Tuesday, February 24, 2009


16 Random Things About Fibromyalgia and My Life with it:

1. Fibromyalgia means pain in the fibrous tissues of the body, such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
2. Primary fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a form of fibromyalgia where pain occurs in muscles, tendons, and ligaments throughout the body. The cause is not known.
3. I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 2 years after my 2nd son had been a pedestrian hit by a car. He had three years of Rehab and although he had a team of specialists working with him, he lived at home and most of the burden of this fell on me.My Internist, whom I saw for Diabetes, finally heard my complaints of over-all pain and diagnosed Fibromyalgia.
4. After the initial diagnosis, I was sent to a Neurologist, who confirmed the diagnosis and got me started on medication to help me cope with the pain.
5. The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are pain, tenderness to touch, and stiffness in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The neck, shoulders, abdomen, lower back, and thighs are the parts most likely to be affected. The pain may be spread out evenly over a large area, but there are also "tender points," where the pain is more severe.
6. The doctor will check for up to 18 "tender points," areas where the pain is more severe. I tested positive in all 18 points.
7. I continued to work through out the three years following my son's accident as well as for five years beyond that. I worked at a Spa but the pain became so intolerable that I took a disability leave and have not returned.
8. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include difficulty sleeping and lack of energy. People with fibromyalgia can also suffer from changes in mood, anxiety, headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome.
9. Since there is no definitive medical test for fibromyalgia, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made by doing a physical exam and a thorough history. Outside of Doctor's reports, it is a battle to get disability for Fibromyalgia, however it is now recognized as a disability.
10. Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary, depending on the weather, stress, physical activity or even the time of day.
11. Why does it hurt? Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals.
12. Fibromyalgia is an often-misunderstood chronic condition, which can be very frustrating.
13. I have often wished there was a physical display of Fibro...sort of like a wheelchair or cane, just so people would recognize Fibro as a disability...I know we've thought the same thing about my son's brain injury. I wonder what people would say if we wore t-shirts with that caption on it :P
14. Get enough sleep - Because fatigue is one of the main characteristics of fibromyalgia, getting sufficient sleep is essential. I take a low dose of an Antidepressant to help me go into the deep REM stage of sleep.
15. Now here's another great bit of advise - Reduce Stress. Develop a plan to avoid or limit overexertion and emotional stress. Allow yourself time each day to relax. Now I chuckle at this, since stress has been high in the past several years, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't make the effort to reduce stress.
16. Finally...alternatively, Chiropractic care, Accupuncture and Massage Therapy,can help relieve pain.


hippo chick said...

Thanks, Faye. On behalf of myself and the thousands of sufferers like us, I salute you.

I had good luck with amotryptoline (sic?) but had to give it up as it caused heart palpittions which may or may not have led to my coronary spasm.

If I sleep five hours at a time I thik I've died and gone to heaven. Which of course will be our final cure.

~hippo hugs~