Fibromyalgia Remission: How I Got Here

What Worked for Me

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After a long, slow build-up, I developed full-blown fibromyalgia in 2006. It knocked me down hard.

It took about 6 months for me to get a diagnosis, which is (sadly) pretty fast for someone with this illness. It was another 6 months before I saw any kind of meaningful relief. From there, I climbed bit by bit toward where I am now -- long-term remission.

I haven't had a true fibromyalgia flare-up since 2010, in spite of multiple possible triggering events including emotional trauma, surgeries, and a nasty case of the flu.

Some symptoms have hung around (see Fibromyalgia Remission: Lingering Symptoms), but they're not disabling.

So how did I get here? It was a long, twisty road full of obstacles and set backs, but here's what has worked for me:

  1. Endometrial Ablation: This was the first thing that helped. My flares followed my hormonal cycle, beginning at ovulation and then tapering off during periods. My OB/GYN suggested this procedure for painful, erratic periods and said the hormonal change could help as well. Did it ever! Flares became less severe, less frequent and shorter. However, I was still largely disabled.
  2. Acupuncture: My rheumatologist is trained in acupuncture and suggested it for my myofascial pain syndrome. She wasn't sure whether it would help with fibromyalgia symptoms, but it did. However, I can't say whether it was a direct effect or a secondary effect of treating my many painful trigger points.
  1. Supplements: I tried drugs and had horrible side effects, so I've put a lot of time into finding supplements that work for me. I've tried a few dozen, but the ones I've stuck with include rhodiola rosea, theanine, Omega 3, carnitine, vitamin D, a vitamin B complex, lysine, magnesium, milk thistle and turmeric.
  1. Lifestyle Changes: The biggest change was leaving my full-time job as a TV news producer. The drop in stress helped right away. I also learned to simplify, ration my energy, and say no. The way I've done household tasks (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) has also changed significantly.
  2. Sleep Study: My sleep study diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, and getting that treated made a huge difference in the quality of my sleep -- which in turn improved my overall health. I still struggle with insomnia and other sleep problems (as I have my whole life,) but so far I haven't found effective treatments for them.

I hope you understand that no treatment regimen works for all of us -- each case is unique, and it takes a lot of trial and error to find the right combination of treatments. However, the more we share information the better armed we are to fight back against fibromyalgia.

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