Saturday, October 22, 2011

Living with Fibromyalgia: Books I Recommend

Living with Fibromyalgia for over 15 years, I have read my fair share of books on the subject, some good and some bad.  The following are some books that I would recommend to get yourself and those around you better acquainted with your illness, to gain some tips for making your life easier and more comfortable, and for making dealing with multiple doctors easier.
The Fibromyalgia Advocate
Devin J. Starlanyl, M.D.
This is THE book on dealing with Fibromyalgia.  I read this book over ten years ago, and it familiarized me with the illness and helped me to better understand what I was in for.  Dr. Starlanyl is a fellow sufferer of Fibromyalgia, and I think that is part of what makes the book so revolutionary.  She knows what she's talking about from a technical and personal perspective.  This book explores both traditional and alternative approaches to treating the syndrome and also includes "data sheets" to take to individual doctors or practitioners.  These "data sheets" make applying for disability easier, I have heard, due to their specific nature and the fact that Fibromyalgia is not on the Social Security Disability schedule of diseases so one has to qualify on individual symptoms.  This book also offers advise on dealing with legal aspects of the health care system and with Social Security.  The Fibromyalgia Advocate has an extensive bibliography that can be referred to for additional information, as well.
The Fibromyalgia Advocate is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual
Devin J. Starlanyl, M.D. and Mary Ellen Copeland
This second book by Dr. Starlanyl, who works with another author this time, is also a must-read.  This book is more about one's personal battle with Fibromyalgia.  It offers tips for identifying and evaluating one's symptoms and trigger points.  This "survival manual" includes a guide to medications, though it does not include the newest medications because it was published in 2001, tips about bodywork, a guide to a nutritional program specific to Fibromyalgia, and other lesser known programs.  Also included are tips on coping with work (if you're able to work), dealing with family and friend situations, a guide to getting support and more.
This book is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Dr. Starlanyl's new book, A Practical Guide to Trigger Points, written with co-author John Sharkey is due out in the summer of 2012.
The Fibromyalgia Cookbook: More Than 120 Easy and Delicious Recipes
Shelley Ann Smith
The Fibromyalgia Cookbook advocates a diet with no red meat, processed sugars, white flour or nightshade vegetables, avoiding heavy and starchy food, low in sodium and fat, and soy butter, extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil are pushed.  It is not the perfect diet for everyone and I will fully admit that I don't always follow it.  I fall off the wagon regularly, in fact.  However, I do find that eating a mostly vegetarian or vegan diet and adding what the book suggests greatly improves how I feel.  This book has over 100 recipes, and while I haven't tried them all, the ones I have tried were very good.  It is worth a read.  This book is out of print, so it is very cheap.
The cookbook is available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Those are the big three for me.  I haven't read a lot of the newest books on the subject, but I do intend to, so expect more book recommendations in the future.  I would also recommend The Idiot's Guide to Fibromyalgia and Fibromyalgia for Dummies to anyone who is new to the disease or to family or friends of someone with Fibromyalgia.  You should also research as much as possible online.  The more you understand your illness, the more in control you feel.  That is my experience, at least.  Also, I would say steer clear of anything that promises to cure or reverse the syndrome.  They're either deluded or just plain lying.  There is no research to suggest that Fibromyalgia is reversible or curable.  People do go into remission, there is that possibility, but as of yet, there is no cure.

Happy reading and I hope you have a pain-free week!

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