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When you live with a chronic pain condition such as fibromyalgia, it often requires quite a bit of trial and error to find a combination of medications, products, treatments and coping techniques that helps you manage your symptoms and find some amount of relief. Though there seems to be no shortage of products and lifestyle changes out there that promise to help relieve pain, it can be difficult to find things you haven’t tried that actually make a difference in your pain levels.
That’s why we turned to those who know best, and asked our Mighty fibromyalgia community to share the most surprising things they’ve tried that have helped with their fibro pain. Of course, everyone is unique and affected differently by fibro, so what works for one person may not work for another. But if you’re looking for some new products or techniques to try, hopefully the following suggestions will give you a few ideas!
Here’s what our fibro community recommends:
1. Pregnancy Pillow
You don’t have to be pregnant to reap the benefits of a pregnancy pillow. The size and shape can provide extra comfort and support so you’re able to find a sleeping position that’s not painful and get some rest.
“Pregnancy pillow,” wrote Meena Naik. “It helps with my body pain so much!”
“Weighted blanket and pregnancy pillow!” added Deanna Scalf.
2. CBD Products
While medical marijuana is still illegal in many states and countries, there are many products available now that contain CBD, the compound in cannabis that can help relieve pain (CBD products may or may not contain THC, the compound that makes you feel “high”). Many of those with chronic pain say that CBD has helped with their symptoms, but CBD does not work for everyone, and it’s up to you to check with your doctor about any side effects or interactions to be aware of. Although you’re unlikely to face legal issues from purchasing CBD products like the ones listed below, it’s still wise to be aware of the cannabis laws in your state or country before purchasing.
“I make THC-infused pain relief lotion,” said Deanna Brooks. “Works wonders!”
3. Heated Mattress Pad
A heated mattress pad keeps your entire bed warm and comfortable, no matter the season, and the heat can help you relax and relieve pain so you can get some sleep at night.
“Using an electric heated mattress pad on my bed. It feels like one big heating pad. They have controls for both sides of the bed with head and feet, on or off options. It helps with the achy pains at night time,” Jenny Williams Sarver said.
4. Video Games
“Video gaming as a distraction works for me,” said Amanda Gulliver.
Michelle Oja added, “Video games. My mind focuses in a different way than other tasks, and I forget about the pain for a little while.”
5. Infrared Heat
The heat emitted from infrared heat lamps is designed to improve the blood flow and circulation of the target area, and some studies have shown it can help relieve pain and encourage muscles and damaged tissue to heal. Be sure to talk to your doctor before using to ensure infrared heat is safe for you.
“Far Infrared treatment,” recommended Jacqueline Sefton. “Felt the warmth working through my joints and limbs and carried on working after a 15-minute session! Also find acupuncture helps briefly.”
6. Magnesium Oil Spray
Magnesium oil spray delivers 100 percent absorbable elemental magnesium directly to your cells. Some have found that it helps relieve pain, including sore muscles, leg cramps, headaches, migraines and various bodily aches. Be sure to talk to your doctor before using to make sure it’s safe for you, based on your health, medications and course of treatment.
“Magnesium oil spray!” suggested Caitlin Griffiths. “Helps so much with aching muscles and joints.”
Some may find that engaging in sex or masturbation to achieve orgasm can serve as a distraction from their pain and symptoms, and the pleasurable feelings produced may somewhat “override” other painful sensations. Check out the stories below for chronic illness– and disability-friendly sex positions and sex toys.
“This is going to sound strange but… orgasm,” Paige Whitney said. “Though, when you think about it, you are focused on the act of getting yourself off instead of your pain. Then, once you orgasm, you are in a blissful state. It’s strange, but works.”
8. Tennis Balls
If your muscles are aching and in need of some massaging, some type of ball (such as a tennis ball) may be a helpful tool. You could roll it back and forth where you’re tense or use it to put pressure on trigger points.
“Various sized balls and a rock to help release the muscle knots I get deep in my glutes,” explained Marian Visser.
Tanya Fierro said she uses tennis balls for trigger points in her neck, shoulders and back.
9. Hair Dryer
If heat helps soothe your chronic pain, a hair dryer might be an unexpected source of relief. A lightweight, travel dryer (such as the one featured above, which only weighs a pound) could also be easier to hold and manage if you struggle with pain, stiffness or muscle weakness.
“My hair dryer,” wrote Elín Haraldsdóttir. “I use it on my shoulder and head until I can’t stand the heat. Afterwards I feel more relaxed and can even fall asleep.”