Pain control and lack of sleep are part of having fibromyalgia. Pain control and lack of sleep are two of the most frustrating things to deal with when you have fibromyalgia. Pain control and lack of sleep are undoubtedly the two most talked about symptoms of fibromyalgia.
There are, of course, several other symptoms that go with fibromyalgia but have you ever considered that a lot of them are brought on by the lack of pain control and lack of sleep? Those who have had fibro for a while have probably figured this out already but for the newcomers to our community it might still be a question.
For instance; when a person with fibromyalgia can’t get the pain under control they can’t, or at least feel they can’t, exercise. They feel miserable and the very thought of moving makes them want to crawl under the covers and stay there. When someone with fibromyalgia doesn’t exercise the pain actually can get worse. There are several theories on how much exercise fibromyalgia people should get. They range from ‘ten minutes a day is better than nothing’ to ‘you HAVE to do at least 30 minutes a day to get any benefit’. Well folks, I say it depends on the day. There are days when you might feel like doing 30 minutes of mild exercise. Other days ten minutes might be all your body will allow. Listen to your body but do SOMETHING every day. Exercise keeps your sore muscles limber and less painful so even if you have to break your exercise into several short spurts during the day – do it. You might find you sleep better if you do some exercise everyday too.
There are many medications that can be taken to control fibro pain. They range from old fashioned aspirin to narcotic pain killers. You might find that some days you can get by on ibuprofen, Tylenol, Advil, or plain aspirin. Other days you might need something more like tramadol, hydrocodone, or oxycontin. As with exercise the type of pain relief you need depends on the severity of your pain. Remember to talk to your doctor before mixing over the counter pain relief with any prescriptions you might have. Some combinations can cause serious side effects. Keep talking to your doctor until you come up with a combination that works for you in most circumstances. There will probably always be days when nothing helps.
Lack of sleep. One of the biggest plagues to those with fibromyalgia. Again, I’m not telling the old timers anything new. Lack of sleep can cause a multitude of problems. It can bring on brain fog, more pain, and more stiffness. It can affect your daily performance and your mood in general.
If you find you can’t sleep or can’t stay asleep there are a number of things you can try. Herbal solutions are becoming more popular rather than relying on sleeping pills from your doctor. Melatonin has been around forever. Melatonin is created naturally in our bodies and decreases as we age. Taking 5 mg each night about an hour before bed could help you sleep better. GABA is an amino acid that could help too. This amino acid is also found in the brain and a study done in 2008 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston indicates that taking 250 – 1,000 mg 45 minutes before bed can help you sleep better. L-tryptophan can be taken in doseages of 500 – 3,000 mg 30 minutes before bed. This is the amino acid found in poultry that makes you sleepy after a heavy meal. One caution with this one. Don’t combine it with an antidepressant without talking to your doctor. L-theanine is great for reducing stress, improving sleep quality, not leaving you drowsy or diminished in any way. Try taking 200 – 500 mg one to three times a day. It can be taken alone or with GABA.
Yes, pain control and lack of sleep are very difficult to deal with. A lot of it is trial and error on your part and your doctor’s. Remember to talk to your doctor before trying anything new so you can avoid any interactions.