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 while lying down because it doesn’t hurt my back, and I still get all of the benefits. The app gets daily use, and always right before bed – it really helps me fall asleep quickly! 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.
After meditating daily for more than two years (as of February 2018), there has been a significant change in my daily mental attitude about life. I used to have an extremely quick fuse, and my outbursts have reduced significantly. My daily anxiety, ability to remain calm under pressure, and sense of peace have all seen positive changes as well! Stick with it, the changes may take a while to be noticeable!
Pilates & Physical Therapy
For the past three years (as of February 2018), I have attended weekly physical therapy sessions. These physical therapy sessions are different than previous physical therapy that I have done – I got to a studio that combines physical therapy with Pilates practices. All of my physical therapy is a combination of Pilates one-on-one sessions and traditional physical therapy, based on what my body needs at the time. I also attend weekly Pilates group classes when my body allows me to participate. These group classes are taught by my fantastic physical therapist!
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).
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. My ENT/allergist had not heard of MCAS and he referred me to a specialist at another hospital, which was not good. (In summary, he just wanted to focus on my EoE and ignored the possibility of a mast cell problem.) Since my symptoms did not improve, my ENT/allergist referred me to another immunologist, which was the worst appointment I’ve ever had in my life. I have discontinued seeing my ENT/allergist and my awesome rheumatologist referred me to a different immunologist.
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. I cannot take sustained baths at the moment, as my tubs don’t hold water very well; right now, all my baths are 20 minutes maximum. However, they are still 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!