Fibromyalgia is a nasty condition

Dear Bloggers,

This is my second year of being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and I must say that I have picked up my “new life style” quite well. Eventhough pain is my biggest enemy, I walk up straight and smile to my passengers. I never realized before that deep down in me there has been a load of stress. By controlling my life in a different way and doing my things one step at the time, my pain and all the other symptoms became slowly bearable.

The Horror of Fibro headaches

As Fibromyalgia is now the accepted name for a condition that used to be known as musculoskeletal pain syndrome. The name may be updated but the diagnosis still remains a controversial one as there are still those in the medical community who discount the validity of the condition. And that is a shame as many people like myself who want to carry on are being turned down in so many ways. The controversy arises over the non-specific nature of many of the symptoms as well as the psychological aspects of the syndrome that have been observed. It is hard to find a suitable job if you have to do it on your own. It takes a hell lot of energy that you simply don’t have.

The syndrome is classified as a rheumatic condition, related to arthritis, with the major symptoms being muscle and joint pain over large parts of the body and fatgue. Usually these symptoms are also accompanied by a lowered pain threshold, anxiety and depression. The lowered pain threshold is the major reason why so many remain skeptical over the validity of Fibromyalgia as a specific disease. People with arthritis get help from the authorities and they can get a contract for working a part time job the other half is paid by the government. At least you can be there for your family and function on full power at your job.

The "New Me"

The disease affects roughly ten times more women than it does men but science has yet to determine why that is. One theory is that it is not actually this imbalanced but that men remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed more often than women do. Perhaps with further research the truth will be found but until then, it appears to affect far more women than men. My thoughts are that men are to affraid to loose their job and their face. If you live in a small community you are quickly called lazy and that f***ing hits you like a hammer.

Generally fibromyalgia sufferers start off with widespread muscle aches and joint pain, usually accompanied by debilitating fatigue. Some people will also experience muscle twitching or burning for no apparent reason. These symptoms often appear at the same time as depression and sleep disturbances.

There are other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia but most victims will have only some of them, making each person seem to have a different problem (another reason for misdiagnosis). A person may experience several of these symptoms at the same time during acute periods while experiencing none during other times. Common complaints include stomach pain, dry mouth or eyes, chronic headache, anxiety, restless legs syndrome, stiff joints, incontinence, sensitivity to hot or cold. Most of these things I recognize as my own in my case I did not experience the restless legs and I very seldom I face anxiety, therefor I do get cramped legs in restperiods and I cannot stand overcrowded places anymore.


Reaching a diagnosis can be a long process as there are no specific tests to determine if you have fibromyalgia. In my case it went quick it only took seven months due to the pressure provided by the Danish government. Normally this process takes a whole year in the Netherlands. It is more a process of eliminating everything that it is not, before determining what it actually is. The doctor will usually do extensive blood tests to rule out many other conditions. Of course, you also must meet the diagnostic criteria which will always include widespread pain that lasts for three months or longer. That means the pain will be on both sides of the body, above and below the waist and will be present in at least one of the chest, neck or back.

There isn’t any specific treatment for fibromyalgia as a condition. Instead, treatment options are all aimed at relieving specific symptoms. Typically a sufferer will be prescribed a medication to reduce or control the pain as well as an antidepressant to deal with the emotional aspects of the disease. I refused to take the antidepressants as I hate all this medication that I get prescribed. My doctor was surprised on my reaction “less synthetic crap is better for the old body.” Behavioral techniques such as stress management are often used in conjunction with the medications as stress has been shown to aggravate the condition and bring on acute episodes.


Some alternative therapies have produced success in some patients but they have not been subject to many verifiable studies. Therapeutic, deep tissue massage has been known to be a help in relieving the pain, at least temporarily. Some also find relief through acupuncture, hypnosis and even chiropractic manipulation. I found my way to get relief by daily Tai Chi practise some basic moves and meditate on free moments to bring the mind at ease. Stress is the enemy. Even I am a huge fan of a love life the pain is always in the way. During foreplay I have to take breaks as my body gives up. And my wife is not the easiest one to please as she loves the full attention during this beautiful hobby.

Whether you choose to go with medication, alternative therapies or a combination of both, there are some things you should do to help your body deal with this sometimes devastating condition. Eat a balanced diet so that your body receives the nutrition needed to support repair and building of muscle tissue, exercise regularly and get enough sleep each day so that you will be in optimal health in order to deal with the affects of this musculoskeletal pain syndrome. Enough sleep is sometimes tricky if you have to start early shifts and your partner calls you lazy when she finds you sleeping on the couch. I feel so useless in many ways as I am not the man that I was a few years ago. Nothing was to much for me and I was never ever tired. Nowadays I wake up tired and on my free moments I feel more dead than alive.

The Old Sailor,

Comments

  1. You have stated this well. I, too, was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about two years ago. I still have a hard time accepting my new lifestyle. I look forward to following your posts.

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  2. Hello rlee,
    I have turned my live fully around as I was not able to do my old job anymore. I worked before approx 60 hours a week now I only work 20 till 30 hours a week andd my job is less stressful. Make sure that you make a whole new start and learn to enjoy the things that you can. I learned to have a possitive ideas and ban the negative ones. So I do not say I cannot but I will give it a try.
    My blog is my way of telling others that life is not that bad, It are just things that are coming to my mind.
    The Old Sailor,

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