- Sick and Tired
- Living with Fibromyalgia
- 10 Ways to (Somewhat) Understand How It Feels to Live with Fibromyalgia
- 1. Make a to-do list for tomorrow. Then, pick only four items on your list to accomplish. If you try to do more than that, the next day you can only do two things.
- 2. Stay up for 48 hours straight, then read the dullest book you can find. You must stay awake until the end of the book.
- 3. Walk on a plush carpet while wearing socks and really slide your feet across the carpet. Touch a metal doorknob and think about how that shock feels against your fingers. Now, do it again. And again. And again.
- 4. Check your bank account to find out that it’s unexplainably been drained of $10,000 overnight. Schedule an appointment with the bank’s manager, who passes you to a customer service agent, then get passed on to another, then another.
- 5. Run a 10K. You have no time to prepare or train. Just go out and run it, no walking allowed.
- 6. Turn your thermostat down by 10 degrees. You’re not allowed to put on additional layers. You won’t find a comfortable temperature until things warm up in the summer, at which point things will suddenly be far too hot.
- 7. Cancel a date with only an hour warning on a Friday night and explain that your child’s sick. See how your date reacts.
- 8. Spend a long weekend without interacting with anyone else except your loving, entertaining pets.
- 9. Get seriously ill six times in a year. Call out of work for at least three days each time. Do you still have a job at the end of the year?
- 10. At work, forget deadlines by a few weeks, put items away where they don’t belong, and leave halfway through meetings without an explanation. Check out the reactions of your co-workers and supervisor.
- What It’s Really Like to Live With Fibromyalgia
- MORE ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA:
- Fibromyalgia Print Page
- 10 Things People do that make Fibromyalgia worse
Sick and Tired
Monday, February 28, 2005
By: Dr. David Saul
Reprinted from FMOnline
I feel ashamed to be a member of the medical profession when I hear from my fibromyalgia (FM) patients that they left in tears from a doctor’s office after being addressed in a rude and abrupt manner.
For doctors who are skeptical about the diagnosis of FM—this article is for you. Perhaps you have assessed a few (or many) patients with generalized pain. This pain is either steady or episodic and defies any common structural or mechanical cause. You are then faced with the absence of any laboratory and diagnostic testing to confirm the diagnosis of FM. You find that the typical FM patient seems to overdo the crying, whining and complaining of a pain, which to them is often seen as incapacitating. You likely have tried various medications without any beneficial response. When you really don’t know what else to do, you might just give up on the patient and the whole concept of FM.However, medicine is full of unknowns and processes yet to be determined. As doctors, we should still try to practice good clinical medicine despite and amid various uncertainties. But, for the patient who complains of FM-related symptoms, have you ever felt perhaps a tiny bit concerned about the psychological impact you may have on her, should you respond with any of the following statements?
- It’s all in your head.
- Buck up and fight through the pain.
- There is no such thing as fibromyalgia.
- Do you want to get addicted to painkillers?
- You are wasting my time.
Whenever a patient with FM hears any of those statements it surely goes against the famous dictum from Hippocrates, “Divinum est opus sedare dolorem”—”Divine is the work to subdue pain.”
FM is the orphan syndrome. No one wants to deal with it and too often, the rheumatologists feel stuck with it. In the 2003, 2nd edition of Pain Medicine: A Comprehensive Review, Dr. P. Raj devoted very limited space to FM. From the very last paragraph: “This common chronic pain syndrome will obviously be a continuing source of medical and economic problems until the pathophysiology is better delineated and subsequent improved treatment methods are formulated. Furthermore, understanding the neuropathophysiologic basis of FM may have broader applicability towards an understanding of chronic pain per se.”
It is interesting that Dr. Raj suggests that besides FM, chronic pain by itself is still a great challenge to medical researchers and clinicians. Then again, while FM is still a hotly debated topic, there does exist a recent, comprehensive review of FM in the Nov. 4, 2003 issue of Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain. The entire issue, all 118 pages was devoted to FM: The Fibromyalgia Syndrome, A Clinical Case Definition for Practitioners.
Perhaps in the very near future, basic science research will likely find that FM could have a neuropathic pain pathophysiology, similar to diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis pain or phantom limb pain. While Dr. Raj struggles in his textbook for a neuropathophysiologic basis for FM, from Archives of Neurology, November 2003, neuropathic pain is reviewed: “A simple focal peripheral nerve injury unleashes a range of peripheral and central nervous system processes that can all contribute to persistent pain and abnormal sensation. Inflammation, reparatory mechanisms of neural tissues in response to injury, and the reaction of adjacent tissues to injury lead to a state of hyperexcitability in primary afferent nociceptors, a phenomenon termed peripheral sensitization. In turn, central neurons innervated by such nociceptors undergo dramatic functional changes including a state of hyperexcitability termed central sensitization. Normally these sensitization phenomena extinguish themselves as the tissue heals and inflammation subsides. However, when primary afferent function is altered in an enduring way by injury or disease of the nervous system, these processes persist and may be highly resistant to treatment.” I can easily see FM fitting into this description of neuropathic pain.
Even if the exact cause of FM continues to elude researchers or turns out to have a predominantly psychodynamic or psychiatric basis as a somatoform or depressive disorder, these patients will continue to need our support and compassion.
Yes, the FM patient can sometimes seem demanding. It’s true the office consultation is usually time-consuming and not very productive. Remember, the FM patient is often facing considerable stress from her insurance provider, her family and her workplace.
You always have the option for referral to a chronic pain clinic, regardless that the waiting period is sometimes close to one year. Or, solicit the advice and help of your regional psychiatrist and/or rheumatologist.
Over the years, with my FM group therapy sessions, I always began with a creative writing exercise.
The patients handed back one page with the title, “Why I need pain relief?” without adding their names. Out of the hundreds in my binder, I would like to present just one. I feel it clearly sums up the entire FM experience. I hope it might be helpful in swaying some FM disbelievers to at least be a little bit more supportive and compassionate with the next patient complaining of FM symptoms.
“Why I need pain relief?”
“I desperately need pain relief to feel and act approximately in the same manner I did before I was stricken with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia a few years ago. I know that I have to get used to the fact that this type of chronic disease changes a person physically and mentally, but the hardest part is to adapt and accept the fact that it is here to stay for the rest of my life—unless a miracle should happen.
“I don’t recognize myself and neither do my family or my friends. People just assume that because I don’t look sick, I am not sick. Some people even insinuate that I must probably enjoy being sick. Do they honestly believe it is my choice to stay at home all day and depend on others to do things for me when I feel sick and depressed?
“I feel angry and hurt for having lost control over my body and my brain, although I know that I am in no way responsible for what has happened to me. Before I was cursed with fibromyalgia, I took more or less, many things for granted. Although my life has never been a bowl of cherries, I now take nothing for granted. The future looks bleak and scary. Fear has become part of my everyday experience.
“I am afraid to lose the independence I have managed to salvage. I’m also scared of getting worse. Will the pain become unbearable? Will I be unable to walk? The dark and obsessive thoughts provoke my depression and frequent anxieties. Until now, these could only be controlled by medications that unfortunately all have side-effects.
“It is humanly impossible to explain living with pain and fatigue to someone who does not have it.
“Pain and fatigue make me irritable and tired. They make me cry and send me into a deep despair. Pain becomes more prominent in the quiet hours of night when the rest of the world is sleeping.
“The pain can drive me crazy even in small amounts because it is always there. While distraction is great and essential, pain and fatigue always get the last laugh.
“Pain is exhausting. It is an overwhelming feeling of incapacity, of being spaced out all the time, of being neither awake, nor asleep.
“People tell me to stop focusing on pain. They tell me to relax and pull myself together. Obviously, these are people who don’t have fibromyalgia.”
Dr. David Saul is a family doctor in Toronto with a practice focusing on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This piece was reprinted by permission of Dr. Saul.
Living with Fibromyalgia
A closer look at fibromyalgia symptoms in women, told by one mother living with this invisible condition.
There are many mornings when I wake up too sore and too tired to attempt what I know will be helpful for myself, or my family. Get up and move, I tell myself. But my fibromyalgia, complicated by IBS, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression, get in the way.
If you have ever struggled to wake after being sedated for surgery, that is what my routine feels like most mornings. If you have ever swum to deep and experienced that fear that you may not break through the water’s surface in time to take a breath, that is what waking up with fibromyalgia feels like for me. I am not yet 40 years old, I have two children, a husband, and a part-time job teaching elementary art, which equates to a full-time job with all of the prepping and planning. I have to fight every day to open my eyes and take that single step out of bed.
The emotions easily settle in. First, there is the guilt. The guilt for being sick, for feeling down, and for all of the people my condition affects. Then, there is the shame, because what type of person can’t pull it together enough to just get out of bed? It’s hard to explain that I probably spend 80% of my energy just trying to appear “normal”—to get up, to be a great mom, to do my best as a wife, sister, daughter, and teacher. Just a few years ago, I had ambitious but realistic plans for what I would look like in each of these categories, and I am falling short of my goals in all of them.
Once a week I set up all my medications for the day. I have three different weekly pillboxes, one for morning, lunch, and evening. Every time, I recall the days I used to spend with my grandmother. I think of her wrinkled hands in her dimly lit kitchen, her sad demeanor…having to take so many pills just to get through one day. I have to take a variety of medications and supplements just to be “well-ish” and I hate them. I hate the way they feel, the way they taste, their side effects, and the way they take up a whole drawer in my bedroom and space in my fridge. I hate how they do not do a great job of easing my pain, or any of the symptoms of my IBS, fatigue, anxiety, and depression—all of which are on the endless list of complications that are common with those who struggle with fibromyalgia. And yet, if I forget to take them, I feel even worse.
Beyond the day-to-day, I spend two to three hours a week with doctors trying to stay in front of “it.” Trying to fit in time to manage my conditions takes up a chunk of time I’d prefer to spend walking or reading with my children, cooking dinner for my family, getting my work done, or just being me.
Perhaps the worst part of living with fibromyalgia is trying to share how I feel with those closest to me. I always find the responses fascinating. For example: “Geez, how could you forget to take your medicine?” My thought: because it is so very depressing and humiliating to set up day after day. “I know someone who had fibro—she was on the same medicine, then stopped taking it, and then committed suicide.” My thought: Awesome sauce. Fan-spankin-tastic. “Have you tried to stop eating gluten, dairy, sugar, nightshades, greens…” My thought: Why, yes, I have. I am now subsisting solely on paper. “My ankles hurt too, sometimes for no rhyme or reason.” My thought: Oh, right, why am I complaining. Everyone feels the same way I do. “Have you tried prayer, scriptures, or faith?” My thought: This suggestion probably hurts the most as I consider myself a deeply spiritual person.
While they mean well, my friends and family don’t understand that, sometimes, I feel as though I am literally walking through quicksand. I can no longer coach soccer, or garden, or take Zumba classes with my daughter—all things I used to love. On one of the few occasions that I have tried to exercise again, I struggled to lift my leg half-way through; no matter how hard I told my brain to move, my body failed me. It is such a shocking feeling to lose control over my body that I often feel like I’m in a dream. I never know when my joints and nerves are going to scream out in punishment for the same activity I have been doing successfully for weeks, wrecking any esteem I had built.
Even among all of this, however, I am grateful for what I have and what I had. I try to remember the person I was before I became my condition, but I try not to wish too badly to be her again.
Read part 2 in this series, in which the author talks about how using Medical Marijuana to manage her pain and insomnia changed her life.
Updated on: 02/20/19 Continue Reading: Fibromyalgia Overview
You will need to follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully. Making changes in your lifestyle and daily habits can help you feel better. Remember, your treatment won’t be as effective if you don’t take an active role in your health care. The following are some ways you can take an active role in managing your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Maintain a healthy outlook
Work with your health care team to choose realistic, short-term goals to manage your symptoms. Focus on what you can do today to feel better. Tell your doctor if you have been feeling depressed or anxious. These feelings are common among people who live with the pain and frustration of fibromyalgia. Your doctor may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need to deal with fibromyalgia. Support can come from your health care team, as well as friends and family members. For example, you could ask a friend to be your exercise buddy. There are also support groups specifically for people who have fibromyalgia.
Take medicines exactly as prescribed
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to reduce your pain, improve your mood, and help you sleep better. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about each medicine and why you’re taking it. Be sure to take all medicines according to your doctor’s instructions.
One of the best things you can do if you have fibromyalgia is engage in moderate exercise on a regular basis. Exercise can reduce your pain, give you more energy, reduce stress, and help you sleep better. If you’re not used to exercising, be sure to talk to your doctor before you start. If you have a physical therapist on your health care team, he or she can help you develop an exercise routine that’s right for you. It’s usually best to start with low-impact aerobic exercise (for example, walking or water aerobics) for a short period of time a few days a week. As your pain decreases and your energy increases, you can gradually increase the intensity and frequency of your exercise.
Recognize stress and take steps to reduce it
Because stress makes the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse, it’s important to recognize when you’re feeling stressed. Signs of stress may include a feeling of tension in your shoulders or neck, an upset stomach, or a headache. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to completely get rid of stress in your life. However, you can focus on changing the way you react to stress. For example, you might set aside time each day to practice deep-breathing techniques or meditation.
Establish healthy sleep habits
Lack of sleep can make your fibromyalgia symptoms worse. And increased pain makes it hard to get restful sleep. To avoid getting caught in this cycle, try to have healthy sleeping habits. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (including weekends), and limit naps during the day.
Get into a routine
Many people who have fibromyalgia do better when their schedule follows a routine pattern. This usually means that each day they have meals at the same times, go to bed and get up at the same times, and exercise at the same time. Try to keep your weekend and holiday schedules as similar to your weekday schedule as possible.
Make healthy lifestyle choices
By making healthy choices, you’ll have more energy, you’ll feel better, and you’ll lower your risk for other health problems. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. If you use tobacco products, stop. Lose weight if you are overweight.
10 Ways to (Somewhat) Understand How It Feels to Live with Fibromyalgia
How we see the world shapes who we choose to be — and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.
Fibromyalgia, a disorder that causes chronic pain, is still poorly understood. I live with fibromyalgia, and on any given day, I deal with issues like extreme fatigue, allover pain, and brain fog.
Since it’s largely an invisible illness, those who have it appear outwardly to be just fine. Unfortunately, that’s not actually the case.
Fibromyalgia is particularly difficult to describe to friends and family, since its symptoms vary in severity from day to day. It’s hard to explain to friends that you need to cancel plans because you’re tired, but often that’s exactly what’s going on.
Know someone with fibromyalgia? To start to understand what it’s like to live with this condition, I came up with 10 scenarios that might help you empathize.
1. Make a to-do list for tomorrow. Then, pick only four items on your list to accomplish. If you try to do more than that, the next day you can only do two things.
With fibro, I have to carefully balance my activities and how much energy I expend every day. Even though I may still have plenty of time left in a day, I need to be home and on the couch when my tank hits empty. If I overexert myself, I won’t have the energy to do anything for the next three days.
2. Stay up for 48 hours straight, then read the dullest book you can find. You must stay awake until the end of the book.
This scenario doesn’t even accurately capture the extreme fatigue that I sometimes feel. Sleeping pills will help me fall asleep, but because I’m in constant pain, I don’t get that deep, restful sleep that many others can enjoy. For me, it seems like there’s just no way to wake up refreshed.
3. Walk on a plush carpet while wearing socks and really slide your feet across the carpet. Touch a metal doorknob and think about how that shock feels against your fingers. Now, do it again. And again. And again.
Because fibromyalgia affects my central nervous system, my body’s pain response is amplified. I experience these lovely electrical shooting pains on a regular basis — and they’re worse and longer than a static electricity shock. It’s particularly inconvenient when they show up in the middle of a work meeting, making me almost leap out of my seat.
4. Check your bank account to find out that it’s unexplainably been drained of $10,000 overnight. Schedule an appointment with the bank’s manager, who passes you to a customer service agent, then get passed on to another, then another.
Fibromyalgia is still somewhat of a mystery disease: No one knows just why it occurs or how to treat it. Many doctors are so unfamiliar with it or don’t even believe it’s real that getting a diagnosis can be a marathon journey.
I can’t count the number of times when doctors simply told me, “I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” then sent me home without a referral or any suggestion of how to find out what was actually going on with my body.
5. Run a 10K. You have no time to prepare or train. Just go out and run it, no walking allowed.
How your aching muscles feel the next day is how I feel most days when I get out of bed. That feeling continues through most of the day, and pain medication doesn’t help much.
6. Turn your thermostat down by 10 degrees. You’re not allowed to put on additional layers. You won’t find a comfortable temperature until things warm up in the summer, at which point things will suddenly be far too hot.
With fibro, my body doesn’t regulate its temperature as well as it used to. I’m always freezing in the winter. In the summer, I’m unusually cold until suddenly I’m dying of heat. It seems like there’s no happy medium!
7. Cancel a date with only an hour warning on a Friday night and explain that your child’s sick. See how your date reacts.
Unfortunately, even when friends and family know I have fibro, they can’t always understand how significantly it affects my life. This is a scenario that I’ve actually been through, and the fact that I’m no longer dating that person indicates just how well he reacted to the cancellation.
8. Spend a long weekend without interacting with anyone else except your loving, entertaining pets.
My pets have become extremely important to me, especially during the times when I’m simply not up for interacting with people. They don’t judge me, but they also remind me that I’m not alone. Having them around makes flare days a little more bearable.
9. Get seriously ill six times in a year. Call out of work for at least three days each time. Do you still have a job at the end of the year?
With fibromyalgia, I never know when I’m going to have a flare day, and flares often make it impossible for me to commute in to work and sit at a desk all day. I’ve never been so grateful for the ability to work partly from home. It’s probably kept me employed.
10. At work, forget deadlines by a few weeks, put items away where they don’t belong, and leave halfway through meetings without an explanation. Check out the reactions of your co-workers and supervisor.
One of the most annoying symptoms of fibro just might be “fibro fog.” Some days, it feels like you’re living in a fog of confusion, and there’s nothing you can do to get yourself together. We’re talking putting your keys in the fridge, forgetting what year it is, and getting disoriented as you try to find your way home on a basic route you’ve driven hundreds of times before.
Fibromyalgia makes life insanely challenging, but it also brings its own strange advantages, like learning to be thankful for the small everyday beauties of life. One thing I’m grateful for are my loved ones who truly try to understand how I’m feeling, even though it’s challenging. Their empathy makes the worst days a little better.
Paige Cerulli is a copywriter and content writer residing in western Massachusetts. She often covers chronic illness, health, and wellness and is currently working on a novel involving chronic illness. In her spare time, she enjoys riding horses and playing the flute.
What It’s Really Like to Live With Fibromyalgia
Here’s the thing – I manage this illness well.
I, mostly, kick fibro’s butt. I work part-time, have two small children, a hunky hubby and hobbies. I wrote two books about fighting fibromyalgia (very slowly, over a long period of time). I do a lot while in a lot of pain. There are people far worse off than me. There are people with milder symptoms than me. But for my level of symptoms I cope remarkably well.
I am following my dreams despite this illness that could very well have stolen them. I encourage you to do the same.
This post originally appeared on Melissa vs. Fibromyalgia.
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MORE ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA:
Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness with three main symptoms — widespread pain, chronic fatigue and cognitive trouble. Fibromyalgia is a complicated illness that’s not well understood. In the past, it was mischaracterized as a mental health disorder. Even today, some doctors wave off fibro symptoms as being “all in your head.” This isn’t the case. Read The Mighty’s comprehensive guide to fibromyalgia here. and connect with people who get it.
Fibromyalgia Print Page
Fibromyalgia presents with symptoms of chronic diffuse muscle and joint pain, poor sleep, and fatigue. Some patients also describe stomach ailments and have history of headaches. The symptoms may often be vague, but can be debilitating to patients with it.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose, as there is no one test to confirm it. However, after more serious conditions have been ruled out, usually by taking a good history and physical exam, an expert in fibromyalgia can confidently diagnose this condition.
While there are a number of different medications which are used in the treatment of fibromyalgia, a more conservative approach should be tried first, including: excercise, sleep hygiene & education.
A slow but progressive increase in aerobic exercise (Examples: swimming, walking) can be very helpful. While the results are not immediate, exercise can reduce pain, and improve everyday functional mobility and quality of life.
Good sleep hygiene remains important. If there are any medical conditions disturbing your sleep, it is important to discuss these with your doctor. Otherwise, it is important to have a regular time to go to sleep, a comfortable bed and no regular disturbances.
Education is equally important. Speak to your physician about fibromyalgia education programs in your area.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Fibromyalgia?
- Fibromyalgia a chronic diffuse pain syndrome. Patients describe diffuse musculoskeletal pain, although some areas can be worse than others. Phrasing like “I hurt all over” or “I have head to toe pain” is not uncommon, but there are many different ways patients with fibromyalgia will describe pain.
Is pain the only problem with fibromyalgia?
- No. Patients also commonly describe poor sleep or still feeling tired when they wake up in the morning. Severe fatigue and morning stiffness are also common. People with fibromyalgia may also have difficulties with headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or mood.
Who gets fibromyalgia?
- Anyone can have fibromyalgia. It affects approximately 4% of the population. Females account for the majority of patients. The most common age is between 30-55, but is seen in the pediatric population too.
Why does fibromyalgia happen?
- While there is much research going on the area, it remains unclear why fibromyalgia occurs. We believe it is a problem of how the body perceives pain, rather than a problem with the muscles, joints, or nerves themselves. In fact, if you took a biopsy of these areas, they would be perfectly normal.
Are there any triggers for fibromyalgia?
- For some patients, they can identify a specific event that seemed to be associated with the start of their pain. Examples include trauma, either physical or emotional, or an illness. Many patients however cannot identify such a trigger.
Are there any other diseases associated with fibromyalgia?
- Patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders can also have fibromyalgia. In fact, it is important that these other conditions are ruled out.
What is the difference between rheumatoid arthritis & fibromyalgia?
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory condition which affects specific joints in the body. If not treated aggressively, it can progressively worsen, affect organs such as the heart, lungs and eyes and shorten life-span. Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome; It is not an autoimmune disease and it is does not cause objective signs of inflammation.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
- Fibromyalgia can be diagnosed by your physician by discussing your medical history and a proper physical examination.
Are there any blood tests or x-rays that can confirm the diagnosis?
- No, fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion. In fact, it is reassuring that any investigations your physician may do return normal. This suggests there is no other serious reason for the symptoms.
How is fibromyalgia treated?
- Treatment of fibromyalgia requires a multi-disciplinary approach. The best evidence for successful treatment include:
- Good night’s sleep: Better sleep improves fatigue and pain. Treating any underlying sleep disorders, and learning about good sleep hygiene is important.
- Education: Learning more about fibromyalgia and different mechanisms to cope with pain is part of the treatment strategy. Patients with fibromyalgia must learn not to let the pain take over their lives. Speak to your rheumatologist about educational opportunities that may exist.
- Exercise: Slow progressive increase in aerobic exercise has been shown to be very effective in treating fibromyalgia. It is important to start slowly, as too much exercise at the beginning will only increase pain and cause discouragement. Any type of exercise will do; there is good evidence to suggest water exercise is helpful including swimming or aquasize, but regular walks, Yoga or Tai-Chi are all good examples. Once you’re comfortable at your exercise level for a few weeks, add to it by about 10% in intensity or duration. By keeping to this plan, patients describe improvement in pain and fatigue over the long term.
I have heard about a number of different medications that have been used to treat fibromyalgia. Do they work?
- There are more and more medications being researched and approved for use with fibromyalgia. While some of them have been shown to be effective, there are only short term studies. The methods described in the answer above are long term solutions and do not carry the additional risk of adverse medication effects. However, for some people, medications may be necessary in combination with lifestyle changes to bring improvement.
- Strong pain medications such as narcotics should be avoided. While they may work initially, their effect wears off and there is a slow dose escalation over time. If you need medications for fibromyalgia, discuss non-narcotic options with your physician. If you are already on a narcotic pain medication, discuss with your physician how you can safely stop it.
I have been reading about natural products that are used to treat fibromyalgia. Do they work?
- Because there is no cure for fibromyalgia and its cause is poorly defined, there are many different products on the market which claim to treat fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, these products have usually not been studied well, so it is difficult for your physician to recommend them. If you want to consider these products, you should still discuss them with your physician to ensure they are a safe option for you.
What is the long term prognosis for fibromyalgia?
- Patients with fibromyalgia who are able to improve their exercise regime and sleep hygiene, as well as learn strong coping mechanisms can do very well over time. It does take time to improve however and it can be difficult to stay with these changes when you do not see improvement initially. It is this lack of immediate feedback and the difficulty starting non-pharmacologic treatment which makes improvement difficult for some patients. Fibromyalgia is not associated with a shorter life span or the development of future diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, dementia, or cancer.
For current Alberta Rheumatologist patients, to listen to one of our own rheumatologists speak further about fibromyalgia at our Fibromyalgia Education Program from October 2015.
To learn how to attend a fibromyalgia education class in the Edmonton area, please click here.
10 Things People do that make Fibromyalgia worse
There are a number of seemingly harmless things you’re probably doing that are having a devastating effect on your pain and making your life worse than it needs to be. The 10 utmost mutual things we’ve seen that can make your pain worse are as follow:
Talking of stress, interactions can be one more big cause of stress, particularly in any relationship disturbed by chronic pain. Even healthy relations have their moments of stress, so there’s no dodging it. However, certain associations may cause more stress than they’re worth. If an affiliation is constantly undesirable or harmful, it will add needless stress and further reduce your mental and emotive willpower (of which you need all you can get). Look at your relations and decide what modifications you can make to help unnatural or negative ones get back on path. If things still don’t change, try putting the association on hold (when possible) and pay attention to the transformation you’ll feel.
Concentrating too much on the pain
Have you ever found yourself so engaged in something that you subconsciously be unable to remember your pain, even if only for an instant? There’s typically that moment when you intentionally identify that you’d been so confused that the pain didn’t feel quite as prominent. Consider it or not, there’s scientific indication that off-putting our attentions from the pain works.
Not addressing depression
Depression is mutual among those dealing with enduring pain. In fact, those suffering from fibromyalgia are up to three times more likely to have depression. As we’ve already debated, our mental and emotional states can have a direct effect on how our brains practice pain. Using brain imagery tools, scientists have found straight links between mental health and sensitivity to pain.
Waiting to see a doctor
This is mutual among those whose symptoms are comparatively new. The usual fibromyalgia diagnosis takes 7 years before finally being identified as fibromyalgia. Part of that is that doctors have been cautious to make a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, but one more part is that we occasionally put off seeing a doctor.
Eating trigger products
Did you know that some foods could intensify your sensitivity to agony? Besides eating a healthy diet rich with the vitamins and nutrients your body wants, you need to be aware of what trigger foods could be creating your ache worse. As a common rule, anybody with fibromyalgia must avoid things like:
- Dairy products dairy products can intensify fibromyalgia pain
- Simple carbs (sugars)
- Food seasonings (i.e. msg)
- Synthetic sweeteners
- Nightshade vegetables (i.e. tomatoes, potatoes, various peppers and eggplants)
Caffeine can truly further disturb your natural clock and make sleep even more badly than it already is. It also delivers a quick enhancement followed by a crash, particularly if your caffeinated beverage of choice is a sugary soda or energy cold drink. Try improved methods to lift your energy. Something like D-ribose, which is a kind of honey the body produces that is also used as a medication, can deliver long-lasting energy without the crash.
Drinking or smoking
This should be understandable, yet we still see individuals each day who are regular smokers or drinkers. Readings demonstrates that those with fibromyalgia who smoke, endures expressively more pain, numbness, patient global harshness, and functional complications than non-smokers. The same goes for extreme alcohol intake. It blocks important nutrients like vitamin B12 from absorbing into your system and defending your nerves. This can eventually lead to pain, tingling or numbness from nerve damage.
Taking long naps
This is another tough one. For one, we’re exhausted, be it the pain or prolonged fatigue. For many, naps are a must. However, in a current study on the effects of daytime naps on the severity of fibromyalgia signs, scientists found that regularity and duration of naps was linked to larger symptom severity in individuals with fibromyalgia.
Shortage of physical movement
Fibromyalgia can be like a two-edged sword. The pain makes it very hard (and sometimes impossible) to exercise. This lack of physical movement can lead to a type of muscle atrophy (or weakening of muscles) known as disuse atrophy. As your muscle mass deteriorates and weakens from lack of use, even a simple daily task like taking a bath can be tough, painful and exhausting.
Talking of over-doing it, overexertion is a new mutual culprit for creating pain worse. Whether it’s training, shopping or just trying to keep up with your many tasks at home and work, we occasionally do more than our bodies are prepared to handle. We generally pay for it over the next few days, as you previously know.
Consider your body’s parameters and having the self-control to throw in the cloth before surpassing its restrictions will make a huge modification in the severity of your pain.
Passing on usual methods
One way in which we may unintentionally let our pain to get worse is by passing on another treatments, medications or remedies that could possibly help. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you should try the whole thing. You should chat to your physician and discover normal tactics that you can try as an enhancement to the old-style medicines you’re already taking.
Usual methods might include ordinary supplements, massage, acupuncture, TENs treatment, yoga, mindfulness and more. Many people we’ve communicated to practice life-changing results from taking a multi-faceted attitude that contains both out-of-date and many other different treatments and rehabilitation.
Not accurately handling with stress
Let’s face it; no one can totally evade stress. It’s a part of life. For those of us stressed with fibromyalgia, our pressure can be enhanced because our ailment disturbs every part of our lives. It launches a struggle in our strategies and many difficulties in how we live, feel, act and more. If not dealt with suitably, stress can also generate a brutal cycle by making our symptoms worse, leading to even more pressure in our lives.
Fibromyalgia Awareness Day T-shirt: It is available in different style and colors. We chose this shirts as this year 12 May National fibromyalgia awareness day T-shirt, so lets all wear these and go on the walk that are arranged near you.