I’m still madly in love with my hot tub. It’s a little trashy looking and it’s loud when it cycles on to clean itself, but the warm water is heavenly. I’m using it twice a day on average, but sometimes only once or sometimes thrice. The new plastic-y smell is dissipating, and I put some bath mats under the stairs to soak up excess water. I’m definitely noticing full-body improvement. When I go into muscle spasms, the hot water takes them away. I know that cold is supposed to be better for an acute injury, but since my spasms are chronic and I HATE cold, I’ll stick with what works—my hot tub.
After hitting an all-time low of muscle spasms and pain, I’m feeling optimistic and seeing major progress, no drugs required. I’d heard about warm-water therapy and had even helped my patients utilize it when I worked in a clinic with a pool a few years ago, but I thought it was out of reach for me. We can’t afford an in-ground spa (estimate $27,000!), and the natural water around here only reaches 80-85 degrees in the summer. We started pricing hot tubs, and they, too were expensive. Then we found a local company with no-frills hot tubs and great service, and we took the leap and made the purchase.
I’m not sure if this is true in other states, but where I live in Florida, if you have a valid prescription for warm water therapy, you don’t have to pay sales tax on a hot tub. When you’re spending a couple thousand dollars, the lack of sales tax really means something. I’ve also heard that we can claim the hot tub on federal taxes as a medical device, but we’ll see about the possible truth in that once tax time arrives.
The hot tub is a lifesaver. We were able to fit it on our screened porch, so we don’t have to swat mosquitos while trying to relax. I keep the water between 101-102 degrees, and sometimes I use it three times per day. It’s a simple setup—two low bucket seats and one long bench—and it’s perfect. We got a small set of steps to make getting in and out easier, and we put a bathmat under the steps to soak up extra water.
The miracle is the warm water. When we first bought the hot tub, my back was killing me, my neck was hurting, and my knees were aching. The warm water didn’t cure me over night, but it was soothing, and the cumulative effect is incredible. I had to take muscle relaxers and steroids to get me through the worst times, but the hot tub has helped me stay drug-free for the past two months, except for occasional ibuprofen.
I’ve heard that heat bothers some people with fibromyalgia, but for me, cold is the worst. When I sink down in the hot tub, I feel instant relief, and even though it sometimes only lasts a few minutes after getting out of the water, other times it helps for hours and even all day.
At night, my new routine has been to use the hot tub a few hours after dinner, then stretch my muscles on the carpeted bedroom floor. I’m seeing improvements in flexibility, pain, and anxiety. I even started running again two weeks ago—something I’d worried had been taken away from me forever after the latest bout of back and knee pain. I’m increasing the amount of weight I do each week at the gym, and I’m even returning to some high-intensity activities like jumping. I’m nowhere near 100%, but the hot tub is helping me feel closer to normal. I’d hit the point of not being able to do anything I wanted or needed to do, and the feeling of hopelessness is an awful thing. The hot tub wasn’t cheap, but it’s already paid for itself a million times.
I’m so ready for warmer weather, and it’s only December! Right now I feel like a lot of my aches and pains could be resolved by warmer weather and a swim in the Gulf. One of my huge hopes for the new year is that I’ll be able to turn my neck to the side enough to breathe while swimming. I love to swim, but it’s pretty much impossible to swim without having neck mobility. Some people have suggested that I get a snorkel, but I don’t like the air that comes through one. It always tastes like plastic. If I can’t turn my head this spring, though, I just might buy one. Water exercise can be a very healing thing for me, and I love how it takes some weight off my spine. Warm water would be ideal!
Thanksgiving was better than I hoped it would be… except for the tofu turkey. It tasted so bad! I didn’t baste it like the directions said to, but I did baste it once at the beginning with olive oil. It came out of the oven and felt (and tasted) like a perfectly round rubber band. The wild rice stuffing on the inside was good, but I’d already made my own vegan stuffing, so I wasn’t excited. The holiday was overall a success, though. I was able to play with my little cousins a lot, and even got on the tennis court with the older boy. I could pick up the younger one without sending my back into fits, and I only felt extremely sore at night after a full day of playing with them. Fibromyalgia is definitely unpredictable, but it allowed me a bit of a reprieve this holiday, and for that, I am thankful.
My young cousins will be here for Thanksgiving, and I feel frustrated that fibromyalgia may keep me from playing with them. I want to kick the soccer ball with the older boy and run after the little guy at the playground. But I worry about my back if I pick them up, and I worry that fibromyalgia issues will keep me from having fun with them. I hate to be a person who sits and watches. I like to be part of playing, not a spectator. I pumped up my soccer ball just in case!
Does anybody have a post-Thanksgiving workout routine? I know some gyms stay open (mine is 24/7, 365), but the most fun workouts to me are those that involve family and friends. Last year, we did “56 on the 56,” which mean 56 squats, pushups, sit-ups, and box jumps on a friend’s 56th birthday, which was also Thanksgiving Day. This year, my back pain is going to keep me from doing anything so rigorous, but I’ll definitely wish I were out there, rain or shine.
This will be my first vegan Thanksgiving, and I’m excited. I bought a Tofurkey, and my hopes are high. I truly believe that adhering to a vegan diet is improving my fibromyalgia symptoms, even when I have major setbacks sometimes. It’ll be hard to say no to mashed potatoes and gravy, so I’m also going to attempt to make vegan mashed potatoes with almond milk! Here’s hoping for a healthy, pain-free Thanksgiving!
As Thanksgiving approaches, what do y’all feel thankful for? I am NOT thankful for fibromyalgia, but I’m very thankful for the people in my life who love me. I’m also thankful for my sweet dogs who truly exemplify unconditional love, and that I can go to bed every night with a roof over my head and blankets to keep me warm.
Does anybody else have Raynaud’s Syndrome along with fibromyalgia? As the weather gets colder, I start turning blue and feeling like crap. If I run or walk for more than a half hour outside in the cold, several of my fingers turn plastic-y white and go numb. As I rewarm my hands, the pain is tingly and bad. Anyone else with a similar experience?
I’m not sure where rock-bottom is. I keep finding it, but then I find it again and realize I never actually found it before. I hate having fibromyalgia. I’m not a depressed person, but the constant pain and debilitation is making me feel extremely depressed. Working out is how I deal with stress. When I’m too sick with fibromyalgia symptoms to work out, I feel hopeless.