Based on the latest scientific knowledge about fibromyalgia and chronic pain, which I’ve covered in the first 2 parts of this article, and also based on my many years’ experience treating patients with chronic pain, I’ve developed key treatment recommendations for my patients with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and related conditions. I’ve summarized those self-care recommendations here in Part 3.
Of course, I don’t have information about the specifics of your condition, so don’t make decisions about your own health based only on what you’re reading here.
Dr. Lavine’s Self-Care Plan for Fibromyalgia or Chronic Pain
- You’re not going to find a magical cure that erases fibromyalgia altogether. It’s more realistic to systematically explore a number of options to support your health, diminish your pain, and improve your functioning a bit at a time.
- Keep a regular log of your symptom levels. I’ve developed a convenient chart you can use – you can get a free download here.
- Find a simple first step you can take to create a 10% improvement. Once you’ve incorporated that first step into your life, find a second good thing to improve your status another 10%. Your goal is to discover 5 great changes you can make, each of which will improve your situation by 10%. This plan is entirely realistic. And you’ll be halfway better!
- Find a meditation practice, yoga class, or prayer routine that creates a calm, centered state of mind. And stick with it. It will take some practice, and a minimum of 20 minutes a day or more. And it will take awhile for you to appreciate the benefit. Developing a calm, centered state of mind is a learned skill that only builds with repetition. Don’t give up prematurely. Give yourself a chance to truly experience the benefit. It will work for you.
- Indulge in some form of gentle bodywork. I utilize two methods in my practice – craniosacral therapy and Neurotactile® Therapy (or a combination of the two) – both of which are extremely gentle. But you can also seek out a massage therapist or other experienced bodywork practitioner. There are a number of different massage or bodywork modalities that could work for you.
- Cardio exercise is known to be beneficial, particularly if it isn’t too strenuous. Depending on your fitness level, simply walking can be the best thing. If you’re out of the habit of walking, start with a 20 minute stroll. Even regular gardening, biking, or anything that keeps your body in motion on a daily and weekly basis is known to have a healing effect.
- Eat a very, very healthy diet. Here’s the basic outline: 90% of your food should be fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, beans, eggs, and wild meat – wild caught fish, grass-fed beef or buffalo, or naturally-raised poultry. Nothing made from flour – no bread or pasta. No corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, canola oil. Here’s a link where you can find out more: Dr. Lavine’s Detox.
- Investigate your possible need for supplemental vitamin D, essential fatty acids, and probiotics. There are many other possibly beneficial supplements you can learn about too.
- Strengthen your social network. Take advantage of friends, family, support groups, and other social circles.
- The new fibromyalgia medications that target central brain processing might be worth a shot. Talk to your medical doctor.
Take these simple action steps on a consistent basis and you’ll soon see improvement, possibly major improvement. You’ll find yourself with less pain and a greater ability to enjoy life.