Ah, yes. The holidays are here again! The time of year when we and our loved ones begin eyeing all those so-called pain-relieving gadgets for sale in stores and online.
Those of us who always hurt from fibromyalgia may be vulnerable to nearly anything creative minds want to sell us, especially if we cannot tolerate any medications known to help our condition. It doesn’t matter if any clinical studies have been completed to prove the gadget’s value. When pills, supplements, dietary changes, and exercise regimens don’t improve our suffering, we’re often willing to try just about anything!
One year, I received a magnetic mattress pad as a gift. I had heard about it from a speaker at our local fibromyalgia support group. The salesman brought along a satisfied customer who swore that sleeping on this mattress pad for only a few weeks alleviated the total body pain she’d had for the last several years. She credited it for her ability to resume playing tennis every day.
I must have mentioned this presentation to my husband, and he remembered. On Christmas morning, there it was, in a great big box under the Christmas tree. We spent the day changing the sheets on my bed to accommodate this heavy monstrosity. And I was quite willing to try it.
As a failure, it was a great success! I awoke every couple of hours during the night in the midst of a nightmare. In my dreams, I was sleeping on the sidewalk and wondering why. By morning, I ached all over — worse than at any time during the previous two decades. The first thing I did the next morning was to unmake my bed, remove this metallic torture chamber, and repackage it for return as soon as possible.
I’m not saying this item doesn’t work. The tennis lady appeared quite pleased with her purchase. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. From other fibromyalgia sufferers I’ve met at support groups and seminars around the country, I’ve learned that many of these gadgets are a total waste of time and money.
However, every once in a while, someone discovers something that’s nearly life-changing for them. And that’s the key: for them. Because each of our bodies is different, each case of fibromyalgia is different. What helps one of us doesn’t necessarily help all of us.
One of the most useful gadgets I’ve found is a folding cane with a seat. Rather than reducing pain or curing anything, it has enabled me to participate in many events I would otherwise have had to forgo.
Even on my best days, fatigue and weakness are issues for me. Although I’m usually capable of the walk I force myself to take, I would be totally unable to stand in one place for the same amount of time. In a short while, my knees would buckle. That means waiting in lines is out of the question for me.
Think about the last time you went someplace interesting. I’d be surprised if you didn’t encounter a line of some kind. That’s when I whip out my cane with the seat, which I always keep in my car. It is very lightweight and has a nifty little shoulder strap. It has made it possible for me to say yes to many things I would have otherwise had to decline.
So, by all means, look at all the gadgets that can reduce your symptoms or make your life easier. Just keep in mind that what works for one doesn’t work for all. And be sure you can return whatever you buy if it doesn’t work for you.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.