There’s no doubt that living with fibromyalgia can be incredibly painful and frustrating. Between the chronic pain, fatigue, “fibro fog” and mood swings, the illness has a way of affecting just about every aspect of a person’s life. It can be exhausting – physically and emotionally – to cope with all the symptoms on a daily basis.
Although there isn’t a cure for fibromyalgia, some people have developed tricks to help manage symptoms and reduce everyday frustrations. We asked our Mighty communityto share some of the “hacks” they use to make life with fibromyalgia a bit easier. Maybe some of these ideas might help you live a little more comfortably, too.
Here’s what our community told us:
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1. “I keep my ‘toolbox’ close by. Basic medications like ibuprofen and tylenol, my prescription medications, my ice pack and my hot water bottle. I also keep a pair of fuzzy socks within two feet of me at all times. This takes much of the overwhelming feeling down to a minimum.”
2. “Turn on the electric blanket 30 minutes before you crawl into bed so the sheets are already warm.”
3. “Instead of ‘to do’ lists that are disheartening for me when stuff does not get done, I make an ‘I’ve done’ list to count my accomplishments.”
4. “I get my hair washed at Hair Cuttery or Super Cuts for $5 when I’m feeling really crappy so I don’t have to do it myself.”
5. “I have a leg pillow that elevates my legs to help with circulation. Great investment.”
6. “Find something you really enjoy doing. I create art, and I know at times I am extremely limited, but I attempt to do some work every day. I always tell people it’s my therapy. It allows my mind to focus on a task I enjoy, and for a while I forget about the pain I am in. When I start to hurt or get frustrated I have learned that’s my body saying enough.”
7. “Paper plates and bowls! I don’t have a dishwasher, and I try to make my life as easy as possible.”
8. “My hack for bad days is to just stay warm. Have a hot bath with Epsom salts then cuddle up on the couch with my cat, blanket and heat pack. Rest when you need to.”
9. “Brushing my teeth in the shower. It helps me from bending over.”
10. “I’ve learned to take a lot of breaks when trying to accomplish tasks. On a good day breaks can be short, on bad considerably longer. But taking breaks instead of pushing myself too hard helps me to make the most of what little energy I have.”
11. “Undershirts that have a built-in bra with padding! It helps me to feel secure while still not having to wear a bra that can be very painful for my shoulders.”
12. “My body needs strict routine. It may be dull to live by such a schedule every single day but it’s the only way I can manage right now.”
13. “I turn any clothes, jammers and socks inside out so seams don’t rub or indent my skin!”
14. “I had to learn when to ask for help (my family is supportive and willing) for things as simple as stirring soup or switching laundry from washer to dryer. Had to change my value system. Pushing myself could no longer be a way of life. I’m valuable even when my house isn’t clean and I’m unable to cook.”
15. “Soft music and light stretching to start or end my day. I take walks for exercise. Low-impact workouts are key.”
16. “I sleep with a U-shaped pregnancy pillow for back support, but I need neck support as well so I took out the top part of the U and put a water pillow there instead for neck support as well.”
17. “Every Sunday, I make a weekly to-do list. Every day has between one and three items on it. This allows me to spread out household chores and lets me feel accomplished, but doesn’t wear me out. On days I feel terrible, I take those items and spread them out on days I feel better. I also don’t let myself feel bad for not always being able to accomplish everything on my list.”
18. “I use a shower chair and a shower head with a hose and handle. I can sit in the tub, while controlling where the water hits me, and still get clean. It helps me get the refreshing benefits of a shower, while not having to take a nap to regain the energy I would have otherwise lost while struggling in the shower.”
19. “An Icekap for headaches. First I apply Biofreeze to my forehead, temples and back of neck. Then I wear the Icekap. In a pinch, I use refrigerated gel patches specifically for migraines/fever.”
20. “I do something physical… take a break… then something mental… take a break. Alternating between them seems to allow me to get more done.”
21. “I have a small throw blanket that fits in my handbag in case sensory stuff gets to be too much when I’m out and about.”
22. “I made up my mind I was not going to stop doing everything I loved, so I just do things slower and not as long. I loved to kayak, but now I kayak 15 minutes then sit there and relax. Do another 15 minutes. Pull over and have lunch. Short spurts.”
23. “I have moved all of my furniture to a configuration that allowed me a handhold or place to sit in almost all areas of my home.”
24. “Make a care bag you take with you everywhere. Mine has extra pain meds, Tums, anti-diarrheal meds, chewable aspirin for headaches, ginger for nausea, gel patches for amigraine, something soft to sit on, noise-canceling headphones if sound triggers migraines, a book, phone and extra charger for emergencies, hand sanitizer, snacks to take with your meds, a small bottle of water and anything else you may need while you’re out.”
25. “Epsom salts from the Dollar Tree in a hot bath are one of the best pain relievers. If you can’t get out of the tub on your own, install a hand rail.”
26. “Surround myself with people I love. This is not only is a distraction from the pain, but I also feel safe and secure which eases the sense of loneliness and anxiety that comes with fibromyalgia.