Monday, December 30, 2019

6 Fibro Musings: A Look Back As We Look Forward

As the New Year begins, I give thanks for the wonderful work of advocates and fellow bloggers who have shared valuable information that helps me in my own journey.

Following are some of the top trending blogs here on The Pained Ink Slayer. I hope this look back will help you find something you can use in the upcoming year.

…what four things can we do to spiff up our attitude and claim our stake in the power of positivity?

 “What am I doing, or not doing, that adds to my misery?” “How can I identify and manage perpetuating or aggravating factors?”…

A myofascial trigger point (MTrP) is a “self-sustaining” hyper-irritable area of muscle fiber in a taut band of muscle that is felt as a nodule or bump… Note: Trigger points are not tender points, however, chronic myofascial pain can and often does co-occur with fibromyalgia.

There is sufficient evidence to correlate dysautonomia and fibromyalgia.
*5 Things You Should Know About Dysautonomia If You Have Fibromyalgia, originally appeared on ProHealth.

Research tells us symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon occur in fibromyalgia patients.

…heroes are people I admire for their tenacity and their ability to show gratitude despite facing significant obstacles…

Note: Archived blogs are in the right column of this page, links to access Celeste’s freelance articles are in the header tab Celeste’s Publications, and this particular blog will be in the header tab Fibro Musings.

Happy New Year!

Previous Fibro Musings

In healing,

Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Baby It IS Cold Outside: What You Should Know About Raynaud’s And Fibromyalgia

When Color Hurts

It is getting cold outside. Sure, it isn’t frigid everywhere, but it is seasonably colder this time of the year. Those of us with fibromyalgia who also experience Raynaud’s symptoms understand we are at a higher risk of an attack. What is the connection, are there other triggers, and is there anything we can do?

Research tells us symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon occur in fibromyalgia patients. However, there are differences in some observations between the primary Raynaud’s group (those without a co-occurring disorder that would explain the phenomenon) and the secondary Raynaud’s group (which in this case includes subjects with fibromyalgia).  I am not sure where those of us diagnosed with primary Raynaud’s decades before being diagnosed with fibromyalgia belong on this spectrum, but I am also not sure it matters. So, let’s look more at what it is and how we can manage the symptoms.


“When [Raynaud’s] occurs by itself, it is called Raynaud’s disease, or primary Raynaud’s phenomenon. When it occurs along with other diseases, such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, Sjogren’s syndrome, or mixed connective tissue disease, it is called secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon.”Cooper and Miller, 2010, pg. 106-107


A defining characteristic of Raynaud's is that it mostly affects the fingers, nose and toes, though it can affect other areas of the body like the ears and nipples. The symptoms of Raynaud’s most commonly occur when exposed to cold, though it can also be triggered by anxiety or stress.

During an attack skin color often changes from pale to blue, and turns red during re-warming, though fibromyalgia patients are more likely to exhibit only pallor.  If you have it, you know we also experience extreme numbness during the acute phase. This puts us at a greater risk for frost bite and reminds us why we should pay close attention. I carry gloves with me year round because so many places keep it cold, particularly grocery stores where we are also handling cold meat and frozen foods.

Picture is Courtesy of

It is suspected that the nerves to the blood vessels cause them to spasm. These vasospasms affect our microcirculation and deprive our small blood vessels (capillaries) of blood and oxygen, hence pale or blue color changes. As blood vessels relax during re-warming, redness of the skin occurs. This phase is frequently associated with extreme incapacitating pain, stinging and/or burning. If you have Raynaud’s, you know there is no mistaking the symptoms.

*Symptoms of Raynaud’s should not be confused with feeling cold, which is often associated with fibromyalgia.  Cold intolerance could be due to an upset in our neuro-endocrine system, and could be attributed to autonomic effects of fibromyalgia or hypothyroidism.

Your doctor may order a cold stimulation test, a nail fold capillaroscopy, or vascular ultrasound to make the diagnosis and determine if Raynaud’s is primary or secondary.

Treatment goals:

·        Re-warm slowly.
·        Protect fingers, toes and nose from cold exposure to prevent frostbite and skin ulcers.
·        Avoid emotional stress.
·        Avoid alcohol, particularly when you know you will be exposed to cold.
·        Don’t smoke.
·        Avoid use of tools that vibrate the hands.
·        Myofascial trigger point (MTrP) nerve entrapment can worsen symptoms of Raynaud’s, so check MTrPs associated with the referral patterns to the affected area. Check out this great article at Continuing Professional Education.
·        Vasodilator type medications may be indicated in severe cases.
·        There are certain medications to avoid if you have Raynaud’s, so be sure to consult with your physician or pharmacist.

Report any unusual symptoms or skin breakdown to your physician immediately.

Additional Reading:

In healing,

Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Disclosure

The Federal Trade Commission requires that I disclose relationships with companies for which I receive a commission as a reviewer, influencer, affiliate, advocate, or sponsor of an advertised product.

For you to know:

·        I only promote products after a full and honest review that results in easing my chronic pain and/or other symptoms.

·        These products are given to me for such review.

·        If you purchase products via a link I provide or use my unique discount code, I receive a small commission with no additional cost to you. There are certain conditions that must be met as part of my relationship with these companies. As an example, a product purchased via a third party site is not eligible for affiliate/advocate discounts, and more than one code may not be used at the same time. Such restrictions are at the discretion of the company involved and are generally customary.

·        The affiliate links or discount codes and comments I share via The Pained Ink Slayer, my Facebook profile and/or page Integrative Books, Articles and Advocacy for Chronic Pain and Illness, Twitter, Instagram, or Pintrest are for products I recommend based on my personal experiences. I cannot guarantee others will have the same results, though I certainly hope so or I would not promote them.

·        Affiliate posts will be identified as a “Paid Partnership with [brand],” “[brand] Partner,” “advertisement,” “ad,” “sponsored,” etc. and must be stated in all posts according to the FTC. Paid affiliations between a company and a sponsor/partner must be disclosed regardless if a particular post is connected to a commission.

I give my honest opinion for products I have found useful for me personally and I have a paid partnership with the companies of the products I advertise.

Monday, December 2, 2019

5 Essential Fibro Tips For Managing The Holiday Hustle And Bustle


5 Essential Fibro Tips For Managing The Holiday Hustle And Bustle originally appeared December 5, 2018 on ProHealth, here. It is with ProHealth’s permission that I am sharing it in its entirety here on The Pained Ink Slayer.

The holiday season is about to provide us a break in our usual routine, but for those of us living with fibromyalgia, that can upset our apple cart. The very nature of fibromyalgia is its unpredictability, which means we must pace with vigilance. How can we use critical thinking, planning, and problem solving to meet our goals this holiday?

1) Manage time effectively. The first step to maximizing our time and energy is to evaluate how we managed our time last year. Are there things we planned well that we should continue and other things we could have managed better? For instance, was time spent shopping for family, planning meals, caring for children or parents balanced? To avoid the unwanted consequences of stress, we can:
  • Estimate how long a project has taken in the past and include provisions for known roadblocks.
  • Take rest periods. Set a timer if necessary.
  • Maximize stress management techniques like T’ai Chi, meditation or other tools known to minimize the fibromyalgia stress response.
  • Employ manageable segments of time and be realistic based on previous experiences.
  • A realistic plan helps us avoid procrastination, overdoing and unnecessary anxiety.

2) Keep to a bedtime ritual. Dysfunctional or not, seven hours of sleep is still better than two hours. Avoid the temptation to finish something before going to bed—back to tip number one. Our body needs rest to boost our immune system, which is under assault during the holidays and the flu season. SLUMBER is a helpful acronym for sleep hygiene.
  • Schedule bedtime. Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Limit physical activity during late evening to avoid surges in neuro-chemicals that interfere with sleep.
  • Use comfort measures such as sleeping in a dark, quiet room. Currently, there are reports that weighted blankets can help us. Hmmm, maybe this is something to go on our gift list.
  • Meditate or pray.
  • Breathe. Practicing focused breathing provides relaxation for our brain and body.
  • Eliminate food, alcohol, carbonated beverages and large amounts of water before going to bed. This is not only good sleep hygiene, it is particularly important since so many of us have irritable bowel syndrome or GERD. Holiday temptations are everywhere.
  • Remember nothing—clear your mind of tomorrow’s list by writing it down in your journal or putting it on your calendar. I have lost sleep over things that resolved on their own without any intervention by me. Now, I turn my phone off at 8 p.m. and my family and friends know it. It will wait for tomorrow. 

·     3) Monitor our surroundings. Many of us are known to lose perception of where our body is in the space around us, referred to as a loss of proprioception. I have plenty of bruises to prove it and I imagine you may too. This loss of “proprioception” heightens our need to monitor our surroundings as we decorate or attend a holiday celebrations. Christmas trees, Menorahs, Kwanzaa candles, decorative statues, gifts, and spaces crowded with things and people can be a hazard for us.

4) Avoid known triggers. If there is something that turns our world upside down when we do it, we have options.
  • Don’t do it.
  • Solicit help.
  • Negotiate by trading tasks for what we can do.
  • Be aware of past roadblocks. For instance, if standing for prolonged periods while making holiday goodies or getting up and down on a ladder or foot stool to decorate causes lingering negative effects, consider plausible alternatives.
  • Back to tip one, plan for extra time to manage trigger avoidance. 
5) Practice good health measures through the holiday season. 
  • Stay hydrated. It’s easy to forget we need more water when drinking holiday spirits and carbonated beverages that frequent the holiday table.
  • Minimize the effects of cold exposure on muscles by doing warm up and stretching exercises.
  • Keep dry skin, eyes, and nasal membranes moisturized to minimize the effects of cold weather and cold viruses.
  • Eat foods you know you tolerate.
  • Dress for comfort.
  • Take pleasure in soothing activities, such as listening to holiday music or sitting by a fireplace while drinking a warm cup of herbal tea, cider, or hot chocolate. 
  • Appreciate the season of fellowship and all it has to offer us mentally and spiritually. Focusing on what we have lifts our spirits, promotes balance, and minimizes the effects fibromyalgia has on our immune system, our pain processing, fatigue, and cognitive problems.     

So this year as we confront the holiday hustle and bustle, gather with friends and family, practice rituals and traditions, and enjoy the feelings only the holidays can bring. Let’s do better, and let’s pace through the perils of fibro together.

In healing,

Celeste Cooper, RN / Author, Freelancer, Advocate

Think adversity?-See opportunity!

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Learn more about Celeste’s books here. Subscribe to posts by using the information in the upper right hand corner or use the share buttons to share with others. 

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
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