Three Things to Do to Recover from Pain, Fog and Fatigue




It's been awhile since I've written. As a freelance writer, I experience cycles of feast or famine, so I have to maintain a certain momentum of writing for clients if I want to stay in the game. I'm also a previous school teacher, and for more consistent income, I take on seasonal jobs that run from spring through the summer, scoring or supervising national assessments. That means that sometimes my blogging and personal writing gets placed on the back-burner. 
So it's been nine months, and I have to admit that over the span of five years, my energy levels have significantly improved. In a previous post I mentioned that I would get into detail about certain  supplements that have helped with stabilizing balance in my body. Those supplements have been helpful to getting me on the right path to recovery from fog, pain and fatigue. This contributed to restful sleep, proper digestion, and mobility with minimal to no pain. In addition to bio-identical hormones, of which I am due for another dose, since my last one in 2016, those supplements have played a crucial role to help me feel functional again, something I desperately needed to help care for my family, as I understand the frustration that comes with feeling helpless, unmotivated, and tired all the time. Please note, below are things that have helped me, specifically, so I highly recommend that you consult your doctor before trying them to see if they are right for you: 


1. Restore your Sleep Cycle

According to Doctor Rodger Murphree, author of Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, sleep loss is one of the biggest contributors to chronic fatigue.  A restful sleep restores your cells, affects your stress coping mechanism and you are more likely to feel less anxious and depressed.

Before I found out I had the MTHFR genetic mutation, I was misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia by a previous doctor, so I contacted Dr. Murphree at the onset of this syndrome after reading his book, since I was looking for alternative solutions, besides prescribed medication to feel better. If you're wondering, "What's wrong with prescribed medication?" I have to say that although I'm not always opposed to pharmaceutical medicine, my body does not always metabolize them well. Could my methylation issues be a contributing factor? That is still unknown, but having read the side effects of Ambien and other sleep medications,  I wanted to find a more natural approach before I turned to that.  

At the time, I was going through ridiculous amounts of stress and getting only 2-4 hours of sleep. Let me tell you, that I do not do well with such little sleep. I was moody, my hair was falling, and I couldn't concentrate. Dr. Murphree's focus was not only to ensure that I got 7-8 hours of sleep, but that I got into a deep sleep state in order to feel better. He explained that although quantity mattered, quality of sleep mattered more, so he prescribed the following supplements right before bedtime: 

1-3 capsules of 5-HTP (100 mg) with a small glass of real, grape juice
3-5 mg of Melatonin

Some people respond immediately to the lowest dosage, so he had me start on 100 mg of Htp and build up until I got the right results. By the third day, it turned out that I needed 300mg of 5 HTP, and as I have gotten older, 5 mg of melatonin works best for me.  It was magical! I woke up feeling refreshed and I didn't feel tense and moody. It certainly got me on the right track to sleeping well again.  
A word of caution: Please ensure that you don't take Melatonin by itself as some people have a tendency to get terrible nightmares, myself included, and make sure that you are going to have an actual 7-8 hrs of sleep before you do, since not sleeping that time-frame will make you feel groggy the next day. The combination of both is what gave me optimal results. 


2. Digestion and Elimination Counts

As mentioned on my introductory post, when one system in my body was not functioning properly, it also affected another until it caused a conglomeration of problems that masked itself as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, brain fog and pain. One of those symptoms was trouble with digestion and elimination. The constant stress made things harder, and I lived with embarrassing constipation. I say embarrassing, because I could go up to three days without relief. That would cause horrible bloating that made me look pregnant and I felt irritable all the time, not to mention that going that long without eliminating is dangerously toxic to the body as well. It made the amount of inflammation that I felt on my feet and body, worse. I didn't know at the time that I had a problem metabolizing folate, so before I started L-methylfolate, I found that magnesium did wonders for not only panic attacks, but elimination. 

There are many on the market and it can be quite confusing to find out which one your body needs. I tried all of them: magnesium oxide, magnesium potassium, magnesium citrate, calcium magnesium and magnesium glycinate. Although the one with citrate will generally have somewhat of a laxative affect on the body, it was the one with glycinate that gave me a calming effect, and I didn't feel any uncomfortable cramping when taking it. I usually order mine through Amazon, but you can also buy it directly through the company that ships it (click here). 


Magnesium is an essential mineral. In 2005-2006 only almost half of the American population got its magnesium from food. According to PubMed.gov an article published in 2012,
"low magnesium levels were associated to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, sudden cardiac death, oseteoporosis, migraine headaches, asthma and colon cancer," so taking a magnesium supplement has been critical to not only easing the level of migraine headaches and inflammation I experienced, but in helping me with the elimination process as well. As an added bonus, this particular supplement seems to relax me when I take it, and I don't feel tense or unnerved.

3. Address the Pain

Also mentioned on a previous post, panic attacks and pain from
inflammation all over my body became such a constant part of my every day life that I started to normalize it. It wasn't until I got rid of gluten that I realized how much it wasn't normal to live this way. I have a high sensitivity to gluten but it's not to be confused with celiac disease. I got the real test done for that. It requires a scope going through the esophagus and a sample of your intestine is taken to test for celiac disease. The test came back negative. However, I did test high on a sensitivity test to the gluten protein, go figure. I don't know why that is the case, as I've been eating wheat all my life, but when I hit a certain age, my body began rejecting it, viciously so, that my stomach would bloat and I'd get irritable bowel syndrome any time I consumed it. In addition wheat seemed to make my brain fog worse. As a writer, there were times when I felt I was coming down with dementia, because it was so bad and that terrified me.  

I've read so many theories and listened to experts in the field as to why this is happening. Some theorize that wheat is exposed to herbicides that kill your healthy gut bacteria. Another links it to the bromine that is not only added to soda, citrus-flavored drinks and gatorades, but also to baked goods in the form of potassium bromate which both have been linked to an underperforming thyroid and thyroid cancer, respectively, but one thing for sure is that my body can't tolerate processed wheat, and I have only experienced immediate relief of symptoms when I'm off it, so I avoid eating it. The only wheat I can tolerate in small amounts is Einkhorn flour, which is the only wheat still in its original unhybridized form, and homemade bread (I'm linking the flour to the Amazon site, so you can see the picture, but I have found it at Whole Foods for half the price).

Whatever theory, study, or subject matter expert you want to subscribe to in regards to wheat, try getting off all wheat products for two weeks, and see if you experience better clarity of thought, no headaches, and less inflammation, as many have found that going gluten-free was all it took to lift the brain fog and ease irritable bowel syndrome.

Iodine

In addition to living gluten-free, iodine has been amazing with helping me lift brain fog, avoid wheat's adverse effects, and experience less pain and cramping on my legs and feet. 
I actually ran into this by accident- well kind of- my doctor recommended that I take 29 mg of iodine a day last summer. I put it in the back of mind as something to add to my to do list, and sort of forgot about it. 

This past winter, I was watching a documentary by one of my favorite authors, Louisa May Alcott, the author who wrote Little Women.

She experienced similar symptoms with periods of high and lows, followed by increased fatigue and leg pain. She once credited her doctor with introducing her to iodine to help her leg problems as she stated, "But I think Dr. K’s iodine of potash will cure it in the end, as it did his arms, after taking it for three months. It is simple, pleasant, and seems to do something to the bones that gives them ease; so I shall sip away and give it a good trial."

Then I remembered my doctor's suggestion, researched the best reviewed online, and found nascent iodine, a trace mineral that is needed in smaller amounts. There was one that boasted 99.99 highest purity grade in the world. It tested free of radiation presence and claimed to be taken from below the earth's surface. It's called Survival Shield X-2 Nascent Iodine. I traced the product to its main website and found that it is one that is sold by conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones. Whatever you think of him, or don't, I figured that with this many positive reviews on Amazon, I'd give it a try, and surprisingly, noticed immediate improvement with a lift in brain fog, energy levels, and leg pain. 


The thyroid regulates many functions of your body, and iodine plays an essential role with having a healthy thyroid function. We've had a whole industry telling us not to put salt in anything for decades, but iodine is essential for the thyroid. Based on 2012-2014 data, according to the National Cancer Institute "rates for new thyroid cancer cases have been rising on average 3.8% each year over the last 10 years. Death rates have been rising on average 0.7% each year over 2005-2014." With thyroid cancer at number 11 of the top cancer types, what seems to be the cause? It has been attributed to too much radiation exposure from the head to neck and certain genetic conditions, so given this, wouldn't it be wise to take care of our thyroid, I rationalized? This is why I started taking it.

It worked. In fact, I had to reduce the dose to half the amount per day, because my mind was so active that I couldn't sleep. Consult your doctor to see if this is something you can take because there are also negative effects that come with overdose, so please, and I can't stress this enough, consult your doctor about this. Whatever the amount of mg your doctor suggests, mine recommended 29 mg, you will need to use a mcg to mg calculator to find out how many times to take it, if you are going to take nascent iodine, since the dosage comes in mcg.

So those are the top three things I needed to do to get my health on the right path to recovery. Keep in mind that these are not specific to the only things that will help with lifting fog, getting rid of pain and easing fatigue, as my road to recovery has also involved proper diet, the right type of exercise for my condition,and weight loss is still a problem. I still can't exercise high impact without coming down with flu-like symptoms, joint pain and being out for days. I tried it this past Friday, and it didn't take. 
I tried a new place called 9Rounds that takes you through high and low intensity rounds of kicking bags, punching speed bags, jumping rope, and more. I went thinking I could do thirty minutes. Although I completed all 9 rounds, I wasn't ready. I was out three days with no energy left to get me through the day. I will admit that I lose my patience, sometimes, as it can be frustrating, but I can't get discouraged. 

The trainer was patient, kind and modified all of my sets, and they are more than willing to work with me to get better, which was encouraging. If you are able to find a trainer who will do that, I say you're on the right track. If you're in the San Antonio area, and you're interested in something like this, feel free to stop by and ask for the owner, Sarah Omstead, or feel free to visit her website. I get nothing from referring you to this place other than the pleasure of knowing that you'll be in good hands and I'm helping someone else who is going through something similar. Last year, I focused strictly on pilates and resistance training, and I'll have to continue doing so until I can maintain a certain level of cardio that won't leave me feeling depleted. 

You will find that there is not a one-size-fits-all to healing for everyone. Most of my progress is credited to my own research, seeing what has worked for me, and having an amazing doctor who listens and supports me. People struggling with constant fog, pain and fatigue don't often fall within the bell curve average. Doctors can't pinpoint to the one thing that is contributing to this syndrome. We are those on the fringe of each end of that spectrum, and I encourage you to never give up trying to find a solution. Tomorrow, I am due for another dose of bio-identical hormone treatments called BIOTE. I haven't needed to do that in two years, and that is another approach I have taken to take control of my health of which I will be blogging about soon. If you are on your own road to recovery out of pain, fog or fatigue, I wish you well with finding solutions to your specific needs. 

All my best, 
Jax

*I didn't add APA sources below, but I did link them to the highlighted texts of this post. I will add the sources later on as I find more time. Thank you for reading!


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