Fibromyalgia Homeopathic Remedies

From Pain To Freedom

From Pain To Freedom

From Pain To Freedom is the Latest Scientific and Natural Medicine Breakthroughs to Understand and Relieve the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia!

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The Fibromyalgia-reversing Breakthrough

Heres just a few things youll learn about how to get back into health. and conquer Fibromyalgia. Those not-so innocent yet everyday substances that are currently attacking your body, perpetuating and aggravating your Fibromyalgia. What to do and what Not to do to overcome your Fibromyalgia effectively and permanently. How to create the energy you need to be able to work full time and feel confident you will be able to take care of your loved ones. How the pharmaceutical and food industry are conspiring to poison you and make you sick (Hint: American medical system is now the leading cause of death in the US). Which food industries use advertising to encourage doctors to tell you that their food is good for you just like those cigarette ads in the 1950s! The single most effective fruits and vegetables in cleaning up excess acidic waste and how to cleanse your inner terrain completely from systemic acidosis. Why, what your Doctor has told you is wrong, and why many medications actually increase the side effects and complications of Fibromyalgia (primarily by depleting vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients from your body). Which supplements every patient must take to stop the symptoms and boost your body's ability to conquer Fibromyalgia. How to naturally reduce your cravings for toxic foods. Lifestyle and food choices to reverse your Fibromyalgia fast, naturally, and for good. Why treating the symptoms of disease is like using an umbrella inside your house instead of fixing the roof. The most powerful creator of health (Hint: its not a food or vitamin!) The best way to simplify the task of making a health-conscious lifestyle adjustment. A miraculous scientific discovery that jump-starts your body to do its natural work, which is to heal itself and restore your Health.

The Fibromyalgiareversing Breakthrough Summary

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Author: Matt Traverso
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All the modules inside this ebook are very detailed and explanatory, there is nothing as comprehensive as this guide.

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Finding Out Whether You Have Fibromyalgia

f you think that you're alone with your fibromyalgia, well, think again About 6 million people in the United States (mostly women, but also some men) and millions more worldwide know exactly what you're going through Who are these people I'm glad you asked that question because that's the subject of Chapter 5, where I describe patterns found among people most likely to suffer from fibromyalgia. Part II is about discovering whether you have fibromyalgia, and part of that process is ruling out medical problems that may be impostors for your real problem of fibromyalgia. These conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, thyroid disease, forms of arthritis, and a few other illnesses that may surprise you, such as Lyme disease, lupus, and Raynaud's phenomenon (all discussed in Chapter 6). Then I move into diagnosing fibromyalgia. A good doctor is crucial to diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia, and I discuss the important role that doctors play in Chapter 7. I...

Looking at types of trauma that may cause fibromyalgia

What kinds of physical trauma may trigger fibromyalgia The syndrome can result from an injury due to a car crash, or it may stem from a serious accidental injury that happened at work. Even a major slip and fall causing an injury can be enough to produce the symptoms of fibromyalgia in some people. For other individuals, a medical crisis or surgery may trigger the development of FMS. A medical crisis is something like a severe infection, surgery, or diabetic crisis. No one knows how often severe traumas actually lead to the development of fibromyalgia, but probably no more than half (at most) of all cases of FMS stem from physical trauma. Rebecca, another person whose FMS apparently stemmed from a physical trauma, began experiencing fibromyalgia pain and symptoms after a very bad fall. She slipped and fell, breaking her leg, heel, and toes. In addition to the FMS symptoms, she developed very severe pain in her knee, which her doctors diagnosed as arthritis. Following the advice of her...

Handling fibromyalgia with family and friends

Even the most loving family members and friends usually don't really understand fibromyalgia if they don't have it themselves. And even if they do have FMS, too, their symptoms may be very different from what you experience, and the intensity of their symptoms may be better or worse than the way your symptoms grab hold of you. As nice as it would be if this were true, the reality is that fibromyalgia isn't a quickie one-time explanation. For people to understand what your problem is, especially the people with whom you share your home and your life, helping them get a clue about what you're going through and what you need takes a lot of work. You have to be candid, and you also need to know how to respond to the dumb things that people often say to people who have fibromyalgia. Read Chapter 18 for more information on how (and also how not) to explain fibromyalgia to your children of all ages, your partner, and other family members and friends, so that they can better understand what's...

People with Fibromyalgia Are Lazy or Crazy

One of the most common myths about fibromyalgia is that it's an escape clause for lazy people who don't feel like working or for hypochondriacs imagining that they're sick. The lazy or crazy myth is even believed by a few doctors, although most physicians know that it isn't true. Studies indicate that people with FMS are about as active as people who don't have fibromyalgia, except when they're in the middle of a major flare-up of pain and fatigue. Nor are people with fibromyalgia delusional (or crazy) about their symptoms. What they feel is real, and it's no figment of the imagination. It's true that many people with fibromyalgia do suffer from problems with depression or anxiety (see Chapter 2), or from stress (see Chapter 13). But none of these problems alone makes people develop FMS. Something else causes fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and Men It Isnt Just a Woman Thing

Although the overwhelming majority of people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, it's definitely possible for a man to have FMS, too. In fact, considering the major difficulty that some women report that they've had to go through in getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a man with the same medical problem may have an even harder time receiving an accurate diagnosis of his condition. One study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology in 2006, looked at the incidence of fibromyalgia based on actual diagnoses made in medical claims from 1997 to 2002. The results were surprising The researchers found that although women were more likely to have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia than men, it was by a much lower ratio (by 1.64 times) than reported in many other studies. They also found that patients with FMS (male and female) were from two to seven times more likely than patients without fibromyalgia to also have other conditions, such as headaches, depression, anxiety,...

Working with Fibromyalgia Or Going on Disability

Deciding whether to tell your boss and co-workers about your fibromyalgia va hasn't told her boss about her fibromyalgia yet, and nobody else in the company knows about it so far, either. Eva's keeping her fibromyalgia a big secret, afraid that she won't be allowed to do her job if people at work know about her fibromyalgia. Eva often works alone, using a company-owned all-terrain vehicle to get to remote work sites where she does her field research. The vehicle has broken down a few times, and she's had to hike out of the wilderness to get help on more than one occasion. Eva's afraid that if the boss knew about her medical problems, he wouldn't allow her in the field alone and Eva may be right. Eva also performs extremely detailed work, and sometimes the fibro fog (difficulty concentrating) is so thick upon her that she has to double- and triple-check her work. So far, Eva's careful work has paid off, and she hasn't made any mistakes. But she fears that just the possibility that she...

Catching Fibromyalgia

Some experts have hypothesized that fibromyalgia may result from a bacterial or viral infection, which somehow triggers the FMS symptoms. In some cases, the infection may cause the immune system to go into hyperdrive. Research has borne out that infections apparently can trigger the development of fibromyalgia in some people. In a study reported in a 2001 issue of the Journal of Rheumatology, Danish researchers compared the presence of antibodies (chemicals the body created to kill invading bacteria or viruses) to enterovirus (a common viral infection) in 19 people with an acute onset of fibromyalgia to 20 subjects with a slow onset of FMS. They found that half the people with a sudden onset of FMS tested positive for the antibodies, but only 15 percent of the subjects with a slow onset of fibromyalgia had the antibodies in their systems. Based on these results, the researchers concluded that some patients with fibromyalgia may have different immune responses. Although this theory may...

Botox and fibromyalgia

Botox treatments for people with fibromyalgia are a relatively new form of therapy. But Botox use may explode in the next few years, particularly if both clinical research and patients' word of mouth indicate that Botox can provide the pain relief that patients so desperately want and need. In fact, it could really take off if the prices come down. Joseph Kandel, MD, a neurologist and the medical director of Neuroscience & Spine Associates in Naples, Florida, has treated numerous fibromyalgia patients with Botox treatments. Dr. Kandel says that Botox injections can be quite successful in treating the muscle changes, muscle spasms, and the general spasticity that many patients with fibromyalgia experience. Using Botox in pain management is a relatively new application. The use of Botox in fibromyalgia has not been sufficiently studied in clinical tests to determine whether it's a useful therapy. Doctors who do favor Botox say that it works for most, but not all, of their patients....

Understanding Possible Causes of Fibromyalgia

Catching fibromyalgia When it's triggered by an infection Analyzing environmental causes Pondering hormones or chemical imbalances Thinking about whether it's in the genes Speculating about a combination of causal factors isa was in a very bad car crash the air bag was released so explosively that powder from the air bag flew under her contact lenses and temporarily damaged her eyes. She recovered from the accident or thought she did but then Lisa began suffering from severe and widespread pain and fatigue. Her symptoms continued to baffle her doctors for several years before one of them finally diagnosed her with fibromyalgia. Jamie, on the other hand, has had no accidental injuries, and she really can't trace the onset of her fibromyalgia. In fact, she says that she doesn't know when she did not have the symptoms of fibromyalgia. As long as she can remember, she's suffered from pain, fatigue, and fibro fog (memory problems and confusion associated with fibromyalgia). Jamie has...

Ten Alternative Remedies That Help People with Fibromyalgia

Homeopathizing to improve your fibromyalgia symptoms Electrically stimulating pain to reduce it ost people with fibromyalgia actively seek relief from their insomnia, pain, fatigue, and brain fog. Often, that relief comes in the form of alternative remedies, such as supplements and herbs, homeopathic remedies, aromatherapy, mud baths, and other treatments. In fact, in one study of 289 patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), 98 percent said they had used some type of alternative therapy to cope with their symptoms in the past six months. Avoid any remedy sold by someone promising an instant cure. If there were an instant cure for fibromyalgia, its success wouldn't be trumpeted solely on some obscure Web site. Stay away from any remedy sold by people urging you not to tell your doctor you're taking it. Honest people won't give such advice. Instead, they'll offer studies and or information to share with your doctor. (For tips on avoiding alternative-remedy scams, read Chapter 12.)...

Sorting it out when you dont have fibromyalgia

Maybe you don't have fibromyalgia, but you live with someone who does, and you really want to understand the problem and to help as much as possible. But where do you begin Not to worry, I've provided a chapter just for you Chapter 19. This chapter describes techniques to assist you in helping your friend or loved one deal with FMS, and it also tells you some things you should not do or say because they drive most people with fibromyalgia wild. (People who do have fibromyalgia may enjoy reading Chapter 19, too, and sharing it with their friends and family members who don't have FMS.)

Beating Fibromyalgia with Botox Injections

One of the newer and somewhat controversial remedies that doctors sometimes use to treat people with fibromyalgia is the injection of Botox. Botox is Doctors who treat patients with Botox injections should have previous experience with using this therapy, particularly when using Botox with their patients who have fibromyalgia and who are very pain sensitive. Don't let someone practice on you In addition, the physician should also be someone whom you can fully trust with using this relatively new form of therapy on you.

Do You Have Fibromyalgia A Self Test

Only your physician can diagnose you with fibromyalgia and then treat you. Reading this book is a very good idea, but it still doesn't really cut it when it comes to making an actual diagnosis in your own individual case. What I can give you is a simple self-test to use to help you determine if you may have fibromyalgia syndrome. Grab a scratch piece of paper and jot down your answers to the following yes or no questions. Then, read my analysis at the end of the list. If you think that you may be a possible candidate for fibromyalgia, make an appointment with your physician and find out for sure. If you answered yes to as many as three or more of these questions, you may have fibromyalgia, although every person's case is different. That's why even if you only answered yes to one or two of the questions, but you think that you may have fibromyalgia, a consultation with your physician is a good idea. Now, here's some explanation of what may be happening to you, depending on your answers...

Dietary Recommendations for Fibromyalgia Patients

The following is a series of practical dietary recommendations for the fibromyalgia patient written by Katie Holton, MPH. It is no surprise that many people find it challenging these days to know how to eat healthy, much less how to lose weight. We are bombarded with conflicting information that we are left to wade through on our own. This article will give you some solid strategies that you can use no matter if your quest is to lose weight or just to improve your diet in the hopes of improving your fibromyalgia symptoms. 6. Keep a diary. Don't worry you don't have to count calories Simply keeping track of what you eat, when you eat it, and how you feel in the hours afterward can help you greatly in identifying patterns in your eating and reactions to certain foods. This is especially important for those with fibromyalgia, whether weight loss is a desired goal or not. This habit will help you be more aware of food-induced sensations (GI disturbance, fatigue, cravings, etc.) and will...

Explaining Fibromyalgia to Your Boss and CoWorkers Should

Telling your supervisor and co-workers why you're taking more sick days than anyone else and why you can't always perform at your peak level may seem to you (or to others giving you advice) to be the obvious choice. But deciding whether to tell your supervisor and others at work about your fibromyalgia can be a dilemma. Will your co-workers think that you're an invalid or very disabled Will they treat you differently Or will telling them make your work life much better, and solve a lot of the problems that you're facing In general, the reaction of people at work probably won't fall into the two extreme scenarios that you may envision. Telling your boss and co-workers about your fibromyalgia generally won't solve all your problems. And, on the other hand, it usually won't create cataclysmic new problems for you, either. Karen says that she recently told her boss about her fibromyalgia. She's an editor, and, sometimes, her work schedule must be sharply reduced because of her FMS...

Believing That All Your Problems Are Caused by Fibromyalgia

Some people with chronic diseases, including fibromyalgia, develop the wrong idea that all their medical problems (and sometimes even all their personal problems as well) are caused by their FMS. It's a one-stop shop for blaming everything that has gone wrong. The reality is that although fibromyalgia can cause many distressing symptoms for you, you should not attribute every bad thing that happens in your life to your fibromyalgia. Also, keep in mind that you could have another medical or psychological problem altogether, and it may not stem directly from fibromyalgia. For example, many people with FMS also suffer from arthritis, chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or other medical problems. (Read more about other medical problems in Chapter 2 and Chapter 6.) You need to get these other problems identified so that they can be treated, too.

Identifying Diseases Often Confused with Fibromyalgia

Understanding why fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed Considering chronic fatigue syndrome Identifying myofascial pain syndrome Analyzing arthritis Thinking about thyroid disease Going through the other contenders X ou may wonder why you should care about other medical problems that can be confused with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and why I've devoted a chapter to this topic. Self-empowerment is the reason. If you're diagnosed and treated for one of these other problems but you're not getting better, you may have fibromyalgia instead. In addition, many people with fibromyalgia suffer from one or more medical conditions described in this chapter. Yet, sometimes, doctors diagnose only your arthritis or only your thyroid disease, and not your fibromyalgia. The reverse is also possible. You may be diagnosed with only fibromyalgia when you could have thyroid disease, arthritis, or another medical problem. Awareness of these other health problems can help you be a more informed health...

Coping with Fibromyalgia at Home and on the

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia doesn't end at 6 p.m. or whenever you arrive home from work, nor does it go away when you wake up in the morning, struggling to get ready for another day at work or at home. When you have FMS, it's always there on the sidelines, waiting to jump on you yet again with its aggravating symptoms. You also need to keep in mind that other people you interact with on a daily basis (your partner, children, friends, co-workers, and other family members) are directly affected by your fibromyalgia, even if they don't have FMS themselves. Virtually anyone you interact with on a regular basis needs some understanding of what you need from them, whether you tell them that you have fibromyalgia or not. (Some people with fibromyalgia tell everyone that they have arthritis because they think that it sounds better.) Even as you become more aware of your symptoms and how best to resolve them, you still have to deal with the non-fibro world, comprised of your family members who...

Looking at Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Children and Teens

If you think that your child or adolescent may have fibromyalgia, what sort of symptoms should you be watching out for, and how is juvenile FMS different from, or the same as, adult fibromyalgia In many cases, fibromyalgia in children is pretty much the same as FMS in adults. But as in Tommy's case, many pediatricians may dismiss muscle aches and pains and tiredness, perceiving them as normal unspecific pains, or they may ignore other common fibromyalgia symptoms, such as trouble getting to sleep. In this section, I talk about the major symptoms seen in children with fibromyalgia, including some similar to and different from those seen in adults with FMS.

Feeling That Youre a Defective Person Because of Your Fibromyalgia

Some people with fibromyalgia are ashamed and embarrassed by their disorder. They may not think that they're bad people who somehow deserve the disorder (as discussed earlier in this chapter), but they still feel that they aren't as effective as the other people they know at work or in their families. The reality is that most people, at some time in their lives, have a serious and chronic medical problem. It may be arthritis, it may be diabetes, it may be chronic headaches, or it may be something else but nearly everyone at some point has a weak spot. In your case, your weak spot is fibromyalgia. FMS is nothing to be embarrassed about. It just is. As long as you're working to control your symptoms as best you can, then you're doing the right thing. So mentally pat yourself on the back You deserve it.

Essential Exercises for Fibromyalgia

The following is a series of essential exercise recommendations for the fibromyalgia patient written by co-author Janice H. Hoffman, Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist. The areas of the body most affected by FM include the abdomen and low back muscles, chest wall and upper back muscles, front and back thigh muscles, and lower leg calf muscles. Some of these areas need to be loosened with flexibility work and others require strengthening to help reduce unnecessary pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia.

Considering How Fibromyalgia Relates to Womens Ages

Young and middle-aged women may both suffer from fibromyalgia. Young women may find that they're experiencing the onset of their fibromyalgia symptoms, or they may have had FMS for years. (I'm defining young women as females who are ages 18 to about 39, after which they can be better defined as women who are in their middle years.) Young women also may be prone to trying hard to ignore the problem, concentrating instead on the demands of their jobs and their children, and trying to work despite their pain and fatigue. Women with fibromyalgia have an increased risk for metabolic syndrome Some studies have shown that women with fibromyalgia are more likely to be overweight or obese than other women and to have more medical problems. One study, reported in a 2007 issue of Metabolism Clinical and Experimental, found that among 109 women with FMS, they had a 5.6 times greater risk of having metabolic syndrome than women without FMS. Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that is...

Working with a Good Fibromyalgia Doc You Need a True Believer

Talking fibromyalgia with your primary-care doctor Analyzing specialists who treat fibromyalgia Finding a good specialist or a new primary-care doctor inda saw an internist, a family practitioner, and two rheumatologists before she was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Sam says that he saw five different doctors. He's forgotten what all their specialties were, but it wasn't until he saw a pain-management expert that he was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Amy was lucky compared to most people who are ultimately diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) She hit the jackpot on her second try and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia about eight months after the first symptoms hit her hard. Linda, Sam, and Amy all really needed a good doctor, but connecting with one took considerable time. In fact, some people with fibromyalgia are probably never diagnosed or are misdiagnosed for years. Why does this happen One reason is that a lot of doctors still don't understand fibromyalgia, while...

Wondering Why Women Suffer More than Men from Fibromyalgia

Some experts believe that women's higher level of pain sensitivity may well be what causes females to become much more at risk for developing fibromyalgia than men. Or, as the authors of Muscle Pain Understanding Its Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment put it, The greater sensitivity of women to painful stimuli may help to explain why there are approximately seven times as many women as men with fibromyalgia. They also added, It comes as a surprise to many male practitioners that women frequently experience more pain that do men in response to the same stimulus. It's not that doctors don't appreciate the pain that many women suffer from. Instead, the reality is that many physicians, along with most people in the general public, haven't learned yet about studies indicating a greater pain sensitivity among women. But medical school professors like me are working hard to find out why some women actually hurt more than some men do. And until more studies are performed to determine gender...

Conversations between a Counselor and a Client with Fibromyalgia

The purpose of this appendix is to depict conversations between a counselor and a patient with fibromyalgia (FM). The theme of the interaction is The 'New Normal' Thriving in the Here and Now Many people who are newly diagnosed with a chronic illness such as FM struggle with the forced changes in their lives. Fibromyalgia-related changes occur in many spheres of life

Regarding the Different Kind of Pain Thats Fibromyalgia

Based on my research and the research of others, I can tell you that the pain that comes with fibromyalgia has three primary aspects. Very basically, people with fibromyalgia feel pain 1 Faster than others do FMS sufferers have a lowered pain threshold, meaning that, for example, if someone stuck a pin in you and another one in Susan (who doesn't have fibromyalgia), you'd probably yell before she would. (Read Chapter 3 for possible causes of this heightened pain.) 1 Worse than others do When you have fibromyalgia, you feel the pain more strongly. In fact, some light touch that wouldn't bother Susan at all may really aggravate you. Some people with fibromyalgia say that when they're feeling bad, even something as normally benign as a cat rubbing up against them actually hurts. 1 For a longer time period than others do The pain keeps going and going and going, like the Energizer Bunny of pain. Suppose that Susan was pricked with a pin 20 minutes ago, and she's already forgotten about it...

Who Gets Picked to Have Fibromyalgia

Understanding why women are most afflicted Analyzing the impact of age and other factors Considering fibromyalgia in men JtyM aybe you're a woman who has fibromyalgia. In addition to you, your sister has it, your daughter has it, and you think that your mother probably has it as well, although she hasn't been diagnosed yet. All the key women in your family seem to have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Not only that, but your brother who served in the Gulf Wars or in Afghanistan is also experiencing some symptoms that sound an awful lot like the ones you and your female relatives all share widespread pain, fatigue, sleep difficulties, and other shared symptoms. Almost anyone can develop fibromyalgia. But there are general patterns among the people who are the most likely to be diagnosed with FMS for example, women are much more frequently found to have fibromyalgia than are men (although men can and do have fibromyalgia, and there are indications that men may have FMS more often than...

Understanding Fibromyalgia Pain

Recognizing that pain has both bad and good (really ) roles in life Seeing how fibromyalgia pain is different from non-fibromyalgia pain Understanding that not all pain can be eliminated nor should it be Discovering what pain management is and how it can help Keeping a pain symptom diary M ain is bad. But pain is also good. And yes, these seemingly contradictory * statements are both true. I know that the idea of pain as a useful thing is very hard to wrap your mind around when you're suffering from frequent and severe pain. And yet, gaining an understanding of both the pros and the cons of pain is important. Why Because knowledge about your pain is one giant step toward mastery over it. And wouldn't you like to be more in charge of your fibromyalgia pain The main problem with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is that your pain is out of control, like the proverbial headless chicken. Another problem with fibromyalgia is that chronic and sustained pain, such as the kind that many people...

Wetting Down Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Water can often improve your symptoms from fibromyalgia. Hydrotherapy, or using water exercises in a pool as a form of therapy, is an effective means to relieve fibromyalgia pain. It also often helps considerably in improving your other symptoms such as a lack of sleep. A study of 50 FMS patients reported in Sleep Medicine in 2006 placed patients in two groups, one receiving hydrotherapy and the other receiving conventional physical therapy. The hydrotherapy subjects did warm-ups, stretching, aerobic exercises, and relaxation. Their warm-ups included walking forward, backward, and sideways in the pool. All the patients in the hydrotherapy group increased their total sleep time by at least an hour, a significant improvement compared to the physical-therapy group. Because both water and warmth can make you feel better, why not soak in a hot tub or spa This choice can be a questionable one for people with fibromyalgia because the water is often uncomfortably hot (although it should never...

Treating a Child with Fibromyalgia

Children with fibromyalgia are treated much the same way as adults, although, of course, any medication dosages must be adjusted for the child's weight, and the doctor should also take into account any other drugs the child is taking. When thinking about what medications to prescribe or what over-the-counter drugs to recommend to parents, doctors should always consider potential problems that may occur with a person who's still growing and maturing. If the doctor doesn't mention it, ask her about potential side effects that can affect growing children. Drugs do have side effects, so no one should be nonchalant about prescribing medication for children. It can be very hard on parents when their children have medical problems that others are suspicious about. The child says that she's in pain or is too tired to get up, but your mother says that she's just lazy, and your uncle says that you're coddling her. Maybe you have some underlying doubts about whether your daughter is faking it,...

Understanding How Fibromyalgia Can Affect Your Relationships

Most people can grasp the basic symptoms of fibromyalgia, and they can also understand how fibromyalgia affects you, individually, in your daily life. Of course, people aren't solely rational beings they have emotions, too. As a result, even if and when they fully grasp your problem logically, they may still have an emotional element to their thoughts about FMS that includes feelings of anger, resentment, sadness, confusion, and so on. These emotions are normal in everyday interactions with family members who have problems. Even if people don't like these feelings or they want to deny that they exist, the emotions are still there anyway. As a result, friends and loved ones who sometimes react negatively to the effects of your fibromyalgia on them aren't necessarily bad or stupid or mean instead, they're just human. But you can help them to cope with your fibromyalgia better. Here are some ways that your fibromyalgia may interfere with otherwise usually good interactions between you...

Warming Up to Cold Remedies for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is very different from the common cold, unless you want to factor in the generalized aches and pains of a severe flu into your cold equation. (Many people say that fibromyalgia feels like a semipermanent case of the flu to them, with periodic breaks of feeling a little better.)

Ten Myths about Fibromyalgia

Mastering the myths and realities of fibromyalgia talk about some fibromyalgia myths in other chapters throughout this book. Some of these myths are that fibromyalgia is imaginary, and that people who think they've got it are either lazy or crazy. Another myth is that people who say that they have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are attention seekers or that they're seeking narcotics to get high. Of course, you've probably heard many more myths yourself. Plenty of myth-busting needs to be done when it comes to fibromyalgia. I believe that knowledge is power. After you understand what's most important to know about fibromyalgia from your own perspective, you may want to share this information with others and empower them, too. In this chapter, I cover ten key myths about fibromyalgia and explain why these myths aren't valid. You'll probably recognize at least some of them, and you may have an Aha reaction with all or most of them.

Relaxing Your Fibromyalgia Muscle Relaxants

Many people with fibromyalgia complain of muscle aches and pains, so many physicians prescribe muscle relaxants. These drugs do more than just what they sound like They soothe your overtensed muscles and reduce your pain but they often do more than that, such as improve sleep and decrease depression.

Ten Mistakes to Avoid When You Have Fibromyalgia

Obsessing about fibromyalgia as the cause of all your problems Assuming that somehow you (or others) caused your symptoms ebbie, age 40, said that when her fibromyalgia symptoms first started about three years ago, she ignored them. They got much worse as time passed, but she figured, hey, mind over matter, and she was a strong person who could tough it out and cope. Eventually, the symptoms became so severe that Debbie decided, That's it. I have to go see a doctor. After taking a careful medical history and doing a complete workup, the doctor diagnosed Debbie with severe fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). He also asked her why on earth she had waited so long before seeking help. Debbie made the mistake of trying to ignore her chronic medical problem, rather than seeking a diagnosis and getting treatment and, as a result, she suffered unnecessarily. That's one common mistake made by many people with symptoms of fibromyalgia. But there are others as well, such as believing a physician who...

Recognizing Key Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

For Sandy, the horrible pain is what bothers her most about her fibromyalgia. Sure, she has some other symptoms that bother her as well, such as fatigue and chronic muscle stiffness, especially in the morning. But only the severe pain counts, in her mind. Andy, another person with fibromyalgia, says that he feels overwhelmed by everything. The pain. The constant tiredness. The confusion. The frequent headaches. Andy wants it all to go away preferably right now. In this chapter, I cover key symptoms of fibromyalgia, including first and foremost the pain and stiffness that nearly everyone complains about. I also cover the extreme fatigue that causes constant problems for most people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). In addition, I include information on what some people with fibromyalgia call fibro fog, which is really a sort of temporary mental confusion resulting in difficulty concentrating. I also cover syndromes and diseases commonly associated with fibromyalgia, such as irritable...

The What When and Why of Fibromyalgia

In the first four chapters, I cover the realities of fibromyalgia. I offer a self-test, in case you need help in determining whether you may have FMS. The various symptoms of fibromyalgia are important to understand, and I cover them in detail in Chapter 2. I also talk about possible causes of fibromyalgia in Chapter 3. Nobody knows exactly what causes FMS, but there are some intriguing theories about the perpetrators of this medical problem (such as, it may be in your genes). Chapter 4 covers pain and its purpose, including good pain and bad pain. Most fibromyalgia pain is bad pain, so don't imagine that I think otherwise, because I don't However, you need to manage FMS pain, instead of having that pain manage you.

Parenting a Child or Adolescent with Fibromyalgia

Comparing children's fibromyalgia symptoms to those of adults Finding a good doctor Regarding treatments that work Coping with the emotions of your other children Handling fibromyalgia and school Dealing with other children 7ommy is a 13-year-old boy who's been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. He says that he's had aches and pains ever since he can remember, and his doctor had always told his concerned parents that Tommy was having growing pains. Tommy first found out that he might have fibromyalgia when his allergist noticed characteristic symptoms and recommended that Tommy see a rheumatologist. The rheumatologist examined Tommy, ran some tests, and diagnosed him with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Tommy says that having fibromyalgia can be pretty tough sometimes. The pain and fatigue are difficult to put up with, and other kids don't seem to understand. His teachers haven't been sympathetic either, and he thinks most of them have never heard the word fibromyalgia, or at least not in...

Finding a Doctor Whos a True Believer in Fibromyalgia

Although I believe that most well-educated physicians are at least aware of the existence of fibromyalgia and its basic symptoms, and also know that it's a valid problem that needs to be treated, I also know that a few doctors out there still haven't gotten the word yet. If your doctor isn't helping you with your FMS symptoms, you need to help him understand it. Taking this book to your appointment and showing him what you're reading is a good start. Sometimes, no matter what you do, a particular physician isn't working out for you. Maybe the two of you have a personality conflict, or maybe he thinks that you should just tough out your fibromyalgia. Or maybe the problem stems from something else altogether. Whatever it is, sometimes, you just need to find a new doctor. (I've devoted a significant part of Chapter 7 to help you find a new doc, if that's what you need to do.)

Looking at the Numbers Who Has Fibromyalgia

About 6 million people in the United States and millions more worldwide have fibromyalgia, and most studies indicate that the overwhelming majority of people who are diagnosed with FMS (80 percent to 90 percent) are adult women roughly of childbearing age (about 20 to 45 years old), although some men and some children and adolescents also suffer from and are diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Many women diagnosed with fibromyalgia are white women, although women of any race may develop fibromyalgia. There are several possibilities to consider here. These numbers may exist simply because they're valid, and because most of the people who actually do have fibromyalgia really are young and middle-aged Caucasian females. On the other hand, many physicians may not be looking for FMS in children or teenagers, just as they may not be looking for it in males, in women under age 20 or over age 45, in nonwhite women, and so forth. Simply put, if FMS isn't in the doctor's constellation of...

Identifying the Tender Points of Fibromyalgia

Another very important part of the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, after ruling out other medical problems that you may have had, is for physicians to consider whether or not you have tender points. In fact, the existence of tender points is one of the hallmark features that help doctors to diagnose fibromyalgia. Tender points, a key diagnostic feature of fibromyalgia, are specific areas of the body that are very painful when gently probed. (Tender points aren't the same as trigger points, also covered in Chapter 6, which are lumpy or ropey muscular knots or inflammations.) With tender points, the patient feels pain when the area is touched, but the doctor himself can't feel any apparent abnormalities, nor can he detect the presence of inflammation or disease. When the problem is fibromyalgia, the doctor typically sees nothing unusual about the body except for the patient's reaction typically, wincing or cringing. Some patients find out about their tender points for the first time during...

Fighting Fibromyalgia Naturally with Herbs and Supplements

Can taking herbs or supplements make you feel better When it comes to fibromyalgia, most clinical studies don't show significant effects. Keep in mind, however, that all herbs and supplements can have adverse effects on your health by interacting with other medications you take or by worsening medical problems that you already have, so always consult with your doctor first before taking any herb or supplement. Don't forget that you can also combat FMS in more conventional ways. Be sure to read Chapter 9 on over-the-counter remedies that may help you resolve your fibromyalgia symptoms. Read Chapter 10 to find out about prescribed drugs that may help you.

Helping Loved Ones Deal with Your Fibromyalgia

Knowing how your fibromyalgia can affect your friends and family Making things easier for other people Discussing fibromyalgia with your children and partner Getting ready for negative reactions Evaluating possible help from support groups iza says that her fibromyalgia is pretty hard on her family, in large part MB because they just never know what to expect from her on any given day. Will she have enough energy and a low enough pain level to go to the movies or on a picnic with them today Or to attend the school play that her daughter has an important role in Or is this going to be yet another really bad day, when it's better to leave Liza alone in her misery Her family doesn't know but then, neither does Liza herself. This chapter is about understanding and dealing with the effects of your fibromyalgia on the people you live with and others you care about. Of course, if the other person has fibromyalgia, as some of your family or friends may, that person may be able to understand...

Exercising to Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain

Most people associate painkilling with a variety of over-the-counter or prescribed medications. But drugs aren't the only means to improving your fibromyalgia symptoms. Getting physical by starting a plan of exercising can work well, too, although exercising may seem like a sort of strange way to Some studies have indicated that people with fibromyalgia have a fitness level that's significantly lower than levels found among people who don't have fibromyalgia. (Not that amazing when you think about it people with FMS generally feel pretty bad, so are less likely to be physically fit.) Regular exercise may help people with FMS to close that gap, although not in a few days or even in a few weeks. Be patient and persistent, and you'll get there. 1 Create a basic fitness program that suits your needs. Realize also that if you were more athletic in the past, as many people with fibromyalgia report that they were, that was then. Make a plan that works for you now. 1 Set a realistic goal....

Believing a Doctor Who Says Fibromyalgia Is All in Your Head

Although most doctors now realize that fibromyalgia is a legitimate medical problem, some physicians continue to think that your symptoms are all in your head. If you keep complaining, such doctors may eventually send you to the nearest psychiatrist for treatment or may put you on mild antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. In fact, you could also have depression or an anxiety disorder, and these medications could help you. (Read more about depression and anxiety disorders in Chapter 2.) But what you really need is a good diagnosis and a treatment plan for your underlying main problem. If it's fibromyalgia, then you need a diagnosis of FMS and a treatment plan for it. So if you find that your doctor isn't listening to you or tells you that your symptoms are imaginary and you're really just fine, find another physician. (Read Chapter 7 for some tips on identifying a good doctor.)

Considering Who Gets Fibromyalgia

Just about anyone of any age can develop fibromyalgia, but most research so far indicates that the majority of people with FMS are of the female persuasion, partly because women are more sensitive to pain than men. This is a time where a little equal opportunity of pain would be preferable (if you're a woman). But who gets fibromyalgia isn't about fairness. Although women are the primary sufferers of fibromyalgia, many men have been diagnosed with FMS, too, and some men with fibromyalgia go undiag-nosed for years. For more information about some of the major patterns that have been identified so far among people who develop fibromyalgia, which you may share with these fellow sufferers, be sure to read Chapter 5. What about children and adolescents Do they have fibromyalgia Sadly, yes. If your child or teenager has FMS, he may have a difficult time because most physicians, as well as the general public, still don't realize that kids can experience chronic pain from FMS. Instead, they...

Treatment Of Fibromyalgia And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

My approach to treating children with fibromyalgia and CFS emphasizes rehabilitation and return to activities of daily living. If one views recovery from either of these conditions as one would view recovery from a major physical injury, the steps make good sense. The child, family, and physicians must recognize that there will not be a sudden, miraculous recovery. Progress is made through a rigorous program of slow and steadily increasing level of activities. It is important for every member of the team to acknowledge the reality of the initial problem and the psychological difficulty of dealing with it. Some children recover well with time, reassurance, medications, and support from their family and doctors. For more difficult cases, a hospital-based team approach is often beneficial. The team in a large children's rehabilitation center consists of nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, psychologists, and pediatricians. Once the diagnosis of fibromyalgia or...

Yes Fibromyalgia Is Real

Considering symptoms, causes, and the pain aspect Knowing who gets fibromyalgia Looking at medical problems confused with fibromyalgia Finding a good doctor Exploring over-the-counter and prescribed medications and alternative remedies Considering how fibromyalgia affects work and family Improving sleep, decreasing stress, and dealing with emotional effects ML nowing that fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a real medical problem that needs to be dealt with is an important first step toward mastering your fibromyalgia and moving toward that place where you can start to feel like you're making progress. Sure, you can try to ignore the problem. But mostly, it won't let you. Fibromyalgia has many aspects to consider. In this chapter, I line up the major issues for you and refer you to chapters later in this book where I discuss how fibromyalgia affects you individually and what treatments and medications may work best for you.

Connecting fibromyalgia and clinical depression

The majority of people with fibromyalgia suffer some level of chronic depression. Which came first fibromyalgia or depression isn't always clear. What's important is identifying depression if it does appear and working to control it. Physicians say depression is one of the most treatable emotional problems around. It doesn't get better on its own it requires work. Depression is more likely to occur with your fibromyalgia if you have a close family member with depression or you've been depressed in the past.

Fibromyalgia

Four double-blind trials have investigated the effects of SAMe in fibromyalgia, with all reporting positive findings (Jacobsen et al 1991, Tavoni et al 1987, 1998, Volkmann et al 1997). Two studies used injectable SAMe (200 mg daily). The largest study involved 44 patients with primary fibromyalgia and found that during week 5, the group receiving SAMe (800 mg day) experienced improvements in clinical disease activity, pain, fatigue, morning stiffness and one measurement of mood. Although encouraging, not all parameters were improved beyond placebo, such as tender point score and isokinetic muscle strength (Jacobsen et al 1991). These results should not be surprising, given that one-third of all fibromyalgia patients are reported to suffer from depression and a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of antidepressants (including SAMe) in fibromyalgia deemed them a successful treatment strategy (O'Malley et al 2000). It concluded that tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs and SAMe all improved...

Easing Pain with Painkillers

Most people with fibromyalgia need to take prescribed painkilling medications, at least some of the time, in order to cope with the widespread pain and stiffness symptoms that are so characteristic of FMS. Of course, some people with fibromyalgia may not need to take their painkilling medications every single day. Also, on some days, muscle relaxants, milder painkillers, or even over-the-counter analgesics (painkillers) may be sufficient to manage the pain for many people who have fibromyalgia.

Too many wakeup calls Youre constantly waking

I don't know which point of view is right about the significance of dreaming, but I do know that having dreams is important. In experiments in which people were deprived of dreaming (by being wakened when a REM stage was detected), the subjects became very irritable and angry. People with fibromyalgia, like everyone else, need to dream.

Swimming cycling and other choices

If you exercise in a swimming pool, the water should be comfortably warm. Many people with fibromyalgia are very sensitive to cold temperatures and find it harder to move when they're immersed in cold (or hot) water. Always check the temperature of the water with a pool thermometer before jumping in. Some experts recommend that the water temperature should be set between 83 F and 90 F. If you use a public pool, ask the staff if they have a pool thermometer you can borrow to test the temperature, because you're The exercise shown in Figure 15-1 helps you strengthen your upper back and shoulder muscles, often major problem areas for many people with fibromyalgia. Here's how to do the exercise Side stretch. Stretching is important in fibromyalgia, and this exercise will help by stretching the muscles that extend from your upper arm to your hip. Side stretch. Stretching is important in fibromyalgia, and this exercise will help by stretching the muscles that extend from your upper arm to...

Treating anxiety disorders

Tina has fibromyalgia, and has suffered from frequent occurrences of her heart racing uncontrollably and feeling faint. But the doctor said that her heart was fine. Tina consulted a therapist and learned to avoid panicking over minor problems. She became more proactive about resolving her FMS with relaxation therapy. (Read about relaxation therapy in Chapter 13.)

Sorting out anxiety versus depression

Many people are confused about the difference between depression and anxiety. Aren't depressed people anxious And aren't anxious people depressed Yes, some people are depressed and anxious. But there are differences. Table 16-1 compares the emotional and physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and fibromyalgia. For example, people with GAD may sleep less because they're so worried. In contrast, depressed people may sleep less or more than usual. Those with fibromyalgia only may experience less sleep. Table 16-1 Symptomatic Differences in Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Clinical Depression, and Fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia

Taking Your Emotional Temperature

You know how to take your body temperature. What about your emotional temperature How you feel directly affects your fibromyalgia symptoms. This section covers taking your emotional temperature. l Nearly every morning, I feel like crying or screaming. If you wake up sad, you may be depressed. If you feel so anxious that you want to scream, you may have an anxiety disorder. When you have fibromyalgia, the pain and insomnia may be making you down or anxious. Or you may have FMS symptoms and depression or anxiety. Talk to your doctor.

Identifying different types of mentalhealth professionals

These are individuals with PhDs or doctorates in psychology or counseling. Psychologists may specialize in treating specific types of problems, or may be generalists. Psychologists use many different types of therapies however, the most effective one appears to be cognitive-behavioral therapy (see Cognitive-behavioral therapy and fibromyalgia, earlier in this chapter).

Forming an explanation

If you decide that you want to talk about your fibromyalgia with your boss, and maybe your co-workers as well, what's a good explanation I recommend that you say that you have fibromyalgia, which is a chronic, widespread pain problem that's accompanied by fatigue and, sometimes, other symptoms. Tell your boss that a doctor has diagnosed you with this illness, and you're frequently in pain, but you'll do your best to manage your workload. But also explain that, sometimes, the pain and fatigue may make it impossible for you to continue working, and you'll need breaks or may need to stop working altogether. Initially, some people will feel uneasy around you. But when they see you soldier on without a lot of self-pity and complaints, they may express a newfound respect for you.

Getting Your Insurance Company to Pay for Treatment

Most insurance companies know that fibromyalgia is a valid diagnosis and a real medical problem. But your company may balk when you request medical coverage for treatments that it may see as iffy, at best, or if you seek coverage for a screening test or a procedure that it doesn't generally cover. Because treatments or procedures that your doctor thinks you need may be difficult for you to pay for solely out of your own pocket, taking the time to convince the insurance company that your requests are reasonable may be worth the extra effort. This section offers advice on achieving that goal.

Understanding why your claim may be denied

For example, if you can show that massage therapy or some other therapy may help, the person reviewing the appeal may give you the thumbs-up. Maybe the doctor you want to see is the only person in the area who's knowledgeable about fibromyalgia, another reason to consider your claim. Offer facts that the average person may consider reasonable, and you have a better chance of successfully appealing the claim denial.

Moving Yourself to a Better Frame of Mind

When people have chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia, they often hold one of two extreme and opposite thoughts, and either way, they perceive themselves as a victim and a person unlikely to move forward Both extremes are unreasonable positions to take. For example, although people who don't have fibromyalgia really can't feel your pain, they may have arthritis or another chronic-pain problem and, thus, can understand what chronic pain feels like, even if it's not your specific type of chronic pain. On some level, they should be able to grasp your problem. On the other hand, people shouldn't be expected to automatically sympathize with poor you even when those people are your own loving family members. You're setting yourself up for disappointment if you take either of these polar positions. To avoid adopting one of these two extremes, think about how you generally regard other people in relation to your fibromyalgia. As people who are hopeless and who could never understand Or do...

Opening Up for Some Honest Dialogue

Because fibromyalgia can often have an intense emotional impact on your family members and friends, you need to discuss with them not only the basic facts about what fibromyalgia is but also how it makes you feel. For example, having FMS may make you feel useless, angry, upset, and so forth. You also need to give the people whom you care about a chance to tell you how your fibromyalgia and its effects make them feel. They may tell you that they get frustrated, upset, and confused and that they experience a wide variety of other emotions as well. Talking about feelings doesn't mean that the time's come to assess guilt or blame. This isn't Judge Judy, and no one's on trial. In fact, it's best if you tell your family and friends that your illness is not their fault. Sure, they should already know that anyway, but sometimes, they need to hear it from you directly. In addition, you should also tell the people you care about that the symptoms of your fibromyalgia aren't your fault, either....

Knowing How to Respond to Helpful Comments

Denise says that she's tried to explain to her friends how her fibromyalgia makes her feel, but they often respond by telling her that she should eat a healthier diet or get herself into better physical shape. One friend said, Oh, fibromyalgia. That's what doctors say when they want to tell you that you have something, but they don't know what it is. Denise says that these kinds of comments really hurt her. It makes her feel like people think her doctor is incompetent or that she's a hypochondriac imagining her condition. Even the best diet in the world can't make fibromyalgia go away forever. I've heard that fibromyalgia is fake. I've heard that, too but it's wrong. Fibromyalgia is a real medical problem. Studies have shown this. Losing weight probably would make me feel better, although it wouldn't cure my fibromyalgia. And exercising can be very hard when you're in pain. A positive mental attitude is a good thing. But it can't cure chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, arthritis,...

Helping Your Significant Other Cope

Fibromyalgia is very tough on you, but it's usually no day at the beach for your partner, either. Often, you can't do your share of the housework, and you may not be able to work full-time, part-time, or at all. If you have children, your partner may have to take them places and resolve their petty squabbles at home as well as participate in the fun stuff, such as watch your child win a prize or make a touchdown, without you there because you're too sick. Fibromyalgia can also put a major crimp in your sex life. Who wants to make mad, passionate love when your body feels like you contracted the flu right Another change Colleen resolved to not try so hard to hide her fatigue and pain from others. Like many other people with fibromyalgia, she hadn't ever mentioned her problem to others, so they'd assumed that she could carry a full load. Hiding her pain and fatigue had been exhausting. Now she stopped hiding it, and they could see how she felt. After they found out about Colleen's...

Looking at the pros and cons of support groups

If you're eager to hear the latest opinions on fibromyalgia treatment, from a layperson's point of view, people in support groups often are among the first to know what's hot, what's worked for them, and what failed miserably. They may also be knowledgeable about the most recent studies, journal articles, medications, alternative remedies, and any other info you'd like to know about FMS. But support groups aren't for everyone. On the downside, support-group members may have little or no medical expertise, and they may be unable to screen out the scams from the bona fide treatments for fibromyalgia. So always take the advice of nonphysicians with a grain or maybe a pound of salt.

Deciding whether to take others with you to meetings

If you find a good local support group where you feel comfortable discussing your FMS symptoms and where other members offer helpful suggestions on how to feel better, this group is one to treasure. Because you like it so much, you may think that taking your children, your spouse, or others to a meeting would be a great idea. By going, they could understand what fibromyalgia is all about. Taking people who don't have fibromyalgia with you to a support group has pros and cons. I cover a few major ones here. The key advantage of taking a person who does not have fibromyalgia along with you to a support group is that your partner or family member can see with his own eyes that many other people have the same kinds of symptoms and problems that you have. You're not an anomaly. In fact, you may be a lot better off than some of the other members, in terms of energy levels and how you're coping. If so, your loved one can gain a whole new view of how fibromyalgia can impact a person's life...

Helping Someone You Care About Whos Hurting

Helping people you care about when they have fibromyalgia, but you don't Controlling your feelings about how fibromyalgia affects your loved ones Acknowledging that your loved one's symptoms indirectly hurt you, too Deciding whether to attend group meetings for people with fibromyalgia Carly doesn't have fibromyalgia, but her best friend, Shannon, has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). So many times, Carly has wanted to sympathize with Shannon and with the pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that she's obviously going through. But Carly is often afraid to say something because she may say the wrong thing. Is Carly right to be so worried about being politically correct around Shannon so much so that she's basically tongue-tied, even when Shannon is clearly hurting The answer is no. And yet, it's also yes. No because feeling like you're avoiding a topic that looms so large in the life of your friend or loved one isn't good. But yes, with regard to holding back comments,...

Understanding without Feeling Their Pain

If you don't have fibromyalgia yourself, you really don't want to feel the pain of someone else who does have it. The fact that your friend or family member must put up with it is bad enough. However, when you don't have FMS, you can't fully understand what she's going through. Instead, you must rely upon your observations of her behavior, what she tells you, and what you can find out about fibromyalgia. (Reading this book is a very good start )

Knowing what not to say

Also, when talking with your loved one who has fibromyalgia, don't fall into an unconscious one-upmanship, such as I know someone sicker than you are. You may think you'd never do this, but it's so easy to do For example, if your friend talks about his pain and fatigue, don't say that, yes, that's pretty bad, but your sister's cousin's husband really has a severe problem, because blah, blah, blah. Think how you'd feel if someone did this to you. If you start to say something that fills this bill, then stop To better relate to your family member or friend who has fibromyalgia, remember how you've felt when friends or others have glossed over a distressing illness or disturbing problem that you had. Maybe other people told you to cheer up and get over it or that it was really no big deal. Maybe you felt like you didn't have permission to feel the emotions you were experiencing. Recall the emotions you felt when your pain was denigrated. And work on not diminishing the feelings of your...

Leaving them alone Sometimes solitude helps

Lorna has fibromyalgia, and she wishes people would understand that she doesn't want them to try to fix her (she already knows that they can't). Instead, she wishes they'd just leave her alone when she has a flare-up of her FMS symptoms. Lorna says she does so much better by going into hibernation for the few days when her symptoms are really acting up. Afterward, she emerges, much more congenial with her family and friends. So how do you know when to steer clear of your friend or family member who has fibromyalgia Usually, it's not that hard to tell, when you know somebody. But here are some indicators

Going to Support Meetings

Maybe your friend or family member has suggested that you attend a meeting for people with fibromyalgia, so that you can gain a deeper understanding of what it's really like. Or maybe you've come to this conclusion yourself because you want to have a better grasp of how your loved one feels. Maybe you can discover some new positive ideas that will help you to help your loved one feel much better. 1 Are you curious about fibromyalgia and eager to meet other people 1 Can you cope with people in the group who may see you as someone who can't possibly understand or even someone who's part of the problem Find out if other people who don't have FMS also go to the meetings and if others (people who don't have fibromyalgia) are perceived as outsiders and intruders. If so, you may want to reconsider. When you're the partner of a person with fibromyalgia, being sympathetic, kind, and loving all the time can be hard. Here are a few guidelines for partners

Showing fewer tender points than adults

Although the tender points of fibromyalgia (see Chapter 8) are present when kids have FMS, some pediatric rheumatologists say that children with fibromyalgia have fewer tender points than adults, and the tender points that they do have are most likely to be found in the neck area. Children are less likely than adults to have tender areas in the lower back. Of course, if your child is a teenager, she may have low-back tender areas as children grow closer to adulthood, they may develop more tender points, mimicking the tender points seen in adults with FMS.

Having poor sleep like adults

Most adults with FMS have a tough time with insomnia, and unfortunately, children with fibromyalgia share this symptom. Children with juvenile fibromyalgia may be more likely to have sleep disorders than other children. In a study of children diagnosed with juvenile fibromyalgia (reported in a 2000 issue of Pediatrics), researchers performed sleep studies of 16 children with fibromyalgia and compared their results to 16 children without fibromyalgia. The children with fibromyalgia had significantly more sleep problems. For example, the FMS children took much longer to fall asleep, and had increased levels of wakefulness during sleep. Of the 16 children diagnosed with fibromyalgia, 6 were positive for a sleep disorder known as periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS). PLMS refers to an excessive level of leg movements while asleep. The researchers recommended that children diagnosed with juvenile fibromyalgia should be evaluated in sleep clinics to determine whether they experience...

Accurately Diagnosing the Problem

Of all the groups of people who may have FMS, children may have the most difficult time getting a proper diagnosis. This situation can make it hard on both parents and their hurting children. Diagnosing fibromyalgia in children can be problematic because 1 Few people, including doctors, realize how prevalent it is. About 2 percent to 8 percent of school children qualify for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. 1 Many pediatricians know little about the disease, and some don't believe that FMS is a valid medical problem among children. It always must be something else, in their view. And if it's not medical, it must be a psychological problem. (Actually FMS can lead to depression, although that makes the fibromyalgia itself no less real.) i Parents are unfamiliar with the diagnosis and may find it hard or impossible to believe that their children could have FMS. They may believe what others tell them that FMS is just another fad diagnosis. They're wrong, but, sadly, perceptions can be...

Holding off on informing teachers

Not telling the teacher (or limiting what you tell him) has several benefits. Children are often embarrassed by information about them that's given by parents to teachers, especially if they think it's negative. They may also fear being regarded as weak or disabled, and some teachers might treat them that way if they knew about the fibromyalgia. Other teachers may regard children with fibromyalgia as hypochondriacs, no matter how hard you work at educating them. Teachers are part of the world, too, and they have their flaws, although most are understanding.

Ignoring Your Pain and Hoping It Goes Away

Many people try to ignore their pain and the other symptoms of fibromyalgia, hoping they'll somehow magically go away. In fact, many minor pains that people experience eventually do go away, such as a temporary stomach upset from something that you ate, a bruise from a minor fall, and so forth. But when your pain and other symptoms hang on, continue to escalate, and become harder and harder to ignore, pretending they're not there is a mistake. Chronic pain is an indication that something is wrong and that you should consult a physician. (Read Chapter 4 for further information on the pain of fibromyalgia.)

Assuming That the Problem Is All Your Fault

Some people with symptoms of fibromyalgia assume that they somehow caused the problem themselves. They may think that they're weak or bad and that the pain is some sort of retribution that the body is taking out on them. They may also think that if only they didn't drink smoke overeat something else, then they'd be just fine. Of course, it's a bad idea to smoke, drink alcohol, or eat to excess, but it doesn't mean that these actions directly caused your fibromyalgia. And certainly fibromyalgia is not punishment for your past sins.

Assuming That the Problem Is Everyone Elses Fault

There are several problems with this belief. First, everyone else can't be nice to you all the time. Secondly, even if they could be, fibromyalgia is caused by a problem from within your body. Sure, stress can make it worse. (Read Chapter 13 for more on stress.) But, with the exception of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD see Chapter 3), caused by an extreme emotional crisis, everyday stress doesn't cause FMS in the first place. So if you're making the mistake of blaming everyone else for your symptomatic flare-ups, stop it right now. Instead, work with your doctor to create a plan to improve your situation.

Turning to Alcohol or Other Substances

Some studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia have a risk of turning to alcohol or other substances. The pain may be so severe that they seek a temporary respite from it. The problem with this solution is that alcohol and some other substances (such as excessive use of painkillers or the use of illegal drugs) can be habit-forming or even addicting, and they can only temporarily take away your pain. So you actually don't resolve your fibromyalgia with substance abuse. Instead, you add yet another problem on top of your FMS problem. If you find yourself thinking, when you're in pain from your fibromyalgia, that maybe having a few drinks would help you feel dramatically better, then think again. The risks can be very severe with alcohol or drug dependence. You could lose your driver's license, your spouse or partner, your children, and even your life, such as in a car crash or other accident. If you think you may have a problem with substance abuse, get an evaluation and get some...

Ten Ways to Beat the Effects of Brain

Aurie says the forgetfulness, confusion, and overall brain fog that seem to *Wgo together with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) drive her crazy, and she'd love some helpful hints on how to pull herself together when she starts lapsing into la-la land. What she'd really like is for the brain fog (and the fibromyalgia) to evaporate like morning mist except forever (mist comes back the next day). Barring that, some coping techniques are her order of the day.

Making Lists and Checking Them Twice

Listmaking is an efficient procedure for most busy people, and it can really help a person constrained by fibromyalgia. The only downside of lists is that many people are overly ambitious about what they can perform in a day or a week. Write down what you absolutely must do today, and then prioritize these items from the most important down to the least important. (Don't make your first task a nearly impossible one.)

Looking Well Means You Are Well

Charlotte was always well dressed, and her general demeanor gave no indication of the pain that she suffered from fibromyalgia. If you looked really closely, however, you may sometimes see a tightness around the mouth and eyes. You may also notice that Charlotte didn't smile a lot and she rarely laughed. People thought that Charlotte was a distant kind of person, but the reality was that she suffered from fibromyalgia. When people told her how well she looked, she always thought, If they only knew Some illnesses aren't readily apparent from the outside, and fibromyalgia is one of them. Most people who have such medical problems may be told that they look fine, even when they don't go to great lengths to hide their illness, like Charlotte. Telling someone that you feel awful only to hear in response, But you look so great can be truly maddening. Remember (and tell your friends) Looking wonderful can be the same as feeling wonderful. But when you have fibromyalgia, that often isn't the...

Pain Is Pain Its All the Same

If your cousin has pain from arthritis or a bad back, he may think that his pain is about the same as your pain from fibromyalgia. (Or he may think that his pain is far worse than yours ) But studies indicate that the pain from fibromyalgia can be far more intense than other forms of muscle or joint pain, and it often lasts longer as well. Some studies have demonstrated that people with fibromyalgia feel pain more intensely and for a longer period than others.

Feeling Good Today Means Youre Well

Fibromyalgia is a frustrating kind of disease because it's so unpredictable. Today, you feel lousy tomorrow, you feel worse the next day, you feel okay or even close to normal. When you tell people that you're finally having a good day, many will assume that at long last, you're all better. Many people have a hard time grasping a medical problem that has a lot of ups and downs to it, especially when there aren't any external signs of illness that you can point to. But that's the nature of the illness. As with many chronic illnesses, fibromyalgia isn't something you just get over. However, you can cope with the disease in many ways to minimize your pain, such as getting better sleep, exercising (when you're well enough to exercise), taking medications, and using therapies such as acupuncture and other options.

Relaxing Will Cure What Ails

Certainly can exacerbate fibromyalgia. Maybe some rest and relaxation would make you feel much better. But when you have fibromyalgia, a vacation can't cure you. You could win the lottery and retire tomorrow, and you'd still have periodic flare-ups of the problem although it beats working a day job at the office with your FMS

Pondering Prescribed Medications

Whether you have severe pain, fatigue, and or sleep problems from your fibromyalgia or just minor discomfort, at some point, you'll need prescription drugs to treat your FMS symptoms. You may need meds on a regular basis, or you may need to take them only when symptoms flare up. Whatever your needs, I provide information about different types of prescription medications prescribed for fibromyalgia. Sometimes, anti-anxiety medications (see Table B-1) can help with the pain generated by fibromyalgia as well as with sleep problems that many people with FMS struggle with. Often, antidepressants (see Table B-2) are prescribed for people with fibromyalgia because they can help with the pain and insomnia experienced by most people with FMS. Anticonvulsive medications (see Table B-3) can sometimes relieve pain and muscle aches experienced by people with fibromyalgia. Muscle relaxants (see Table B-4), which are often prescribed for people with fibromyalgia, can offer some relief from muscle...

Reviewing Overthe Counter Medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are often recommended to patients with fibromyalgia because they can help relieve pain and sleep problems. Of course, just because a drug isn't prescribed doesn't mean it's automatically safe or will help you. Every medication has side effects to consider before taking the drug.

Finding Information on the Internet

On the Internet, you can find a variety of places to gain information, share what you know about fibromyalgia, and meet other people with similar interests. The key formats of these options are Web sites, e-mail lists, newsgroups, and forums. 1 Try to determine the primary purpose of this site. Is it an information-only site, or are you bombarded with offers to buy this and that wonder cure If so, watch out. And speaking of wonder cures, if you're offered a quickie and forever cure, then run away. Sorry, but managing fibromyalgia just isn't that easy.

Checking out Web sites

Hundreds of different Web sites on the Internet have either a direct or indirect concentration on the subject of fibromyalgia. Some popular sites include the following American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, Inc. www.afsafund. org Fibrohugs Fibromyalgia Support Site www.fibrohugs.com Fibromyalgia Network www.fmnetnews.com Fibromyalgia Resource Center www.healingwell.com fibro MEDLINEplus html National Fibromyalgia Association www.fmaware.org National Fibromyalgia Research Association www.nfra.net University of Florida Fibromyalgia Research Information www. med.ufl.edu rheum

Pondering Publications

As of this writing, several national newsletters or magazines are dedicated to fibromyalgia 1 AFSA Update Published by the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association, Inc., 6380 E. Tanque Verde, Suite D, Tucson, AZ 85715 (phone 520-733-1570 Web www.afsafund.org) 1 Fibromyalgia Aware Published by the National Fibromyalgia Association, 2200 N. Glassell St., Suite A, Orange, CA 92865 (phone 714-921-0150 Web www.fmaware.org) 1 Fibromyalgia Frontiers Published by the National Fibromyalgia Partnership, P.O. Box 160, Linden, VA 22642 (phone 866-725-4404 Web 1 Fibromyalgia Network Published by the Fibromyalgia Network, P.O. Box 31750, Tucson, AZ 85751 (phone 800-853-2929 Web www. fmnetnews.com)

Deciding Whether You Should Stay at Your

When you have FMS, you may sometimes feel as though you're trying to press forward against a stiff wind, as you struggle to maintain a delicate balance between fulfilling your work commitments and coping with your fibromyalgia symptoms. Some people with fibromyalgia have been able to create an alternative work arrangement with their company to let them telecommute. Others have switched to flex time (where you set your own hours) or to part-time work, and that option has enabled them to continue working in their jobs. Others, however, continue to struggle, afraid to tell anyone at work of their medical problem. Not all jobs are conducive to working at home. However, if at least some aspect of your job can be performed at home, as is often the case, people with fibromyalgia say that telecommuting can help a lot in keeping them continuously employed. They do still have to complete some amount of work within a given time, and they need to be people who are self-motivated and willing to...

Studying Chemical Imbalances

Research has shown that, among people with fibromyalgia, some important body chemicals are significantly lower than normal, while others are significantly higher. For example, a 2006 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research compared the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in people with FMS and people without fibromyalgia. (BDNF is a protein in the central nervous system.) The researchers found that BDNF concentrations in the blood were significantly higher in the 41 patients with fibromyalgia than in the 45 patients without fibromyalgia. However, why the BDNF levels were higher in patients with fibromyalgia is unknown, and further research is still needed. Some experts believe that the cause of excessive or deficient levels of body chemicals is due to a brain abnormality related to the interaction between important organs that regulate body chemicals, such as the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands. What is generally accepted is that...

Overeating to Make Yourself Feel Better

Some studies have demonstrated that people with FMS, particularly women, are more likely to be obese than people without fibromyalgia. The reasons for this aren't known, but I'm willing to offer some speculation. Sometimes when a person has severe chronic pain that doesn't improve (possibly because she hasn't obtained a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or hasn't gotten any treatment), she becomes depressed and upset. Instead of seeking treatment, she seeks solace in candy, cakes, pies, and other high-calorie and high-fat foods. Such foods may provide a temporary good feeling but it's one that doesn't last. These individuals also usually fail to exercise because of their pain and fatigue, which further contributes to being overweight and is a mistake Overeating provides only a very temporary respite from the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and a lack of exercise increases the pain. (Read Chapter 15 for information on weight loss and exercise.)

Trying to Hide Your Symptoms from Family Friends and Others

Some people with fibromyalgia think that they're behaving well, even nobly, if they try to completely hide all their symptoms of pain, fatigue, and fibro fog from others. They assume that if they don't complain about their symptoms, then others won't notice anything. The fatal flaw in this reasoning is that others who are close to you nearly always do notice that something is going on with you. But they may mistakenly believe that you're angry or upset with them for something that they've done or haven't done. Or they may mistakenly believe that your problem is much worse than fibromyalgia, and that you have cancer or another terminal illness that you aren't talking about, for some reason. Don't make this mistake of hiding your symptoms and attempting to be a martyr. Although you don't need to report every twinge of pain to your family members and friends, it's another story when you're in severe pain. It's okay (and a good idea) to tell others that your fibromyalgia is bothering you...

Weighing the pros and cons of guaifenesin

In this section, I offer a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of guaifenesin use as a treatment for fibromyalgia. I The drug may cause skin itching and rashes. I It sometimes causes nausea and vomiting. I Guaifenesin may also cause drowsiness in some individuals. I Some people say that it exacerbates their symptoms of fibromyalgia. I can't rule out guaifenesin as a possible remedy for fibromyalgia until further studies are performed, but I can't support it as a surefire remedy, either.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Another condition that may be confused with fibromyalgia is myofascial pain syndrome (MFS), which is primarily characterized by regional pain (pain confined to one particular area). This type of pain differs from the widespread pain characteristic of patients with fibromyalgia. The doctor can also identify painful areas when he probes them, because they feel like knotted ropes. MFS occurs about equally among women and men, in contrast to patients with fibromyalgia a medical problem dominated by female patients. Pain caused by MFS occurs most commonly in the head, shoulders, or lower back (and usually not in all those places, as is common with fibromyalgia). Pain from neck muscles can radiate into the skull, although any muscles anywhere in the body can develop trigger points. Trigger points are areas of pain characteristic of myofascial pain syndrome. A trigger point is a ropey or nodular muscle area that causes pain that can be felt in one or more areas of the body by the doctor when...

Authors Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following individuals Jeff Hargrove, PhD, an associate professor of engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, and adjunct assistant professor of medicine at Michigan State University Joseph Kandel, MD, an author, a neurologist, the medical director of Neuroscience and Spine Associates in Naples, Florida, and associate clinical professor at Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio and Alec Sohmer, Esq., an attorney from Brockton, Massachusetts, who assists people who have fibromyalgia and other medical problems with Social Security disability claims. In addition, we thank Marie Mercer, reference librarian at the DeGroodt Public Library in Palm Bay, Florida, and Mary Jordan at the Central Library Facility in Cocoa, Florida, for their assistance in locating very hard-to-find journal articles on fibromyalgia. We would also like to thank the many people with fibromyalgia who frankly and candidly responded to...

Facing Fibro Fog Mental Malaise

Many people say that the mental confusion and forgetfulness, particularly the attention and concentration difficulties, are what really bothers them. People with fibromyalgia are bookkeepers, attorneys, doctors, and so on. All these careers require mental alertness. But you can have the easiest job in the world, and it still requires more mental acuity than you can muster up in the middle of a fibro-fog attack even if you're a certified genius. If you have a sense of humor, it can help you relax at least a little. In fact, you need a sense of humor with fibromyalgia. Linda was diagnosed with fibromyalgia several years ago and says that a sense of humor is very important for her. She recalls pouring cereal on a dinner plate, followed by the milk, and then realizing Oops That wasn't a bowl she was filling up. She finds that laughing at the results of her fibro fog helps a lot.

Not enough downtime in deep sleep

Even when you finally fall asleep, you may spend the night tossing and turning in the early sleep stages, and experience an insufficient time in the kind of deep, restorative sleep that your body truly needs. In fact, studies indicate that some people with fibromyalgia suffer from a lack of time in deep sleep.

Balancing the pluses and minuses of antidepressants

The good news about using antidepressants to treat fibromyalgia pain is that many antidepressants are relatively inexpensive, and most doctors will not hesitate to prescribe these medications for the treatment of chronic-pain problems. However, Cymbalta and some other antidepressants can be costly if you don't have medication coverage. In other words, you generally don't need to see a psychiatrist in order to receive a prescription for an antidepressant. When your pain is severe and seems to be isolated to one or several clearly defined areas, some physicians consider using treatments of trigger-point injections. These injections are usually given directly into or near the zones where the pain dominates. Often, patients with fibromyalgia suffer from the trigger points of myofascial pain syndrome (another pain syndrome see Chapter 6). These trigger points (different from tender points) are painful, ropey areas that the physician can actually feel during an examination. Studies have...