Fibromyalgia and Me – Things You Might Not Know
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Every year on May 12, the National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is observed. However, I observe (experience) fibromyalgia daily.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
The primary symptoms of fibromyalgia are chronic muscle pain, tenderness, and stiffness that varies from mild to severe, coming and going on a day to day basis.
There will be pain at 11 of 18 tender point sites.
Words used to describe the pain are: aching, burning, numbing, stabbing, throbbing, and tingling, as well as others.
Physical activity, stress, and the weather can affect the amount of pain experienced.
Other symptoms may include: anxiety, brain fog (mild to severe mental confusion, lack of focus, poor memory recall, and reduced mental acuity), depression, ears ringing, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue (moderate to extreme), flare ups (the worsening of symptoms that already exist), headaches (mild to severe), irritable bowel and bladder, muscle spasms, restless legs syndrome, skin problems, sleep disorders, and vision problems. Do note, this list is not complete.
Fibromyalgia is different for every person. Some may have mild symptoms and can easily cope with it while others may be bedridden.
Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be difficult as there are no diagnostic tests to confirm it.
There are no fibromyalgia medications but medications are used to treat some of the symptoms. Alternative treatments are used to help ease the pain.
Things you might not know about fibromyalgia and me:
• I have been to numerous doctors, had test after test, taken so many medications that I’ve lost track of how many – all of this to try and find out what was wrong with me and how to treat it
• It is invisible, at times I might look ok to you but you don’t see my pain
• I NEVER experience a day without pain
• If I say I’m having a fair or good day, it means my pain is not severe
• I have pain all over my body, even my scalp and skin hurts to be touched at times
• My ears are constantly ringing
• I have muscle spasms and restless legs
• Brain fog really frustrates me and makes me angry
• I experience flare ups and I never know when they might come
• I get depressed, stressed, and anxious
• At times, I can go to bed and sleep for 24 hours then sometimes not even an hour
• Fatigue comes easily
• I have to take daily naps, sometimes they last for hours and at other times only a few minutes
• It hurts to exercise
• Any physical activity on one day causes me to be in bed all day the next day or more
• Noise, bright lights, and certain odors bother me
• Certain foods affect my pain level and brain fog
• Riding in a vehicle is painful
• It’s hard to keep appointments due to not knowing how I am going to feel from day to day
• Hot weather feels better than cold
• I use a heating pad, massaging lounge chair, a tens unit, and water therapy in a pool or hot tub as alternative treatments to try to ease the pain
• I am so thankful for my loving, caring, and supportive husband as many with fibromyalgia don’t have such support and care
• You would not believe how difficult it is for me to write, edit, and publish a post on this blog
• Remember, this is how it affects me, it may not affect you or someone you know in the same way
For information, you can visit the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association and the National Fibromyalgia Association.
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