What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a complex, chronic pain disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness.

I often refer to the fact that I have fibromyalgia in my posts, but many of you might have found your way here through some of my other musings, so I thought I should introduce some of you to this condition.

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My Doctor Suggested CBD Oil for Pain

“The greatest evil is physical pain.”

If you know me or have read my posts, you know that I avoid drugs and prefer natural approaches and lifestyle choices to cope with my fibromyalgia and chronic back pain. That is not to say I don’t use any drugs, it’s just that I minimize what I take due to my heightened sensitivity to side effects.

There has been a lot written about CBD oil the past few years, especially as more states begin legalizing marijuana. It’s even made its way onto the pages of my beauty magazines. But since I am reluctant to use drugs (legal or otherwise), and I work for the government, I have never considered this as an option until recently.

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6 Tips to Simplify Your Life

Letting go of things that no longer bring you joy or satisfaction can in itself be joyful and satisfying!

It’s a new year full of new hope and new promise. Many of us start the new year with resolutions or diets or workout regimens, hoping to shed some holiday weight or gain some new perspective or success. This year I didn’t make any bold resolutions or promises, but I did choose a word for the year. Simplify.

Last year was all about being deliberate about my choices and what I did. I found this gave me increased success with my blog. I wrote more posts, I gained more followers, I engaged more, and I even got nominated for an award. So what is it that I want to simplify this year?

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” ~ Hans Hofmann

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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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Fibromyalgia Symptom Round-up

With over 200 symptoms or co-morbidities, fibromyalgia symptoms can vary from person to person.

With 18 trigger points across the body, one of the most defining symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome is widespread pain. It is also characterized by extreme fatigue, sleeping issues, headaches, and a myriad of other symptoms. It can be difficult at times to ascertain whether you have yet another weird symptom of fibromyalgia, or you truly have something else wrong. And the symptoms vary from one person to the next.

Research suggests that “the brain of a fibromyalgia patient amplifies pain signals” and  that it “is a complex condition whose definition and measurement extend far beyond charting patient-reported pain levels on a numeric scale.” It’s no wonder there are over 200 symptoms and/or co-morbidities that have been attributed to this syndrome. Continue reading “Fibromyalgia Symptom Round-up”

The Challenge of Slowing Down

I have had difficulty accepting that I cannot do what I once could. I am not the same person I once was.

Life in general requires overcoming challenges and obstacles of many types. Life with fibromyalgia introduces its own share of challenges: lack of energy, lack of sleep, chronic pain being the most prevalent.  These things can change who you are and how you approach life. What once was a simple task, such as getting out of bed in the morning, can now be a daily struggle.

In the years since my diagnosis, my biggest challenge has been SLOWING DOWN. I have had difficulty accepting that I cannot do what I once could. I am not the same person I once was. Type A personalities like myself prefer to be in the game rather than sitting on the sidelines.

Adopting health strategies such as a clean diet, regular workouts, and supplements, has helped lessen the daily pain and limited my “flares” of my fibromyalgia. It has allowed me to maintain a moderately active lifestyle. And then I begin to think: Maybe I am OK. Maybe I am in some sort of remission. Maybe I can push myself just a little harder. And that thinking usually ends in a crash and burn, i.e. fibro flare and bed rest. Slowing down, resting allows the body to recover from the stresses put upon it. Without a recovery period, we can do our bodies more harm than good.

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When Everything Hurts

In addition to nutrition and medicine, you need other strategies for coping with the daily pain and major flares that occur.

You have probably experienced something like this before: You go to bed feeling fine….maybe just OK….no worse than usual… And when you wake up in the morning you have some new pain. You roll out of bed. You’re stiff and moving slow. Every step hurts. You think you are never going to straighten up again. And then it hits you that there is some new ache that wasn’t there when you went to bed last night. For some of us, that may just be the aging process. For others, welcome to life with fibromyalgia. 

“To hurt is as human as to breathe.” ~ J. K. Rowling

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia seventeen years ago, in September, 2000. In 2001, September was designated as Pain Awareness Month.  Pain covers a lot of different conditions and ailments – everything from arthritis or back problems to Fibromyalgia Syndrome or Multiple Sclerosis to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) or Ulcerative Colitis. Often when you have one of these conditions, you have multiple, so the pain is compounded. I suffered with endometriosis for years, then came fibro, TMJ, and now I also have TOS, chronic neck, back, and hip pain/bursitis. Pain – and coping with pain – is a way of life.

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