A long, long time ago when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, there weren’t a lot of pain management options, let alone products that actually worked. The only pharmaceutical options at that time were opioids, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, and a few antidepressants. It would be a few more years before the first fibromyalgia-approved medication would come on the market.
A lot has changed since then. On the plus side, more medications have been approved to treat fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, many governments like the United States have declared war on opioids, forcing many fibro patients to suffer in agonizing pain.
People who follow this blog typically fall into one of the following three categories:
- Have been affected by the ignorance of lawmakers and lost access to pharmaceutical pain relief medications.
- Are like me and have suffered one too many allergic reactions or have had no success with pharmaceutical medication.
- Are looking for an alternative or natural way to relieve pain instead of or in addition to prescription medications.
I have been combatting chronic pain from fibromyalgia for over 18 years. The first 13 were a total disaster. It was after hitting rock bottom that I took control over my fibro pain management plan and began successfully relieving pain from this wretched chronic condition.
Here are fifteen of my favorite fibromyalgia pain management products and hacks that I continue to use.
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Content on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. I am not a medical professional and nothing on this blog should be considered medical advice. Always consult with your medical team in regards to questions and concerns about your medical conditions and health.
Favorite Fibromyalgia Pain Management Products
Just as there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there is no one perfect pain management plan. What helps one person may not help another and vice versa. The products I am sharing are ones that help reduce the severity of my flares and pain. As always, research anything you choose try and consult with your physician when making changes to your health management plan.
The first product I tried in my quest to live better with fibromyalgia was cannabis. It brought a significant amount of relief with its anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike prescription pain medication, it did not make me feel groggy or hungover. I began with edibles purchased from a dispensary, then discovered vaping concentrates, and later fell in love with dry vaping and making my own medicated edibles.
Also unlike prescription pain medications, I rarely need it during the day. I typically take one daily does a few hours before going to bed. I will microdose with it if severely flaring, but also find that a dose of the next product on the list will get me through a moderate pain day and until my nighttime dose of medical marijuana.
If I didn’t have legal access to cannabis, CBD would be part of my daily fibromyalgia pain management plan. The reason I choose cannabis over CBD is that it is less expensive and a more effective pain reliever. With that said, CBD is fabulous for decreasing inflammation, calming anxiety, and muscle relaxation. I would suggest CBD to someone who absolutely does not want to experience the high associated with cannabis and isn’t strapped for cash.
Like cannabis, CBD is available as tinctures, oils, topical lotions/oils, edibles, and flower. Unlike cannabis, CBD/Hemp products can be purchased online. Here are a couple of retailers I recommend.
If you are a regular reader, you may be sick of how much I talk about PEMF therapy. But once you have experienced relief like I have, you cannot help but shout it from the rooftops. PEMF therapy also known as pulsed electromagnetic therapy is offered at most chiropractor offices and is expensive! There are also a variety of at-home treatment devices that provide in my opinion, better results for less money.
At home, I can run treatments whenever I want. No appointments to juggle, no co-pay or insurance hassle. The downside is that this form of therapy is rarely covered by health insurance plans. I do know a few people who were able to get a wearable PEMF device covered by their insurance, but it took many months and having a doctor willing to fight for them.
PEMF therapy is not for everyone. It is not recommended for anyone with active cancer, pregnancy, pacemakers (implants), and patients taking chemotherapy treatments. It is always recommended to check with your doctor or health care provider before trying any new medical device.
Now for the reason I cannot stop talking about it!
PEMF therapy changed my life. It significantly reduced fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis pain. The same pains that I had been suffering from for over a decade. The relief wasn’t instant. It took time. But after four months of dedicated treatment I began feeling like I did before my diagnosis, if not better. My energy increased as well as my ability to do more with less pain.
I have documented my journey with PEMF therapy from the beginning on the blog. Read it here when you have time. Another option is to read my 2020 recap which outlines the mistakes I made with my treatment plan and my 2021 recaps that share how my reboot is going. I will continue to recap monthly throughout 2021 to share my results.
My first PEMF device was Oska Pulse and I used it for several years. I have since switched to a new PEMF device called ActiPatch. It is small and can be worn on my spine no matter what I am doing. The best advantage is that treatments can be run 24/7! No more setting alarms to remember to start another treatment. It works just as well as my original device.
Here are a few other PEMF therapy options:
After years of using topical cannabis and hemp oils and lotions for muscle tension, I found myself in need of an alternative. The reason for this was that Disneyland banned all CBD products from their theme parks and I needed something to replace the hemp lotion I was using for muscle tension. That’s when a friend introduced me to a natural wellness company that made high-quality products at affordable prices. Being the skeptic I am, I had a hard time believing a tube of arnica salve that cost a third of the CBD products I had purchased would meet my needs. But it did just that and more! The one that I swear by for muscle tension and pain is from Earthley Wellness. Here are a few other options:
I swear my body likes making my life difficult. Instead of allowing me to make up for my magnesium deficiency through the food I eat or by taking supplements, my body rejects it. Thankfully, I discovered that my body will accept it when applied topically. Applying a magnesium-rich lotion on my legs, belly, thighs, and pretty much anywhere I want every night gives my body what it needs. My muscles relax, the pain subsides, and I fall asleep faster and sleep better.
Heat Pads and Hot Water Bottles
I use a variety of heat products to warm weary muscles and sore joints. I prefer a hot water bottle when dealing with fibro fog or fatigue because there is no worry of burning myself if I fall asleep. Heating pads however work best for my lower back pain. When on the go I used to use heat patches but to save money I later purchased heating products that can be charged and used anywhere.
With the exception of cannabis, I didn’t really embrace herbal remedies until 2019. Since then, my and I family have come to love how they make us feel. One, in particular, is Pain Potion. This herbal tincture is an inflammation fighter. We use it in place of OTC pain relievers.
When applying heat to a pain source doesn’t help, I turn to ice. I have a freezer full of pliable, flexible, and wearable icepacks. My favorite wraps around my waist. Cold therapy has come a long way since I was first diagnosed. You can get cooling slippers and headwraps for migraines too.
My Go-To Fibromyalgia Pain Management Hacks
The following fibromyalgia pain management hacks and products mentioned are what help me do more than if I ignored my body’s cries for help. Sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference in our day. The following are ways I keep my fibro body happy at home, on the go, and while exercising.
My tolerance for heat disappeared soon after my fibromyalgia diagnosis. This was really bad as I was living in Scottsdale, Arizona at the time. I moved to southern California ten and a half years ago. While we do experience some extreme heat, it is nowhere to the extent that central Arizona does. And either my tolerance has dropped or I have adapted to the climate and find myself overheating at temperatures that I used to consider cool in Arizona. Not wanting to spend every day indoors, I bring along my cooling mister or neck fan to keep cool.
Riding in the car increases tension and pain in my neck. Not sure if has to do with my height (or lack of it) or if I am just unlucky, but the headrests in every vehicle I have ridden in adds to my discomfort. There is no position that helps. So instead of suffering, I began using a foam neck pillow.
Foot pain and fibromyalgia can be problematic. My ankles and the sides of my feet are the most sensitive. Quite often and when caught quickly, I can reduce the pain and provide comfort by swapping my shoes for slippers or slipping on a pair of super-soft socks. This was more of a problem before I began the PEMF treatments mentioned above, but my ankles and feet still appreciate some extra loving care now and then. Some people like and find relief with compression stockings.
Soon after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I began what can only be explained as overheating from my scalp while sleeping. In addition to keeping my bedroom very cool, (my family calls it the meat locker), I use cooling pillows. They help keep my scalp from sweating profusely and provide a gentle cooling relief to my shoulders and arms. This helps me sleep sounder for longer.
Aligned with the Stars
Before fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis, I was a back and tummy sleeper. After years of struggling to wake without or with less pain I became a side sleeper. While that prevented and reduced my back pain, it increased pain in my hips and shoulders. In 2018 I began searching for something to help keep my hips aligned while also providing comfort to my shoulders. What I found and purchased was a pregnancy pillow.
I opted for the longest available which is 65 inches. Even though I am short, I wanted full-body coverage and then some! I am so glad that I chose this length. It is comfortable whether I sleep with my knees bent or straight. With the extra length, I can fold and bend it in many different configurations to provide comfort while sleeping, reading, or writing in bed. It’s also great for road trips. By folding one half at the foot of my seat and placing the other between my body and the car door I can lean against the door to rest without feeling every bump in the road.
Aquatic therapy is what my body has best responded to since my diagnosis. Walking in water is my body’s preferred form of exercise and one that I hope to resume soon. However, my feet will hurt like heck if I attempt it without a good pair of aquatic shoes. The inexpensive ones that are sold everywhere during the summer months help for occasional water walks. But for water jogging on a regular basis, my feet like a shoe that is sturdier and more supportive. Exercise plays an important role in any fibromyalgia pain management plans and requires extra thought in regards to the products we use to get the job done.
Keep on Keepin’ On
As you know, I love my mobility aids. They keep me going when my body says no more. Mobility aids also help prevent pain. No one should have to pay with pain for days and weeks after a day out. Using a mobility aid allows me to stay out longer, go places my feet and legs lack the strength to go and make the time spent away from home more enjoyable. My newest addition, Pinky, is keeping me on the move until doctors figure out what is going on in my abdomen. No one can decide when it is time for you to begin using a mobility aid of any kind. The choice is yours! Learn how to choose which mobility aid will best suit your needs here.
As you can see, preventing and addressing fibromyalgia pain requires a lot of thought. There is no magic bullet, pill, or product that is going to take all of your pain away. But there are many things that can be done and used to decrease it.
My hope is that this article helps you find something that will make your fibro life less painful. Everyone’s fibromyalgia pain management plan along with their products and hacks will differ. What’s important is that you never give up. Keep looking and experimenting until you find what works for you!