This is my review on Week 4 and Week 5 of  Control My Pain Program from the Survive Strive Thrive team which was designed to teach people holistic strategies to heal their pain. The whole course is video and audio content which I think makes it more interesting and easy to understand.

Week Four is Relaxation …

The relaxation introduction video explains how mindfulness and breathing exercises can help with relaxation as a strategy to help with pain. It explains slow breathing techniques and mindfulness as not all breathing is created equal.

Next, it talks about breathing techniques with nose breathing exercises and slow breathing exercises. I found this really interesting as I quite often listen to relaxation music if I am struggling to go to sleep and using these exercises would really help.

Recognising tension is on audio or you can download for you to record the location and level of your tension. You can monitor your tension levels at about the same time every day for you to see when you are most tense. They give you a list of areas around your body to monitor like your jaw, neck, scalp shoulders etc which are some areas I would never have thought of to try and relax.

The next topic is mindfulness of self-awareness to help you to be aware of the situation you are in. This video helps you to understand how you can be more aware of your situation in order to help with your pain control.

The relaxation summary is in the usual format of a quiz and some downloadable resources.  The downloads include a sheet which you can use to practice slow breathing at a specific time every day plus a sheet to recognise when your tension arises.

In the relaxation resources section, it has all the downloads plus details of a useful book on reducing and restoring your well being.

I love filling in forms and found this week’s downloads a great way to see how I am coping with my pain and to make a note of the different relaxation strategies.

Week Five is Managing Activity… 

The managing activity details are available as an online quiz or a worksheet which helps you to see how to identify your reasons for less activity. The sheet prompts you to write down activities that you are having difficulty in completing or even are no longer even doing due to your pain. It asks you to fill in what affects the reduced activity has on your life and looks back at your answers in order to learn a variety of strategies that will help you problem solve and plan.

The next video is what they call the Boom & Bust Cycle which is in the form of a quiz, and goes straight onto Activity Pacing. You can do this virtually or actively take part in a walking programme.

The activity planner is a sheet to download and fill in and finally another sheet to download to help you to succeed by writing down how you will achieve more that week. For example, ‘this week I will walk every day at the following times’.

The Managing Activity Resources has lots for you to look at including a website and books and downloads all to do with keeping you active.

I honestly do feel that writing down your activities in the format they have done this week can only help and encourage you to do a little bit more each day or each week. I have the usual steps counter but looking at how I have increased my activity by doing a little bit more each day is an ideal way to get yourself, fitter. I really enjoyed week five on the Control My Pain Project.


1.If at all possible try to de-stress as apparently stress may trigger #fibromyalgia symptoms. Some of the best de-stress treatments you could try are yoga (some great blogs on yoga here), exercise, sleep and meditation (great guided meditation sites here).

2.’Fibro Fog’ is a common ailment of #fibromyalgia so rather than getting frustrated that your short-term memory has let you down, try and get into the habit of jotting things down on paper on a daily basis.

3. Exercise, as in low-intensity exercise like walking, or warm water exercise is great for helping the pain of #fibromyalgia. This type of exercise can decrease pain and stiffness, the best exercises for people with #fibromyalgia can be found on Healthline.

4. Have a long soak in a warm bath or hot tub as this has been proven to relax tense muscles which will then reduce pain.

5. Try to use decaf as caffeine can increase anxiety and insomnia, so watch your intake of chocolate, coffee, teas and some soft drinks.

6.. Make your work-life balance work for you. If work is leaving you exhausted and in pain then design a flexible plan that works better for you and your boss. Maybe try some products like a telephone headset or keyboard tray.

7. Talk about your #fibromyalgia with your family and those around you. Let them know what can trigger it or make it worse. Never be afraid to ask for help from either your friends, family or other #fibro sufferers or a counsellor.

8. Many people call #fibro the ‘invisible illness’, as you can look fine but feel awful. So, when arranging your social life be prepared to say ‘no’ to something if you know it will be too much for you.

9. Try and keep a journal so that you can see what can trigger off an attack, then you can do something about it.

10. Join a support group, be it in person or online, they offer a place to talk to others who share your problems.


Simple acts of kindness can bring joy to anyone in pain.

My favourite acts of kindness that have brought me joy while in pain are –

  1. Someone offering to carry things for me.
  2. A cup of tea in bed.
  3. A phone call from a loved one.
  4. Someone giving me their seat.
  5. A note from a loved one saying ‘Thinking of You’.

What are yours?


BACK PAIN AWARENESS WEEK 8th-12th OCTOBER, 2018 (#backpainweek)…

Back Pain Awareness Week (#backpainweek) this year is the 8th-12th October, and the theme this year is back pain in older adults.

Backcare write that Back pain is one of the major disabling health conditions among older adults aged 60 years and older. Many causes of lower back pain are age-related with physical and psychosocial changes. There is a distinct lack of awareness, especially in older adults to the causes and effects of back pain and pain management. 

In BackCare’s TalkBack Summer Magazine an article from Arthritis Research point out that INCREASING numbers of people are suffering from low back pain worldwide – an issue being made worse by the prevalence of inappropriate treatment methods, according to recent scientific papers published by The Lancet.

It is most common and burdensome in working populations, with many older people finding that their back pain prevents them from taking part in daily activities. Although most cases of low back pain are short-lasting, recurrences are common, with the costs associated with back pain-related healthcare and work disability
shown to be enormous.

For more information on the Back Pain Awareness Week (#backpainweek) make sure you check out my posts.


It’s that time of year that most #fibromyalgia sufferers (including me) dread. As the seasons change from summer to autumn then winter (unless you are in Ozz :)) we know we will definitely have to suffer more than normal until our bodies adapt to the different temperatures.

According to, there are five “major weather factors” that can affect our bodies. They are temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation and wind. We may not be able to control what the weather does, but we can take some steps to try and head off a #fibro flare before it occurs when it is time for a seasonal change.

Brian Barr solicitors say that so far, researchers have been unable to determine why the changes in weather affect sufferers, however, there are some possible explanations. Firstly, changes in temperature can affect sleep patterns. Getting plenty of sleep is really important if you have #fibromyalgia, and even small shifts in your sleep pattern can aggravate the condition. Secondly, as the seasons change, the amount of light you are exposed to can throw off your circadian rhythm (body clock), making you feel low and more tired than usual. Lastly, there may be a connection between low temperatures and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which appear to be connected to pain intensity.

New Life Outlook Fibromyalgia points out that it is not uncommon to hear someone with arthritis claiming their knee or hip can predict the weather better than a meteorologist. They always know in advance when a cold front or a rainstorm are moving in, with an almost scary accuracy. Many with one type of rheumatic condition or another, including #fibromyalgia, have made claims that the changes of weather will affect their pain levels, fatigue levels, or other various symptoms.

Researchers have found little scientific proof to back up the claim that fibromyalgia symptoms are affected by the weather and weather changes. A study done in 2013 claims that they could not find a correlation between fibromyalgia flare-ups or increased pain and weather changes.

Well, I don’t know about my fellow #fibro sufferers but whatever research shows there is no question of a doubt that the change of seasons affects our pain.

Some top tips to help you cope with this which I have written about before are –

  1. Studies show that a warm or hot bath can have a therapeutic effect.
  2. Make sure if you are going out that you dress in layers, that way if it gets warm you can take a layer off but if its cool you will not feel the drop in temperature.
  3. Check the weather daily as the season starts to prepare for each day.
  4. Pull out the heat pad to use just before you go for a sleep or a rest in the daytime.
  5. Make sure you are not in a draft.
  6. Try hand warmers, Stephen Soloway, MD, a rheumatologist says they can ease fibromyalgia.
  7. Cut down on alcohol as it can dilate blood vessels and cause heat loss.
  8. Make sure you get as much sleep as possible.

And finally, a poem to finish this post –

Dear Lord, please help me at this difficult time,
When the weather changes and gives me a very hard time,
My friendly Fibro gives me pain everywhere,
While it decides which season it wants to bear.

Backache, neck ache, even finger ache to name but a few,
It just gets tooo much for you know who,
I know when Spring has sprung I’ll be in less pain,
But until then Lord, can you hurry up and decide even if it’s going to rain.