How to help Fibromyalgia
What exactly is fibromyalgia?
I turned to Webmd.com for a little synopsis…
“Fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition after osteoarthritis. Still, it is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Its characteristics include widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue, as well as other symptoms. Fibromyalgia can lead to depression and social isolation. With fibromyalgia syndrome, the following symptoms commonly occur together:
- Anxiety or depression
- Decreased pain threshold or tender points
- Incapacitating fatigue
- Widespread pain
More than 12 million Americans have fibromyalgia. Most of them are women between ages 25 and 60. Women are 10 times more likely to get this disease than men.”
(Interesting, huh! Ten times more likely???)
Fibromyalgia causes you to ache all over. You may have symptoms of crippling fatigue — even on arising. Specific tender points on the body may be painful to touch. You may experience disturbances in deep-level or restful sleep, and mood disturbances or depression.
Your muscles may feel like they have been overworked or pulled. They’ll feel that way even without exercise or another cause. Sometimes, your muscles twitch, burn, or have deep stabbing pain.
Some patients with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the joints in the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it difficult for them to sleep or exercise.”
So, what do you do about it?
My client Barb decided to go to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for an entire week of testing. Surely one of the most preeminent medical research facilities could offer her a solution for her fibromyalgia. She took a week off of work, paid for her airfare, her hotel, and (this was a few years ago), the out of pocket cost was $7000.
They handed her an eighty page booklet on how to handle her symptoms. What, pray tell, did the magical booklet say? She let me read it. Drumroll, please…
Exercise every day and work on sleeping better.
Mind blowing advice!
She was shocked, and dismayed. That was a heck of a lot of time, effort, and money spent on the pursuit of an answer.
This is a perfect example of how muscles aren’t going to show up on many (if any) diagnostic tests, and therefore some medical professionals are at a loss as how to treat them.I just always assume muscles are the culprit, and go from there. Click To Tweet
About ten years ago, I had an MRI on my knee because I had been the victim of a vicious slide tackle playing soccer. I could run forward, and sideways, but don’t ask me to open the front door because the twisting dropped me. In a nutshell: my MRI came back inconclusive. I looked at my orthopedist and said, “Of course it was inconclusive! My knee doesn’t hurt lying down and braced on the sides (the position I was in when the MRI was taken)…you need to put me in a loaded standing up MRI and then twist the knee. Then we will see what is compromised!” His response surprised me. He said, “Laura, do you know how many tests we would need to do to establish a baseline? Thousands!” I looked at him and said, “Well, then get started!” He laughed. However, it wasn’t funny to me. My knee hurt. However, no one could tell me exactly why.
I totally understood Barb’s frustration.
I read a study once where apparently healthy subjects were woken up repeatedly during the night. They developed fibromyalgia- like symptoms almost immediately.
Good sleep is a big deal!
However, if you hurt all over, how then do you go about exercising? We know the exercise will generally help you sleep better, so getting moving seems to be key.
This is a complicated question, but her solution was to start in the water. She regularly takes the water aerobics class. I call them the “Happy Bobbers”, because every time I look out at the pool, they are smiling and bobbing up and down in the water.
Heat seems to help.
Hot tub, sauna, hot packs, icy hot salve, hot rock massage, hot showers…anything to get circulation going in those “cement mixer” muscles. Additionally, we have vibration technology at our fingertips at Club Sport -a Powerplate. One of it’s many features includes increased localized blood flow by thirty percent.
Rolling seems to help.
Get that roller (or tennis balls, or rolling pin, or lacrosse ball, etc) out and start eliminating the tightness. I blogged about the lazy way to flexibility a couple weeks ago… Anything you can do to release some of the muscular tension.
Therefore, if you hurt and your diagnostics (CT, MRI, xray) aren’t helping figure out what the problem is, I would take a good hard look at what your muscles are up to.
Believe in the magic- the magic of muscles!
Let me know what magical solutions you’ve used to get moving when you hurt so much you just didn’t want to in the comments below. I am super curious, and your suggestion might help others! Thank you!