I'm the owner of the blog Fibromyalgia Confessions. I decided to make this blog as a way to get information out to all of you. When it comes to living with Fibromyalgia knowledge is power. The more you learn about Fibromyalgia as an illness and about your own personal Fibromyalgia, the easier it will be for you to find a balance in your life. Once you find that balance it's amazing how much easier some things are. Fibromyalgia is painful and will always be hard to deal with but I think we should do all we can to make it as easy as it can be.
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Currently the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. There are a few connections Doctors have made regarding the onset of Fibromyalgia. One of the most prominent ones is the connection with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It’s estimated that over 50% of people with Fibromyalgia had PTSD prior to the onset of Fibromyalgia. This suggests that there is a connection between trauma or severe stress and Fibromyalgia.
The PTSD varies from patient to patient. There are cases of abuse, war, and death. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that is a reaction to a traumatic event. There have been studies that show evidence of PTSD actually changing the way the brain functions. The thought is that these changes in the brain could cause Fibromyalgia, as Fibro is thought to be caused by a brain function issue.
It’s proven that treating the PTSD can help lessen the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. PTSD, like Fibro, is incurable and simply must be treated indefinitely. It’s thought to be helpful to see a counselor or psychiatrist and to be put on some sort of anti-depressant or anti-psychotic.
All of this is also more of a reason to keep your life at a low stress level. The more emotional strain you’re under, the worse your Fibro will be. Ever notice that when you get really upset a flare-up often follows? This is something that is common in a large number of Fibromyalgia patients. So, do your best to stay calm, learn to relax, don’t worry so much, and de-stress often.
I wanted to apologize for not updating in so long. Life got a little crazy for me a few months ago. My husband and I split up and I basically had to rebuild my life from scratch. That’s hard enough and as you all know Fibro just makes everything so much more difficult. I’m planning on starting regular updates again this week. I hope all of you are doing well. It’s almost springtime! Almost an end to those winter blues and extra bad flare-ups from the bad weather!
Try your very best not to run into things, fall down, etc.
I know, that probably seems like common sense but it’s extra important for us. You know how when you run into something it hurts 10,000x more than it would for a normal person? Well, running into something or falling down can irritate our nerves and muscles causing a flare up.
So, of course it seems simple; Be careful, don’t get hurt. The problem with that is the fact that Fibromyalgia also comes with bad balance and sometimes dizziness. This means we have to be WAY more careful than other people when it comes to moving around.
So, I’ve read about and heard of so many people with fibromyalgia complaining about the use of “anti-depressant” medication being used to treat fibro. They’ll say, “They want me to take Cymbalta, that’s for depression so they must think I’m crazy and that these symptoms are all in my head.” The fact is that these medications deemed “anti-depressants” aren’t just good for treating depression. Being a Fibromyalgiac, I know that some Dr.’s really do think these symptoms are all in our heads, that’s just one of the many bullshit things we have to deal with. However, there is a difference between prescribing an SNRI for chronic pain and prescribing an “anti-depressant” for mental health.
A common type of anti-depressant is an SNRI, a serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Yes, these are definitely used in the treatment of depression, the chemicals these drugs effect are two of the “happy hormones” we have in our brain. However, these two chemicals are also used to help our body fight off pain, essentially they are our natural pain killers. When an SNRI is given to a Fibromyalgia patient it’s more often than not in the hopes that it will help the patient’s brain and body fight off pain better. They’re not giving you SNRI’s because they think you’re insane. Truth is, most Dr.’s will recommend you see someone such as a therapist or psychiatrist if they really think the symptoms are in your head.
Cymbalta is an SNRI and is used for the treatment of anti-depression and chronic pain conditions. Savella is the same, the only difference between the two is that Savella has only ever been used to treat chronic pain while Cymbalta was originally used to treat depression. Therefore, Fibromyalgiacs are less likely to fuss over taking Savella. Seriously though, they both do the exact same thing.
you’re worried about why a Dr. is giving you a certain medication, you can ask him outright. That may seem crazy to some people but a Dr. is a person too, just ask. “Are you giving me this for pain relief or for a different thing?” or “What exactly is this medication going to do to help me?” If you really don’t want to ask your Dr. then there is always your pharmacist. Remember, pharmacists aren’t just there to put your medications in bottles. Pharmacists go through years upon years of college, some Dr.’s don’t go to school as long as Pharmacists do. They are experts when it comes to medications and they have the PH.D’s to prove it.
The bottom line is: Don’t jump to conclusions about a medication if you don’t know everything about it. The best thing for you to do is learn about the different medications used for Fibromyalgia, that way if your Dr. suggests one you’ll already have an idea of what he expects it to do for you. Don’t pass up an opportunity to feel better just because you think a medication is only used for one specific thing, so many medications are used to treat multiple ailments. So; Ask questions, do research, and don’t jump to conclusions when it comes to medication.
Yes, Fibromyalgia is considered a syndrome. This means that it is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that consistently occur together. While the definition of disease is this: A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
The reason they call Fibromyalgia a syndrome is because they don’t know what causes it yet. The issue that I, and many others, have with the term syndrome is that so many Doctors and people in our lives think “syndrome” is synonymous with “not serious” so when they hear Fibromyalgia Syndrome they dismiss it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “It’s just a syndrome, it’s not a disease.”
What they do know about Fibromyalgia is that it seems to come from a part of the brain working incorrectly. Now, look back at the definition of disease. With the knowledge that in Fibromyalgia patients a part of the brain is not working correctly, I think it’s safe to say that Fibromyalgia is a disease by definition, wouldn’t you?
In addition to all this, many Fibromyalgia associations and groups such as the NFA have been working on getting the medical term for Fibromyalgia changed from Syndrome to Disease because of all of the discrimination we receive because Fibro is currently identified as a syndrome.
So what do we call it right now? I say fuck the syndrome shit. Those of us with Fibro know what it does to us, how terrible it is, and that it’s more than “Just a syndrome.” So if you wanna call it a disease, then do it. I do and will continue to. By definition it is a disease and just because the medical world isn’t quite ready to recognize the seriousness of this illness doesn’t mean we can’t.
I am constantly getting Facebook messages, emails, tumblr asks, and tweets from people claiming that they have the cure to Fibromyalgia and if I’d just listen to them I’d know the secret too. These people are just looking to take advantage of sick people, don’t listen to them. They scan the social media sites looking for people with illnesses that they can scam or just feed a lot of bullshit to. I know, we all wish that one of these people really does have the answer but I can assure you that they don’t. If there really was a cure out there or some magic medication or vitamin that made all the pain go away, we would know about it already.
About fifty percent of these people will want you to eventually buy some supplement that they swear will make all your pain go away. They might even have people who claim that they’ve tried it and been cured. The people they have make those claims probably never had Fibromyalgia at all, more than likely they were hired to say those things to help make it all look more legit. The other fifty percent of these people who will contact you claiming to know the secret to making Fibro disappear will probably be one of two things: Religious folks who will tell you all you have to do is ask God to cure you and you’ll be all good; or people who will tell you things like: ”If you just drink your own urine and then do yoga with a turtle you’ll be fine.” Neither of those two kinds of people have a clue as to what they’re talking about. I bet more than half of us have already asked God to help the pain go away, I’m pretty sure things don’t happen that way-Whatever God there is doesn’t just heal people. And, we’ve all heard crazy “cures” for Fibromyalgia, some of which we’ve even tried-none of which work.
So, bottom line is: Ignore these scammers, faith healers, and weirdos. They don’t have the cure, they don’t know some amazing secret that the rest of us don’t. It’ll just make you feel worse if you get your hopes up and it all turns out to be bullshit. The best you can do is keep up with medical research and advances in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. I have faith that one day they may figure out how to really help us.
With the winter months approaching I figured I’d make a list of a few things to help those of us who live in the colder parts of the country/world beat the cold. It’s no secret that extreme weather than cause flare ups and more and more pain. Here are a few things I think Fibromyalgia patients should have to battle the cold and extra pain that comes with fall and winter.
1. A nice big heat blanket. On those really freezing cold days when your muscles are stiff and aching, wrapping up in a heat blanket can really help loosen your muscles and ease the pain. Not to mention it’ll keep you nice and warm while the snow is piling up outside.
2. A small indoor work-out routine. Something like Yoga for Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain (Which can be found in the mayo clinic dvd and on some websites) can help keep your muscles warm even though it’s freezing outside. It’s important, if you are able to, to keep up activity even though you can’t walk outside. Something small like yoga is quick and easy and can be done right in your living room.
3. Good warm weather clothes. Don’t forget to bundle up when you go outside. The more your body is exposed to extreme weather the worse your pain will get. Make sure you have a nice heavy coat, warm pants and sweaters, and some good boots; especially if you live in one of the areas that gets lots of snow.
4. Make sure your stocked up on medication. You don’t want to be running out in the middle of a snow storm to get your meds, so make sure you refill all you scripts and pick up any over-the-counter meds you might need before bad weather hits.
5. Your signature warm drink. Whether it’s warm apple cider, coffee, or hot cocoa a nice warm drink can help you feel better when your cold, tired, and your muscles are aching.