Diagnosing Chronic Pain

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

Here are some ugly truths: Women and men experience pain differently. Doctors are less likely to treat women’s pain. Health issues that disproportionately affect women are not studied as much as those affecting men. It can take women multiple visits and sometimes years to diagnose their medical issues and chronic illnesses. And when painful conditions like Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia don’t have a simple test for diagnosing, those visits and months and years can prove both emotionally and physically draining when you’re already in pain and still having to fight for a diagnosis.

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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.

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World Hello Day

Asking people how they are just might make the difference in their day.

I wanted to post this earlier today, but as has been the case with me lately, life just got in the way today. But even though today has been designated as “World Hello Day,” it’s a concept that we should embrace daily.

Say hello to friends and strangers. Check on an elderly neighbor that lives alone. Smile at the lady checking you out at the grocery store. Take a minute to see how someone else is doing. Showing compassion and empathy will make our world a better place. Continue reading “World Hello Day”

Easy Hobbies for the Chronically Ill

Even if your chronic illness is a life sentence, it doesn’t have to be a death sentence of isolation and loneliness.

Life with fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions can be lonely at times. Pain, exhaustion, and other symptoms easily lead to cancelling engagements, giving up hobbies, and social isolation. Your social calendar and life have a new normal. But something is missing. People want interactions and connections, something to do to pass the time. Binge-watching Netflix or reading your Facebook feed only goes so far. And having something easy to do can help distract from pain and find the social interactions again.

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No More Spoons to Give

On those days when your energy, or spoon supply, is limited, it takes incredible strength to persevere.

A few weeks back I found myself with no more spoons to give, and have been working on replenishing my health, energy, and soul. This is the reason I have been taking a step back lately from blogging, and trying to reprioritize some other things in my life. Our vacation was just the break and self-care I needed to break my pain and flare cycle. I am just now starting to feel human and like myself again.

You can read about it in these recent posts:

But what is a Spoon, you ask?

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Non-Drug Therapies for Chronic Pain

We all want to be able to live pain-free, to enjoy our lives. Sometimes you have to think outside the box.

Everyone experiences pain differently. Everyone reacts to drug therapies differently. There is no one size fits all when it comes to devising a pain management plan. Dealing with a complex condition like fibromyalgia, one must get creative in devising their strategy, and sometimes think outside the box. Here are some non-drug therapies for managing pain that you may not have thought to try or even heard about.

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Love Yourself

Lately I haven’t been loving myself enough. I have been running on empty, with “no spoons” left to give. No energy to blog, no creativity left to give, and dealing with my messy life.

So taking a few days to enjoy a getaway with my family last week was definitely the self-care, self-preservation, and refueling I needed. Being outdoors is my happy place, as I believe it is holistically therapeutic to be outside.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

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