But only she knows the sacrifices she does everyday to live a seemingly normal life. She feels pain in her body, in specific areas and everywhere. She is having trouble getting up in the morning because she does not sleep well at night.
Sometimes she is so bad she can not finish it. She leaves glass and plates soaked that she can take care of them later. Sometimes she feels like she has a knife in her back. Does she suffer from the pain of fibromyalgia?
People like Annika, who suffer from constant pain without any significant reason, may have fibromyalgia. Normally, this condition is difficult to understand because symptoms are not always visible .
It may seem that people find the pain, complain for no reason, or find excuses for not doing things they have to do. But it is not true. The pain of fibromyalgia is real and the drowsiness suffers.
What is fibromyalgia?
On the one hand, fibromyalgia has been described as a chronic pain in muscles and fibrous tissue (ligaments and tendons) – that is, the muscle and skeletal system.
On the other hand, it has also been described as hypersensitivity to pain. When there is an incentive that produces pain, the brain sends signals that produce pain that is higher than the stimulus would normally result in. Although the stimulus that produces the pain has disappeared, the pain can persist.
It is more than a change in the muscles. Research shows that there is a change in the central processing system, in the brain. This can be caused by an absence of pain-relieving activity in the body (lack of internal opiates) and changes in neurotransmitters associated with central sensitivity (less serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine).
In addition to the pain of fibromyalgia, there are usually other symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep problems, limbs in the limbs, lack of concentration and sometimes emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
Fibromyalgia is a very difficult disease to describe. In fact, no specific biological or psychological reason has been found that can explain the pain. However, it has happily been recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1992.
The criteria used to diagnose fibromyalgia are that the generalized pain should be present in 11 (of 13) sensitive points in the body (especially in the neck, back and joints such as elbows and knees) for more than three months in a row. In addition, there is no clinical definition to explain the pain.
That’s how an ignored pain was recognized and got a voice. This definition was a very important first step that allowed people with fibromyalgia to feel less lonely and manage the disease better.
Is the pain from fibromyalgia chronic?
Annika did not know what the cause of her long lasting pain was like many others. She therefore met many doctors to try to find the cause and get relief. For a long time she felt hopelessness, until she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
But this was not the end of the trip for her. It was very hard to accept that her pain was chronic and that it would be there throughout her life.
Unfortunately, there are no drugs that can alleviate the pain of fibromyalgia. Anti-inflammatory drugs are not effective if used too often because they do not eliminate the pain. They relieve it, but it will appear again soon.
It is important to point out that fibromyalgia is not a degenerative disease. It does not destroy the joints and does not cause irreversible damage or malformation. So let’s blow the myth that this disease can lead to serious mobility problems or even put people in a wheelchair.
Although there is no specific cause or medication for fibromyalgia, there is a way to get higher quality of life. The person suffering from it can learn to take care of himself in such a way that the pain does not deteriorate. The idea is to keep it stable or even reduce it. Change is possible.
Is it okay to stay active or is it better to rest?
Usually people with fibromyalgia feel the need to be very active and do not rest much. So make sure it’s time when they’re extremely tired and then need rest for hours or days because the pain is so bad they can not move.
It is best not to be in constant motion or constant rest. It is important to find a balance, which will vary from person to person. People with fibromyalgia need to learn how to regulate their activity and rest period.
To regulate its rhythm of activity and rest, our first recommendation is to observe and listen to the body. Do not let the pain get too extreme (10 on a scale of 0-10).
They must learn to become aware of when it is 5 and then allow themselves to rest. This will prevent the fatigue and pain from fibromyalgia reaching critical levels when they feel they can not do anything and have to stay up completely.
We should note that although more of their time can be rested , it is recommended to perform at least average physical exercise every day.
Vila plus activity
We want to prevent problems that are associated with not using body parts. Not engaging in physical activity can exacerbate pain, fatigue and stiffness; not only physically, but also psychologically.”The art of relaxation is part of the work of art.”
To rest more to prevent the pain escalating to extreme levels is to lower your expectations. This includes not trying to do too much work during the day; it is to put more reasonable goals or to divide tasks into smaller, more manageable jobs.
It is also good to learn to be more flexible and less demanding for themselves. For example, if, for example, comes a day when you can not do everything you planned because you experience too much pain, do not torture or punish yourself. You will only get worse.
Can psychological treatment help with the pain?
It has been shown that better regulation of social relationships and emotions helps to alleviate physical pain. That’s how psychotherapy allows people with fibromyalgia to get a better life and see improvements in areas such as:
- To accept the pain and live with it
- To balance your feelings
- To improve sleep quality
- Improving relationships with others, especially the family (who also experience the effects of fibromyalgin)
People with fibromyalgia tend generally (not all, there are many variations) to help others more than they help themselves. They must learn to say “no”.
To help others is obviously good, but it must be limited so that they do not begin to neglect themselves. Thus, psychological treatment can focus, inter alia, on starting to take care of and respecting itself better. The goal is to be able to say “no” in certain situations and treat others more specifically.
As is often the case, it is easier said than done. People often know that rest will make them feel better. The problem is that people with fibromyalgia are usually not used to rest, and when they do , they feel guilty .
They may feel the need to keep up with their “obligations”. Therefore, they must learn to spend time with themselves without feeling bad about it.
Fibromyalgia and identity
Resting seems to have a simple purpose, but many with fibromyalgia feel it is questioning their identity; They may feel that they are worth less.
According to studies based on “d a personal construction theory ” by George Kelly, several “constructions” (descriptions) have been shown to be linked to the “dilemman” in the way these people strive for the changes they need. For example, the generous versus the selfish “constructions”.
Normally, people with fibromyalgia consider that they are hardworking and generouspeople, and subconsciously , they feel that if they ignore their activities and “obligations”, they cease to be hardworking and generous.
They feel weak and selfish. That is why one of the goals of psychotherapy is to help them realize that rest and asking for help is not to cease being themselves.It is important that the changes are consistent with their identity so that they work.
What else can they do to take care of themselves?
It may seem that the pain of fibromyalgia is uncontrollable and unpredictable. As if nothing can help. However, according to the theory of gravel control , some situations may “open” or “close” the dust hatches.
For example, it has been observed that many people with fibromyalgia agree that they feel less pain the more relaxed and distracted they are, with friends and family. On the other hand, there are things that can increase the pain: feeling stressed, stressed, overwhelmed or worried. For example, after working, exercised too much or grinded.
When they are aware that these situations influence how they perceive the pain , the next step is to reduce the factors that aggravate the pain and increase those who reduce it.
It is easy to say, but difficult to perform for people who have spent a lifetime of sacrifices that tortured them much more than the disease itself.