Diagnosing Chronic Shoulder Pain

Practicing medicine is just that, practicing. Sometimes you have to fight for a diagnosis.

This post is long overdue, but I just couldn’t write it until I felt I had a positive update. As someone who lives with chronic pain from neck and back issues, alongside my fatigue and pain from fibromyalgia, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate a new pain from the same old aches and pains.

“Sometimes the curiosity can kill the soul but leave the pain.” ~Alice in Wonderland

Continue reading “Diagnosing Chronic Shoulder Pain”

6 Ways to Cope with Stress when you Have a Chronic Illness

Chronic stress can cause extreme duress on the fibro body and your adrenal system.

Managing my fibromyalgia is a careful balancing act of self-care. This involves eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, working out, and taking time for me. Living with fibromyalgia means that normal, every day stressors can place an additional hardship on the fibro body. So when you are faced with an extended period of stress – bad flare or other health crisis, work deadlines, family emergencies, or simply just getting through the holidays – you can place an extreme amount of duress on your body and your adrenal system.

“Adrenaline is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, especially in conditions of stress, increasing rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and preparing muscles for exertion.”

You can feel this when your heart starts to race or your hands or body sweats. Adrenaline is also responsible for that fight-or-flight mechanism that can give people extraordinary strength in times of crisis. And an over-exposure to the stress hormones can tamper with your overall well-being.

Continue reading “6 Ways to Cope with Stress when you Have a Chronic Illness”

Clean Eating: Smoothie Round-Up

Fight fibromyalgia with your diet

I have long managed my fibromyalgia with healthy life-style choices including diet and exercise. My best fibro-fighting weapons? Starting my day with yoga and a healthy smoothie.

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” 

La Rouchefoucauld

The concept of eating “clean” just encourages you to consume more whole foods — such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats — and limit highly processed snack foods, sweets and other packaged foods. Yes, it’s a difficult concept to wrap your brain around during the holidays when we often indulge on extra calories in the form of holiday meals and baked goodies.

Oftentimes we equate healthy foods with tasteless foods. But done right smoothies are the perfect combination of both nutritious and flavorful foods. I have posted some recipes and pics on the blog and my Instagram of smoothies and smoothie bowls, so I thought I would grab my favorites in one post. Smoothies take about 5 minutes to put together in a blender, and then you have the perfect meal on the go!

Continue reading “Clean Eating: Smoothie Round-Up”

The Many Forms of Pain

Pain takes all forms, affects all people, and does not discriminate.

I started writing this post long before Lena Dunham announced she wanted to be the “face of fibromyalgia.” Knowing little about her other than what I read in this article, I don’t really have a connection to her and don’t view her as my advocate. There are many other faces of fibromyalgia and forms of pain that deserve attention as well.

Pain takes all forms, affects all people, and does not discriminate between male or female, young or old, rich or poor, famous or not-so-famous. It can affect anyone. And everyone.

These days I feel people associate pain or chronic pain with the “opioid epidemic” we hear so much about in our daily news. It has reached such a pinnacle that Michael Bloomberg announced a $50 million donation to help fight it. But let’s not stereotype all of those suffering in pain with a drug problem that is gripping the nation. Continue reading “The Many Forms of Pain”

Fall Round-Up

The crisp fall air is here and we are facing our first frost here in Texas with possible snow flurries. It’s “pumpkin-everything” season still, yet I asked my boys to get the tree and Christmas decorations down from the attic this weekend. I have the house decorated for fall and Thanksgiving, but am thinking ahead and planning my schedule for when the boys are gone hunting Thanksgiving week.img_6206

For something different, I wanted to do a “round-up” of some of my posts these past few months, in case you missed something. Enjoy! Continue reading “Fall Round-Up”

What Really Causes Fibromyalgia?

“Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together.”

That question is like the proverbial, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” because there is not yet a definitive answer as to the cause of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). And without knowing the root cause, you cannot solve the problem; you are merely treating the symptoms.

What They Know

Doctors can agree on how to diagnose it, what the symptoms are, and a variety of treatments. But not every patient responds the same to treatment. And the cause of fibromyalgia still eludes the medical community. Continue reading “What Really Causes Fibromyalgia?”

Five Travel Tips for Fibromyalgia

Airport travel is challenging enough, but the challenges multiply when traveling with a chronic condition.

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

I love traveling. Or at least the part where you actually get somewhere and you can relax, sightsee, visit with friends or family, or whatever is on the agenda. The actual part where you’re sitting in an airport, on a plane, or in a car isn’t always the most pleasant or comfortable these days.

I can’t remember the last time I had an entire trip that had “smooth sailing” when flying with our airlines. Flight delays due to weather or mechanical issues, crew changes, dumping fuel, refueling, scheduling and logistics issues all wreak havoc on your ability to get somewhere on time. Three times this past year I have been rerouted to another city because one of these things. And now I am preparing to head to Florida just days after Hurricane Michael is expected to make landfall with storms expected at home when I leave.

Airport travel is challenging enough between allotting enough time to get through security and arriving before your actual scheduled flight time. Add to that an illness, injury, a chronic condition, or fibromyalgia, and the challenges multiply. Will I be having a flare? Will my back or leg pain act up? So how does one manage travel delays and stressful times when you have a chronic condition? Continue reading “Five Travel Tips for Fibromyalgia”