Tag Archive | arthritis

The BIG Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

So, you went to the doctor and she/he said you have fibromyalgia.  I’m sure your heart sunk.  You probably, like me, thought what now.  My life is over.  I’ll never be the same again.  There goes my quality of life.  You probably did your research online before being diagnosed.  Everyone does.  We usually go in to our doctor’s office with the information and present the disease to them.  I hope that you were given a battery of tests, before slapping a diagnosis on you.  This is a disease of exclusion (the ONE thing I WANT EVERYONE to know and learn).  The doctor should run a battery of tests to exclude anything and everything.  They should be looking for several things like (but not limited too) Lyme’s disease, thyroid issues, arthritis, candida, hormonal issues, etc.  There’s so much that should be ruled out.

So now that diagnosis is made.  For some, it’s relief and some it’s depressing.  Let me assure you that your life is not over because of this diagnosis.  This is just a new way of life.  You are not going to die from this disease.  It is just a shift in the way your going to be living the rest of your life.  It will change how you plan your life from here on out.  Your daily, weekly and monthly activities will change.  You will learn to manage your time and energy.  Some days you will have a ton of energy and pain.  Other days, it will be less.  Please do not use all your energy in one day.  You will pay for it the next.  Spread out activities, like household chores.  Instead of doing all of your housework in one day spread the chores throughout the week.  When planning a family activity, don’t do anything the day before.  Save your energy for friends and family.  It’s a matter of learning to manage energy levels.  Managing energy can help manage the amount of pain you will be in and vice versa.

 

 

2 Bad Days in a Row & Warm Water Therapy

Well, yesterday was a REALLY bad day.  The pain has been building up.  The pain is in my thighs and arms.  It would not go away with any of the medications I have.  I have tried the Flexeril, Ibuprofen, Tramadol, and Vicodin.  Nothing is touching the pain.  It escalated to the point that I couldn’t even walk.

As a precaution I have all of my meds and a glass of water on my nightstand.  I have basket of all of my meds.  It’s kind of crazy, but I have to prepare for the worst.  And the worst happened yesterday.  The meds worked well enough to get me out of bed and up the stairs to eat breakfast and then up again at dinner time.  But I just had my breakfast and dinner held until I could get out of bed.

I am very fortunate to be living with my parents, who help me out a lot.  I try not to ask much of them.  But they are kind enough to take my dog out and feed him in the morning.  He’s an early riser and grandma takes him potty when she gets up for work.  Then he likes to go in with Papa and have his cuddle time in the morning.  It really helps me out.  I can’t get out of bed before ten on most days.  It’s not because I’m lazy, it’s because I am so very exhausted.

My mom and I are taking a class through a local medical facility.  It’s a warm water arthritis class.  It had to be okayed by our doctors.  I’m hoping it helps both of us out.  She had fibromyalgia too.  I am looking forward to it.  It starts tomorrow.  Then I got a script from my doctor to go for warm water physical therapy.  I found a place in town to go too.

All in all, these past 2 days have been really rough.  I am still in pain, but I was able to get out of bed and shower today.  That’s a huge thing, sometimes!  It takes a lot out of me to shower on bad days.

Chapter 1-Pain From Nowhere: Fibromyalgia is A Failure of Medical Science

Who would want a disease or a diagnosis of a disease that has been described for almost two hundred years, that correlates with widespread pain and causes widespread tenderness, is associated with a significantly disrupted sleep pattern, has no identified known causes, has no known treatment, is chronic, and will persist for the rest of one’s life?

Over 6 million Americans diagnosed with fibromyalgia have pain that apparently nobody knows the cause of or how it even develops.  It is noted as far back as 1816.  Fibromyalgia is one of the most prevalent rheumatic diseases encountered.  Fibromyalgia is characterized as a medically unexplained disease.

When patients with chronic widespread pain are examined for tender fibromyalgia points about 1 out of 5 individuals had 11 or more tender points.  The tenderness had little relationship to the pain itself and was better correlated with depression, fatigue, and poor sleep.  The painful tenderness is found in at least 11/18 fibromyalgia points.

The mean patient age, at time of the diagnosis, is forties to fifties.  It is more common in females.

The core symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic widespread pain.  It is mostly located in the soft tissues, especially in muscle areas.  The pain can vary over the course of a day as well as over days and weeks.  The pain is greater than that reported by rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Another problem associated with fibromyalgia is fatigue.  Sleep disruption is a significantly prominent and frequent feature of fibromyalgia.  Patients awake unrefreshed.  Patients show, in EEGs, that there is an intrusion on the stage 3 and 4 Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) deep sleep delta wave pattern.  It is worth noting that the experimental disruption of slow wave, stage 3 and 4 NREM sleep in healthy, normal individuals produces muscle aching, stiffness, and increased tenderness.

Cognitive impairments are also reported by many fibromyalgia patients.  They describe difficulty with short-term memory, concentration, and logical thinking.

Fibromyalgia patients have a greater number of lifetime psychiatric diagnoses compared to controls, especially mood disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders.  Major depression in 20-30% and anxiety disorder in 10-20% at the time of assessment were reported.  Psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, stress disorders like post traumatic stress disorder, and sexual and physical abuses are identified in 75% of dysfunctional fibromyalgia patients.

Other symptoms reported by individuals with fibromyalgia includes headaches, restless leg syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bladder or female urethral syndrome, cold sensitivity along with cold hands and feet, sensitivity to chemicals, weather medications, loud noises, and bright lights, dry eyes and mouth, dizziness, paresthesia and dysesthesias (needles, pins, numbness, tingling, or unusual skin sensations) without obvious neurologic abnormality, skin photosensitivities, skin rashes and mouth ulcers.

There are no identified laboratory abnormalities that help diagnose, treat, or define prognosis of fibromyalgia.  The role of laboratory investigation in fibromyalgia is to assess for the presence of other conditions that co-exist with fibromyalgia or conditions producing fibromyalgia like syndromes.

Once a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made, all other and subsequent complaints and findings that cannot be otherwise explained are attributed to fibromyalgia.  Forever.

Patients and doctors are in dire need of something new, different and more effective than the current thinking and treatment related to fibromyalgia.