I AM NOT A DOCTOR!
While these are not medications, supplements, or vitamins, some of these treatments could have negative effects on your specific conditions. Please check with a doctor or other medical professional before beginning any of these practices!
I meditate at least once a day, using the Calm app. (I also just discovered that that link will allow you to participate in a meditation session online.) I have a paid subscription, so I have a lot of options for guided meditations. However, even the free app was extremely useful for me. I meditate before bed, and it really helps me fall asleep quickly (which is a miracle for insomnia). While consulting a doctor will never hurt anything, this is the only thing on this page you probably don’t need to do that for… I can’t think of how a meditation practice could be bad for any health conditions.
I participate in Pilates once a week. (This has had to change thanks to recent back problems.) Pilates has really changed my life for the better. While it’s exhausting, and quite challenging at times, it has really enhanced my physical abilities. On top of just making daily life easier, it has made me stronger, and has really eased my pain. Pilates is the only type of exercise I’ve ever been able to stick to a routine with, because I love it! Once I fix up my shoulders and stuff, I want to go back to yoga as well (but that will probably take a bit longer). Being able to do more with less injury and less pain has been fantastic. Definitely consult a doctor to determine if you can safely participate in Pilates. Also, with preexisting health conditions, it’s a good idea to look for a Pilates studio that also has physical therapists or other medical professionals on staff (and be sure the instructors have undergone full instructor training, which is 500 hours of experience).
Now, this is something I’m just starting. I consulted with my doctor, and they decided that for my specific case I was doing things correctly. Right now, I go to the gym at the local rec center (I want to go once a week, but homework has been taking a lot of time lately). At the gym, I ride the recumbent bike, then I’ll do stretching and some of the Pilates moves to cool off. Because my heart is all messed up from my POTS, I have to be very careful. It has actually been proven that overdoing it with POTS can actually set you back. Unmedicated, my standing heart rate goes to 120+ bpm. I have decided that this is my target heart rate for now, while sitting. I will stay with a 120 target until I can sustain it for 30 minutes, comfortably (right now, I can only do about 10 before I feel like I’m going to die). Then, once I can do that, I will try moving up to 130 bpm as a target. After 130 bpm is comfortably sustainable for 30 minutes, I will move up in 5 bpm intervals. Ultimately, my goal will be to get to about 156 bpm (which is the target heart rate for 25 years old). Hopefully, I can get there without too much difficulty. Thankfully, this light exercise also really helps with my fibro pain. Definitely do not do this without consulting a doctor!
Unfortunately, I had to discontinue working on my cardio for now. My dizziness is, once again, out of control and I do not feel safe working out. Dan does not have the time, since he’s in grad school and still working full time, to supervise my workout sessions; I definitely cannot drive myself home from the gym afterwards, due to dizziness. We tried going on walks for a while, but the back problems I’m currently experiencing have made that impossible.
I suppose this is almost a medication… I don’t know. I’ll leave it here anyway. I get weekly injections to help with my allergies. I’m extremely allergic to grass pollens and maple pollen, and moderately allergic to ragweed pollen. I’m also very allergic to all the aspergillus molds, house dust, and dust mites. Right now, I get two shots once a week, one in each arm. My progress is extremely slow with the pollens, but there is some progress. I will have to get these shots for two to three years (or longer if the dumb pollens don’t start to get better). I hate needles, but allergy shots worked wonders for my mom and dad when they were kids, so I am highly optimistic. These are impossible to get without consulting a doctor.
We decided to discontinue these 11/2016. I was making NO progress, so we retested me. It turned out I was far more allergic to some things than my initial testing showed. We adjusted the dose, but every time we tried to move to the “one strength higher” vial, I would overreact again. Sadly, that meant I was stuck in the beginner vial, which is not a therapeutic dose. My husband and I suggested I might have MCAS (I have some really weird reactions to things that don’t make sense, like cold beverages). My allergist hadn’t heard of MCAS, so he decided to refer me to National Jewish. Hopefully, this will lead to something productive for my allergies.
I love my heating pads! My fibro pain is exacerbated by the cold, so being able to put heat on my hips and SI joints is fantastic in the winter! I know there are certain conditions that can be negatively impacted by heating pads (especially if they’re heavier), so please ask a doc.
Baths (with Epsom Salts or Oatmeal)
Right now, I can’t take baths because my tubs don’t hold water. However, when I can, these are amazing. Epsom Salt baths are fantastic for pain, and really help it to just melt away. The oatmeal baths are great for allergy issues. Sometimes, my allergies make my entire body itchy in a very uncomfortable manner. When I’m itching everywhere, getting into a warm oatmeal bath is the most relaxing thing in the world. I know for a fact that Epsom Salts should not be used with diabetes, unless explicitly requested by your doctor; therefore, only participate in these baths after being cleared by a doctor (even if you don’t have diabetes). I’m not sure about oatmeal baths, so please ask your doctor about those as well!