The Mighty Logo

How I Took Back My Power From Fibromyalgia

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

I got an email a couple months ago asking me what I have done to help in my fight with fibromyalgia, both on DIY and personal manners and those suggested by my medical team. In classic fibromyalgia tradition, I completely forgot about it until this morning.

I have a baggy of chocolate keto bars (we’ll get to the why later in the article) that had become a grand melted mess in the soon-to-be summer heat and I’d put them in the refrigerator to firm the chocolate back up. Minutes later, back in my room, I began literally panicking. I couldn’t find the bars to place them in the refrigerator. I retraced my steps and to my utter frustration and embarrassment, there they were, right in the drawer of the fridge.

I’m very easily embarrassed when I am experiencing the cognitive effects of this invisible illness. Navigating through fibro fog is like walking in stilettos down a dark alley with no lights. Any minute, I could trip or fall and it’s over. Knowing I couldn’t live my life like this without fighting like hell for some kind, any kind, of relief, I set out for solutions.


These are items I have tried out on my own after hearing of it in support groups or in online research.

Yoga: Several studies suggest that yoga may help ease symptoms of fibromyalgia. Yoga calmed my mind and helped stretch and loosen cramped muscles. I found some great poses here. Child’s Pose and Legs-Up-The-Wall are my favorites. While definitely something I chose to branch out with on my own, I did check with my doctor first.

Gentle Exercise: Simple walks around the neighborhood are where I’m currently at. More than a walk puts me into a flare. However, a slow, leisurely walk on a warm day can be very relaxing. Lowering stress and getting my body moving seems to reduce my flares and pain overall.

Reiki: As a Reiki practitioner myself, I’d be remiss not to mention this great alternative energy healing method. In Reiki, a practitioner places their hands lightly over an individual to enable healing through the transmission of energy. There are many skeptics, but for me? It’s nature’s healing at work.

Hot Baths: I can’t afford flotation or spa therapies. So, armed with a giant tub and a bath bomb, I filled the tub nearly to the brim with hot water and lit candles. I soaked for heaven only knows how long and it’s now a weekly ritual. I trust it has to do with heat from the water and relaxing for a bit.

Ketogenic Lifestyle: I hadn’t read anything; it was just a shot in the dark. I eat way less sugar than before and more whole (aka “real” food) than processed or fast food than ever before. There’s less inflammation caused by unnatural food byproducts and excess sugar and I have definitely seen a difference. I still enjoy holiday dinner and birthday cake, but now I’ve simply chosen to eat differently in my personal life. This won’t work for everyone and as someone with an eating disorder, I had to be especially careful and I did seek medical advice on this one.

Journaling: I grabbed a cute journal from Target and a pen. I write whatever comes to mind. I don’t allow myself to overthink it and just let my feelings out. A technique I learned in therapy, journaling reducing my stress and prevents my emotions from bottling up, reducing my inflammation.

Medical Suggestions or Solutions:

These are items suggested to me by my medical team and/or solutions. I did not take all suggestions.

Drugs: Essentially, three drugs are FDA approved for fibromyalgia treatment. The first two are anti-depressants and the third is an anti-seizure medication. All have shown to help with fibromyalgia. As an individual who also has bipolar type I, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder and ADD, I have to be extremely cautious with crossing meds. I can’t take antidepressants because it can induce mania. Many doctors weren’t listening. I have finally been approved for another medication after nearly three years and pay out of pocket as it’s not covered by insurance, but it works well for me. I also take something for pain management. It’s an arthritis drug, but it helps me on those days I wake up and can’t even go to work from the pain I’m in.

Work Accommodations: I work in a large call center for a major U.S. company, so there are medical accommodations available and my doctors suggest these for me so I can continue working. Thus far, they are a great solution, but not everyone has a company that cares or they’re self-employed, etc.

Physical Therapy: I’ve gone to PT in the past. It helped my range of motion and muscle strengthening. I haven’t been in a few years, but it is effective.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Spoonie Life Hacks group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Make life with chronic illness a little bit easier. Join the Spoonie Life Hacks group to get tips from other spoonies for tackling everyday tasks — and share your own hacks! Click to join.

As you see, the medical list is much shorter than my DIY list. Fibromyalgia still has such a stigma. Some doctors won’t even admit it’s a real illness. Fibromyalgia warriors across the world are fighting to be validated and get effective medical treatments and help. I want you to know there are things you can do. We don’t have to take our pain lying down (though sometimes we need to lie down and that’s OK!). Do consult your doctor regarding your concerns and if they aren’t listening, keep searching for a doctor who does. Before taking supplements or exercising, I would ask a medical professional if the activity you’re trying is safe. A walk in the woods is a lot different than trying CrossFit.

You aren’t alone. I’m in the trenches with you.

Photo by Michael Cox on Unsplash

Originally published: November 10, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home