For all  of you bendy Ehlers-Danlos folks out there, here’s a copy of a post from Manasi Dalvi from My Tape Story on how she protects her shoulders from dislocating. This can be especially helpful at night, because many hypermobile shoulders dislocate if you roll the wrong way in your sleep. (Yes, this really happens, and yes it is excruciatingly painful!) The same tips could also apply to people whose  shoulders are lax from accidents or athletic injuries. Thank you for the tips Manasi!  If you are interested in more info on living with Ehlers-Danlos check out her blog.

My Response To A Request : Tips For Taping Of Joints (Unstable Shoulder).

A couple of days back, I received a request from a wonderful Family Nurse Practitioner in Seattle, Medea Karr (http://medeakarrfnp.com/), to share any tips or recommendations I might have about the use and application of Kinesio Tape (KT). For years now, I’ve had to make use of all kinds of guards, slings and “protective shields” for the eight (oops, no, Nine!) joints that I have to deal with and manage on a daily basis.

Medea mentioned that she has a patient who tends to have her shoulder joint move out of place while sleeping and wanted to know if taping might help. Yes! taping helps me keep my joints in place even at night. Once I put the tape on, it stays fine for about three to four days. It’s not as if it completely erases the chances of injuries during sleep (or in the day!) but it surely provides a decent level of support, as good or even better than some guards. I experience multi-directional instability in both my shoulders and trust me that I know, it can get exceedingly painful and annoying to wake up through the night because your shoulder joint is a little off. So I truly understand.

There are various methods of application, each focusing on a different set of muscles or ligaments, or for a different benefit/relief altogether. Personally, my symptoms are ever changing  and so I’ve had to experiment quite a bit before noticing the slight difference each pattern can make. I’ll be sharing some links to videos with specific patterns that have been working for me, along with a few tips to keep in mind while using the tape. I really hope this is of some help!

Please (here goes my little disclaimer), I am not certified in Kinesiology and I know from speaking with my Physiotherapists, that there is a particular art and technique behind using this tape. I would genuinely recommend you seek advice from a Therapist who is certified in Kinesiology and see what pattern would work the best for your condition and requirement. It also depends on the degree to which your joint is off, etc. If the tape isn’t applied in a particular manner, it is only as good as  some body art 🙂

You’ll probably find a lot of brands for the tape out in the market and naturally, some are stronger than the others in terms of tension. You might find that one brand irritates your skin lesser than the other and stuff like that. This is something you’ll have to just experiment and figure out. My personal favourite is the Rock Tape (http://www.rocktape.com/) .  A lot of athletes tend to use this brand, possibl because it seems like one of the toughest and most durable. I’ve seen for myself that the adhesive side really sticks onto my body well.

Here are the links to patterns that have been helping me with my shoulder instability, pain due to rotator cuff injuries and also with general posture improvement. I thought these videos were very informative and super easy to follow.





Some tips to keep in mind while using the tape:

  1. Do not use the tape on any damaged, broken or sensitive areas of the body. It is recommended that you do a mini” sensitive skin test” whereby you put a small piece on a part of your body and watch if your skin has any adverse reaction to it.
  2. Once you know you’re safe and are ready to use it : Make sure you’ve cleaned the skin properly, removed any oils or lotions that may be on it. I use soap and pat dry the area before application. You could also use rubbing alcohol.
  3. Remember to always take a rough or an approximate measurement of the area you want to tape up before cutting out the pieces. That way you’re not unnecessarily wasting your tape.
  4. Make sure to snip off the sharp edges and make them rounded. Sharp edges and upturned corners  tend to stick to the clothing and causes the tape to peel off faster.
  5. Be careful not to touch the adhesive side of the tape too much while handling it. I suggest you roll open the adhesive side as you apply it over the skin instead of peeling off the sticker first.
  6. While putting on the tape, remember not to stretch the ends of it. Any sort of stretch or pull is usually in the mid section of the tape; never at the starting point or the end (the anchors). We need to leave these two points entirely un-stretched so that they’re able to hold the tape down for us. 
  7. Remember to rub the tape after application – the starting point, the ending point and along the whole structure/pattern. This is to create friction and generate heat so as to activate the adhesive. It ensures that the tape stays on for longer. 
  8. You can shower or bathe as per normal with this tape on. However, try to keep the area as free of soap as possible. For me,  if the residue from the soap sticks onto the adhesive side of the tape, I get an allergic reaction on that spot and the bumps and redness takes a very long time to subside. I have to leave that area to rest for a few days before I’m able to use tape on it again.

Other than making sure I have my shoulders taped up on the days they’re feeling loose and dangly and giving me too much issues, I make sure I create a little nest for myself every single night. I’m so sure most of us do this. I use a lot of pillows, cushions and towels when I sleep. They each have a strategic location on my bed and they work together to nest me up as I sleep through the night. I have had to train myself to sleep on my back because any other position is just too painful and seem to exert too much pressure on some of my joints. Sleeping on my back throughout the night is not the most comfortable but it is  something I’ve learnt to get used to. I make the most out of whatever soft items that I have, and in the past, it has even been my huge, fluffy teddy bear. 




Whisker greetings, Ghost! I usually do snout greetings but I’m not sure if kitties have snouts… But I know they definitely have whiskers because I got to lick some once… So Whisker greetings it is! Please tell us what type of kittie you are, your approximate age, and where you live. 

Hi there FibroDog whisker greetings right back at you! My name is Ghost Kittie although I am actually named after a direwolf from some book my mum reads called ‘Game of Thrones’. <editor’s note: FibroDog likes Direwolves very much, and wishes he had one for a brother or sister!!!!!!!>
I’m a chocolate point siamese and am the most beautiful kittie on my block. I live with my human parents and my human brother and sister. My mum Clare adopted me when I was only 15 weeks old but now I’m real big and have lived here for just over a year. I like it here in Eastbourne thats in England you know.
Ghost kittie 1

Prettiest kittie in all of England!

Tell us about your human friend, does she have a name?  What do you call her? Do you know how old she is approximately? (I had to learn “approximately”, which is kind of hard to say, because Mom and Dad say I shouldn’t ask a girl’s age, it’s not polite whether it’s a human girl or a girl kittie! I had no idea, I’m just not a very puriticurry currect dog I guess!)
My mum Clare is much older than me. She says it’s her 40th birthday this year. Wow that is old!
That’s not very old, my Mom’s much older than that! Does your Mom have “fibro- mryalgeeya” or one those other things that makes them hurt or feel tired a lot? Is she able to work or go to school, or does she need to stay home so you can take care of her?
My mum has that thing called fibromyalgia and something called osteoarthritis which I know both hurt her a lot. She used to work as a RN but had to stop. I guess her pain got too bad. She gets very sad sometimes, I think they call it depression. Now I take care of her especially when the rest of my family are out.
My Mom’s a nurse too, yay for nurse humans! My Mom only works part time because of her “fibro- mryalgeeya”, but I wish she could stay home with me all the time like yours does… On second thought that would mean that she felt too bad to work at all, so I guess I wouldn’t want that. I’m sorry your Mum can’t work as a nurse anymore Ghost 😦 But I’ll bet you help her a lot… what kinds of things do you do to help her when she’s feeling sore or tired or sad?
I always snuggle up real close to my mum because it seems to make her feel happy. I’m also very clever at knowing where her pain is. If her left hip hurts l will lay down on it and go to sleep. Or if her knees are bad I’ll snuggle in from behind. She seems to like my warmth. When she’s sad I will lay on her pillow right next to her head and purr and lick her face. I let her rub my belly and I make sure I purr extra loud.
ghost kittie posing

Good soft belly for petting!

Oh that’s so sweet, I’m starting to like kitties more and more! Are there things you have to be careful with so you don’t accidentally make your human feel worse when she’s  having a bad day?
I have to be extra careful when I play and run around. My mum moves really slow and sometimes she just falls over. She brought me the smartest collar ever with my name on it in diamonds and a special bell. The bell is special because it alerts her when I’m coming so she doesn’t trip over me. My paws don’t make a noise when I walk but my bell does. I also have to be careful how I jump up onto my mum by keeping my claws in. My dad sometimes cuts them for me so they keep nice and trim. That way I can’t accidentally hurt my mum.
Look at that pretty diamond collar!

Look at that pretty diamond collar!

Is there anything else you or your human would like to say to our FibroFans out there about what they can do to be more supportive?
My mum wishes more people understood that just because a person is smiling doesn’t mean they are not in pain. She thinks us animals understand this better than some people.
I agree Ghost, that’s why I’m doing all these interviews, to try to teach humans to be as sweet and understanding about chronic pain as we animals are. I know they can learn eventually, they seem pretty smart. Well thank you so much for being my first FibroKittie, Ghost!
It’s been great talking to you FibroDog!
Meow for now,
FibroDog + Ghost Kittie = Whiskered it!

FibroDog + Ghost Kittie = Whiskered it!

FIBRODOG INTERVIEW #1: LILY THE SUPPORT CORGI medeakarrfnp.com alifewellred.com

FibroDog Interview #1: Lily the Support Corgi

FibroDog + Lily = Snouted it!!! fibromyalgia support dog interview medeakarrfnp.com alifewellred.com

FibroDog: Please tell us what type of animal you are, your age, and where you live.

My name is Lily. I am a 4 year old tri-color Welsh corgi living in Phoenix, Arizona.

Lily from alifewellred.com in her FibroDog interview for fibromyalgia and chronic pain support medeakarrfnp.com

Lily the Fibro Support Dog!

FD: Tell us about the human you support: are they male or female? Do you know how old they are? Do they call themselves a name? Like Mom or Dad or Sally or Fred?

My Mom’s name is Kristine. She is 48yrs old, I’d like to tell you how old that is in dog years, but I can’t count that high. My Mom is famous because she blogs at  A Life Well Red on WordPress.

FD: Humans are always talking about something called a “Diagonal-orosis”. I think that means “what’s wrong with them”, but I’m not sure. Does your Mom have a “Diagonal-orosis?” Like “Fibro- mryalgeeya” or one those other things that makes her hurt or feel tired a lot? (Note from editor – FibroDog has trouble with big words sometimes – he means “diagnosis” and “fibromyalgia”, in case you couldn’t quite understand him.)

Mom has Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.). Mostly she spends a lot of time at home with me, and walking around the house very slowly sometimes. We do go out in the backyard a lot though, where Mom watches me run back and forth chasing the birds off my lawn.

Lily from alifewellred.com guarding her yard in her FibroDog interview for fibromyalgia and chronic pain support medeakarrfnp.com

Guarding my lawn

FD: Wow, I’m not even going to try to pronounce that M.E. thing but it sounds pretty rough. What kinds of things do you do to help your Mom when she’s feeling sore or tired or sad from her fibro or M.E.?

When Mom feels especially bad, I give her a hug by nosing underneath her chin and pressing my furry body against her. She also seems to just enjoy watching me play around the yard, and nibble the ears off my stuffed dragon. She says it’s calming, but I think she’d feel better with a chew bone of her own to gnaw on.

FD: Your furry hugs sound awesome, I’ll bet they help your Mom a lot! What kinds of things do you try to avoid doing so your Mom doesn’t feel worse? (I know I accidentally broke my human Mom’s nose once when I was trying to give her a kiss, and that seemed to make her feel even worse for some reason, so I’m extra careful with kisses now). Are there things you have to be careful with so you don’t accidentally make her feel worse? Like not pawing at her too hard or not going potty in the living room when she’s having a bad day?

I’m only about 16 lbs, so I don’t hurt her too much when I perch on her leg to get a better view out the front window. My legs are pretty stubby too, so I can only get so high when I stand up to jump on her and say hi. I also try to be extra obedient on her ‘bad’ days and come inside the first three times I’m called instead of the usual seven.

FD: Wow, I’m impressed Lily, coming inside the first three times you’re called takes some serious commitment! I think I’ve got a ways to go in that department, but what I’m lacking in obedience I make up for in Snout. (At least that’s what Mom and Dad say all the time!) Is there anything else you or Kristine would like to say to our FibroFans out there about what they can do to be a more supportive friend?

The best thing I do for my human is be myself and give her all the furry love that’s in me! Yeah, I’m pretty awesome like that!

Lily & Kristine from alifewellred.com in her FibroDog interview for fibromyalgia and chronic pain support medeakarrfnp.com

Lily and Kristine

FD: Yeah you are pretty awesome Lily! Thank you so much for being my first furry interview, and you’re now officially part of my FibroDog Posse! (why don’t the humans spell it Pawsee?) I hope you don’t mind but I’ll be inviting some kitties and small humans to join the Posse, and possibly even a hedgehog, because FibroDog does not discriminate based on species or prickliness. (Although I have to admit I am rather curious about how that hedgehog manages to give soft fibro-snuzzles, I can’t wait to relay more details on that one!)

FibroDog p.s. – Special thanks to our human Moms Medea and Kristine for typing out our interview, because in case folks haven’t noticed, paws aren’t great for typing. I hope everyone enjoys reading my first interview, and if any other fibro support critters out there would like to be interviewed and join Lily and I in our Fibro Posse please leave your info below, or email my human Mom and Dad at fnpmedeakarr@gmail.com. And please check out Lily’s Mom’s blog A Life Well Red  – once you read it it you’ll probably want to follow it. That’s what my Mom did.

xoxoxo Snout Out!

Would you like FibroDog to interview your support pet- fibromyalgia support dog interview paw snoutface medeakarrfnp.com 735x2000

Collector Comfort Bling Spoons

These are made by my friend and fellow “spoonie” Cindy – she’s a great artist and a great gal and I love supporting her work! So check out her new spoon project. Maybe early holiday presents…? Or just a gift for a special spoonie in your life? https://www.etsy.com/shop/Dancingbearsnetangel spoon fibromyalgia chronic illness cmatusky.com medeakarrfnp.com celestial spoon fibromyalgia chronic illness cmatusky.com medeakarrfnp.com flowerpower spoon fibromyalgia chronic illness cmatusky.com medeakarrfnp.com love spoon fibromyalgia chronic illness cmatusky.com medeakarrfnp.com frog spoon fibromyalgia chronic illness cmatusky.com medeakarrfnp.com

Source: Collector Comfort Bling Spoons

The Snout


FibroDog snout Pinterest fibromyalgia chronic pain www.medeakarrfnp.com

Ok everyone, we already know our boy is awfully cute, but look at how photogenic that snout is! We’re still busy working on our plan to get FibroDog integrated with our site, and onto the airwaves/internet waves, so here’s the next thing we need your help with:
What do you think would be the best platforms for FibroDog to make his appearances on and give brief educational presentations about fibromyalgia and chronic pain? So far our Technical Advice Master and the rest of the team have discussed a YouTube channel for videofeeds, plus a facebook fanpage for both kids and grownups to follow. Most of his presentations will be geared toward youngsters who might have a hard time understanding why Mom or Dad or Grandma sometimes can’t play as much because they’re tired, or ways they can help them feel better when they’re hurting, but we realize that grownups will love FibroDog too! (And already do in fact, he’s getting quite a following already and he hasn’t even said anything yet!) We’re thinking one or two main platforms would be ideal, with a few guest visits here on the office blog. But we want your input too – what would be the places that YOU, his listening/reading/viewing public would be most likely to follow him regularly… YouTube? FB? This Blog? Twitter? Vine? Anyplace else you can think of? (Pinterest is a given!) Think of platforms for both kids and adults. Please post your ideas!


FibroDog Pinterest fibromyalgia www.medeakarrfnp.com


Some of you may have been hearing the whispers on the wind (or me blabbing to everyone I know because I can’t control myself) about KoiBoy’s upcoming project to get super famous while helping to educate kids about fibromyalgia. Well, the whispers are true, and we are officially ready to introduce… FibroDog!!!!!! We’ll be rolling the project out slowly, and we may start with a kickstarter project to get funding for startup costs (go-pro camera, lighting equipment, swag/merch, small stipends for guests and tech crew, lots of meat to fatten up our still slightly underweight star, etc.) 
In the meantime we need some help from you, our dear friends and supporters:
I just learned what a hashtag is. I’m a dork, I know. But I suspect we’ll need some hashtags for this project. Something like “#FibroDog_GotSnout?” So can you guys please reply with some ideas of other hashtags we might want to use while we’re in the planning stages of the project? If we use your hashtag at any point along the way you’ll get a prize: a free bumper sticker (or window sticker) with your hashtag on it! If you’re really skilled at this and we end up using 5 of your hashtags, guess what, you’ll get all 5 stickers! Woohoo! So start sending those hashtags our way!

Fibromyalgia versus Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Part 1)


These two conditions are frequently confused by both patients and medical providers. Many patients suffer from both of these conditions at the same time.
Fibromyalgia is defined by the American College of Rheumatology as a condition with widespread pain lasting over 3 months, with no other medical explanation for symptoms (citation below).  The definition also used to include certain tender points located in specific places on the body, but this requirement was removed in 2010 because many fibromyalgia patients don’t have the specific tender points, or they only have them during flares, or they have them in different locations from the “classic” locations.

Fibromyalgia tender points map from ADAM.com

Fibromyalgia tender points map from ADAM.com

Tender points are basically areas of the skin that are extremely tender to light or moderate touch, that most people wouldn’t perceive as tender at all. There is nothing physiologically wrong with these tender regions, they are simply tender because the nervous system misinterprets the signals when these points are touched. The important thing is not specifically which areas are sensitive to touch, but the fact that there are multiple areas that are sensitive, with no known reason for them to be tender. In addition to the widespread pain and unusually tender areas, fibromyalgia patients also have fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, and a variety of other symptoms. These symptoms tend to wax and wane in flares. Sleep and central pain amplification are key factors  in fibromyalgia, and addressing these issues is the mainstay of most fibromyalgia treatments.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a condition in which the patient has abnormal clumps of muscle fibers or knots or bands known as trigger points. (Not to be confused with tender points, more on this in a future post….) These trigger points “trigger” or “refer” pain to other locations in the body.

Trigger point - NOT a fibromyalgia tender point!

Trigger point – NOT a fibromyalgia tender point!

Trigger points can be felt in the muscle tissue, and the muscle fibers can be gradually remodeled or “released” using a combination of pressure, massage, stretching, and sometimes more invasive measures like electrotherapy, acupuncture, and injections. If you’ve ever had a knot in a muscle that “hurt so good” when it was massaged and sent pain into a distant area that was then relieved by the massage, then you know what a trigger point feels like. Trigger points are common causes of headaches, including migraines, sciatica, plantar fascia pain, and TMJ pain, among many other painful conditions.

Classic SCM trigger points (the

Classic SCM trigger points (the “X’s”) radiate pain into the head and eye, causing migraine symptoms.

The good news is that once the trigger points are identified they are fairly simple to treat. The bad news is that trigger points are frequently missed because most medical providers aren’t trained to recognize them. So the two conditions both cause severe pain, but the reasons for the pain are very different. This was a very brief and oversimplified introduction to these challenging conditions, and in the next post I will go into more detail about the differences between tender points and trigger points and the different approaches needed to manage them. Stay tuned!

  1. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual (2nd Edition). Jun 30, 2001. by Devin J. Starlanyl and Mary Ellen Copeland. This is my desert-island resource book, I keep copies at home and at my office. (FYI: This is an affiliate link, which means we get a small percentage of money if you purchase this book or any other product through this link, thank you in advance!)
  2. Devin Starlanyl MD’s website at Sover.net
  3. and Measurement of Symptom Severity”, published in Arthritis Care & Research Vol. 62, No. 5, May 2010, pp 600–610 DOI 10.1002/acr.20140 © 2010, American College of Rheumatology.
  4. Muscle Trigger Point Anatomy app for smartphones and tablets. The trigger point image above is from this app, and it has wonderful graphics with multiple views of the muscles and common trigger points, and their typical pain referral patterns.

Fibromyalgia versus Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Part 2) – What Can I do About It?

Now that you know the difference between fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome, and maybe you’re suspecting that you have one or the other or both, you are probably asking yourself “What next?” How are they treated?

First a recap: fibromyalgia is basically a syndrome of pain amplification and sensitivity, while myofascial pain syndrome is basically pain caused by tiny knots (trigger points) in the muscles. Fibro is more of a brain and nervous system problem, while myofascial pain is more of a muscle fiber problem. (Remember, I am really oversimplifying here to make this easy to grasp for folks without a medical background. There are many scientific articles and books available that go into more detail on these conditions, see references below.)

So as you can imagine, treating fibromyalgia is very different from treating myofascial pain. We honestly don’t understand much about fibromyalgia, although advances are being made every year. In my experience there are a variety of causes and types of fibro, so I tackle each case based on what seems to be causing it. Many times I’ll discover along the way that a patient doesn’t really have fibro at all, and instead has hypothyroidism, or chronic muscle pain and fatigue from perimenopause, or hypermobility syndrome causing constant strain on tendons/ligaments/connective tissue, or sleep apnea that causes fibro symptoms from years of poor sleep quality. If none of these are the case, and a patient really has fibromyalgia and no obvious other cause for their symptoms, then the general consensus is to address sleep, maximize serotonin levels in the brain, and find ways to “turn down the volume” of the overactive nervous system. This can be accomplished by various medications, supplements, exercise, acupuncture/Chinese herbs, electrotherapies/laser therapies, massage, etc. I am able to do many of these treatments in my medical practice, and I refer out for the ones I’m not trained in (acupuncture for example.) There are a lot of scams out there aimed at desperate fibro patients, so I am very cautious when it comes to new or unproven treatments, especially if they cost a lot of money. Keeping that caution in mind, however, I do believe if something has been proven to be safe and is relatively inexpensive it’s certainly worth a try if there’s a chance it could help!

Treating myofascial pain is much simpler in theory. It is usually just a matter of disrupting the trigger points/muscle knots, and stretching them out to prevent their return. Trigger points can be disrupted mechanically using massage or acupuncture or electrotherapies, or chemically using oral or topical or injected medications, and providers frequently use a variety of these methods. The tricky part is if the trigger points have been there for many years, or if there is a severe anatomical or other issue that tends to encourage them to return quickly. For example, some patients with hypermobility syndrome continually develop new trigger points and releasing them is a lifelong project, which can seem overwhelming at times. But most people can learn to treat their own trigger points using self massage tools, so they only need to seek professional help periodically.

Hopefully this series of  articles helped to clarify the basic differences between fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain syndrome, and gave you some ideas about the treatment options available for both conditions. Please leave comments or questions below, and check out the following links for more useful info on both conditions.

National Fibromyalgia Association: http://www.fmaware.org

Devin Starlanyl MD: http://homepages.sover.net/~devstar/

Trigger Point Maps: http://www.triggerpoints.net/information