Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

I just got back from my 7 day cruise with my husband and I invite you to my blog Chris' Comments to see some of our pictures and to read my journal of our trip.

In the meantime, I was doing a little more research on fibromyalgia and thought about listing some of the other symptoms associated with this illness.

I have listed the top 9 tender spots on the side of my blog that are used when diagnosing fibromyalgia, but there are definitely many other factors involved when trying to determine this elusive illness.

Here are a few of the more commonly known symptoms you may experience if you suffer from fibromyalgia:

Pain: First of all the pain is not muscular it is more neurological. Fibromyalgia sufferers experience an increased sensation of pain due to a glitch in the central nervous system's processing of pain information. In short, the pain you feel is very real, but the brain has amplified it many times over. Maybe that is where the stigma "It's all in your head" attached to this chronic problem might have come from.

Pain is pain whether it's your brain telling you incorrectly or not. Some sufferers have mild aching pain, while others feel like you might it you had an ongoing flu. That allover aching, tired, worn down feeling.

One of the first things I told my doctor when I was being diagnosed was that the tasks I perform do not warrant the pain I experience the next day. Now I know why. It's not really anything seriously wrong with my muscles, just my brain telling me there is.

Sleep and fatigue: Because your brain does not shut off at night you could be feeling spurts of pain and discomfort that may be keeping you awake or making you feel restless. Either way, your sleep suffers and you wake up tired before you've even started your day. Sleep Apnea and Restless Legs Syndrome are rather common for patients with fibromyalgia.

I suffer from restless legs and have found a natural remedy online called Great Night Sleep that works wonders. It is designed for sleep, but the combination of ingredients is what seems to work for me.

Memory problems: Difficulty in concentrating and remembering is also something you may experience with fibromyalgia, but oftentimes it is difficult to know as we generally lose a bit of that as we age anyway.

Depression: There are varying degrees of depression from the mild lack of interest in activity to the all encompassing black cloud of despair. For many fibro patients depression can arise due to a lack of proper sleep, fear of a life-changing illness, and the constant pain that can wear down your body and mind. Fibromyalgia is definitely a life-changing illness and depression often follows.

The good news is that it doesn't generally get worse with time and there are medications that can help with the various symptoms. I will be writing about some of these medications in a later post.

I think it takes such a long time to diagnose fibromyalgia because of the type of symptoms associated with it. Many people experience depression or have problems sleeping, but they do not have fibromyalgia. It is a combination of the tender points, the aching muscles or overall fatigue along with some of the above symptoms that can finally bring about a true diagnosis.

One of the things you can do when you have fibromyalgia is to not over exert yourself physically, if possible. Don't start up some new exercise plan to lose weight or whatever, because your brain will be telling you for days that you are in extreme pain.

Go slowly and see how long it takes for your body to respond and condition. Truthfully, I have been told by a physical therapist not to even start any kind of major exercise program, ever. Not because your muscles can't take it, but because your brain misinterprets it and can cause serious havoc on your system.

It's unfortunate that many medical professionals still roll their eyes when you mention the word "fibromyalgia" because it is a very real illness. It is also unfortunate that many people abuse the term and it becomes their excuse for their life. Fibromyalgia may not get worse, but it may be here to stay so we have to learn to make adjustments in our lives to work with it.

One of the main reasons I started this blog is so that others will have a safe forum to talk about their frustrations, their symptoms, their highs and their lows. Having a support system is key in dealing with these issues on a daily basis as it can get overwhelming at times and so many people just do not understand what you are experiencing.

I hope each of you will feel free to comment about whatever comes to mind when reading my posts.

I appreciate each comment and will always comment back.


Michele Emrath said...

I am soooooooooo happy to have found your blog. I was on cloud nine when I was diagnosed JUST TO HAVE AN ANSWER! And then I met the skeptics and the abusers, just as you mentioned--those who don't believe, and those who are sure they have it because of their own minute aches.

I hope you enjoyed your cruise and didn't spend the whole time thinking about fibro! I'll click over and look at your pics next.

I've been having stiffness in my fingers recently. Have you had that or heard of anyone with a similar feeling? I actually dropped my coffee cup this morning. It made me cry. But my husband was here to clean it up and that made me cry in a good way!

Do Beautiful Things

Christine Burgess said...

Oh, Michele it must have scared you to death to have dropped your cup. I am so glad your husband was there for you.
I have had some stiffness from time to time, but not to that degree. I often can't open jars and pill bottles and wonder what happened to all my strength.

No, I don't think about the fibro on vacation if I can help it, but it's just one of those things that seriously affects what tours you take because you can't sit for long periods of time or stand around too much as it gets to my back, but I have learned what I can and can't do so it helps.

I am so glad you were able to get diagnosed and at least understand what is happening to your body. I know that it was a relief to me too.
Thanks so much for commenting.

Michele Emrath said...

And thank you for taking the time to comment back! It seems you are an artist and have much to keep you busy. I look forward to further communication and education. Thanks!

Do Beautiful Things