Tired woman rubbing sore neck due to fibromyalgia pain.

Tips for Handling Fibromyalgia

If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you probably have a lot of questions. First of all, what is fibromyalgia anyway? Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that causes widespread muscle and joint pain peppered with fatigue. In addition, pain and fatigue can lead to depression and isolation if it is not handled carefully. That’s why a good pain relief program is important.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, there are numerous things you can do on your own to help control pain and make it more manageable. Here are five ways to help reduce fibromyalgia pain:

  • Reduce Your Stress Level – While it may not be possible to remove all stressors from your life, anything you can do to take stress down a level or two will help. This may mean letting go of obligations, adjusting your work schedule, or asking someone you know and trust for help. It is well worth the effort if it keeps you feeling better inside and out.
  • Make Modifications to Your Work – Can you work from home a couple of days a week? Would sitting in a different type of chair help with pain? Would a different position lead to less stress? Think about all the hours you spend at work each week, and you’ll see how important it is to ensure your workplace doesn’t lead to more pain or emotional distress.
  • Learn to Say No – When you have fibromyalgia, you need to put time into your own wellness and you don’t need to take on too much. Learning how to say “no” when friends, family members, or co-workers ask you to take on more than you are comfortable with becomes key.
  • Get Regular Exercise – It may seem difficult to get out there and work out, but even the smallest amount of exercise can have a significant impact on how you feel. A short walk just a couple of times a week may help you feel better and strengthen your body to fight the condition.
  • Reduce Caffeine – Caffeine is a chemical that can make your body feel stressed. It may be hard to give up that daily coffee or your favorite soda, but reducing your intake is an easy way to help you feel better today AND tomorrow.

If you are suffering from fibromyalgia or another issue that causes you ongoing pain, reach out to us at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers. We would love to help you find the relief you need AND deserve. Our pain management specialists, nurses, and physician assistants work together to make sure that a care plan tailored for your unique needs can be created.

Silhouette of a woman meditating while facing a sunset, wondering how mindfulness helps with chronic pain.

How Mindfulness Helps With Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is more than just pain for many people. The pain is bad enough, but dealing with it on a daily or near daily basis can lead to frustration, depression, and anger. While thinking about the pain even more than you already do may seem like a strange approach, there’s actually a great deal to be said for the effectiveness of mindful practices when it comes to this type of pain.

Rather than putting the emphasis on how much you want the pain to be gone, it can be beneficial to observe the pain with curiosity instead. By observing the pain this way, it may make it easier to understand and deal with.  Here is how mindfulness helps with chronic pain.

Techniques of Mindfulness that May Help

Being mindful of the pain can be enormously helpful for many people, and there are many ways to do so. Chronic pain can be understood, and mindfulness practices are the tools to doing so for many people.

Some of the most efficient tools for mindfulness include:

  • Proper breathing techniques: With proper breathing, a person can become much more grounded, and they can also change their focus. This can start as simply as breathing in with the phrase “in,” and then slowly exhaling with the phrase “out.” Putting all the emphasis on the breathing can help with both the physical and the mental/emotional part of the pain.
  • Meditation: Meditation is something that many people assume to be complicated and time consuming, but it can be as simple as taking a few minutes just for yourself each day. Allow yourself a few moments to be alone, to be still, and to place the mental focus deep within yourself. Some meditation techniques can be specially targeted to deal with the pain, honing in on it so that you can fight back effectively.
  • Yoga: Yoga has been enormously helpful for many people who are suffering from chronic pain. Not only does it allow you to stretch and strengthen the body, but it also allows you to tackle the pain in a very mindful way. Many different types of yoga exist, and one of them is likely going to be an excellent way to fight back against the pain in a mindful and focused way.

Dealing with chronic pain and want to do so in a more focused and mindful way? The team at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers is ready to help. Our pain management specialists, nurses, and physician assistants work together to make sure that a care plan tailored for your unique needs can be created. Call anytime to arrange an appointment if you have anymore questions about how mindfulness helps with chronic pain.

A woman getting chemotherapy, wondering Exercises That Reduce Pain from Chemotherapy.

Exercises That Reduce Pain from Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a necessary treatment for those suffering from certain types of cancer. While it can help you to get healthy, chemotherapy has many serious side effects. Some of the worst effects are various aches and pains. While you will want to talk to your doctor or a pain specialist about the best way to deal with this pain, you can do a few things yourself to help matters, too. Consider these five exercises that reduce pain from chemotherapy.

  • Strength Training – Did you know that strength training is an excellent choice for chemotherapy patients? When you think about it, it makes sense. Strength training improves muscle tone and can prevent loss of muscle that occurs while going through strenuous treatment.
  • Yoga or Tai Chi – Both of these forms of exercise are great choices for anyone in a chemo program. The best thing is that either can be started slowly and can improve stretching and balance—both things that may be useful as you’re fighting cancer.
  • Stretching with Bands – Using resistance bands to stretch is a good way to get the benefits of strength training without the risk of heavy lifting. It is easy to adjust your exercises to make sure you aren’t pushing too hard, and you’ll build muscle that can help reduce your overall pain.
  • Swimming – Swimming or water aerobics are great choices for a chemo patient. It is easy to move in the water, and you’ll get exercise without feeling heavy fatigue. Even if you find it hard to move on the ground, you will see that moving in water may not be so bad since the water reduces some of the strain your own weight puts on your joints. In addition, there is less worry about falling or balance issues than there is with exercise on ground.
  • Walk it Off – It seems like walking is a good exercise for nearly anyone—cancer patients are no exception. Get moving by walking, and you may feel a sense of relief. At the very least, regular walking can help you sleep better and give you a boost of endorphins!

As you can see, there are many ways that you can get moving, and hopefully, help reduce aches and pains even when you are undergoing cancer treatment. While these exercises are usually safe if you start slow, make sure you chat about your exercise goals with your doctor before you begin. Our pain management specialists, nurses, and physician assistants work together to make sure that a care plan tailored for your unique needs can be created if you have more questions about exercises that reduce pain from chemotherapy.

a woman getting a massage, wondering the Benefits of Getting a Massage.

The Many Benefits of Getting a Massage

If you have ever had a professional massage, you may have felt a bit torn. The deep tissue rub often feels relaxing and helps you get rid of aches and pains, but there can be some pain associated with the massage itself. You might even wonder if the massage is doing anything to resolve your pain or if it is just causing you further injury.

In reality, deep touch—such as massage—is a great way to heal from injury and change how your body responds to pain. We have put together some information to help you understand the benefits of getting a massage.

The Benefits of Getting a Massage

  • Massage Dampens Inflammation and Pain – Studies have shown that a post-workout massage can slow or reduce the activity of certain proteins, which are known as inflammatory cytokines. These proteins cause inflammation and pain, so reducing the activity may cause less pain.
  • Massage Offers Results Similar to NSAIDs (Aspirin or Advil) – NSAID medicines work to reduce substances in the body that cause the inflammatory cytokines to activate. This means that a good massage may be effective to relieving pain in a similar way to taking an aspirin or two.
  • The Release of Serotonin – Massage encourages your muscles to release a chemical called serotonin. This chemical contributes to your overall well-being and sense of contentment. Put simply, a good massage will help you feel good inside and out.
  • Your Therapist May Find Underlying Issues – While a massage is certainly no substitute from an appointment with a doctor, your massage therapist can potentially find underlying issues with your muscles that may otherwise remain undiscovered. Massage can be an excellent way to learn more about yourself and your body.
  • Reduces Stress – Another way that massage can help with pain is that it relaxes you. When you are relaxed and less stressed, your perception of the pain you have may be less severe. This is an excellent side benefit that cannot be overlooked.
  • Use Caution – While there is some pain associated with a thorough massage, it should not be TOO much to handle. Getting a massage is not a case where “no pain, no gain” should apply. Talk to your massage therapist about what feels good to you, what hurts, and find a solution that will help you recover from injury or fatigue without causing you additional pain in other areas.

If you are interested in learning more about massage or other ways to manage your pain, reach out to us at Alliance Spine and Pain Centers. We would be happy to discuss your problems and work together to help you start feeling better, faster. Our pain management specialists, nurses, and physician assistants work together to make sure that a care plan tailored for your unique needs can be created if you have any more questions about the benefits of getting a massage.