Weighted Blankets For Fibromyalgia – Can They Help Relieve The Pain?
If you ever asked yourself what it’s like to live with fibromyalgia let me try describe it to you in the most straightforward way there is. Article Contents
Restless nights, exhausting days, stress, and depression. This disease is vile and will try to break you. Your every day will begin with pain; you will lose appetite and sleep.
You will feel like you are some other person like this is not your life anymore, and that will frustrate you the most.
So if you are freshly diagnosed with fibromyalgia, don’t despair, I wrote this article to help you understand your condition better.
There are a few remedies that can help you overcome your troubles easier. Exercise, try to improve the quality of your diet, meditate, and stay positive.
One of the most frequent questions on the topic is – can a weighted blanket help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms?
After helping a lot of people, I decided to write this article to help anyone who’s in this dilemma.
A weighted blanket is actually one of my favorite remedies for fibromyalgia. It will comfort you and make you feel relax.
If you travel, you can pack it and easily take it with you, and the great thing is that it will help your body to produce more serotonin without struggle or physical efforts.
Let’s delve deeper into the topic and explain the answer in detail.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, also called FMS, is a long-term health disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain in your body. This pain is accompanied by sleep issues, memory issues, mood issues, and fatigue.
Fibromyalgia is affecting the way your brain processes pain signals by amplifying painful sensations. This means that the brain’s pain reactors developed some memory of the pain and become more sensitive, and that leads to overreacting to pain signals.
Symptoms are usually triggered with some physical trauma, infection, surgery, or stress, but sometimes signs can gradually accumulate over time without any particular reason.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms include:
Widespread pain – this pain is often described as a constant dull ache that lasts for at least three months. The pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below the waist to be considered as widespread pain.
Cognitive difficulties – this symptom is usually called ”fibro fog,” and it can reduce your ability to focus.
Fatigue – when you have fibromyalgia, you will often wake up tired. Your sleep will be disrupted with pain, sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome.
This disease often co-exists with some of these painful disorders:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
How Can Fibromyalgia Impact Your Life?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disease, and it will be involved in every aspect of your life- work, social activities, love life, household chores, family life, and rest time.
The disease is more diagnosed with women, which can cause some problems during pregnancy. Some usual pregnancy complaints like fatigue, mood swings, and stress that are caused by hormonal changes may be worse if you have fibromyalgia.
Unfortunately, this disease is tough to diagnose because it is similar to several other disorders. Usually, it takes around five years for a patient to get the fibromyalgia diagnosed because there is no test that doctors can use.
Process of diagnosing the fibromyalgia includes elimination to rule out the other disorders. Also, doctors can diagnose the fibromyalgia when a patient feels pain at 11 or more of 18 identified fibromyalgia pain points (neck, elbows, hips,etc.).
In addition to main symptoms I mentioned earlier, common symptoms are gastrointestinal issues, jaw pain and stiffness, painful menstrual periods, frequent urination, tingling and numbness in the extremities, sensitivity to hot and cold, dry mouth, eyes and nose, and insomnia.
The patients that are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are often misunderstood, so they are prone to depression and anxiety, which can interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job.
Are There Any Treatments For Fibromyalgia?
Sadly, doctors still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, and currently, there is no cure for this chronic pain disease.
Here is the list of available fibromyalgia treatments:
- Medication – There are treatments to help you relieve some of the symptoms and make your life a bit easier such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, and painkillers, but still all theses drugs have some side effects. Some of the most common side effects include nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, hypertension, weight gain.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and counseling – This is a kind of talking and support therapy that will help you understand and change the way you think about the problems you are facing.
- Lifestyle changes – If you are looking for a drug-free approach, you should try this kind of therapy. This kind of treatment requires an overall lifestyle change. You need to incorporate a regular exercise routine, a healthy diet, increase the use of essential oils, and certain vitamins like vitamin D.
- Alternative therapies – This includes acupuncture, chiropractic care, manipulation, and aromatherapy. All of this can help you in the long term.
- Boosting serotonin – Many types of research showed that boosting serotonin will significantly reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. One of the best ways to increase serotonin is by using the weighted blanket.
How Can A Weighted Blanket Help With Fybromyalgia?
Weighted blankets can have a positive impact on anxiety, sleep, autism, sensory issues, PTSD and ADHD. They offer proprioceptive or deep touch pressure to the body that helps release serotonin. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate some brain functions.
Here are a few ways that weighted blanket can help you reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia:
Weighted blankets help to boost production of oxytocin which is sometimes referred to as the ”happiness hormone”. Naturally, oxytocin can be released while having a long run but when you suffer from this kind of disease it’s obvious that sometimes you just can’t make yourself do it, so that is when the weighted blanket steps in to help.
Hugs can help too. While hugging, your body releases the oxytocin in your blood, which will make you feel relaxed and more at ease. So, weighted blanket imitates the warmth and the security that a hug can provide, giving the sense of repose that allows your body to relax and sleep better.
Reduce Tiredness And Fatigue
Chronic fatigue is one of the most annoying symptoms of fibromyalgia. And when combined with insomnia, you will always feel exhausted and not able to go through your everyday routine.
A weighted blanket will help you resolve this problem. It will help you fall asleep faster and experience more recuperative sleep. I already mentioned how, when using the weighted blanket, your body will produce more serotonin, but at the same time, your body will significantly reduce the production of cortisol during the night. This will help you improve your sleep routine and reduce pain.
Ease Anxiety And Stress
Patients that suffer from fibromyalgia experience depression, stress, and anxiety every day. The more anxiety and stress you experience through the day, you will have more difficulties to overcome those feelings through the night.
When you use a weighted blanket, you will easily break the symptoms of anxiety and stress. The blanket will provide gentle pressure on your body and stimulate a hug, which will help you stay calm and relaxed during your sleep.
Help Manage Pain
This symptom is, by far the most problematic one. While in pain, you are not able to focus and function properly. Understandably, many patients will reach out for painkillers, but don’t forget that every kind of medication has side effects too.
A weighted blanket will help you reduce pain with deep pressure touch stimulation. This way, you will relax your nervous system and reach a calm state easier.
Reduce Depression Symptoms
Simply said – If you are tired of using antidepressants, please consider buying a weighted blanket.
All those hormones I mentioned earlier in this article will help you feel much better and will keep your depression under control.
With patients that suffer from fibromyalgia levels of serotonin are often very low. Seratonin is very important because it is the natural mood stabilizer and will help you eat, digest, and sleep better.
So every natural way that will help you boost serotonin production is your new best friend.
How To Choose Your Weighted Blanket?
A weighted blanket is a thick heavy blanket. So when you are about to purchase a weighted quilt you must consider the weight that will fit you the best. They can weight anywhere from 5 to 25 pounds.
The widely accepted rule is that the blanket should weight around 10% of your body weight plus one or two pounds. Of course, the size changes with the weight too (the twenty-pound blanket will be longer than the five-pound blanket).
The fabric is very important too – especially if you have some kind of sensory issues, but it is up to your preference. Blankets are made out of soft cotton or from minky dotted fabric.
That leads us to the part that is essential too, is your potential weighted blanket machine-washable or you need to take it to dry cleaning.
When it comes to the fillings that are used for weighing down the blanket most use poly-pellets and glass beads. Remember to choose a blanket that has pockets so this way you will prevent beads from moving through the blanket and weight will be distributed evenly.
Always make sure you are well informed about washing your blanket and how to properly take care of it.
First, always remember that fibromyalgia can’t rule your life if you don’t allow it.
You need to learn how to live with the condition. Just keep yourself surrounded with people that will send you a lot of positive energy and support and go easy, day by day.
Of course, some days will be harder than others but don’t let that ruin your spirit.
”I made it through another day” will be the most common sentence you will use, but don’t let that depress you, better use that sentence as a reminder of how strong you are.
I wish you all the best, and if you have a question or a comment, don’t hesitate to share it below! Share this article with a friend who suffers from fibromyalgia, or knows someone in this state – you’ll help them a lot!
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