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How Weighted Blankets Relieve the Chronic Pain of Fibromyalgia

blonde woman with fibromyalgia putting a blue weighted blanket on the bed

Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects around 2% of the population . A condition that causes chronic pain, fibromyalgia can be debilitating. There are many treatment options available, but not all of them are equally effective in relieving musculoskeletal pain.

As there’s no cure for fibromyalgia, many people who suffer with chronic pain have had to look to alternatives to medicine. There’s a growing trend that suggests deep pressure stimulation using weighted blankets to ease the widespread pain of these debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia.

So let’s take a closer look at how choosing the right weighted blanket for fibromyalgia can give you that small but significant relief from the constant fibromyalgia pain.

How do Weighted Blankets Work?

A weighted blanket is a soft, cotton or fleece blanket with tiny weights made of plastic pellets sewn into the fabric. The weight of the blankets helps put babies and adults to sleep by offering gentle pressure, helping them feel secure.

Companies such as Kuddly create weighted blankets that lay comfortably on your body as you sleep, allowing for what’s known as deep pressure therapy, or compression therapy, to take place.

Deep Pressure Therapy

The idea behind deep touch pressure, as it’s otherwise known, is that the extra weight on the person’s body will help in reducing pain. Further, this form of touch pressure also relieves the chronic fatigue that comes with Fibromyalgia.

Deep pressure touch stimulation from the blanket helps to relax muscles and reduce tension, thus providing relief from fibromyalgia symptoms by increasing levels of serotonin in the body.

Restless Leg Syndrome, ADHD, and Sleep Deprivation

Weighted blankets aren’t just for chronic pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia. They’re incredibly popular amongst those with medical conditions that cause a restless body, such as sleep deprivation from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, ADHD, and Restless Leg Syndrome.

The deep touch pressure stimulation reduces common symptoms that trigger sleep disturbances by acting as a natural mood stabilizer, calming the emotional symptoms. In doing so, it allows for reducing blood pressure, increasing serotonin levels and providing restful sleep.

older lady with fibromyalgia neck pain

A weighted blanket can help with the pain of fibromyalgia even when you’re not in bed

Benefits of a Weighted Blanket for Fibromyalgia Pain

A heavy blanket can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. The gentle pressure of the blanket helps to release the happy hormones serotonin and dopamine, which are the feel-good hormones. Here’s how the blanket improves your quality of life in other ways:

Better Sleep

When it comes to fibromyalgia, there is no one-size-fits-all cure. Yet, a weight blanket benefits some people with fibromyalgia by offering relief from constant pain, including migraines. They may also help these individuals sleep better due to the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that induce sleepiness.

Reduced Fatigue

This relaxation can help reduce anxiety levels and fatigue and allow people with fibromyalgia to fall asleep easily and engage in restorative sleep. In turn, this improved sleep quality can lead to daytime improvements in symptoms as well due to improved mental health, increased energy levels and improvements in overall wellbeing.

Improved Quality of Life

For those living with fibromyalgia, the ability to get out of bed and participate in daily activities becomes increasingly difficult. Reducing the symptoms of depression is vital in improving the quality of life for someone with Fibromyalgia as the acute pain so often triggers depression.

A weighted blanket can provide support and help relieve stress through deep pressure massage therapy, making it easier to live a full and happy life.

happy couple smiling underneath white weighted blanket

Choosing the right weighted blanket can improve the quality of life for your loved ones too!

What are the Different Types of Weighted Blankets?

There is a wide range of weighted blankets that you can choose from. The most common type of weighted blanket is one that is filled with small poly pellets. These blankets are typically the heaviest and can weigh anywhere from 5-30 pounds.

Another type of weighted blanket is one that is filled with glass beads. These are typically a bit lighter than the poly-pellet filled blankets, but they still offer weight and gentle pressure. Glass beads offer other weighted blanket benefits too – They help to cool people down thanks to the cooling properties of glass.

You can also get cooling weighted blankets. These blankets are filled with glass beads and may be weighted or unweighted. They help to keep you cool by absorbing your body heat and then slowly releasing it back into the surrounding air.

Choosing a Weighted Blanket for Fibromyalgia

When choosing a weighted blanket, it is important to consider the weight and the size of the blanket as well as the adult or child using the blanket. The weight of the blanket should be enough to provide pressure and sensory input, but not so heavy that it becomes uncomfortable and causes more joint pain. The size of the blanket should be large enough to cover the entire body, and it’s recommended around 10% of your body weight to balance comfort and safety.

The fabric is also important. Weighted blanket manufacturers produce two main types: cotton or a fabric with minky dots. Minky dots are soft, fuzzy fabric that feels good against your skin. Cotton is breathable and easy to clean. Both fabrics are machine washable, but the cotton may shrink if you put it in the dryer. If you choose a weighted blanket with minky dots, make sure it’s made out of a fabric that won’t fade in the wash.

How to Use a Weighted Blanket

There are a few things to keep in mind when using these:

1. Know Your Body Weight

The weight of the blanket should be right for your body size and weight. A too-light blanket will not be effective, and too-heavy will offer extra pressure that could potentially cause more muscle pain.

For example, the heaviest blankets such as a 30-pound weighted blanket for adults would be unsuitable for a child or small adult. But if sized correctly, might be fine for a double-bed sleeping two adults.

2. Check the Size

Make sure the blanket is big enough to cover your entire body from your neck down to your toes. That way you won’t lose any of the benefits, especially if you’re a restless sleeper from top to toe and need those extra hours of sleep. And, as mentioned above, if you’re sharing a blanket with someone, make sure it’s long enough to cover both of you!

3. Over Not Under

If you’re using it for fibromyalgia or another condition that causes pain, make sure to use it on top of your regular bedding, rather than underneath it. This will help distribute the weight more evenly across your body.

If you run a hot body temperature and are prone to night sweats, consider a weighted blanket with cooling properties such as glass beads that will help keep you cool at night and provide adequate sleep.

woman with restless legs sleeping on a blue bed

The wrong weighted blanket does nothing to ease the pain of fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome!

4. A Warning

Don’t use the blanket if you’re pregnant or have other health concerns without consulting your doctor first. Heavier blankets may put unnecessary pressure on your body, so always seek medical advice first.

How to Care for a Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket should be washed on a gentle cycle in cold water and air dried. This will remove any manufacturing residue and help the fabric absorb the weight of the pellets evenly.

Also, note that bleach or harsh detergents can damage the fabric over time. Not only that, high heat can damage the fabric and cause the pellets to shift around inside the blanket.

Bring a Weight Blanket into Your Daily Life

Weighted blankets are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason! People with fibromyalgia often struggle to get a good night’s sleep, but for people with Fibromyalgia, a weighted blanket can help. The heavy fabric helps give a deep touch pressure to the human body and mind, which can be soothing and calming. This, in turn, can help to reduce pain and improve sleep quality.

What’s more, therapeutic weighted blankets for fibromyalgia and other conditions increase production of serotonin (happy hormone) and melatonin (sleep hormone), which can help reduce levels of stress hormones.

Also, sensory input receptors respond to firm pressure, which is gentle and soothing. By bringing such a therapeutic massage therapy into the home, many see a big difference in improving the quality of life for those living with this condition.

For more lifestyle and well-being advice, click through to our next article and see what else you can uncover!

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Rob Butler
30-Something Millennial with ADHD and suspected Autistic and Dyspraxic. Thought leader behind this website. Big visions of a better future for everyone, but forgets where he is half the time.Loves Rugby, his kids, and anything silly. Hates U2 and Marmite.

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