For FM side sleepers: the best investment I ever made

JamieMarc

Senior member
Joined
Nov 17, 2021
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DX FIBRO
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10/2021
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State
FL
If you have fibromyalgia, you most likely also suffer from sleep issues. If you do, and you are a side sleeper, this article is for you.

For the past 5 years, I have had uncomfortable sleeping experiences every night. I have tried everything. By the way, I am a side sleeper. I have an adjustable bed. I have a topper. I have used four or five pillows every night for the past 5 years, strategically placed, to get as comfortable as I possibly can in bed. I don't take sleeping pills. All they do is make you drowsy. They don't make you any more comfortable. I have spent about $15,000 over 6 years on all of my alternative or traditional at home treatments and therapies. But I'm about to tell you about my latest purchase, which is also my best purchase! If I had bought this 6 years ago I could have saved myself thousands of dollars, but no regrets. It's a journey.

It used to take me 10 to 15 minutes before bed every night just to get all my pillows and everything in place. And then another 15 to 30 minutes making minor adjustments, wiggling and positioning myself into just the right position, the one that was as free from pain and discomfort as possible. There was never any total freedom from pain, but this strategy served me pretty well up until a few months ago when I started developing shoulder pain in both shoulders.

I began sleeping on my back to treat my new shoulder pain (even though I'm a lifelong side sleeper), and it was very hard. It was difficult to sleep in that position, one that I was totally unfamiliar with with regard to sleeping. I did not like it at all, but I stuck with it, along with adjustments to my upper and lower bed levels, and it did help my shoulder pain and my back pain, but I developed new pains, specifically in a different part of my shoulder, even though I was sleeping on my back, and the insides of both arms. Resting my arms on pillows didn't help. Also, did I mention I hate sleeping on my back?! LOL So this wasn't going to work out either. What was the point in minimizing two areas of pain in exchange for gaining two new areas of pain?!

I began searching for solutions to help me sleep on my side as I was accustomed to, but without waking up with shoulder pain, and my usual back pain.

After some research, I found the shoulder relief system by a company called MedCline. Even though it was pricey (not nearly as pricey as my adjustable bed, but still kind of pricey for the materials used to make it), I decided to get it and give it a try. I checked first to make sure it had a return policy, and ordered it.

What it is, briefly, is a foam wedge with a very slight incline, and a hole to slip your arm through so that your body weight is not on your shoulder but on the side of your torso. This was my problem: all of my weight was on my shoulder by sleeping on my side, and my shoulder would collapse, so to speak, every night during sleep. I would wake up with my normal terrible stiff back pain, in addition to shoulder pain, especially on the shoulder I slept on.

The system also comes with a wrap around, J shaped body pillow. I watched the video and set the system as described the first night. I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to be getting proper neck support by resting my head on the body pillow (which is mostly round) as shown in the video. I experimented with every which way of positioning that body pillow, but it was just way too narrow to support the neck and head properly. I knew my neck was going to be killing me the next day if I slept like that. So I dispensed with the body pillow, set up my own pillow on top of the wedge, and used another pillow between my knees as opposed to the body pillow.

Man, the next morning not only did I have zero shoulder pain, but my back pain was the best it had been in the morning for the past 7 years!!! My back barely hurt at all. It still hurt, don't get me wrong, but it was 75% better than usual. I was amazed, astonished and super excited! Now I can finally sleep on my side as I love, and not wake up in nearly as much pain as I used to, and zero shoulder pain!!

For me, I firmly believe that sleep and diet are the foundations of fibromyalgia treatment or even reversal. That is my personal opinion. That being said, I don't sleep longer using the shoulder relief system (which I would really like to do). I typically get 7 hours per night, but sometimes I'll get eight or nine, and eight or nine is ideal for me personally. But most nights I still get only seven. But it still is a better quality 7 hours of sleep, and I wake up feeling so much less pain, and so much more ready to face the day ahead!

Why they designed the body pillow this way I have no idea. Maybe it's enough for some people. Maybe I'm using it wrong, which I strongly doubt since I tried everything. Maybe my neck is just worse than most people's. I don't know. But the body pillow shape doesn't work for me at all. And it's not necessary! A pillow between the knees works just as well as a fancy body pillow.

I was so excited about this that I had to write this long post to let everyone know, especially if you suffer from shoulder or back pain upon waking up every morning, and you are a side sleeper. Forgive me for rambling, and thank you for letting me share. I hope this helps somebody out there. ❤️
 
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$275 for a memory foam wedge and a body pillow sounds like highway robbery to me, and definitely not something that a lot of people could afford. I know I couldn't.
Reviews are very mixed on this thing, I notice. Some people like it others say it's worthless. Gets a 3.5 on Amazon out of close to 1500 reviews.

Really glad you found something that works for you, though, @JamieMarc . And thanks for telling us about it. Maybe it will be just the thing for some other people as well.

I think if a person wanted to try something like this and like me couldn't possibly afford it, the thing to do would be to buy an inexpensive foam or memory foam wedge and cut it into the shape. Since that is all it is, that wouldn't be hard to do. Cutting either kind of foam is very easy if you use a fairly large pair of sharp scissors.
 
@sunkacola
Yeah, like you said, highway robbery considering the inexpensive materials used. But, there are other types of value besides cost. As you referenced, this is working out so wonderfully for me that it's worth every penny of the exorbitant price. 😂

Great thinking about making your own if someone might want to try this but not be able to afford it. Either way, I hope that perhaps someone else can benefit from this idea.
 
To expand upon my statement about other types of value other than financial cost, some things have more value to one person than they do to another. To be honest, I have not yet put any price cap on my quality of life, and I don't think that I ever will. I suppose if it's something costing tens of thousands of dollars, well, that would certainly give me pause. But, even then, only pause. Nothing is off the table.

Everything that I have purchased to help me along my fibromyalgia journey, the expensive things, and sometimes even the small things, I have sacrificed and saved for. I am by no means a wealthy man. I live on a fixed income. A single income. I have all of the costs and bills associated with owning a home. I prioritize the things that I spend my money on, and I make many sacrifices in order to have the best quality of life that I can. If that means accruing debt for a while, so be it. Strategic financial planning and smart spending can offset and eliminate that debt in short order.

I'm a work in progress, and all that I do I do for the better. 😁🥰
 
Hi I think I wrote your post for you as I had the same problems. My new bed as advertised on tv was a Godsend but now I have shoulder issues. Thanks very much I will take a look at your subject. WOW
 
@Nan
It is so frustrating when new aches and pains suddenly appear out of nowhere. I am happy to hear that you found a comfortable bed/mattress that offers you a lot of relief and hopefully a good night's sleep.
Since using this shoulder relief system, my shoulder pain has all but disappeared, yet my back pain and stiffness I believe there will always be some degree of that, especially in the morning, no matter what mattress I use.
I like my mattress and my topper too. They were a tremendous improvement upon my previous mattress.
I hope that, if you try this out, it's relieves or eliminates your own shoulder pain. If yours is caused by side sleeping like mine, then it should do the trick, as long as you can accommodate yourself to sleeping with the wedge a little differently than normal.
Let me know your progress Nan. 🥰
 
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Yes will do. Thanks. Nan
 
Hi Sunkacola iv wondered how a lump of foam can make that much difference to our comfort and pain but maybe someone knows if there is any difference or it’s all in our heads. What ever I’m enjoying waking up more comfortably. Take care. Nan x
 
For me, I firmly believe that sleep and diet are the foundations of fibromyalgia treatment or even reversal. That is my personal opinion.
I absolutely agree with this.
My symptoms were very mild until I destroyed my body by hard work out at the age of 25.
I was thin, actually skinny. And I just understood that during 25 years my body actually fought with fibromyalgia fiercely. At times I gain some weight, my body literally rejected food, I am not very sure why but maybe because when i am gain some weight my blood sugar tends to go above the limit and as high blood sugar harm nerves, it causes disturbance.

Also, about the sleep, fibromyalgia taught me to sleep on my back! Until age of 25, i always used to sleep on sides and when i had pain with my shoulders, i used to sleep on my stomach. But, as I get intensive pain when i sleep on sides and stomach furthermore, I only can sleep on my back even if it is not %100 comfortable too.
 
In addition to sleep and diet, I forgot to mention activity/exercise. If unavoidable, a sedentary lifestyle is terrible for everyone, and especially us with diseases like fibromyalgia.
I agree with this too!


Soft exercise, like walking short distance, straining and stretching moves are fine. But once you do something heavier than you should do, it will harm you rather than providing benefit.
 
If you have fibromyalgia, you most likely also suffer from sleep issues. If you do, and you are a side sleeper, this article is for you.

For the past 5 years, I have had uncomfortable sleeping experiences every night. I have tried everything. By the way, I am a side sleeper. I have an adjustable bed. I have a topper. I have used four or five pillows every night for the past 5 years, strategically placed, to get as comfortable as I possibly can in bed. I don't take sleeping pills. All they do is make you drowsy. They don't make you any more comfortable. I have spent about $15,000 over 6 years on all of my alternative or traditional at home treatments and therapies. But I'm about to tell you about my latest purchase, which is also my best purchase! If I had bought this 6 years ago I could have saved myself thousands of dollars, but no regrets. It's a journey.

It used to take me 10 to 15 minutes before bed every night just to get all my pillows and everything in place. And then another 15 to 30 minutes making minor adjustments, wiggling and positioning myself into just the right position, the one that was as free from pain and discomfort as possible. There was never any total freedom from pain, but this strategy served me pretty well up until a few months ago when I started developing shoulder pain in both shoulders.

I began sleeping on my back to treat my new shoulder pain (even though I'm a lifelong side sleeper), and it was very hard. It was difficult to sleep in that position, one that I was totally unfamiliar with with regard to sleeping. I did not like it at all, but I stuck with it, along with adjustments to my upper and lower bed levels, and it did help my shoulder pain and my back pain, but I developed new pains, specifically in a different part of my shoulder, even though I was sleeping on my back, and the insides of both arms. Resting my arms on pillows didn't help. Also, did I mention I hate sleeping on my back?! LOL So this wasn't going to work out either. What was the point in minimizing two areas of pain in exchange for gaining two new areas of pain?!

I began searching for solutions to help me sleep on my side as I was accustomed to, but without waking up with shoulder pain, and my usual back pain.

After some research, I found the shoulder relief system by a company called MedCline. Even though it was pricey (not nearly as pricey as my adjustable bed, but still kind of pricey for the materials used to make it), I decided to get it and give it a try. I checked first to make sure it had a return policy, and ordered it.

What it is, briefly, is a foam wedge with a very slight incline, and a hole to slip your arm through so that your body weight is not on your shoulder but on the side of your torso. This was my problem: all of my weight was on my shoulder by sleeping on my side, and my shoulder would collapse, so to speak, every night during sleep. I would wake up with my normal terrible stiff back pain, in addition to shoulder pain, especially on the shoulder I slept on.

The system also comes with a wrap around, J shaped body pillow. I watched the video and set the system as described the first night. I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to be getting proper neck support by resting my head on the body pillow (which is mostly round) as shown in the video. I experimented with every which way of positioning that body pillow, but it was just way too narrow to support the neck and head properly. I knew my neck was going to be killing me the next day if I slept like that. So I dispensed with the body pillow, set up my own pillow on top of the wedge, and used another pillow between my knees as opposed to the body pillow.

Man, the next morning not only did I have zero shoulder pain, but my back pain was the best it had been in the morning for the past 7 years!!! My back barely hurt at all. It still hurt, don't get me wrong, but it was 75% better than usual. I was amazed, astonished and super excited! Now I can finally sleep on my side as I love, and not wake up in nearly as much pain as I used to, and zero shoulder pain!!

For me, I firmly believe that sleep and diet are the foundations of fibromyalgia treatment or even reversal. That is my personal opinion. That being said, I don't sleep longer using the shoulder relief system (which I would really like to do). I typically get 7 hours per night, but sometimes I'll get eight or nine, and eight or nine is ideal for me personally. But most nights I still get only seven. But it still is a better quality 7 hours of sleep, and I wake up feeling so much less pain, and so much more ready to face the day ahead!

Why they designed the body pillow this way I have no idea. Maybe it's enough for some people. Maybe I'm using it wrong, which I strongly doubt since I tried everything. Maybe my neck is just worse than most people's. I don't know. But the body pillow shape doesn't work for me at all. And it's not necessary! A pillow between the knees works just as well as a fancy body pillow.

I was so excited about this that I had to write this long post to let everyone know, especially if you suffer from shoulder or back pain upon waking up every morning, and you are a side sleeper. Forgive me for rambling, and thank you for letting me share. I hope this helps somebody out there. ❤️
Whatever that is, I'm ON IT!!! Because I have the same issue, side sleeper and no comfortable position for neck, just pressure that leaves me feeling I jammed my head into a tin can. Thank u!
 
@Willowtree
Just to be clear, the reason I bought this system was for shoulder pain, not neck pain. Shoulder pain from sleeping on my side and my shoulder collapsing overnight and then the subsequent pain the next day. But that's not to say that this couldn't help with your neck.

I also suffer from neck pain, and the only thing I have found over the years that has helped me with my neck pain DURING SLEEP is the use of a partitioned microbead pillow. I don't believe they sell the pair that I bought gosh 15 years ago. I should be looking into replacing them at this point. But I'm certain there has to be partitioned microbead pillows out there from other manufacturers.

I appreciate the reminder since, as I said, I really should be replacing my own pillows after at least 15 years.
 
Update: although the MedCline shoulder relief system solved my shoulder problem while sleeping, it often causes me to wake up with hip pain. Despite following the instructions and keeping my hip on the bed, not the wedge, it seems that my torso is too short even for the smallest size that I ordered based upon their recommendations for my height.

The company follows up with me periodically to see how I am doing with the system, and encourages me to contact them if I need any support. So I contacted them yesterday about this.

Great news! Apparently, they have an even smaller shoulder support wedge and they are sending it to me for free, and allowing me to keep the one that I already have! I think this should do the trick! Since I already know what the problem is, I know what the solution is, and this new wedge they are sending me is shorter and therefore more appropriate for my torso length. I highly recommend this company!
 
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