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Posts Tagged ‘stiffness’

Oh the Pain

September 29th, 2010

web-icon GrainI haven’t felt this bad in a while and I can only attribute my latest fibro flare to my mishap at the dentist’s office on Monday. Having felt bad all day, I decided to take some benadryl to see if that would help. If anything I think it made the situation worse. Then yesterday I had a horrible migraine which I think was triggered by taking my class on a field trip to a 3D IMAX film. Not sure if it was wearing the 3D glasses or I noticed fumes on the bus ride back to the school. I took some ibuprofen and that just increased my stiffness. I can barely walk today. If there is anything that has helped you get through an episode, I am open to suggestions. I’ve tried stretching, walking, a steaming hot bath and nothing is touching the pain. I simply cannot miss another day of work this week.

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Sleeping on a Cloud

September 8th, 2010

So today is my birthday, and I just happened to convince my hubby that a worthwhile birthday present would be a new mattress. My current pillow-top is sagging in the middle and the old springs just aren’t doing my Fibromyalgia flares any favors. My birthday just happens to coincide with the biggest week for mattress sales, Labor Day Weekend. I spent two days going around to several stores that were featuring half-price mattresses just to get the best deal.

Bargain shopping for a mattress is tricky. You want to make sure you are getting the best value, which does not equal the cheapest bed. I argued with my loving hubby about a bed being an investment, and he told me that it isn’t really an investment because beds depreciate in value even faster than cars. The Better Sleep Council has this to say about the matter:

Considering that you’ll probably be using your bed more than any other product you own – including your car, TV, computer or cell phone – the mattress you sleep on is one of the best cost-per-day values on the market today.1

While my husband argued that he needed a new car, I argued that I needed a good night’s sleep and that he would benefit from one too. If I tell you I spent $1,200 dollars on a mattress set, that certainly sounds frivolous. My husband could buy another clunker to drive around town with that. But he probably would only spend about an hour or two a day driving his car, when we both will hopefully be getting 8 hours of blissful sleep each night in our new bed. This works out to cost about $3 per day for the next year, which really seems like a drop in the bucket for something we will most likely be using for the next 10 years. However you choose to justify this expense, it really is a worthwhile investment to healing your body. Quality sleep is essential for Fibromyalgia sufferers.

If you have determined that you are ready to invest in your health by purchasing a quality mattress, I’m sure you are wondering by now which bed I chose. With so many different brands on the market, it was mind boggling to do research and exhausting to walk into stores and lay around in beds for two days straight. First let me discuss my research. Before I even stepped foot into a mattress store I searched Google using the keywords, Fibromyalgia and Mattress. Sure enough there are other people out there recommending specific mattresses for people with Fibro and/or Arthritis. What is hard is to discern between someone that is looking to sell you a mattress, versus another Fibromate that is just sharing information.

The Sleep Doctor has a lot to say about mattress shopping. He cautions that people shouldn’t put off buying a replacement mattress just because it is expensive and it isn’t fun. While Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort are among the top dogs, Dr. Michael J. Breus says that what you feel most comfortable sleeping on is the most important thing.2 You really should take your own pillow and lay on each bed for a minimum of ten minutes on each side, and on your back. If you are a stomach sleeper, make sure you lay that way too. Pay attention to any pressure points and make sure that your lower back is not sagging in the bed.

The most recommended bed for Fibromyalgia was the Tempur-Pedic, or comparable memory foam bed.3 Also mentioned were air beds like the Select Comfort Sleep Number bed. While one of my coworkers said that her specific Sleep Number was difficult to find, but now that her Sleep Number bed is properly adjusted she loves it. I didn’t see any of these out at the stores to try, and I simply wasn’t going to buy a bed without spending some time laying in it. This was simply too expensive of a purchase to buy sight unseen.

I started by laying in a Sealy Posturepedic, because when I went in for my sleep study I slept great and that was the type of bed that they had in the sleep lab. I thought I wanted a pillowtop posturepedic because it was more affordable and it was something that I slept well in when I was actually being monitored for disruptive sleep patterns. I felt like this was a quality bed, but I kind of felt like the Princess and the Pea. Even though the innersprings were covered in foam or fluff, the bed felt uneven and my lower back would droop like I was laying in a hammock.

After trying out a few different brands of pillowtops, including a $3,000 overpriced Sleep to Live bed by Kingsdown, I started truly considering memory foam. I was nervous about foam because of my chemical sensitivity, but my mom has a Tempur-Pedic and I have taken a couple of great naps on her bed. I was afraid to spend that kind of money, but I believe Tempur-Pedic has some type of comfort guarentee. They have a new line called the TEMPUR-Cloud that is almost $3,000 for a King size and I made the mistake of laying in it. It really is like I imagine sleeping in heaven. For someone with Fibromyalgia, it is truly a dream come true. No pressure points and the new foam is suppose to wick away some of the heat. The foam responds really well to your movement. There is still a sinking feeling, but when you shift positions the foam springs back more quickly. One of the biggest complaints of the older Tempur-Pedic model is that it sleeps hot because the foam retains your body heat. My mom loves this feature because it helps keep her warm.

At less than half the price, I ended up choosing the Simmons Comforpedic Loft which has NxG memory foam that is also pretty responsive to your movement and also helps wick away some of your body heat. Rumor has it that a couple of employees of Tempur-Pedic left to work for Simmons and the Comforpedic was born. I actually preferred the Comforpedic to the original Tempur-Pedic. While I won’t be sleeping on a cloud, I will definitely be floating off to dreamland.

My husband had me lay on my stomach with my face in the foam to see if I had a reaction to the chemicals in the foam. I didn’t in the store, but that bed has been sitting on the floor out-gassing for lord knows how long. Hopefully I won’t have a reaction to the foam in a new bed. I’ll definitely post an update after I have slept in the bed for a week. I’m very excited about my purchase, and I can’t wait for my new bed to arrive this weekend. I only wish it could have been delivered today! Happy Birthday to me.

Further Reading

Better Sleep Guide

Buying a Mattress for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Beds

Going to the Mattresses: How to Cut through the Marketing Gimmicks of Sealy, Serta and the Rest

Knowing What to Shop for while Mattress Shopping Will Bring You Sweet Dreams

Tricks of the Trade: Shopping for a Mattress

UPDATE: See my Review of the Simmons Comforpedic

  1. Better Sleep Council []
  2. Huffington Post []
  3. Fibromyalgia Pain Relief and Memory Foam []

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Lip Smacker

March 5th, 2010

Lip Smacker It was the tropical punch, and it delivered a knock-out blow to my lips. I do not use chapstick very often and I rarely wear makeup, so I have given no thought to gluten being contained in these products.

My thoughtlessness had severe consequences today when I reached into my desk drawer and grabbed a lip smacker to moisten my dry lips. I instantly started coughing and my lips were tingling. I ran to wash the product off of my lips, but it was too late. I came home with a headache and decided to lay down. I woke up with a swollen tongue, numb lips, and facial muscles so stiff that I thought I had a bad case of lock jaw. Over a period of a few hours the stiffness has crept back into my arms and legs. I am well on my way to a full Fibromyalgia flare because of a little wheat germ oil in this flavored chapstick.

I am wondering if anyone out there has had a similar reaction. I cannot get over how sensitive I was to the product and how quickly I reacted to it.  Am I definitely reacting to the wheat? They are so cute, but I think I will be finding some Burt’s Bees or using Vasoline the next time my lips are dry.

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Cleaning Out My Pantry

February 28th, 2010


I have been feeling so refreshed that last night I spent time cleaning out all of the wheat products from my pantry. There were tears and mixed emotions. On one hand, I am happy to have finally found something that gives me some relief from the pain and fatigue of Fibromyalgia. On the other hand, I am sad that I will never again eat Coco Wheats, Wheat Thins or Pringles. So I spent some time grieving the loss of some of my favorite foods. I think that these are normal feelings for those of us launching ourselves into the unknown territory of the gluten-free world.

Today we traveled to see some relatives to celebrate a family birthday. Normally the hour drive would have left me stiff, tired and suffering from muscle spasms. Upon arriving at our destination, I felt none of these things. I felt relaxed and had energy to participate in family activities. This is something new.

I shared the food items I pulled from the pantry with the family and mourned the loss of some of my favorite foods. I was also able to share the joy I feel about finally finding something that gives me some relief. I spent time explaining what gluten is and what new foods I am starting to eat. Then the family ordered Pizza Hut and I made my own pizza using Kinnikinnick’s Pizza crust. It was yummy, but I still had to hear my son talking about how yummy his cheese pizza was and hear comments about the quality of the bread sticks. Oh how do I miss bread.

When it came time for the birthday cake I could tell my sister-in-law, Tracey, felt bad that I wouldn’t be able to share. I did bring some gluten-free cookies to eat while everyone else was having cake. Tracey pulled out the ice cream and I exclaimed, “I might be able to eat that!” Then on closer inspection, it contained Maltodextrin, an ingredient that might contain gluten. So I ate my cookies and enjoyed the company anyway. It is always fun to get together with family.

While I am sad about the things I can’t eat, I know that these things are making me sick. They are like a poison and I will never go back and consume. I am finding new foods that have interesting flavors and textures to add to my pantry. Soon I will have new favorites that I hope to share with all my fellow fibromates that are considering going gluten-free.

Since beginning to avoid foods that contain gluten, I have felt better everyday than the day before. I pray that my body continues to heal as I follow this new way of living.

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