health

Fibro Fridays: Morning Routine for Relief

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m glad that we’ve completed another beautiful week, and I’m hoping that all of you are feeling refreshed and relaxed.

On this fibro journey, one thing that I’d been resistant to was routine. I enjoy doing things at the spur of the moment, and I used to feel that routines kept me from living a fun and spontaneous life. As it turns out, routine has been a saving grace for me. Between getting into the regular habit of taking certain prescription medications, having regularly scheduled visits to physical therapists, and creating better sleep hygiene, I can see where routine is critical to my pain management strategy.

I noticed that I had morning, mid-day, and evening routines that have helped a lot with minimizing my pain and discomfort. So, I took note of my current practices and decided to film my lists. For this week, I filmed my morning routine. You can watch the video here:

The four things I’m currently doing are as follows:

1) Drink 8-16 oz of room temperature water upon waking. I’m always so thirsty when I first wake up, so this is crucial to helping me gently start my day.

2) Complete 5-10 minutes of bed yoga and stretching. Again, starting my day gently is vital: part of keeping my nervous system calm is to avoid overstimulating routines, such as hopping right out of bed and throwing myself directly into the activities of the day. Gentle stretches warm my body up and get me mentally prepared for the day.

3) Moisturize my skin thoroughly. For me, a hyper-sensitive nervous system has meant more sensitive skin. Fabric that was once fine is now uncomfortable against my skin, but I notice that this discomfort is minimized if I’m well moisturized. I use a body butter formulated by one of my friends, but prior to that, I used a light layer of petroleum jelly. It works great and it keeps my skin from getting dry throughout my day.

4) Consume mostly liquid supplements. When I start my day, I’m not usually in the mood for solid or heavy foods. Likewise, I am almost never in the mood for pills or other supplements that cannot be sipped or added into beverages. I try to make most of my morning supplements some sort of liquid: I find these easier to digest and much more effective for me.

This additional point is something that I’d like to try in the upcoming weeks. I have noticed a little more tooth sensitivity than normal, so I’m going to try using a desensitizing toothpaste (like Sensodyne) to help with that. I’ll try it for a few weeks and I’ll follow up to let you all know whether it’s something I’m going to keep in my rotation.

So that’s my morning routine in a nutshell. I find that these steps help me to have a smooth, gentle and effective start to my day.

That’s all for today! Have a great day and a fantastic weekend, and I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care!

health · life curation

Fibro Friday – Let’s Talk About Soursop

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all have had a great week. I’m recovering from a mild flare and I’m finally coming out of it, which makes me happy. This is one of those unavoidable things that comes with fibro: even when you’ve done your best to manage your symptoms, you may still have occasional flares. My flare was triggered by inconsistent weather patterns, because when the air goes from hot to cool to warm to cold, my body goes haywire.

Part of what really helps with my flare is getting enough rest, but, as you all know, rest can be challenging when you have fibro. One of the things I use to help get deeper, more restorative sleep is soursop leaf tea. There are a lot of benefits that you can reap from drinking soursop leaf tea, because it’s a highly nutritious plant. The fruit of the soursop plant is delicious and there is a strong case for it being antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anticarcinogenic. But we’re not talking about the fruit: the leaves are what interest me most (when it comes to fibro).

I first learned about soursop leaf tea from Debbie over at The Jamaican Cooking Journey. I’m inserting her video about soursop tea for your convenience:

When she mentioned that soursop tea is good for your nerves, I knew I had to try it! So I did, and I’m so glad that I took a chance on it. It helps me to sleep like a baby! Remeber, fibromyalgia is a neurological issue, not a musculoskeletal one, so by address nerve dysfunction, you can reduce or eliminate most of your symptoms.

Because I love science, here are some articles about soursop (graviola) that are worth checking out: WebMD article; Anti-microbial Efficacy of Soursop Leaf Extract (Annona muricata) on Oral Pathogens: An In-vitro Study; Anticancer Properties of Graviola (Annona muricata): A Comprehensive Mechanistic Review. I believe in doing due diligence and seeing what the science says, and I encourage you all to do the same.

I am posting my video that I did on this topic, and in that video, I share my results from consuming soursop leaf tea:

Please note, I am not a doctor and I’m not offering medical advice or solutions. That being said, I’ve enjoyed using soursop leaf tea as part of my regimen to encourage deeper and more restorative sleep. Try it and let me know your results!

health

Fibro Friday: Managing Inflammation with Turmeric

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope your week was great, and I hope your upcoming weekend is even better!

Over the past few months, I’ve been keeping close tabs on my fibromyalgia: I’m looking out for new (or recurring) symptoms, any difficulties in recovering after flares, or other changes that may be worth noting. I keep up with these because I stopped using prescription medication a few months back, and this is my first time – since my diagnosis – observing how fibro shows up in my daily life when managed through other methods.

As part of my symptom (and overall health) management, I’ve been incorporating supplements that promise to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. While fibro is not an autoimmune condition, nor is it a condition that is typically associated with inflammation, my research confirmed that inflammatory conditions exist in most people’s bodies, and most of us benefit from the reduction of inflammation. For this reason, I decided to add turmeric into my daily supplements.

I opted for a liquid supplement, and, since my flexible spending plan covers glucosamine and chondroitin products, I got a glucosamine supplement that also included turmeric (2 for 1!). I have thoughts on glucosamine products that I won’t share today, but I’ll touch on that in a future video. Anyways, back to turmeric: I decided to use Tropical Oasis Joint Complete Premium Plus- Liquid Joint Support Supplement w/Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Plus 800mg Turmeric Curcumin. I took this product for more than 30 days, and I did this consistently, just so that I can confirm whether I have gotten any results.

Here is my YouTube video discussing fibro and inflammation:

And here’s a YouTube video that I posted earlier today, discussing the outcome of my experiment:

I have to conclude that, while I didn’t notice an immediate or drastic difference in how I felt, I compared the way I felt to how I usually feel in the winter season and I took note of what symptoms were present, missing or mitigated. In previous winters, I am extraordinarily achy, tired and suffer from mild flu-like symptoms, even while taking prescription medication. However, this year, I only felt a little tired and very few aches. I only noticed flu-like symptoms when I actually had the flu (you can read about that ordeal here). So, comparing this year to prior years is the best metric I have, and I can confidently that adding turmeric was a good move for me. I didn’t feel the normal winter “slump” that I usually experience, and I found myself needing less down time when I felt a little tired. I also started adding another supplement into my rotation (more about that next week) and that has been making a difference, too, though I only added that in toward the end of the turmeric experiment, well after I determined how effective the turmeric was for me.

I’m also considering adding in a different turmeric supplement to see if I have different results. I’m thinking I’ll choose between Qunol Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper, Dr. Mercola Organic Fermented Turmeric, Turmeric Gummies for Adults & Kids with Ginger & Black Pepper Extract, or I may try something completely different. You’ll just have to stick around to see what I choose!

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend! Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

*This post contains affiliate links.

food · health

Fibro Friday – The Berry Protocol

Happy Friday! We made it through another week, and boy, what a week it’s been! I entertained a few of my younger relatives for four days, and those little ones WORE ME OUT! I loved having them around, so, despite being exhausted, I will certainly have them visit again very soon!

Anyhoo, today is Fibro Friday, so we’ll be discussing another protocol that may offer some fibromyalgia relief. Today’s post looks at the protocol promoted by Dr. Ken Berry. I first mentioned Dr. Berry a few weeks ago, in the Fibro Friday post discussing some of the latest fibromyalgia research. I’ve been following Dr. Berry for a few years now, and I enjoy his practical wisdom about healthcare and living optimal lifestyles. Dr. Berry has been practicing medicine for over 20 years, and he encourages his audience to adjust their diets and daily habits in order to reduce or eliminate symptoms from chronic illnesses.

Dr. Berry has multiple videos addressing his approach when it comes to fibromyalgia treatment. He recommends a ketogenic diet, as well as going through the steps of determining whether you actually have fibromyalgia (requesting specific lab work to ensure that you haven’t been misdiagnosed). Here is Dr. Berry’s protocol, explained by the doctor himself:

Some of the key takeaways for me were:

  • Focus on rebuilding health cells and healthy myelin sheaths
  • Remove as much processed carbohydrates from the diet as possible
  • Pay attention to “sneaky” carbohydrates that spike blood sugar, such as honey, agave nectar, tubers and other starchy vegetables
  • Eat lots of healthy fatty options, like high-quality meats and seafood
  • Determine if you have other underlying issues, such as hypothyroidism or depression, that may have symptoms that can be confused with fibromyalgia
  • Check both your A1c and C-Peptide levels, to determine if you are experiencing symptoms related to elevated levels

Dr. Berry’s recommendations are worth a try, especially if you are curious about reducing your fibromyalgia pain without relying upon prescription medication. I appreciate the fact that Dr. Berry doesn’t promise a “cure”, but he advises his viewers that starting with his recommendations may provide significant relief for fibro symptoms.

Have you heard of Dr. Berry before? Have tried any of the tips that he outlines in his video? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.

Have a fantastic weekend, friends! I’ll talk to you all soon.

health

Fibro Friday: Recent Research

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m taking a quick break from reviewing different health protocols to share some exciting news that crossed my newsfeed a few days ago.

Several weeks ago, Dr. Ken Berry, a respected internist that focuses on improving health through food, exercise and lifestyle choices, shared the details on a study that was published, then mysterious retracted.

Dr. Berry mentions how this article was published but was soon followed by a retraction. After reviewing the retraction points, I have to agree with Dr. Berry and lead researcher, Dr. Pappolla, who both assert that the reason for retraction is likely due to pressure from influential organizations (think Big Pharma or Big Ag [Big Agriculture]). The reason provided for the retraction doesn’t appear to be valid, but you can read the reason as published on NIH’s website and determine for yourself whether you want to accept the research findings.

The research done by Dr. Pappolla and the other researchers establishes a connection between fibromyalgia and insulin resistance markers. Dr. Berry has recommended something similar in previous videos. However, this research goes a step further, by experimenting with the use of metformin (brand name Glucophage) and observing whether this drug can reduce fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms.

Dr. Pappolla’s research makes a connection between being insulin resistant (also known as pre-diabetic) and fibromyalgia. Reduction of sugar and management of insulin in the body (via metformin) both resulted in lower levels of pain in fibromyalgia patients. If you want more information, watch the video below:

This research exposes a possible (likely) connection between fibro and insulin resistance, and Dr. Berry recommends a ketogenic or other low carbohydrate diet to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms. I won’t go too deep in Dr. Berry’s recommendations this week, since I’ll be featuring his fibromyalgia protocol in a future week. But if you want all of the info on this new research, the video above is a good place to start.

I hope this information helps my fellow fibro warriors! Please let me know how you all are doing in the comments. Have a great rest of your day, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday!

health

Fibro Friday – The Liptan Protocol

Happy Fibro Friday! In the coming weeks, I’d like to explore some of the varying treatment plans as proposed by various health experts. I’m hoping to glean some tips from each of these experts – ranging from medical doctors to herbalists and naturopaths to people that have documented their trials and errors on their fibro journeys – and see which treatments will work best for my specific symptoms.

I’ll be starting this series off with a review of Dr. Ginevra Liptan. Dr. Liptan is the founder of The Frida Center for Fibromyalgia and the author of three landmark books discussing fibromyalgia and possible paths to wellness. I became familiar with Dr. Liptan several years ago, and I even purchased the Frida Botanical Magnesium Cream (which I briefly reviewed here). I enjoyed her story because she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia while studying medicine, and she still successfully finished her medical degree, and turned her medical focus onto understanding and treating fibromyalgia.

Dr. Liptan has a YouTube channel where she has posted several videos about fibromyalgia, natural recovery options, and treating frequent comorbidities. I especially enjoyed this succinct description of the four pillars of fibromyalgia recovery – the “Four Rs of Fibro”. The video is less than 5 minutes long, and completely worth the watch.

I have noticed a drastic improvement in my symptoms when I can fully embrace “the Four Rs”. I love that she concentrates on the main pillars for wellness when treating fibromyalgia, and, by focusing on these four things, it is possible to isolate and treat any remaining symptoms. Along with applying the Liptan protocol regarding “the Four Rs”, I will be purchasing all of Dr. Liptan’s books, and seeing if I can craft a wellness plan that addresses all of my symptoms. Here are her books (Figuring Out Fibromyalgia, The Fibro Manual, and The Fibro Food Formula):

That’s all for today! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday. Take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

**The information in this post and on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. 

health · life curation

Fibro Fridays – My Current Favorite Fibro Vloggers

Happy Fibro Friday! We made it to the end of another week, and what a week it’s been! I’m looking forward to a quiet and restful weekend with my family, because I need a little downtime.

But anyhoo, back to Fibro Friday. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite fibro vloggers. These lovely souls have generously shared their fibromyalgia journeys on YouTube, and I’m thankful for the knowledge, encouragement, and inspiration they’ve provided. A few of them have fibromyalgia-centered channels, while others discuss fibro occasionally, while vlogging about the rest of their lives.

If you’ve watched any of these vloggers, then you know that they have great content and are joys to watch. I hope this list of vloggers gives you some great ideas on how to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms and a heaping dose of encouragement.

In no particular order:

Grace at Home – she doesn’t post frequently, but she shares some really sound information on her fibro experience. The symptoms she mentioned are almost identical to mine. She was one of the first Black women fibro vloggers that I found on YouTube. That actually speaks to another issue when it comes to chronic illness (gross underdiagnosis and misdiagnosis of WOC, especially Black women), which I’ll discuss in a future Fibro Friday post. This video describes, in detail, how fibro feels. It’s great information for anyone that doesn’t understand the pain that fibromyalgia patients experience.

Marla Robinson – Marla’s channel has all sorts of lifestyle goodies, and I love the fact that she’s a mature YouTuber. Aside from that, she gives wonderful information on her fibromyalgia and other chronic illness journey, as well as the treatments that have worked for her, as well as what has been ineffective. She does a fabulous job explaining her journey, so for anyone that wants a very thorough explanation, this is a great channel to view.

Chronically Emily – While fibromyalgia is a devastating condition at any age, it’s especially disheartening to see younger people with the condition. There is a particular sadness that I feel when I see young people that are impacted so significantly by chronic illness, because I know that they won’t get to experience a pain-free young adulthood. However, dear Emily seems to take it all in stride and is living a wonderful, full life in spite of her pain. I enjoy hearing how she’s doing (she has multiple chronic conditions) and seeing her embrace new chapters and experiences in her life.

Olga Chronics – This charming channel centers around Olga’s chronic illnesses (mainly, fibromyalgia and IBS) but she also shares her other interests, such as reading books and spending time with her adorable pup. She goes into some of the ways that she is personally impacted by fibro, and she goes to great lengths to offer possible solutions to her subscribers. I also love that she gives her viewers a peek into how Portugal and its health system treats fibromyalgia patients.

Adventures with Fibro – Deena embodies living an active life while still taking care of herself and managing her fibromyalgia. She is an avid hiker and gives wonderful tips based on her 17(!) years of fibor experience. Deena does a great job of discussing some of the mental health aspects that can be affected by fibro (many people diagnosed with this condition also have to deal with anxiety and depression).

Lord and Lordettes – Nicola splits her channel between fibromyalgia-related content and family/lifestyle vlogging. She has a fibro-related post every Wednesday, and she takes her time to discuss a singular specific symptom in these videos. I also appreciate hearing how fibromyalgia is treated in the UK (as a US-based fibro patient, I’m always curious about which countries have better/more innovative care for invisible illnesses. US treatment approaches are mediocre in many ways, and absolutely nonexistent in other ways.)

A Life I Choose – This channel focuses on overall wellness, but the hostess, Emma, also discusses how she mitigated her fibromyalgia. I think that one key advantage that Emma has is a background as a psychotherapist, so she has extensive knowledge on how to condition the brain in a way that promotes healing and (possibly) minimizes pain. She has (if I recall correctly) successfully transitioned herself off of fibromyalgia medications and lives a normal life with minimal pain.

health

Fibro Friday : My Magical Body Balm for Muscle and Nerve Pain Relief

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I sincerely hope that you’ve had a great week, and I hope that your weekend is amazing!

Recently, I shared with one of my favorite vloggers, Deena from Adventures with Fibro, that I make a body balm that helps with both muscular and neurological pain. I also promised her that I would make a video. And yes, I kept my word.

If you have fibromyalgia, you are already intimately aware of the pain that occurs due to the condition. But if you don’t have the condition, I’ll try my best to explain it to you. The pain that comes from fibromyalgia is often diffuse: it’s not usually concentrated into just one spot. And the pain goes beyond just soreness (as if you overused a particular muscle group): the pain can include stinging, burning, prickly, tingly, or throbbing sensations.

Many of the products available for pain address the muscle component exclusively. So the neurological pain (or neuropathy) remains unaddressed. You usually have to use medication prescribed by a neurologist or a rheumatologist to alleviate the nerve pain. Sadly, these medicines do a poor job of offering relief, and can have a range of awful side effects.*

So I opted to create a product that could give me relief for both body systems (musculoskeletal and nervous). In this video, I give a nice, customizable recipe that can offer you some relief and hopefully make your flare days a little more tolerable. I’m writing out the recipe and instructions on this post, to be followed by a link to the video.

Magic Body Balm (makes 4 ounces (120 ml) of product)

  1. A few weeks prior to making this balm, purchase dried arnica and place 1 or 2 ounces of the dried plant into 2-3 ounces of avocado oil. Let it sit for several weeks in a dark, cool spot, gently shaking the oil every couple of days.
  2. Start by placing the nut butter into the glass bowl.
  3. Fill the bottom of the shallow bowl with less than 1 inch of boiling hot water. You only need enough hot water to cover the bottom of the shallow bowl.
  4. Place the glass bowl with the nut butter into the shallow bowl, allowing the hot water to heat the bottom of the glass ramekin and start melting the butter.
  5. THIS IS CRUCIAL – Avoid getting any water into the liquefying nut butter, the oil additives, or any other ingredients. This will prevent bacteria from growing in the balm.
  6. While the nut butter is melting, strain your arnica infused oil. (Skip this step if you’re using pure arnica oil that you purchased).
  7. Once the nut butter is liquefied, combine it with the arnica infused oil (or the pure avocado oil and arnica oil drops), copaiba oil, davana oil, and fragrant oil of your choice (I prefer tangerine, lavender or peppermint oil). Stir well.
  8. Pour the mixture into the container of choice. Place in a refrigerator to let it cool and set (roughly 1-2 hours). Remove and use on achy, sore body parts.

This recipe is mostly relying on eyeballing the measurements, so if it isn’t exact, try adjusting individual ingredients until you get the consistency you prefer. I’m linking the ingredients and tools above, so you can easily get what you need. I hope this helps you! Take care, and enjoy your weekend.

* Disclaimer: I use two medications for neurological symptoms. I weighed the efficacy versus the side effects, and I determined that it was worth the risk. Discuss the options with your doctor to see what is recommended for your condition.

This post contains affiliate links.

health

Fibro Fridays – Pain Management Tools

Happy Fibro Friday! We made it through another week: let’s celebrate!

I’ve been trying some new pain management tools over the past few weeks. These have helped me with some of the chronic pain symptoms that come along with having fibromyalgia. I really liked these items that I’m sharing today, so if you have fibromyalgia, or if you experience chronic pain, these may be worth a try.

First, I have the Nayoya Acupressure Mat and Neck Pillow set. At just under $40 USD, it’s a great item to try for some pain relief. I was going to review it, but Deena of Adventures with Fibro on YouTube (YT) beat me to it! Her review was great, so I’m going to link it here, but I’m also going to embed it in this post.

Now, there’s another tool that I’ve enjoyed using, and not only is it effective, but it’s reasonably priced, too. This tool is less than $20 USD currently, and I’ve loved using it to relieve some of the nerve pain I experience. It’s the La Vie Lactation Massage Roller.

Before you get any ideas . . . No, I’m not lactating! This massager is gentler than many other massage devices, which is crucial when your chronic pain is intense. Here’s the review of the lactation massage roller that I posted on my YT channel:

If you’re curious about the variety of tools that may be needed for those that live wtih fibromyalgia or chronic pain, you should check out Olga Chronics on YT. She is so thorough, and she’s charming to boot. I really liked her video on mobility aids (which I’m embedding below). I don’t use mobility aids, but it’s good information for anyone that has impacted mobility due to chronic pain or fibromyalgia.

Do you have any tools that you can recommend for pain management? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*Post contains affiliate links.