up, we may not know when we’ll be able to get to the store, or how many stores we’ll be able to handle. Sometimes, by the time we are able to go to the store, we’ve forgotten what we need! Maybe that isn’t exclusive to Fibros, but you get what I mean. (Plus, if you are like me, you love a good deal, and amazon is full of them!)
Well, I hope this helps to give you or your loved one some ideas to try. Whether you are newly diagnosed, or a seasoned sufferer like me, each one of these things has a place in your Fibro Treatment. Its important that we learn to cope with the pain as best as we can, on our own. Doctors are limited in what they can prescribe to us in both medications, as well as therapies. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to know about them! Write them in the comments area, and let’s keep the Fellow-Fibro-Support going!