100 Tips for Coping with Fibromyalgia & Insomnia

My name is Dominie Soo Bush. I suffered with fibromyalgia, insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome for many years before finding some things that helped me. I am glad to share my tips and thoughts with you!

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Please Read This Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. The purpose of this site is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought. What you read on this site is based on my own history and ideas. This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information presented in this website.

See Table of Contents for a quick list of my 100 tips

It is estimated that 7 to 10 million Americans--mostly female--suffer from FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome). The median age of onset is 29 to 37 years. It can begin spontaneously or after an injury, particularly when associated with serious emotional stress. Fibromyalgia is characterized by a consistent pattern of non-restorative sleep or insomnia, widespread body pain and stiffness, chronic fatigue and varying degrees of anxiety and depression. Other symptoms may include difficulty concentrating ("fibro fog"), slurred speech, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), light sensitivity, PMS, tension and migraine headaches, environmental sensitivities, TMJ, tinnitus, irritability and mood swings. FMS symptoms are aggravated by stress. Most sufferers even experience pain while resting, and the pain is most noticeable when they have used their muscles for repetitive activity. The pain can be so severe that they can no longer work or do ordinary tasks. Pain killers have little effect.

1. REDUCE STRESS -- If you are working full-time, switch to part-time or quit altogether, if possible. Get out of the "rat race!" Most fibromyalgia sufferers are high-achieving, high-energy people. We are "doers" who sometimes do too much! Don't overload yourself with time commitments that will cause you stress later. Learn to say "NO" and allow yourself to relax. Take time to smell the roses!

2. GET PLENTY OF SUNLIGHT (or daylight) -- If you work indoors, go outside for breaks. If you are at home during the day, open the curtains and turn on the lights. It's worth a few cents of electricity to create a cheerful environment and feel less depressed and achy. If you live in a cold, dark climate, you may want to visit a tanning salon occasionally for the concentrated light and warmth, but don't overdo it-- you don't want to get skin cancer.  Full spectrum lighting can also be helpful if you are prone to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder)--biochemical depression caused by insufficient light on dark, gloomy days.

3. COMPUTERS -- The flickering light of my computer screen used to bring on a rapid worsening of my fibromyalgia! I have bright lighting in the room to offset this effect. Perhaps certain spectrums of light are harmful to people who are more light sensitive than others. Full spectrum lighting could be a good investment--at least for the computer room.  Research is being done on the effect of light on the pineal gland--the gland which produces melatonin necessary for sleep. Flickering light has been proven to cause changes in the EEG patterns in the brain. Researchers are experimenting with flickering light therapy to help fibromyalgia patients by restructuring EEG patterns! Most patients report a relief of pain after a series of these carefully conducted sessions.

4. SLEEP -- Overcoming insomnia greatly improves fibromyalgia symptoms. (People who volunteered for sleep deprivation experiments actually developed similar symptoms!) You can try either melatonin or 5-HTP for restorative sleep at night with no "hangover" the next day. I used to take antidepressants for sleep, but they made me feel terrible!! Melatonin worked well for me for 5 years, until I reached menopause. Then my sleep disorder returned and I was miserable for over a year before finding a unique immune product that has helped rebalance my immune system. If you try natural products, get them from a good source and remember that they are simply nutritional support for sleep--not knock out pills. They may take a few days to start working. Even on nights when I don't sleep as long as I want to, I feel surprisingly refreshed the next day. I am evidently getting enough restorative sleep. Prior to finding nutritional helps, one night of "bad sleep" almost always led to more nights of the same. It was very frustrating! This was perhaps due to serotonin depletion in the brain. (Serotonin is a neurochemical that regulates moods and depression. It is related to melatonin, produced by the pineal gland. Melatonin is needed for sleep, and it regulates the level of serotonin.) With the right nutritional (or mild pharmaceutical) products, I get deeper sleep, resulting in more energy and a feeling of well-being the next day. I'm not fatigued or depressed anymore. Restorative sleep strengthens and repairs the immune system! After 30+ years of vicious insomnia, it sure feels good to get restorative sleep!

5. MENTAL RELAXATION -- Let your mind unwind in the evening. Listen to soft, soothing music. Avoid mentally stimulating activities such as intense conversations, balancing the checkbook, doing serious study or getting yourself into a "hurrying" mode for any reason. Do calming things like ironing (leisurely) or enjoy some light reading (not mystery thrillers or highly technical material). The brain has an arousal mechanism that once you get it going, it's hard to slow it down! You don't want to get into this state before trying to fall asleep. Some people can stay extremely active and animated until the very minute they fall asleep; however, people with FMS are generally not able to do this.

6. REST -- If possible, take 10-30 minutes after lunch to lie down and rest. You don't have to sleep--just slow your mind down and think peaceful thoughts. At one of my jobs, I used to lock my office door, turn off the lights and lie down on the floor for 10 minutes. It was the only way I could make it through the day because of fatigue. If you can't lie down, put your head down on your desk or go to a quiet place and just close your eyes and breathe deeply. You can also go outside and sit in your car if the weather permits. Close your eyes and block out the world for awhile. Some fibromyalgia sufferers have to lie down and rest for a short time every couple of hours to get through the day. Our society is so pressurized and achievement-oriented that "napping"--or even resting--is looked down upon. The truth is that many famous, high-achieving people (who don't even have fibromyalgia) take naps every day to restore their mental faculties!

7. COLD -- A cold gel pack (available at any drug store & used to treat injuries) stored in the refrigerator or freezer can be applied to the back of the neck when you're lying down. This has a way of slowing down one's thoughts and bringing on a quieter mood. A chiropractor gave me this idea, which helps me in going to sleep at night. (NOTE: If you keep your gel pack in the freezer, use a cloth over it to avoid damaging delicate skin or blood vessels with intense cold.)

8. HEAT -- Sometimes a warm or hot bath can relieve the stiffness and soreness of fibromyalgia for awhile, perhaps by increasing circulation to muscle tissue. Sometimes a heat pack feels good on a cold day and is very relaxing. Or, try a hot bath followed by a cold gel pack on the back of the neck and some soft music when you retire. (For some sufferers, however, extremes of heat and cold worsen symptoms.)

9. IMMUNE SYSTEM -- Some researchers believe that the ROOT of the fibromyalgia problem lies in our own immune systems! One of my newsletter readers sent me shocking information about the role of mycoplasmas (mutated viruses and bacteria) and biological warfare as a possible cause of the present worldwide epidemic of fibromyalgia! This intrigued me, because I hear from people all over the world with FMS/CFIDS. I have known for a long time that FMS/CFIDS is not just a disease here in America, caused by western diet, etc. If the mycoplasma theory is true, then helping the immune system is vital for FMS/CFIDS relief. So many of today's strange ailments that doctors can't help are directly related to immune function. To find out if the problem you are dealing with is immune-related, go to a search engine like Google, type in your ailment and the word "immune" and see what articles come up. You might be surprised to learn how many are related to a malfunctioning immune system - even depression! I have used an innovative immune product for over 8 years that has helped me greatly. Please email if you would like more information. Also, if you suspect that environmental toxins, viruses or bacteria could be contributing to your fatigue, pain, or other symptoms of fibromyalgia, you may want to try a cleanse and detox product.

10. EXERCISE -- Try not to be completely sedentary. Your cells detoxify better when you are physically active. Walk and stretch a little, but not to the point of worsening the pain. One exercise that a physical therapist taught me helped my shoulder and arm pain: Lie face down on the bed with your shoulders and arms hanging over the edge, then slowly and gently raise your arms to a V-position (sort of like Superman flying) while keeping your head level, not bent down. This helps stretch muscles in the upper back as well as the arms and shoulders. Some FMS patients have also benefitted from warm-water aerobics. A wonderful thing for many people who take either OPC's or other products I found, is that when their FMS pain diminishes, they can go back to normal activities. I even have played some tennis again, which is amazing for someone who lived for so many years as a semi-invalid!

To read more of my 100 tips, click on these links:

Tips #1-10 - Reduce Stress, Get Plenty of Sunlight, Computers, Sleep, Mental Relaxation, Rest, Cold, Heat, Immune System, Exercise

Tips #11-20 - Massage, Excitotoxins, Mattress, Anti-oxidants, Soft Drinks, Doctors, Depression, Nightshade Vegetables, Repetitive Activity, Magnesium

Tips #21-30 - Noise, Calming Herbs, Yeast, Vitamin E, Fasting, Dark/Light, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Pain Relieving Gels, Brain, Parasites

Tips #31-40 - "Be Happy," Smoking, Junk Food, Nutritional Supplements, Research, Raw Foods, CO-Q-10, Low-Fat, Anti-inflammatories, Pillows

Tips #41-50 - Sleep Meds, Milk, Chiropractic, Sunglasses, Coral Calcium Water, Posture, Tension Myositis Syndrome, Epsom Salts, 5-HTP, Malabsorption

Tips #51-60 - Progesterone Cream, Neck Injuries, Hormone Instability, Carbohydrates, Prayer, Aspartame (Nutrasweet) and MSG, Guaifenesin, Ions, Colds and Viruses, Sleep Anxiety

Tips #61-70 - Magnets, Fructose (Sugar) Intolerance, MSM, Electromagnetic Fields, "Leaky Gut" (Intestinal Permeability), Migraines, Cytomegalo Virus, Books, Overactive Bladder, Shoes

Tips #71-80 - Methylcobalamin, Mercury Poisoning, Soy and Food Allergies, Thyroid, Marital Stress, Lyme Disease, Breathing, Ativan, Soluble Fiber, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS)

Tips #81-90 Type A Personality, B-Complex, Brain Surgery, Red Blood Cells, Iron, Substance P, Gluten Intolerance, Racing Thoughts, DHEA, Mycoplasmas

Tips #91-100 - Relaxin, Warm Water Exercise, Essential Oils, Blood Volume, Acidosis, Oxidative Damage, Hyperbaric Oxygen, Bedding, Histamine Intolerance, Blood Thickness

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100 Tips for Coping with Fibromyalgia & Insomnia

  My Fibromyalgia Story

  My Chronic Fatigue Story

  My Insomnia Story

  What I Use

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II Corinthians 1: 4 - "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."  Visit Dominie's FMS/CFIDS Homepage at www.fms-help.com for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers and their families.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor. I am a fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue syndrome survivor. The purpose of this website is not to diagnose or cure any disease or malady, but is presented as food for thought.  This information cannot take the place of professional medical advice. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician. No guarantees are made regarding any of the information in this website.

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