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Posts Tagged ‘Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain’

Ease Fibromyalgia Chronic Pain with Music- Really!

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012



According to a recent study, listening to music can ease pain, which is great news for fibromyalgia (chronic pain) patients. Many pain clinics already utilize the beneficial effects of music, finding that soothing melodies reduce anxiety and enhance pain relief treatments.


Music therapy for chronic pain?

It’s not the first time researchers have investigated the painkilling powers of music, but this recent study on music engagement confirms what many practitioners of chronic pain management already know-

-that listening to music puts you in a state of relaxation that enables you to cope with…and minimize pain symptoms.  For sufferers of fibromyalgia, this could be a useful strategy for incorporating natural pain treatments with prescribed analgesic medications.

Boost Energy and Beat Fatigue All Day Long- 8 Sure-Fire Tips

What pain specialists found:

  • In this University of Utah study on pain management, 153 volunteers elected to receive painful electric shocks in varying levels of intensity while listening to background music.
  • In addition to listening to music, participants performed cognitive tasks that actively engaged them, such as following musical notes and focusing on the melody.
  • Scientists noted that volunteers who became engrossed with the music-listening tasks exhibited the fewest pain responses.
  • Researchers noted a correlation between personality and pain relief through music engagement.  The most significant results occurred with people who experience anxiety. People who suffer panic, nervousness, or stress often find relief in occupying themselves with some sort of activity; in this case, music provided certain anxiety-prone individuals an opportunity to escape from pain symptoms.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia- Is there a Difference?

    How can music help fibromyalgia patients?

    On a much grander scale, fibromyalgia patients may implement these findings in their own lives; if listening to music helps relieve small shocks of pain, what strategies may be employed to relieve more severe pain symptoms, like aching joints, sore muscles, or gastrointestinal ailments?

    • Boost pain medicine! During fibromyalgia flare-ups, listening to music on your iPod may improve your mood and ease anxiety, increasing the effectiveness of your pain medicine.
    • Meditate! If you’re stuck in bed rest, or at the hospital, try turning off the television and turning on a radio.  Close your eyes and picture the music in your mind (Think Fantasia).  By actively engaging your brain with the music, you are also incrementally distracting yourself from the pain.
    • Sleep better! If pain symptoms keep you awake at night, listen to the sounds of relaxing mood music on your MP3 device. Many iTunes and Android apps provide the Relaxing Sounds of Nature, to help you go to Sleep!

    B12 Deficiency: Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

    Alternative treatments for chronic pain

    Here are some more helpful tips to help you manage pain symptoms without the need for painkillers:

    • Take your B12! Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked with a host of severe pain symptoms, including painful tingling in your hands and feet, painful numbness, burning mouth or tongue, stomach pains, joint achiness, and sore muscles.  Also, B12 deficiency increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and severe nerve damage.
    • Incorporate exercise! Here’s a great tip- listen to music while doing some gentle exercise routines, like light yoga, Tai Chi, or low-impact aerobics.
    • Go under the needle! No, not B12 shots- acupuncture is proven effective at relieving numerous ailments, including fibromyalgia, chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, and chronic fatigue.

    Learn more about fibromyalgia and vitamin B12 deficiency:

    Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

    Back Pain Exercises and Fibromyalgia- the Do’s and Don’ts


    Individual differences in the effects of music engagement on responses to painful stimulation- PubMed, NCBI

    Really? The Claim: Listening to Music Can Relieve Pain- NY Times

    Study: Music Can Ease Pain

    Image credits, from top:


    Battle Fibromyalgia Stigma and Win: 6 Tips for “ER Junkies”

    Friday, August 12th, 2011



    Here are some helpful tips for fibromyalgia patients who are tired of physician practice doctors, pharmacists, and urgent care nurses treating them like junkies. Urgent Care Pain Management Treatment:


    The doctor’s out, but the pain is in.  Now what?

    Nothing’s worse than suffering from severe pain symptoms, and not having anywhere to turn.

    Such is a common dilemma for patients of chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia.  Life happens- prescriptions get lost, doctors go on vacation, and mysterious ailments appear out of nowhere.

    When you have to go to the emergency room for an “invisible illness,” how can you convince doctors that you’re not just a narcotics junkie looking for the next high?


    6 tips for getting taken seriously by ER

    1- Find a good pain doctor, and stick with him.

    Develop a doctor-patient relationship with a physician who specializes in chronic pain; he’ll be much more equipped to size up your situation and prescribe treatment.  Plus, you’ll have “proof” of your chronic pain diagnosis to show to ER, should you require their services.


    2- Contact your pain doctor.

    If you’re instructed to go to ER, as many physicians will recommend when they cannot be reached, explain your situation to the ER nurse; that you tried to see your chronic pain specialist, that he was unavailable, and that you were referred to ER.

    3- Bring a doctor’s note.

    It’s a good idea to carry a report from your doctor on your person or in your car, complete with diagnosis and updated treatment information.  It will save you from having to explain yourself every time you encounter resistance from pharmacists and ER doctors, in addition to clearing suspicion.

    4- Show them your stash.

    Keep a supply of pain pill bottles or past prescriptions on hand, and bring them with you to ER; it provides concrete proof of your medical treatment history, and it’s easier than having to rely on your own memory.

    5- Keep your cool.

    Easier said than done, of course.  Narcotics have high street value, and ER doctors are trained to red flag any potential “drug seekers.”  Cooperate with the ER staff, avoid losing your temper, and don’t start things off by demanding narcotics pain relievers.

    6- Go through the motions.

    Hopefully, your ER doctor will do a few tests to ascertain your pain level before making his diagnosis.  He should look at your medical records, do a prompt physical, ask you to rate your pain from 1 to 10, and ask you some pertinent questions.   He might also check your heart rate and breathing, to verify your claims.


    Related reading:

    40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

    Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

    Back Pain Exercises and Fibromyalgia- the Do’s and Don’ts

    Best Clothes for Fibromyalgia Pain- 6 Helpful Dressing Tips


    How do you tell a junkie from a person who’s in pain?

    Visiting the ER for Chronic Pain

    Musings of a Dinosaur: Drug Seeking in Primary Care

    Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Charles Williams

    Chronically Fatigued? Fake yourself Awake in 7 Steps

    Friday, July 8th, 2011



    Some mornings, you wake up feeling wired, achy, and sleep deprived, especially if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia. Here are some beauty tips to give you wide-awake eyes before that first cup of coffee…


    CFS and fibromyalgia can make you feel lethargic and achy all day…sometimes, chronic pain wakes you up even before your alarm clock.

    On those days, it helps to make yourself look refreshed and well rested on the outside, even if your body is telling you to crawl back under the covers.  A few simple beauty techniques are all it takes to revive tired eyes, even your skin tone, and get your sparkle on!  Who knows- you might even feel more roused and ready by the time you’re finished!


    Suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue? B12 to the Rescue!

    Try these 7 makeup tricks and treatments, and you’ll be on your toes and out the door in a flash:

    #1- Chill out. According to the Mayo Clinic, nothing revives tired eyes as well as a cold compress.  As soon as you get out of bed, splash some icy cold water on your face.  Next, take a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer; wrap it in a small towel and press gently, alternating between eyes.  On the go?  Keep a package of Spenco 2nd Skin Moist Burn Pads handy for a quick fresher-upper.


    #2- Get your caffeine fix. Only not from coffee or energy drinks, which will just make you crash and burn later.  Caffeine is a natural diuretic, so it’s only natural that some of the best under-eye treatments use caffeine to combat puffy, watery eyes.  Some good ones to try are Murad Moisture Silk Eye Gel ($49.00), or First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller ($24.00).

    #3- Now add milk. The lactic acid in milk brightens your complexion by reducing under eye puffiness and lightening dark circles.  Pour yourself a cup of milk on ice.  Now, grab a face cloth, dip it into the milk, and wring it out gently.  Apply the icy “milk bath” to your face.  Repeat.


    #4- Ditch the mask. Instead of applying a thick layer of foundation, opt for a light tinted moisturizer.  There’s no need to rush out to the makeup counter; save a few pennies by making your own custom makeup cream!  Just mix a few dabs of liquid foundation with an equal amount of SPF 30+ face cream.  The sunblock will protect you from getting dark spots, and the lotion will alleviate dry flaky skin.


    100 Best Sites for Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Information

    #5- Lighten up. A few strategically placed dabs of shimmery highlighter on the lids will give you that wide-eyed look you’re after.  Just remember to keep it minimal- too much shine can magnify fine lines, rather than hide them.  When choosing blush, pick out a natural peachy shade, and avoid dark contrasting color, which can give a haggard, tired look.


    #6- Do some curls and stretches. If nothing else, take care of your lashes.  Long, bouncy eyelashes are the best way to sharpen your look and give you a youthful, fresh appearance.  First, curl with an eyelash curler, keeping it as close to the lash line as possible, and holding for 10-15 seconds.  Repeat.  Follow up with a brownish-black shade of waterproof mascara to the upper lashes only.

    #7- Get the grease out. Too exhausted to think about shampooing your hair?  Oily, flat hair tells the world that you’re tired, and makes you feel tired, to boot.  Go to Walgreens and pick up a can of Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo ($4.99) – it contains oil-absorbing powder to draw out grimy dirt and perspiration, and leave your hair smelling fresh.  Alternatively, you can visit Drugstore.com to order a bottle of Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Non-Aerosol Spray ($18.00).  Dry shampoo is also an excellent hair-cleansing treatment for bedridden patients.

    Also read:

    Staying Fit with Fibromyalgia: 13 Pain-Free Workouts

    7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It


    Dark circles under eyes: When to see a doctor – MayoClinic.com

    5 Steps to Wide-Awake Eyes

    Six Easy Ways to Look Younger, Less Tired and More Vibrant!

    10 Ways to Fake 8 Hours of Sleep

    Milk Nutrients and Health Benefits

    Staying Fit with Fibromyalgia: 13 Pain-Free Workouts

    Tuesday, July 5th, 2011



    Fibromyalgia patients report feeling fewer and milder fibromyalgia chronic pain symptoms with routine gentle workouts.


    Fibromyalgia, or Fibromyositis (FMS), is a debilitating condition in which sufferers often feel excruciating pain for little or no apparent reason.

    Other symptoms might include depression, insomnia, and  chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) or chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).

    If you suffer from long-term chronic pain in your muscles, joints, or other areas of your body, yet are unable to isolate any injury whatsoever, then you should visit your doctor and ask for a fibromyalgia screening.  Although scientists are still at a loss to explain the causes of fibromyalgia, they have found some effective fibromyalgia treatments to help you cope with the symptoms, including some fibromyalgia approved fitness exercises.

    Suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue? B12 to the Rescue!

    Which workout is right for you?

    Finding the right workout routine with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue can be intimidating.

    On the one hand, even the slightest amount of physical activity leaves you feeling worn out, exhausted, achy, and ill.  This phenomenon, “Post-exertional malaise,” often deters fibro sufferers from staying active.  However, you can eventually build up your tolerance to post-workout fatigue and slowly raise your endurance level to many kinds of aerobic exercises and strength training.

    Many fibromyalgia patients who successfully get past that first “hurdle” report feeling fewer and milder fibromyalgia pain symptoms.

    7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

    Below are some light exercises that you can practice 3-5 days per week.  As with any new fitness program, consult your doctor first.

    1- Bike Riding: Bicycle riding is a fun exercise that can be adapted to suit many levels.  Start out small- avoid hilly areas, choose a short-term goal, such as circling the block once, and pace yourself.

    2- Stationary Bike: If you belong to a gym, sign up for a beginners spinning class.  There are also many virtual spinning classes, both on YouTube and DVD, which can provide a great home workout.

    3- Walking: Walking is a great low-impact sport for pain sufferers.  Invest in a good pair of walking shoes, pick a comfortable route, and grab a friend!  People who walk in pairs are more likely to stick to their routine, and find it easier to complete their workout.  If weather permits, take a nice nature walk or stroll in the sunshine, but if it doesn’t, you can still hit the indoor mall before the morning rush for a bit of brisk “window shopping.”

    4- Jogging: Light jogging is like running, only more controlled and less strenuous.  If you want to increase your energy without compromising your leg muscles, then try alternating five minutes of jogging with five minutes of brisk walking, and work up to fifteen-minute sessions of each.  Choose soft, grassy, or sandy paths, if possible, and try to avoid jogging on hard surfaces, which can cause knee injuries.

    Can a Gluten-Free Diet Ease Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

    5- Treadmill: Walking on the treadmill is a great indoor alternative to stationary biking, and an excellent way to get the heart pumping.  As with jogging, be on the alert for any sign of swelling, which could indicate knee injury.

    6- Swimming: Swimming is one the best, non-injurious cardiovascular workouts for people who suffer from chronic pain, particularly arthritis.  Individuals who have difficulty with most types of physical activity often have an easier time incorporating water aerobics or lap swimming into their daily workout.

    7- Golfing: Golfing is an enjoyable sport, but it can be strenuous on the lower back muscles.  Get your doctor’s okay before heading out for the golf course.  Avoid the urge to join the caddy, and walk your way around the greens for a low-impact aerobic workout.

    8- Physical Therapy: A certified physical therapist can teach you how to relieve some of your pain symptoms, enabling you to stick to your daily workout.

    9- Yoga: Yoga combines therapeutic deep breathing with gentle stretching of your various muscles, for a relaxing, healing bodily workout.  Many fibromyalgia patients have reaped the benefits of yoga in alleviating their chronic pain symptoms.

    10- Pilates: Pilates focuses on developing core muscular strength and flexibility, as opposed to merely stretching the muscles.  Developed by Joseph Pilates, Pilates is a beneficial exercise for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

    Do not attempt to practice Pilates on your own; a trained Pilates instructor is crucial, in order to avoid injury.

    Staying Fit with Fibromyalgia: 13 Pain-Free Workouts

    11- Stretching: Stretching exercises are a mandatory pre-workout activity, even if you don’t suffer from chronic pain.  Stretching warms up your muscles and increases flexibility, preventing torn muscles, sprains, and other sports injuries.

    12- Tai Chi: Similar to yoga, Tai Chi also incorporates controlled movements, deep breathing, and meditation.  A growing number of fibromyalgia patients have found relief through these gentle martial arts.

    Why More Fibromyalgia Patients are Taking Tai Chi

    13- Movement Therapy: Also known as dance therapy, movement therapy uses music and gently choreographed dance movements to relieve anxiety, chronic pain, depression and stress.

    Related reading:

    15 Handy Household Tools for Chronic Pain Sufferers

    100 Best Sites for Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Information

    How to Tell if Chronic Pain is Fibromyalgia: 18 Pressure Points



    Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Alternative Therapies: Dance Therapy

    Strenuous Exercise & Fibromyalgia

    Fibromyalgia Treatment – Exercise as a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Treatment

    Post-Exertional Malaise

    Aerobic exercise in fibromyalgia: a practical review

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