Fibromyalgia: Breaking the Pain Cycle
Five million people in the United States are suffering from fibromyalgia. 80% are women. The pain can be unbearable. Patients suffering from the pain of Fibromyalgia have provided the following suggestions to help find relief. We share their tips here with you.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that can be debilitating. There are also many nonspecific symptoms relative to fibromyalgia including musculoskeletal pain, insomnia, and bone crushing fatigue.
When a patient is frequently dealing with these symptoms, any form of exercise seems to be out of the question. But, gentle movement is a critical piece of pain management. If you are having difficulty functioning in your daily life and are exhausted, you are at risk for anxiety and depression, which leads to sleepless nights and more pain.
“It’s a vicious circle,” Carmen E. Gota, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve Lerner School of Medicine, and director of the Fibromyalgia Clinic at the Cleveland Clinic, said to Healio Rheumatology in an interview, “The manifestations are constantly contributing to each other.”
According to Daniel Clauw, MD director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan, it is absolutely essential for the physician to make the distinction between fibromyalgia and other autoimmune diseases.
The criteria for fibromyalgia contains a widespread pain index of 7 or greater and a symptom severity scale of 5 or greater. Generalized pain or pain in certain parts of the body must also be apparent. Researchers describe pain in four of five regions and symptoms must be present for at least three months for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. A correct diagnosis of fibromyalgia is the first step to break the cycle.
Studies that attempt to understand your pain
It is essential to understand pain to understand fibromyalgia. A recent study of fibromyalgia patients began with the patients filling out questionnaires catastrophizing pain (irrational thoughts that something is worse than it is), outlining depression symptoms and listing how much pain they were feeling. The surveys were studied at the beginning of the program and again at three months into the study.
The conclusion was that patients don’t choose to catastrophize their pain, but there are ways to ease some of the symptoms that are disregarded because of the pain and the cycle continues. According to researchers, “It is important to note that people that have higher levels of catastrophizing don’t just report more pain, but actually, experience more pain.”