Fibromyalgia - A Woman's Thorn

Have you ever woken up in the morning and feel like you have the flu? Your body aches and your joints are stiff. All you want to do is crawl under the covers. You fight it and try to go about your day. You realize that parts of your body hurt a little bit more than others. You’re tender and achy. If you think about it long and hard, you realize that this has been going on for months. There must be something wrong. You go to the doctor and he tells you that you are just stressed. A few more months go by and you don’t feel better. You go see another doctor. It’s now all in your head. Months go by and you see another doctor. Now, you have rheumatoid arthritis. Then they call to say that the tests came back negative. What do you do?

If you get the right doctor, you might discover that you have fibromyalgia syndrome (aka: fibromyositis or fibrositis). About 12 million Americans have this syndrome. Of those women are 10 times more likely to discover that it is affecting their lives. Though it hits women anywhere from the ages of 25 to 60, the risks increase with age.

Fibromyalgia is not a fun experience. There are days when you cannot seem to get out of bed and you feel like a train has run over you. Since it is a syndrome and not a disease there is no one attribute that signals its advance and there is not an actual test to diagnose it. A doctor determines it more out of a process of elimination of other diseases before coming to the fibromyalgia conclusion. It’s symptoms imitate many other diseases and therefore gets misdiagnosed many times.

Causes and Symptoms

                So what causes it?  There are no particular things that bring it on.  Physical or emotional trauma have been the most common documented instances.  Even strong infections seem to trigger it.  Some people have an onset as a secondary problem from other diseases or conditions.  Even pregnancy can be a trigger for fibromyalgia.  Genetics can also play a factor.  Research has shown that fibromyalgia runs in families.

                Symptoms

1.       Overall pain

2.       Trigger/tender points

3.       Exhaustion/fatigue

4.       Lack of sleep

5.       Headaches

6.       Restless leg syndrome

7.       Depression

8.       Irritable bowl syndrome

9.       Painful periods

10.   Stiffness

Diagnosis and Treatments

Diagnosis

There is no standard test for fibromyalgia.  The usual diagnosis is pain longer than 3 months with at least 11 of the 18 tender points being positive. 


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Treatment

Since there are no tests to determine fibromyalgia, there are very few drugs that have been developed just for fibromyalgia.  Because of that many non traditional ways have been used very successfully to help alleviate the pain that comes with it.

1.       Reduce stress – use yoga, meditation, and many other relaxing techniques to get the stress out of your life.

2.       Get adequate sleep – make sure that you are getting on average eight hours sleep with no interruption.  Make your bedroom a serene, calm place to sleep.  Take a bath before bed to relax.  Drink a cup of warm milk (yes, it does work).

3.       Exercise – aerobic exercise has been found to be great to help with the pain.

4.       Healthy lifestyle – eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise.  You’ll find that your overall health will improve.

5.       Massage therapy – a regular massage therapy routine is a great way to cope with the pain.

6.       Chiropractic – check with your local chiropractor on the techniques that will help with fibromyalgia.

7.       Anti-depressants – since fibromyalgia causes depression and depression causes stress and lack of exercise, anti-depressants can help break the vicious cycle and help you get on the road to recovery.


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If any of the above symptoms, check with your doctor.  Let them rule out all the other possible problems which could be life threatening.  When you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, don’t give up hope.  Lifestyle changes and determination for a peaceful life will do wonders.


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Personal Journey

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia over 5 years ago.  One of the best treatments I have found is massage therapy.  I had a dear friend that was going through massage school and I was blessed to be her project.  I received a 60 minute massage once a week.  I noticed a vast improvement in my pain within a few weeks.  I highly recommend that you find a local massage therapist that can help you live your life.

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Comments 3 comments

jesusmyjoy profile image

jesusmyjoy 7 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

I have fibromyalgia..it not fun and i ache all the time..thank you for this


Leda 6 years ago

you used my photo I see... but with no reference back to me..


RGraf profile image

RGraf 6 years ago from Wisconsin Author

My apologies, but I did reference your name and that it was located on flickr. I can remove it if you would like.

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