Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Six – Pain Management for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

Welcome to part six of the Fibromyalgia Framework series! I hope you’re enjoying this series and have come to join the conversation in You vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group.

The fibromyalgia framework series has been presenting my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research.

fibromyalgia framework part seven pain management

Note: My newsletter subscribers get access to the content first and exclusive access to the freebies I’ve made – if you want to sign up in time for part seven, click here.

We have discussed: 

The Fibromyalgia Framework
Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibro Books
Tracking Your Progress
Sleep
Central Nervous System

 

PAIN MANAGEMENT FOR FIBROMYALGIA/CHRONIC PAIN

We could spend a long time going through pain management options in depth, but that is outside the scope of this series. I will give you a brief introduction to the multiple options and give you extra reading you can follow up on. As you will recall from my fibromyalgia puzzle, low dose naltrexone and physiotherapy are key pain management options for me. Yours might be entirely different.

We will look at:

  • Pain management for Fibromyalgia/chronic pain
  • Lifestyle-focused pain management
  • Specific for pain

This part would have looked differently if I had written it prior to 2017. I seem to have gathered the right strands together to create the best pain relief plan possible.

The first rule is that you can’t control pain well without first reducing what causes or amplifies the pain. There is no point popping pills if you are not taking care of yourself. Most of the things I do to be well are basic healthy living guidelines. Please don’t be daunted by all the things I do – it is an exhaustive list because not everything works for everyone; it is my hope there is something here that helps you.

LIFESTYLE FOCUSED PAIN MANAGEMENT

  • Sleep
  • Gentle movement
  • Rest
  • Seeing food as fuel
  • Observing your work/life balance

SPECIFIC FOR PAIN – WHAT I DO:

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using this link I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  • Heat pack. This is my first line of defense, I use it on my neck first thing, whenever I can during the day, in the evening and at bedtime.
  • Essential oils – lavender is my all time favourite for sleep, pain and relaxation.
  • Deep Heat, a non-medicated heat producing rub that eases muscle pain, especially when combined with a good massage.
  • Biofreeze – a cooling pain reliever, especially good for during warmer weather.
  • A hot bath is my best treat and the first thing I want when the pain increases.
  • I see the physiotherapist every three weeks and they do neck tractions and place acupuncture needles in trigger points in my neck and shoulders. This is the only thing that keeps the neck free and keeps the severe headaches, dizziness and nausea that accompanies the severe neck pain away.
  • A Theracane trigger point massager for self-trigger point release. You can use your fingers, but mine get too sore for this now, you do have to push rather hard.
  • Magnesium oil on my back and shoulders at bedtime.
  • Low dose naltrexone. Over a period of 12 months, it has decreased my neck pain levels more than anything ever has. It is not a miracle drug – if I don’t take it, the fatigue skyrockets, and if I overdo it, my neck pain increases. It is not a standalone treatment. But I am super thankful for it!
  • It helps me get to sleep where nothing else has ever worked. I do have to combine it with a heap of sleep hygiene routines, but it’s the base of the plan. In addition to helping me sleep (and thereby, reducing pain), it reduced the wider spread pain and near constant headaches.
  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) for muscle and joint pain. It helps with the pain in my index fingers as well as a little difference in my neck.
  • Slow release, high dose ibuprofen for period pain, for about four days – it’s pretty severe.
  • Ibuprofen or paracetamol (Acetaminophen) for headaches or low level pain that breaks through.
  • A muscle relaxant for spasms in the neck or back – the frequency of these has decreased since I began LDN.

OTHER PAIN RELIEF OPTIONS:

  • TENS machine
  • Foam roller
  • Essential oils
    • Lavender
    • Chamomile
    • Peppermint
  • Herbs
    • Thyme
    • Devil’s Claw
    • Jamaican Dogwood
    • Cayenne
    • White Willow Bark
    • Corydalis
  • Supplements
  • CBD oil

For medicinal pain relief, please discuss these options with your doctor and do your own research. Do always check for interactions between herbs/supplements and medicines that you are on.

LOW DOSE NALTREXONE

I haven’t been quiet about the benefits of low dose naltrexone (LDN). Since beginning it in 2017 I have experienced the best improvement of any single thing I have ever tried. I believe it is all down to sleeping better. The offshoots of this have been many. I have decreased pain levels, increased stamina, decreased fatigue, dramatically improved quality of life.

Find my Low Dose Naltrexone One Year Experiment post here. It includes a full write up of how it is changing my life with some links to further information.

For an overview of LDN see this website.


You might like:

My Printable Pain Plan Set to help you make your pain management plans – available in my Etsy store now.

My Printable Pain Plan Set

Do you wish that you could have all of the parts of the Fibromyalgia Framework Series, along with the templates to help you plan with space for notes in one place? There is! The Fibromyalgia Framework Series Workbook is available here. Find it physically here.  Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

Workbook + One-on-One Sessions

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fibromyalgia framework part five central sensitivity and how meditation can help

Fibromyalgia Framework Part Five: Central Sensitivity and How Meditation Can Help

Welcome to part five! I hope you’re enjoying this series! Did you catch the last one Sleep? It was pretty meaty and I hope very helpful.

The fibromyalgia framework series is going to present my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

Fibromyalgia framework series part seven pain management for fibromyalgia and chronic pain

We have discussed: 

The Fibromyalgia Framework
Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibro Books
Tracking Your Progress
Sleep

CENTRAL SENSITIVITY/OVERACTIVE NERVOUS SYSTEM IN FIBROMYALGIA

A lot of research suggests that Fibromyalgia is the result of central nervous system dysfunction – specifically an overactive nervous system, stressing and exhausting the brain (Dennis W. Dobritt, Fibromyalgia – A Brief Overview)[1]. Other literature suggests that the chronic pain causes the central nervous system to go into overdrive. However you look at it, the nervous system appears to be involved.

The theory of autonomic nervous system dysfunction resonates with me as a big part of the puzzle – not the entire answer.

A lot of programmes are popping up and claiming to “cure” chronic pain (Lightning Process, Curable app, the CFS Unraveled programme, various books with similar programmes) based upon the idea of retraining the brain. If these programmes are the entire answer for someone, I am happy for them. But mostly they are going to be one part of the puzzle.

Recently I read Dr David Hanscom’s book Back in Control which outlines his programme for recovery from chronic pain. It is heavily based upon rewiring the brain but he also includes several other key components – including sleep. He emphasizes how important sleep is and believes that before a person can be successful with treating chronic pain, they must be sleeping well. I don’t agree with all of his message, but I do like the fact that he recognizes the multiple components that are part of chronic pain-based illnesses. It is worth a read.

There are theories of anxiety and depression causing, or being the result of, fibromyalgia as well. As usual, nothing is universal. Throwing people with fibromyalgia on antidepressants (even without a diagnosis of depression) has long been the staple of some medical professionals, it certainly happens a lot here in New Zealand. But that really doesn’t improve their quality of life or their condition. Depression and anxiety are just other parts of the puzzle for a lot of us.

One of the key things I learnt from the first pain specialist I saw was about central sensitization. He helped me to see that by not treating my pain appropriately (I had a thing about avoiding medicines and try to take as little as possible) I was causing more pain – I was changing physiologically as a response to the ongoing pain and causing my nervous system to go into overdrive. So in addition to treating my pain, I needed to calm my nervous system down.

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Luckily for me, prior to learning about this theory, I had already laid the ground work and made great progress with my overactive nervous system. Through meditation, which I have been practicing for a few years now, I no longer react as strongly to things that would have made my heart pound, breathing quicken and have me looking for the exit. Things that used to make me anxious no longer do. I also have the tools to calm myself down when my nervous system does go into overdrive. If I notice that I am getting wound up and my heartrate is climbing rapidly I will quietly take several deep, gentle breaths. Immediately calming my system. When I am feeling overwhelmed overall, I will sneak away to my room, and meditate.

Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help train your brain to calm down. Dr Hanscom also recommends free writing once or twice a day for five or ten minutes and then ripping up the page as a way of creating separation from issues. Some might also benefit from counselling or specific work on trauma-induced anxiety. Below we will discuss meditation.

MEDITATION

Meditation promotes a calming of the central nervous system, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to activate. In the short-term that meant achieving deep rest during meditation, in the longer term it meant a dramatic reduction of the misfiring of my fight or flight response to minor stimuli.

The benefits:

  • Complete rest
  • Calming the central nervous system (Martinez-Martinez et al, 2014[2])
  • A break from stimulus
  • Focus on the body, accepting it as it is (mindfulness).
  • Not trying to nap, which can be frustrating for those who can’t.
  • For those who have trouble with orthostatic intolerance, just lying down can make you feel better.
  • A boost in energy (however temporary).
  • Improve the immune system (University Health News Daily, 2018)
  • Treat depression
  • Reduce pain

MEDITATION OPTIONS

You can:

  • Simply focus on your breath for a few moments. How you breathe in, how the breath feels a little warmer on the way out. How your body feels when you exhale. How your breaths get a little longer as you relax. Don’t push anything, just observe.
  • Do your own body scan meditation – by quietly thinking of each part of your body in turn, noticing the feeling in each, accepting it, willing that part to relax and moving to the next.
  • Do progressive relaxation – by tensing and releasing each part of your body in turn you can encourage it to relax deeply. As an example you could start with your feet, tense and release, your lower legs, upper legs, glutes, abdomen, arms, face.
  • Guided meditations – YouTube has a heap available including Yoga Nidra, mindfulness meditations, meditation specific to pain or fatigue etc.

As an extra form of rest, you can lie down or recline in a chair with a heat pack.

Blue one way traffic sign

MINDFULNESS FOR FIBROMYALGIA

A working definition for mindfulness is to be observant of thoughts and feelings without judging them. To allow our body to be as it and accept it as it is.

A research paper (Cash et al 2016) found that mindfulness meditation “ameliorated some of the major symptoms of fibromyalgia and reduced subjective illness burden.” Other studies have also shown the effects to be sustained at three year follow ups, with consistent practice.

There are plenty of courses and books around learning mindfulness. One such book is by Vidyamala Birch, founder of Breathworks (a UK based organization that teaches mindfulness) and chronic pain warrior, You Are Not Your Pain: Using Mindfulness to Relieve Pain, Reduce Stress and Restore Wellbeing – an Eight Week Program. I enjoyed this book immensely.

The concept of mindfulness can follow you out of the practice of mediation and into daily life.

FURTHER READING

Books

  • You Are Not Your Pain: Using Mindfulness to Relieve Pain, Reduce Stress and Restore Wellbeing – an Eight Week Program by Vidyamala Birch and Danny Penman (2013)
  • Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap out of Chronic Pain by David Hanscom
  • Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body by Jo Merchant (2016)

Articles

Activities

  • Free writing for 5-15 minutes per day, then destroy the paper.
  • Deep breathing (minimum of five quiet breaths when you feel the need, up to 10 minutes of specific mindful breathing a day) this is a nice 3 minute
  • Write down your happiness level and social connection level each day, keep a gratitude list and remember your people.
  • Do a loving-kindness meditation each day like this one
  • Do a chronic pain relieving meditation like this one.

[1] Dennis W. Dobritt, DO, DABPM, FIPP. Fibromyalgia – A Brief Overview (a presentation). Retrieved from https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/fibroacpsm_246421_7.pdf

[2] L.A. Martínez-Martínez, T. Mora, A. Vargas, M. Fuentes-Iniestra, & M. Martínez-Lavín. (2014). Sympathetic nervous system dysfunction in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and interstitial cystitis: a review of case-control studies. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24662556


My newsletter subscribers have been receiving access to the Fibromyalgia Framework series before the blog and receiving freebies! Sign up here to be first in line for part six of the series.

Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.

Workbook + One-on-One Sessions

Sleep, sleep tips, hygiene and tips to help you sleep with fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Framework Series Four – Sleep: Sleep research, sleep hygiene, sleep tips

Welcome to part four of the Fibromyalgia Framework Series! I hope you’re enjoying this series and have come to join the conversation in Melissa (You) vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group.

The fibromyalgia framework series has been presenting my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

We have discussed: 

The Fibromyalgia Framework – with your free framework template!
Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibro Books
Tracking Your Progress

Sleep, sleep tips, hygiene and tips to help you sleep with fibromyalgia

My newsletter subscribers have been getting access to this content first along with exclusive freebies, if you want early access to the fifth part of the framework – sign up here.

SLEEP WITH FIBROMYALGIA

Sleep is huge. I had theorized that sleep was a crucial missing component in my healing journey for a long time. Research is starting to bear this out. Doctors specializing in and writing about fibromyalgia know it. It still hasn’t trickled down to most practitioners.

Once I began low dose naltrexone I started to sleep in more than one hour blocks. Getting restful sleep has been the basis of all the improvements I experienced over 2017 and 2018 despite having tiny children and a third pregnancy.

SLEEP RESEARCH

There’s a lot of research about the sleep issue in Fibromyalgia and chronic deep sleep deprivation is no friend to our pain, fatigue or brain. We can do quite a few things ourselves to impact our sleep, but sometimes we need a doctor to step in and help. I am very lucky that a locum GP I saw once noticed my history of being very tired and not sleeping well and put me on amitriptyline. This was before I was diagnosed so I’m unsure if he suspected Fibromyalgia or not. This was the only way I could get any sleep for years. That doesn’t mean it helps me to sleep well or that I don’t have a list of sleep hygiene rules that I live by.

Dr Ginevra Liptan, MD, writes about sleep in her book The Fibro Manual (2016):

Sleep studies show that Fibromyalgia subjects show abnormal ‘awake-type’ brain waves all night long, with reduced and interrupted deep sleep and frequent ‘mini-awakenings’ (Brandi 1994; Kooh 2003). This deep-sleep deprivation leads to pain, fatigue, and poor brain function (Lerma 2011; Moldofsky 2008; Harding 1998). Treatment focused on increasing deep sleep is the key to improving all these symptoms.

In plain terms, people with Fibromyalgia don’t tend to reach stage four of the sleep cycle (the deep, restorative stage), and therefore, they suffer from chronic, deep sleep deprivation, which causes all sorts of issues with the body: pain, fatigue, fog, anxiety, etc.

In his article, 8 Tips for Better, More Effective Sleep (n.d.) (available on the Paleohacks website), Casey Thaler explains that sleep deprivation is “very similar to speeding up the process of dying of old age.” No wonder we feel like fibromyalgia is progressive – our bodies are progressing toward death until we take the sleep problem seriously.

In a talk in 2013 Dr Jacob Teitelbaum said the defining way to separate fibromyalgia from any other cause of widespread pain and fatigue is to ask how well they sleep. If a patient sleeps with no trouble, according to Teitelbaum, they don’t have fibromyalgia. His SHINE protocol puts sleep at the beginning of the treatment. Without sleep, we can’t get better. I would agree. Both of Teitelbaum’s books have resonated with me and his treatment approach gels with everything I have experienced. Without the sleep LDN was able to give me, I would never have begun to experience the rest of the improvements. Though I do wonder, of the large percentages of people in his studies that are lots better or better after the SHINE protocol, what that “better” means for them. For me, my quality of life is currently hugely improved, but I still definitely have a chronic illness that impacts me all day, every day. We might have different definitions of improvement.

Based upon my reading of the research, books by my favourite fibromyalgia authors and my experience, my number one recommendation to anyone suffering from chronic pain or similar illnesses is to get your sleep.

MY SLEEP HYGIENE TIPS

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Go to bed and get up around the same time each day.

  • Manage pain – take prescribed medicines as directed.
  • Pacing during the day so you are not over-exhausted.
  • Don’t have caffeine after lunch.
  • Have a wind-down routine (that doesn’t involve technology).
  • Go to bed and get up at approximately the same time each day.
  • Adjust your bed to your needs (i.e. suitable mattress, mattress topper, the right pillow, weather-suitable blankets).
  • Adjust your room to your needs (i.e. the right temperature, dark etc.)
  • Eat a small protein-based snack before bed.
  • Have a warm bath with Epsom salts.
  • Dab lavender oil on temples, wrists and/or feet.
  • Do a body scan meditation.

EXTRA SLEEP HELP

Once you have tried the above sleep hygiene tips, it might be worth exploring natural sleep options such as:

  • Lavender essential oil
  • Chamomile
  • Valerian
  • Lemonbalm
  • GABA supplement
  • CBD oil (if it is legal where you live)
  • Magnesium

If you have been struggling to sleep for a good while, have tried all of the sleep hygiene and natural options available it is time to discuss options with your doctor.

  • Melatonin
  • 5 HTP
  • Low dose naltrexone – do your research, take it to your doctor, but please note that for some it causes insomnia.
  • Stronger sleep aids for short term use, under strict medical supervision.

This article from Dr Teitelbaum might be of use for further sleep help.

Sleep is one area where we really need our doctors to be on board. If yours is not, then try to find another one.

My sleep logs and sleep hygiene tips

You can purchase your Sleep Hygiene Tips sheet, My Sleep Hygiene Plan and My Sleep Diary templates from my Etsy store to help you get started today on improving your sleep.


My newsletter subscribers have been getting access to this content first along with exclusive freebies, if you want early access to the fifth part of the framework – sign up here.

Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Three Tracking Your Progress Fighting Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Three – Tracking Your Progress Fighting Fibromyalgia

Welcome to part three of the Fibromyalgia Framework Series!

The fibromyalgia framework series is going to present my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

Fibromyalgia Framework Series Part Three Tracking Your Progress Fighting Fibromyalgia

In this series we will address the components of my framework including diagnosis and misdiagnosis, tracking your progress, sleep, basic human needs, pain management, the central nervous system and fatigue.

Did you grab your free Fibromyalgia Framework Puzzle and Grid templates in the first part of  The Fibromyalgia Framework?

TRACKING YOUR PROGRESS FIGHTING FIBROMYALGIA

As you may have noticed, I firmly believe we have the power to impact our quality of life. Our daily choices make a big impact on our wellbeing. Only we know our bodies so intimately. So we need to take charge in order to help our doctors to help us.

Fibromyalgia is complex and unique, so good record keeping is an important step in managing the myriad of symptoms and potential treatments.

By tracking our symptoms and things that we have tried we can notice patterns and make informed choices. Relying on fogged brains is not the easiest way to go. I have tried a great many things that I cannot remember! By keeping track you have created useful data to discuss with your doctor at appointments, it can help you see clearly what you need to discuss first and to give feedback for any changes they have previously suggested.

You can track notes in a journal, make a bullet journal, find an app or try a template.

It is good to keep track of:

  • Your sleep quality and quantity
  • Key symptoms and severity
  • Any medicines or supplements you are taking, and
  • Any self-care and exercise you manage.

I personally love printed templates to physically write on and have created several options that are available in my Etsy Store. Below are a couple of them. The one on the right includes the option to write down the top five things you are thankful for each day, which I find is a nice way to add some mindfulness to our day. Some days it might only be that you are still breathing. Others you will have trouble limiting it to five. The one on the left is gives the option of two to a page or a full page tracker.

My daily health log blueMy spoonie daily log

You don’t need to be tracking all of the time, but it is especially useful for identifying patterns periodically and for tracking experiments. It is important to know if things work. Especially over the course of this series!


Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.

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Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

Part two fibromyalgia framework series diagnosis, misdiagnosis and great fibromyalgia books

Fibromyalgia Framework Series: Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibromyalgia Books

Welcome to the second part of the fibromyalgia framework series.

The fibromyalgia framework series is going to present my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

Part two fibromyalgia framework series diagnosis, misdiagnosis and great fibromyalgia books

Did you see the first part and download your free Fibromyalgia Framework Puzzle and Grid template?

Fibromyalgia Framework Part Two Video

Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Fibro Books

WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA?

For a succinct introduction to the definition, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for fibromyalgia see this post here.

Essentially, fibromyalgia is a chronic pain-based illness of unknown origin and cure. It effects approximately 3-6% of the world’s population. It is said to effect far more women than men, but there are definitely men who suffer with it too. It appears in-discriminatory in race, education level and socioeconomic demographics. As I said in the first part of this series, it is complex in that it is triggered, manifests and is helped by very different things for different people. Diagnosis and misdiagnosis is also a problem.

DIAGNOSIS

There are not many fibromyalgia fighters who have a short diagnosis story. A study of 800 patients found it took an average of 2.3 years and seeing 3.7 doctors prior to receiving a diagnosis[1]. It took me several years as the symptoms came on slowly and I was young; the doctors were disinclined to believe me, especially as my symptoms and their severity changed.

It is a tricky diagnosis: Fibromyalgia is often referred to as a “wastebasket” diagnosis. Doctors do have to rule out other illnesses before they can diagnose it. There is no specific test for Fibromyalgia that is widely used yet. The symptoms are very generalised: widespread pain on both sides of the body (subjective) for at least three months, fatigue, difficulty sleeping and difficulty concentrating. The tender point count used to be one of the defining features of diagnosis; however, tender points were found to be unreliable – you needed 11 of 18 to be diagnosed, and some days, you could have at least that many; others, you may have less. Often, you also have to find a doctor who wants to help you and believes in fibromyalgia. I do so hope this is becoming a thing of the past, but it certainly was an issue for me.

Diagnosis may not change much for you; I was already on Amitriptyline, so the doctor basically gave me the confirmation and sent me on my way. But when I was ready, and when the world had caught up with some information, this word led my search. It is also important to note that not everything you experience will be the fibromyalgia. For years my severe neck pain was considered part of the fibromyalgia and therefore not looked into further. However, the fact that the physiotherapist could feel a reason for the pain (trigger points) and treat it (temporarily) in a manner that didn’t work for any of the rest of my pain made me curious. It wasn’t until 2017 that I met a physiotherapist who told me about trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome that it all clicked into place. Researching this avenue has brought me much more success than just thinking it was the fibromyalgia.

During pregnancy, I experienced severe back and pelvis pain that was also dismissed as part of my experience of fibromyalgia and pregnancy. It turned out it was pelvic girdle pain and is treatable. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, rather than have the pain disperse once I gave birth, it continued for several months after. I experienced a lot of unnecessary pain. So please don’t let your doctor throw every single thing you experience into the fibromyalgia wastebasket.

MISDIAGNOSIS

One issue with fibromyalgia, besides the difficulty in obtaining a diagnosis and help, is misdiagnosis. One research paper puts it this way, “There is a disturbing inaccuracy, mostly observed to be over diagnosis, in the diagnosis of FM by referring physicians. This finding may help explain the current high reported rates of FM and caution physicians to consider other diagnostic possibilities when addressing diffuse musculoskeletal pain.”

One doctor who writes about fibromyalgia, David Brady, posits that as many as two thirds of patients may be misdiagnosed. Interestingly one of the things that he finds often misdiagnosed as “classic fibromyalgia” is myofascial pain syndrome. Whereas in my case, there is the presence of both – which adds another layer of complexity to these illnesses. Other issues mis-attributed to fibromyalgia include thyroid problems and nutritional deficiencies as well as other illnesses.

For an interview with him about misdiagnosis see this blog post from Fed up with Fatigue. I also mention his book, The Fibro Fix in my post on my five favourite books for fighting fibromyalgia below.

MY FAVOURITE BOOKS FOR FIGHTING FIBROMYALGIA

My Five Favourite Books About Fighting Fibromyalgia

I highly recommend reading From Fatigued to Fantastic (2001) by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum and The FibroManual: A Complete Treatment Guide to Fibromyalgia for You and Your Doctor (2016) by Dr Ginevra Liptan. These two authors are doctors who have fibromyalgia themselves. Their processes are useful and a very good place to start. I re-read these books periodically for a reminder or when I am exploring a new area.

See my blog post of My Favourite Five Books for Fighting Fibromyalgia for more information about these books.

[1] Ernest Choy et al, 2010 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874550/


My newsletter subscribers are receiving this series first along with exclusive freebies that I have created to go with it. Sign up here to be one of the first to receive the next part! You will also receive access to other free templates and articles for fighting fibromyalgia.

Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links and I may make a commission at no extra cost to you.

January update for Melissa vs Fibromyalgia

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia January Update

In this January update, I share how the first 11 weeks with baby have gone. Discuss helping baby to sleep. My pain levels. The Fibromyalgia Framework and the future of Melissa vs Fibromyalgia.

 

Links I discuss:

Newsletter list for the rest of the Fibromyalgia Framework series

Fibro Framework physical book (affiliate)

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group – come and discuss our fight against fibromyalgia.

Melissa vs Fibromyalgia book (affiliate)

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group –  come and chat pregnancy, parenting and fibromyalgia.

Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia book (affiliate)

January update for Melissa vs Fibromyalgia

My growing list of fibromyalgia treatments

fibromyalgia framework series: the fibromyalgia framework, introduction to fibromyalgia, tracking progress, sleep, central sensitivity, pain management, fatigue, normal human needs

The Fibromyalgia Framework Series

Welcome to the introduction to my Fibromyalgia Framework series!

The fibromyalgia framework series is going to present my (evolving) view of managing fibromyalgia. In 2018 some of my strongly held theories were proven true by experience and research. I’ll share this with you.

fibromyalgia framework series: the fibromyalgia framework, introduction to fibromyalgia, tracking progress, sleep, central sensitivity, pain management, fatigue, normal human needs

In this first part I will show you my Fibromyalgia Framework, which will likely look different to yours on account of the unique nature of this illness and where we are on our journey.

My mission is to help you cut your journey down, I lost too much of my life to chronic pain, fatigue and insomnia, so I share what works for me in case it helps you.

In this series we will address the components of my framework including diagnosis and misdiagnosis, tracking your progress, sleep, basic human needs, pain management, the central nervous system and fatigue.

My Fibromyalgia Framework 

My fibromyalgia puzzle pieces: meditation, sleep, physiotherapy, lifestyle changes, gentle exercise, additional health issues, medicine, deal with trauma

Fibromyalgia is a complex illness with no known cure or cause. The way it manifests, how it is triggered and how we find relief differ from person to person.

Here are my key components that I’ve found crucial to my wellness journey. I created this after several years of intense experimentation and research and after decades living with the symptoms.

Your Fibromyalgia Framework

Grab your free Fibromyalgia Framework puzzle and grid and start populating what you think are your key puzzle pieces. You may be early in your journey and have only one or two things, or you may be further along, like me, and have the whole thing filled out. This doesn’t mean you have it sorted, it just means you have more direction.

Once you have filled in some puzzle pieces, you can begin to research those areas and make some goals to tackle them!

Action: I’d love to see your components, feel free to come and join Melissa vs Fibromyalgia Facebook group and share what you think fits in your puzzle.

Further reading that may help:

22 Ways to Increase Your Energy
My Top Three Treatments to Fight Fibromyalgia
Why I’m Treating the Fibromyalgia as Naturally as Possible – Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia framework

Impatient? Want to work through the content now? The Fibromyalgia Framework Workbook is available to purchase, with all of the templates (freebies and templates recommended from my Etsy Store) with space for notes to work through the content as a course. Find the Fibromyalgia Framework here (digital). Find it physically here.