Fibromyalgia is a disorder, which affects millions of people around the world. As there is no definitive cause pinpointed yet, the only standard treatment available is to minimize symptoms.
The medical disorder often visible with chronic fatigue, joint pain, muscle stiffness, chronic pain, and sleep disturbances. Weighted blankets are an effective way to treat physical discomfort, stress, lack of sleep and various other symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is accompanied by other stress-related disorder leaving the affected person by depression and anxiety.
Medications are often prescribed to fight common symptoms like muscle pain, lack of concentration, insomnia, and anxiety along with exercise and physical therapy. Weighted blankets are an effective tool to treat physical discomfort, stress, and irregular sleep in people with fibromyalgia.
Despite being one of the common health conditions affecting muscles and bones, people fail to understand fibromyalgia in the early stage. For the same reason, most fibromyalgia patients suffer for a year before receiving a diagnosis. A large percentage of patients are women, and it is quite challenging to diagnose as it closely resembles conditions like bursitis, tendinitis, and osteoarthritis.
While these conditions affect a specific part of the body, fibromyalgia affects the whole body and shows symptoms of widespread pain and muscle stiffness. As it is a pain-related disease, it takes a toll on a patient’s life as you feel continually achy and tired. However, the good news is that relief of symptoms and recovery is possible.
How can fibromyalgia be treated?
Fibromyalgia is a condition with no cure, but specific therapies along with self-care and medication work well for managing the symptoms associated with it. Treating the condition when the chronic pain kicks in can help to minimize the symptoms and improve the overall well-being of sufferers. A person who has fibromyalgia succumb to different symptoms, and various treatment is found to be beneficial in easing pain instead of a single treatment.
Incorporating the use of weighted blankets along with any of these treatment can help managing chronic pain and stress associated with fibromyalgia.
Some of the popular treatments are:
Taking regular physical therapy sessions with a professional therapist can help manage fibromyalgia through relaxation exercises to relieve muscle stiffness and fatigue. As a person with fibromyalgia often gets little rest, change of lifestyle and incorporating more physical activity and systematic exercise allows them to focus on improving muscle functions. Sometimes, exercising can be painful when you start with it, but including physical exercises in your daily routine can gradually reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
As a fibromyalgia sufferer, if you find it is difficult to focus on regular activities at work or school, having occupational therapy done by experts can help you to make adjustments to reduce the stress on your body and to improve muscle functioning.
Dealing with a condition like fibromyalgia is quite tricky and traumatic due to severe pain, which affects your physical, emotional and psychological health. People with Fibromyalgia often have difficulties in managing anger and frustration when pain strikes and seeking a counseling session can help you to deal with stressful events in life.
Though there is no single medicine to cure fibromyalgia, doctors often prescribe different pain relievers to manage chronic pain in suffers. For severe pain, doctors recommend strong medications that are not advised to take for an extended period.
There are other different methods of pain management in alternative medication like massage therapy, acupuncture, tai chi, and yoga, which can be incorporated, in your daily routine to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. All these alternate methods are to improve sufferers overall lifestyle to manage stress and reduce pain.
During the time of chronic pain, self-care is the essential thing, which is inevitable to manage fibromyalgia. Home remedies like deep breathing exercises, natural ways of pain relieving and meditation are beneficial to reduce pain and improve the mood of a fibromyalgia patient. Using weighted blankets for relaxation when you are in pain, or an anxious mood also works excellent.
What is a weighted blanket and how it helps fibromyalgia patients?
A weighted blanket is just that- a heavy blanket with weights placed inside. The added weight is sewn into the blanket to dispense a gentle pressure over the body or to a localized point like back or shoulders. Weighted blankets offer deep pressure touch stimulation like that of a deep massage, helps to ease muscle spasm, and joint pain of fibromyalgia. The effect trigger to produce sleep hormone and induces sleep; it helps you to get the restorative sleep your body requires.
Ways weighted blankets can help ease fibromyalgia symptoms:
Here are different ways a weighted blanket provide much-needed relief to people with fibromyalgia who look for techniques to reduce the fatigue and pain.
Serotonin is an important chemical produced in the body, which impacts every part of your body from your emotions to motor skills. It is a natural mood stabilizer that helps with sleep, digestion, and eating. Now you know why having right serotonin levels is significant for fibromyalgia patients.
Unfortunately, serotonin supply is often short in fibromyalgia patients and using weighted blankets ease the symptoms to a great extent. Weighted blankets apply gentle pressure on your body, reduce the level of cortisol stress hormone, and boost serotonin levels. With high serotonin levels, people living with fibromyalgia experience improved energy levels and less fatigue.
Helps manage pain:
Muscle and joint pain takes a tremendous toll on fibromyalgia suffers. Though medications can ease pain and spasms, many prefer other alternatives over medication that can cause long-term adverse effects. It is when a weighted blanket comes for your help. The deep pressure touch stimulation weighted blankets provide is not only soothing but also similar to a therapeutic massage that relaxes your nervous system. It triggers a chemical reaction in the body and gives an overall sense of peace. Weighted blankets also reduce pain, improves focus, lower anxiety levels and give you a good sleep.
You might be familiar with oxytocin, a chemical often-called happiness hormone. Yes, your body releases the same hormone when you complete a great workout. The same hormone is released when someone hugs you making you instantly calm and happy. The same is what weighted blankets do to you when you snuggle inside one. It imitates the same warmth, secure feeling a hug provides, and your body produces oxytocin giving a sense of calmness to your body to relax.
Ease anxiety symptoms and depression:
When you have fibromyalgia, you continuously experience anxiety and feels depressed. Fibromyalgia increases anxiety in sufferers and makes them feel depressed about the changes happening to them and on overall health. The more depressed you are thinking about it, the difficult it is to put yourself away from those feelings.
Using weighted blankets holds power to ease such symptoms and break the cycle of anxiety in fibromyalgia patients. Weighted blankets work by offering deep pressure stimulation through gentle pressure while using.
How fibromyalgia patients can use weighted blankets for better results
Here’s how you can use weighted blankets to treat fibromyalgia symptoms. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to snuggle inside the blanket every time, you can use it for specific body parts as well. Either putting the blanket on your lap to feel centered and focused as you watch the TV or do any desk work.
You can also use the blanket on your shoulder or back for a therapeutic and soothing effect. There is no single way to use weighted blankets, and the result differs from person to person. Ask yourself to find the best way of using the weighted blankets, and use it accordingly for a great result. Ask questions like ‘Do you feel relaxing experience when somebody hugs you or sits on your lap or pat on your shoulder?’ It might sound a little weird, but after figuring out what makes you feel the best and implementing it will give you much longer lasting goodness.
Are weighted pillows for all fibromyalgia patients?
Now, let’s keep it real. Just like specific mattresses and heating pads aren’t for everyone, weighted blankets won’t be right for all fibromyalgia patients. The same goes for the effect a weighted blanket has on sufferers.
However, for fibromyalgia suffers who are comfortable with using weighted blankets can enjoy great relief from its use.
Much like fibromyalgia, the chronic pain associated with it also a condition that affects several parts or your entire body. The chronic pain when it lasts for more than 3 months, it can be anything ranging from a dull ache, stiffness, burning sensation, throbbing to sharp pain. Various factors are causing chronic pain in fibromyalgia patients like:
- Age of the affected
- Infections and inflammations
- Nerve damage
- Disc injury or degeneration
- Migraines and stress headaches
Both fibromyalgia and choric pain affect your health a differently and cause underlying responses like sleeplessness, irritability, extreme fatigue and tiredness, headaches and dizziness. These conditions can influence your ability to indulge in physical activities resulting in weakening of body, which leads to muscle fibers getting stiff.
Using weighted blankets for fibromyalgia gives a sense of security and protection and eases anxiety and stress among other benefits. Weighted blankets for fibromyalgia also touch your pressure points in the body helping the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin, dopamine, etc., which fibromyalgia patients generally lack.
When to use weighted blankets to treat fibromyalgia symptoms
Generally, it is recommended to use weighted blankets at the time of sleep or naptime because they are soothing during the night and helps to improve your sleep quality. However, if you are a fibromyalgia patient, you can put the blankets to use anytime if you feel apart from bedtime. Use weighted blankets during your work, or study time or basically, anytime when you are sitting in a place. For most fibromyalgia patients, weighted blankets are a go-to therapy when feeling achy and cuddling under a blanket with additional weight can relax both mind and body to manage pain and ease anxiety that you may experience.
You need not wait for anxiety or pain until it hit you to use a weighted blanket, grab it and often use to treat the symptoms effectively.
Weighted therapy plus alternative therapy works best for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia and the chronic pain associated with it can treat effectively through conservative means like medications to relax muscles and relieve pain. Along with medication and cognitive behavior therapies, fibromyalgia patients can use weighted blankets to improve quality of life. You can benefit from weighted blankets by combining it with the therapy and existing medication in several different ways. Lying under a heavy blanket during sleep or putting a heavy blanket on your lap while relaxing on the couch is an excellent way to self-treat fibromyalgia symptoms like chronic pain.
Using weighted blankets or heavy lap pads during work at the office will reduce chronic pain and improves your ability to function well without getting exhausted both physically and mentally.
Tips to use weighted blankets for fibromyalgia patients in different environments
- At home, try using the weighted blanket lengthwise under your coverlet but if it is too heavy, fold it down under the coverlet so that it won’t add to the blanket’s weight.
- If you find it difficult to bear the blanket’s weight, try putting it horizontally to cover yourself from under the neck to the knees.
- During your deskwork at home, you can use your regular weighted blankets on your lap to relieve anxiety and focus on your work. As it is difficult to carry weighted blankets to the office, you can buy a weighted lap pad instead to have the same relief.
- Give your child a lap pad or shoulder pad, which is both comfortable to wear and treat the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, such as chronic pain and fatigue. Any challenging condition to control anxiety due to fibromyalgia, while at school can control by using a lap pad or shoulder pad.
Selecting a weighted blanket for fibromyalgia
As weighted blankets are quite a favorite way to manage fibromyalgia, you can quickly get one from the market. There are different varieties available, and the difference lies in the type of fabric and the weight used inside the blanket. When it comes to the material of the weighted blanket for fibromyalgia, it is up to your preference. Some blankets use dotted fabric, some with cotton and who can choose the fabric you are comfortable. If you are selecting the blanket for managing fibromyalgia along with sensory issues, the type of fabric is of utmost importance.
Here are some of the other important features you need to consider:
When you are choosing weighted blankets for adults, please make sure that it is for grown-ups rather than children. Have a look at the measurements and ensure that you have enough space to cover yourself comfortably.
It is recommended to start off with a light weighted blanket and work your way up. Another important factor you need to consider is whether the blanket offers an even distribution of weight. If the beads inside are movable, all weight can end up being at one side instead of evenly distribution.
Washable or not?
The last thing to look for is whether the weighted blankets you use to manage fibromyalgia symptoms are easily washable in a machine or not. As blankets differ regarding fabric and fillings, you must make sure that it can be washed in a machine and finally make its way to dry cleaner at home.
The temperature created by the fabric has the direct relationship with the type of fabric it uses. Many people complain the weighted blankets make them hot and don’t offer an optimal level of comfort. Of the kind of weighted blankets available in the market, you can either choose cool, warm or neutral blankets that provide the level of satisfaction you desire. If you often complain about feeling hot at night while using heavy blankets, you can choose cool blankets that are engineered in a way to wick away moisture and body heat. If you want a little extra warmly with weight, choose a flannel fabric, which offers coziness and keeps you warm through the night. When looking for a neutral sleeping experience, you can choose weighted blankets containing 100% quilted cotton fabric.
Chronic fatigue and pain can wreak havoc in your routine life, but a weighted blanket for fibromyalgia can help you manage the fibromyalgia symptoms by giving high-quality sleep and improves your overall health.
People living with Fibromyalgia not only have difficulties in managing pain, but they often have irregular sleep patterns that worsen over time. People with the condition experience unpleasant pain, which prevents them from enjoying deep sleep, which again causes extreme fatigue and stress. With weighted blankets, issues like stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, and chronic pain can address by developing a sense of relaxation and calming effect. Fibromyalgia patients can benefit from using weighted blankets for fibromyalgia as a handy therapy when they are in pain and need quick relief.