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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Davis, LMT, CNMT

"Managing Fibromyalgia: Self-Care Tips and Resources from a Massage Therapist"

Image of hands holding a purple ribbon for Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia resources and tips.

Recently, I shared part of my story about being a massage therapist with Fibromyalgia. My passion for caring for women with chronic pain partially comes from learning how to manage my own. I believe it makes me a better massage therapist, with a deep well from which to draw empathy for my clients who come to me to seek care, guidance, and help managing and healing their own pain. If you want to read more of my story, you can do that by clicking the image above.

In this post, I will be sharing some resources and self care tips that I've honed in my own management of this chronic pain condition, as well as some things I regularly recommend to my clients. Many of these are helpful for folks who experience migraine attacks, and other chronic pain as well.

Photo of the cover of The Fibro Manual by Ginevra Liptan, MD.

First, is The Fibro Manual by Dr. Ginevra Liptan. Written by a medical doctor who is an expert in Fibromyalgia treatment, and also has a Fibro diagnosis, this is such a helpful guide to help understand what the condition is, and how to communicate with your doctor about treatment options.

Screenshot of the website: the Mighty

Second, is a website called The Mighty. Fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions can feel really isolating and lonely. It can be really difficult feeling like no one in your immediate circle can understand how you're feeling. The Mighty offers online community with support, and opportunities to share how you experience your condition.

Fibromyalgia Podcast

Third, is the Fibromyalgia Podcast. If you're more of a podcast person, or if you're having a low day where you maybe can't look at a screen or read a book, but you want support, this podcast is a great resource. You can find it almost anywhere you listen to podcasts, and the website always has the entire episode in the show notes, because Fibro Fog is real!

Fourth, is a list of items and tips that I use regularly. As my pain is better managed, and as it evolves, these tips and products have, and will, continue to change. I will not be linking everything in this list, it would take a million years! If you want a specific link to something you see in this list, comment below!

  1. Self massage tools: massage cupping jars, spiky foot rolling balls, smooth tennis/lacrosse balls, foam roller, massage stick, gua sha tool, TheraGun, yoga wheel, etc. Heck, I have even been known to use a regular old rolling pin!

  2. Topicals: sometimes, interrupting the pain signals going to your brain is what you need before you can focus on massage or exercise. That's when topicals come in handy: my current go-tos are: any kind of pain patch, and Dr. Bronner's Organic Magic Balm with Arnica and Menthol.

  3. Tending to my sensory profile: okay, this one will be different for everyone, but personally, I'm talking about wearing clothing that is comfortable (I will almost always put form above function here), shoes that are comfortable, I have lotion with me at all times, I carry Loopz ear plugs to mitigate loud/disruptive/painful sounds, and I have sunglasses with me if I'm out to manage the amount of light I'm exposed to. At home, I'm using lamps instead of overhead lights.

  4. I have ice packs and heating pads at home that I use regularly as needed. I also have a travel neck heating pad that plugs into USB that I use on car/plane trips.

  5. Always travel with whatever you might need to manage pain. A mantra I've been living by for the last couple of years is: "The more I accommodate my needs, the better I am." Because it might be uncomfortable to take up space when you start accommodating yourself, especially in public, or around folks who don't understand your diagnosis, but when you do, you heal. You can show up and be the person you want to be in your life.

  6. Work with massage therapists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, physical therapists, primary care providers, chiropractors, etc. that make you feel heard and validated. Your experience of your pain is real.

Okay, that wraps up my summary list of resources and tips for Fibromyalgia management and healing. What would you add?

Photo of Samantha Davis, LMT owner of Louisville Prenatal Massage


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