Testing Fundamentals

by on May 7, 2013

Researching and testing different treatment options for the purpose of figuring out what will work best for you is fundamental to getting better. Your doctors do not know what will prove most effective for you. Books cannot tell you, websites offer no cure (including mine!) and there is no magic solution that works for everyone. This is the reality of fibromyalgia. So you have a simple choice:  keep hoping that somebody will somehow come up with the magic pill solution or accept that figuring out what will work best for you is up to you.

Fibromyalgia scientist?

No Idea What She is Cooking Up... But Love the Boots!

This does not mean just trying different drugs. While pharmaceutical options are the most obvious things most patients think of  (and why not – we are bombarded with them on TV and Media continuously…. as are doctors) the truth is that for most patients the best treatment approach will be multi-dimensional. Lifestyle changes, sleep hygiene, diet, energy management, supplements and vitamins, exercise, therapy options…  there are literally thousands of combinations that can be tested. Figuring out what combination will prove best for you is not easy, but it is the path to getting better!

Be Your Own Scientist

Randomly trying new things and wandering from one treatment approach to another does not work. Changing your approach from day to day or even week to week does not work. Implementing multiple new things at the same time and being inconsistent on follow through does not work. Doing too many things at the same time does not work. Hey, nobody said this was easy!

An effective testing process needs to be conducted in a scientific manner. To start, you need consistent data to define your fibromyalgia  (no – “I hurt all the time” is not actionable data!). A “baseline” of detailed day by day symptom and causal factor (such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, depression, sleep and others) data that provide you with a clear understanding of how fibromyalgia is functioning in your body now. This can be correlated to what you are currently doing for treatment. You should be able to review all your current symptom and causal factor details along with all of your current treatment actions. This is your starting point. This is what you can measure progress against.

But he might figure it out!Digging into your baseline of data, seek out primary symptoms and clear causal factors (yea, that’s another blog post of its own!). Next, research different treatment options targeted at your most frequent or severe symptoms and causal factors you feel are contributing to symptoms. Decide on a single new treatment approach that you feel would be best to test. Make sure to include your care team in this evaluation and decision making process! It is important to limit new treatment choices in order to enable accurate evaluation of results. If you decide to test 3 new things at the same time and you experience a negative result, what is causing it? One of the things? All of them… or the combination of them? Testing too many new things at the same time makes correlating results to specific treatments impossible. So conduct your testing like a scientist would – you are your own science experiment.

Stick with it. Measure results. Don’t rely on your memory and guy feelings, remember with fibro your body often tries to deceive you. Over time an effective testing process will help you move forward.

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Jennifer Burke May 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

You are so right! Don’t rely on your memory! Not only for how a new treatment/drug regimen is working, but also for how well you can describe your symptoms. Considering the small amount of time that you actually have with your doctor, you may feel that your doctor doesn’t really know all of the symptoms that you are dealing with, or that you can’t adequately describe the impact they have on your life. Show him or her your Fibrotracks. The facts are in the data!

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