Archive for the Fibromyalgia Category

FIBROMYALGIA Part 4

Posted in Fibromyalgia, Health with tags , , on 09/23/2009 by milkywayfarer

fibro
The previous article on FIBROMYALGIA has been updated. It now includes PART 4: FIBROMYALGIA, THE LETTER TO NORMALS.

“The Letter to Normals” Written by Ronald J. Waller
Copyright of http://www.fibrohugs.com
Ronald J. Waller, wrote “The Letter to Normals” (and posted it on Fibrohugs.com) to help his family and friends understand Fibromyalgia better, as well as to help them be more aware of what his life is like.

Click here to jump to full article.


Fibromyalgia UPDATED 11/15/09

Posted in Fibromyalgia with tags on 09/14/2009 by milkywayfarer



FIBROMYALGIA SYNDROME (FMS)
by Susan Chandler Kelley
(Includes article by Carla Brewer)

Though it is past 4 a.m. sleep still eludes her, like a shadowy fugitive disappearing into the steamy southern summer night. Her name is Carla Brewer and she is 52. In addition to insomnia, she suffers from chronic severe pain throughout her body that has turned her into a near-recluse. She also suffers from memory/concentration problems, heart irregularities, migraines and fatigue. After about 10 years of searching for the cause of her illnesses, she finally received a diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome, a complicated and poorly understood disease.

WEBMD.COM defines fibromyalgia as “a non-life-threatening, chronic disorder of the muscles and surrounding soft tissue, including ligaments and tendons. Its main symptoms are muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points at certain parts of the body. Many people describe fibromyalgia as feeling like a persistent flu…. Muscle pain, either throughout the body or only at certain points, is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. It may range from mild discomfort to pain severe enough to limit work, social activities, and everyday tasks.”  WebMD.com: Fibromyalgia symptoms

According to WEBMD.COM, fibromyalgia causes widespread pain as well as fatigue and insomnia. It affects about 3 to 6 million Americans, about 80% of them women, most between 20 and 50 years of age. It seems to run in families, suggesting the possibility of a genetic factor. Some experts think it may be linked to depression. No one knows its exact cause and at present no cure is known. However, experts suspect certain things may trigger it such as insufficient sleep, physical or emotional trauma, possibly even bacterial or viral infection. Below lies a 3-part article by Carla Brewer that details her experience with this disease and the knowledge she has gained about it. She includes reliable Websites used in her research. (As she includes more articles, I will include updates here.) Her original articles reside on her Facebook blog; she has given permission to reprint them here to allow wider access to them.

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PART 1: WHAT IS FIBROMYALGIA SYNDROME (FMS)?
September 5, 2009
by Carla Ballard Brewer
http://www.facebook.com/friends/?filter=afp&ref=tn#/notes.php?id=1210249762

I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2001. I had no idea at that time how complex Fibromyalgia truly is, especially what living with Fibromyalgia actually involves. If I had known, I would have had even more difficulty accepting the diagnosis. I’m writing this blog in hopes of helping my friends and family better understand Fibromyalgia and the people who have it. Fibromyalgia is a complicated disease, so I will be addressing the different aspects of it, and I will be posting my notes as I complete different sections. The information that I will be sharing comes directly from my experiences and my research. You may want to subscribe to my notes so you will know when the next installment is posted. If you have any questions or comments concerning something that I write, feel free to respond. I welcome your feedback.

PART 2: SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA
Sunday, September 6, 2009 at 10:25pm
written by Carla Ballard Brewer

My symptoms of Fibromyalgia began several years before I actually received the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia in 2001. In the beginning, all the health problems seemed unrelated, until one of my doctors said that he thought something else was going on in my body. About the time one problem would be corrected or disappear, another would crop up in a different area. I had health problems that led to a total hysterectomy. Shortly after that, I started having sinus problems, migraines, hip/leg pain, shoulder/arm pain and heart irregularities off and on for the next 10 years. I only mention these symptoms because many of these are listed in the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

In 2008, I was re-diagnosed by a rheumatologist who did not “believe in” Fibromyalgia; his opinion was that many people were misdiagnosed and actually had other diseases. I had numerous medical tests done: blood work, x-rays, and a full body scan. The result was that I did have Fibromyalgia, and had had it since 1995.

Fibromyalgia is a complex condition that is difficult to understand. Because it involves the brain and nervous system, it can have an impact on virtually every part of the body. Remember that the signs and symptoms can vary widely from one person to another. Some people may have only a few symptoms, while others may have many. The intensity of symptoms is different in everyone as well, ranging from mildly annoying to highly debilitating.

The major symptoms of Fibromyalgia are:

# Chronic, widespread pain that moves around the body
# Extreme fatigue (no energy)
# Sleep disturbances / insomnia
# Fibro Fog (concentration or memory impairment)
# Pain in response to pressure in specific tender point areas

Often, people who are not familiar with Fibromyalgia do not realize that there are multitudes of secondary symptoms that are also relevant. A complete list of the patient’s symptoms can help the doctor make a diagnosis. I am not going to list all the symptoms; you may find the complete list at http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/fibrosymptoms.htm

Other symptoms of Fibromyalgia may include the following. (These symptoms are not in any specific order.)

# Migraines or headaches
# Sweats
# Unexplained weight gain or loss
# Allergies
# Shortness of breath
# Unrefreshing sleep
# Twitchy muscles at night
# Morning stiffness
# Menstrual problems
# Irritable Bowel Syndrome
# Pelvic pain
# Bloating and nausea
# Urinary frequency
# Interstitial Cystitis (chronic inflammation of the bladder wall)
# Difficulty speaking known words
# Directional disorientation
# Confusion
# Sensitivity to touch, odors, light and/or noise
# Sensitivity to pressure changes, temperature and humidity
# Tingling or burning sensations in the arms
# Depression
# Anxiety
# Rapid, fluttery, and/or irregular heartbeat
# Restless Leg Syndrome
# Dry eyes and mouth

A diagnosis of Fibromyalgia can be difficult to determine, but the symptoms the patient experiences play a major part in the diagnosis. Please remember that having these symptoms does not automatically indicate that a person has Fibromyalgia. There are certain criteria that doctors use to make the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, including a patient’s symptoms.

If you are interested in an online support group for Fibromyalgia, the best that I have found is located at: http://www.mdjunction.com/fibromyalgia

If you would like to do further research, you can find more information at the following websites.
http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/what_is_fms.htm
http://www.fibrohugs.org/
http://www.nfra.net/
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/fibromyalgia/htm/_yes_50_no_0.htm

Feel free to share any of the information in my articles with your friends and family.

PART 3: HOW IS FIBROMYALGIA DIAGNOSED?
Written by Carla Ballard Brewer

To state that Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose is quite an understatement. Before receiving the correct diagnosis, the typical patient with Fibromyalgia sees an average of 15 doctors and has had the condition for approximately 5 years. In addition, more than 50% of patients receive a misdiagnosis and may undergo unnecessary surgery or endure costly treatments that are not effective. At some point, most patients have been told that nothing is medically wrong with them and that the condition is imagined. Many doctors are not adequately educated about Fibromyalgia (FM), and there are still physicians who question the existence of Fibromyalgia and prefer not to deal with patients who have this complicated disorder. Therefore, many patients become frustrated because not only is a patient having to live with the pain and other symptoms of Fibromyalgia, often they are having to go from doctor to doctor, fighting to find the “right” one.

Currently, no specific medical test is available for diagnosing Fibromyalgia. Before doctors can diagnose Fibromyalgia, a multitude of other conditions must be ruled out. Typically, doctors order blood tests plus other lab and imaging tests, such as x-rays and full body scans. Laboratory tests often prove negative (normal), and many FM symptoms overlap with those of other conditions, thus leading to extensive investigative costs and frustration for both the doctor and patient.

To further complicate the diagnosis of this condition, often FM coexists with other medical conditions. The presence of these other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, does not rule out a FM diagnosis. A few of these coexisting medical conditions are: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Interstitial Cystitis (IC), Migraines, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome, Thyroid Dysfunction, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Sjögren Syndrome, Osteoarthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Sleep Disorders, and Cognitive Dysfunction. There is an extensive list of medical conditions that can coexist with Fibromyalgia located at: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/312778-overview

In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology established standardized criteria for the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

* Widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body (both sides of the body, and above and below the waist) for a minimum duration of three months

* Tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points when a specific pressure of 4 kilograms is applied. Four kilograms of force is about the amount of pressure required to blanch the thumbnail when applying pressure. Tender points are localized tender areas of the body that can bring on widespread pain and muscle spasm when touched. The Tender Points Chart, which is included at the end of this article, indicates the approximate locations of these 18 tender points.

In addition, a patient’s medical history and symptoms must be taken into consideration when making the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The major FM symptoms of widespread, migratory pain, sleep disorders, extreme fatigue, and concentration or memory impairment are an important part of the diagnosis process. Since people with FM tend to look healthy and conventional tests are typically normal, a physician knowledgeable about the illness is necessary to make a diagnosis.

Experts are investigating a new blood test that may be able to detect Fibromyalgia. Autoimmune Technologies has developed and patented the Anti-Polymer Antibody Assay, or APA Assay, as the first laboratory test for Fibromyalgia, and is now conducting the FDA clinical trials for it. It involves antipolymer antibodies, which may be found in about 50% of the people with FM. The presence of these antibodies is the first evidence to indicate that Fibromyalgia patients mount an immunological response that is associated with their disorder, and the antibodies represent the first objective laboratory marker for Fibromyalgia. Indeed, the discovery of these antibodies will probably help convince skeptical physicians that Fibromyalgia is a “real disease” and not a psychologically-based condition as many now believe it to be. For more information, check out this website: http://www.autoimmune.com/FibromGen.html

Fibromyalgia Tender Points Chart

PART 4: FIBROMYALGIA, THE LETTER TO NORMALS
Posted by Carla Ballard Brewer

“The Letter to Normals” Written by Ronald J. Waller
Copyright of http://www.fibrohugs.com

I DID NOT WRITE the following letter. Ronald J. Waller, wrote “The Letter to Normals” (and posted it on Fibrohugs.com) to help his family and friends understand Fibromyalgia better, as well as, to help them be more aware of what his life is like. Every person who has Fibromyalgia has some of the symptoms that Ronald describes, but may not have all of them. In addition, it is very likely that many people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia have some symptoms that he does not address. This letter provides a glimpse into the life of someone who endures the pain of living with Fibromyalgia. If you suffer with Fibromyalgia, it is recommended that you share this letter with your family and friends.

The Letter To Normals

Hello Family, Friends, and Anyone Wishing to Know Me,

Allow me to begin by thanking you for taking the time out of your day to spend some time with me and get to know me better. A person’s time is their most valuable asset and yours is appreciated.

I want to talk to you about Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS). Many have never heard of these conditions and for those who have, many are misinformed. And because of this, judgments are made that may not be correct… So I ask you to keep an open mind as I try to explain who I am and how FM/MPS has assaulted not only my life but those whom I love as well.

You see, I suffer from a disease that you cannot see; a disease that there is no cure for and that keeps the medical community baffled at how to treat and battle this demon, whose attacks are relentless. My pain works silently, stealing my joy and replacing it with tears. On the outside, we look alike, you and I; you won’t see my scars as you would a person who, say, had suffered a car accident. You won’t see my pain in the way you would a person undergoing chemo for cancer; however, my pain is just as real and just as debilitating. And in many ways my pain may be more destructive because people can’t see it and do not understand….

Please don’t get angry at my seemingly lack of interest in doing things; I punish myself enough, I assure you. My tears are shed many times when no one is around. My embarrassment is covered by a joke or laughter, but inside I want to die….

Most of my “friends” are gone; even members of my own family have abandoned me. I have been accused of “playing games” for another’s sympathy. I have been called unreliable, because I am forced to cancel plans I made at the last minute, because the burning and pain in my legs or arms is so intense I cannot put my clothes on; and I am left in my tears as I miss out on yet another activity I used to love and once participated in with enthusiasm.

I feel like a child at times… Just the other day I put the sour cream I bought at the store in the pantry, on the shelf, instead of in the refrigerator; by the time I noticed it, it had spoiled. When I talk to people, many times I lose my train of thought in mid sentence or forget the simplest word needed to explain or describe something. Please try to understand how it feels to have another go behind me in my home to make sure the stove is off after I cook an occasional meal. Please try to understand how it feels to “lose” the laundry, only to find it in the stove instead of the dryer. As I try to maintain my dignity, the Demon assaults me at every turn. Please try to understand….

Sleep, when I do get some, is restless, and I wake often because of the pain the sheets have on my legs or because I twitch uncontrollably. I walk through many of my days in a daze with the Fibro-fog laughing at me as I stumble and grasp for clarity.

And just because I can do a thing one day, that doesn’t mean I will be able to do the same thing the next day or next week. I may be able to take that walk after dinner on a warm July evening; the next day or even in the next hour, I may not be able to walk to the fridge to get a cold drink because my muscles have begun to cramp and lock up or spasm uncontrollably. And there are those who say “but you did that yesterday!” “What is your problem today?” The hurt I experience at those words scars me so deeply that I have let my family down again; and still they don’t understand….

On a brighter side I want you to know that I still have my sense of humor. If you take the time to spend with me, you will see that. I love to tell that joke to make another’s face light up and smile at my wit. I love my kids and grandbabies, and shine when they give me my hugs or ask me to fix their favorite toy. I am fun to be with if you will spend the time with me on my own playing field; is this too much to ask? I love you and want nothing more than to be a part of your life. And I have found that I can be a strong friend in many ways. Do you have a dream? I am your friend, your supporter and many times I will be the one to do the research for your latest project; many times I will be your biggest fan and the world will know how proud I am at your accomplishments and how honored I am to have you in my life.

So you see, you and I are not that much different. I too have hopes, dreams, goals… and this demon…. Do you have an unseen demon that assaults you and no one else can see? Have you had to fight a fight that crushes you and brings you to your knees? I will be by your side, win or lose, I promise you that; I will be there in ways that I can. I will give all I can as I can, I promise you that. But I have to do this thing my way. Please understand that I am in such a fight myself and I know that I have little hope of a cure or effective treatments, at least right now. Please understand….

Thank you for spending your time with me today. I hope we can work through this thing, you and I. Please understand that I am just like you… Please understand….

Copyright of http://www.fibrohugs.com
Written by Ronald J. Waller

PART 5:  WHAT IS PAIN?
By Carla Ballard Brewer
October 12. 2009

One day I asked my husband if he was hurting anywhere. He looked at me strangely, and replied, “No.” I’m sure he was really wondering if I had finally “lost it” this time!

“Are you SURE?“ I questioned again, “Not anywhere?” He paused, thought about it, and replied again, “No.” I must admit that his answer was very hard for me to comprehend! I was never without pain somewhere – ALL the time. And not only did I suffer pain all the time, but I had several different types of pain that I experienced. Often these different types of pain have different pain levels of their own! Many people just think pain is pain – it hurts; it is uncomfortable, but it is just pain. When a person has Fibromyalgia, pain becomes much more complex.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a combination of different symptoms that can occur together. If one symptom had to be chosen to identify FM, that symptom would definitely be pain. Everyone has experienced pain in one form or another, but most of the time it disappears over time. If the pain does not go away after a reasonable time period, then the person usually begins trying to find out why the pain is lingering.

What is pain? According to Wikipedia, pain is “the unpleasant feeling common to a headache and a stubbed toe . . . Pain is part of the body’s defense system … producing a tendency to protect the affected body part while it heals and avoid that particular harmful situation in the future.” In other words, it is the body’s way of saying, “Stop! This is harmful to your body!!”

In a similar way, that is how babies are taught to avoid dangerous situations. For example, the parents often tell a baby that the stove is “HOT; do not touch it!” Of course, a baby will never learn exactly what “hot” means until he actually burns himself, but the parents try to teach the baby that “hot” is something that is bad and should be avoided. In the same way, a person who does not have Fibromyalgia cannot fully comprehend what the pain of FM is by just being told about it, but they can learn enough to help them empathize with those family members or friends whom they must watch live in FM pain daily.

It is extremely difficult to describe to your doctor or someone else just how bad your pain is. That is why a Pain Level Chart was created. Most people have seen some type of Pain Level Chart posted in their doctor’s office. Although there are different types of charts available, most are similar. Before telling your doctor what number you believe that your pain level is, be sure to familiarize yourself with the Pain Level Chart that is being used by your doctor. There are enough variations in some of the charts to make a difference in what treatment you might receive for pain. Remember that pain affects everyone differently and only you know what you are feeling. Most of the charts show a scale of 1-10 with different smiley faces underneath the numbers. The smiley faces range from smiles to tears as the chart progresses up to 10. Each number represents a different level of pain.

Level 0 is equal to no pain. Levels 1-2 signify that the pain is mild, but it can be ignored. Levels 3-4 indicate moderate pain, and the pain interferes with tasks. Level “4” is the level at which it is a good idea to start introducing some avenues of relief. At levels 5-6, pain is still moderate, but it now interferes with your concentration. Your pain is distracting you, but you may be able to focus on something else rather than the pain for a short period of time. Levels 7-8 designate severe pain. It often interferes with basic needs, such as eating, sleeping, daily chores, etc. Your pain may be severe enough that it makes you stop in the middle of an activity, or not be able to complete it at all. It is difficult to think of anything else but your pain. Levels 9-10 equal the worst pain that you can imagine. At this point pain IS your world. It is important to remember that the best way to treat the pain is to stay ahead of its increasing intensity, and to maintain a regular schedule of pain relief. Do not wait for Level “10” before you discuss options with your doctor.

I have also seen a Pain Level Chart that contains a list of “pain” words from which to choose to help describe the type of pain that you are experiencing. Some of these words are throbbing, stabbing, dull, aching, pinching, steady, localized, pervasive, tenderness, soreness, stinging, and/or cramping.

As you can see, the act of describing pain can be complex and difficult. In addition, pain has an extremely wide range of intensity. The paragraph in this article that contains Wikipedia’s description of pain actually described the role that pain should play in a normal body. I must admit that I almost laughed when I read the description of pain as an “unpleasant feeling.” Most people who live with pain constantly would have a similar reaction! There seems to be no “On/“Off“ button in the body of a person with FM. So in addition to our pain not working properly in our bodies, it works with the “volume” of pain turned on “high” most of the time. As if that is not difficult enough, FM throws in different types of pain to complicate matters further. Oh, how our bodies love to confuse us!!

Pain Chart

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pain
* http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/fibromyalgiapain.htm
* http://www.holyredeemer.com/Resource.ashx?sn=PainLevelChart
http://www.nes.scot.nhs.uk/pharmacy/newcontract/documents/PainAssessmenttoolFacesscaletool.pdf

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PART 6: DIFFERENT TYPES OF FIBROMYALGIA PAIN
October 30, 2009
Written by Carla Ballard Brewer

In this article several different types of Fibromyalgia (FM) pain will be described. The first three pain types addressed are medically defined terms: hyperalgesia, allodynia, and paresthesias. Other pain types I will describe in my own terms, based on my own experiences. I am also providing the link to “Understanding Fibromyalgia Pain: 7 Types of Fibromyalgia Pain” by Adrienne Dellwo on About.com. She provides some of her own pain terms and explanations.
http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/fibromyalgiapain.htm

Hyperalgesia is an increased sensitivity to pain, which may be caused by damage to certain nerves. “Hyper” means excess and “algesia” means pain. It appears that the brain of a person with FM takes normal pain signals and “turns up the volume,” making them more severe than they would normally be. Most drugs used for the management of FM are at least partially aimed at reducing this type pain.

Allodynia is a fairly rare type of pain that does not result from an injury to the skin. It is pain caused when your skin hurts to the touch, for example, when mild pressure from clothing or gentle massage causes pain. Some people describe allodynia as being similar to a bad sunburn. Allodynia occurs in three forms: (1) Tactile, which is pain from touch or gentle pressure; (2) Mechanical, which is from something moving across your skin; and (3) Thermal, which is pain from heat or cold that is not severe enough to damage tissues. Topical pain creams (such as BioFreeze, Tiger Balm, Aspercreme, and capsaicin creams) offer relief for some people. Also, paying close attention to the clothing that is worn can help alleviate allodynia in some cases. If a person is suffering from allodynia, massage therapy usually causes increased pain.

The third type of pain is paresthesias. This pain consists of odd nerve sensations that can feel like crawling, tingling, burning, itching or numbness. This type of pain has been described as a feeling of “pins and needles” or of an arm or leg “falling asleep.“ Many common Fibromyalgia treatments, such as FM drugs, capsaicin cream, and massage, can help alleviate paresthesias-related pain.

Other pains, that I battle frequently, are burning pain, pressure pain, clothing pain, pain from knots under my skin, and weather-related pain. My pressure pain and clothing pain technically can be listed as allodynia-type pain. You may wonder how I can distinguish so many different types of pain in my body. When you “live” with pain constantly, you become very familiar with it. You may also question the importance of the discussion of these different types of pain. I have found that different types of pain respond better to different types of treatments, such as heating pads, ice packs, pain relief creams, pain relief patches (such as Lidoderm Patches), pain medications, and/or a TENS unit. (A “TENS unit” is a portable device that sends electrical impulses to certain parts of the body to block pain signals. This is often used during physical rehabilitation therapy.)

My “burning pain” usually shows up in my upper arms or the bottoms of my feet. There is an intense burning sensation that feels like it is coming from within my body. My skin typically turns red in that area and is hot to the touch. Occasionally, the burning pain occurs in all these areas at the same time. When it does happen in just the arms or the feet, it usually burns in either both arms or both feet, hurting in pairs. The treatment that works best for me for this type pain is an ice pack, pain relief cream and/or pain medication.

The “pressure pain” is a sneaky pain. Frequently, I feel like I am almost pain-free, and then the pain explodes. It is not there, and then suddenly I am in intense pain. This pain likes to attack me at night, usually when I lie down to go to sleep. It takes me a while to find that comfortable “sleep” position, and this pain occurs when I rearrange my body. It feels like the release of pressure on a certain sore spot sets off my pain. There is no certain area in which this pain takes place. It can happen anywhere, although it usually occurs in a spot that is extremely sore beforehand. Since I have sore spots all over my body, it can crop up anywhere. (Sometimes this pressure pain can be set off by just a normal “poke” from someone, just trying to get my attention.) When dealing with this pain, I usually have to get up from the bed and sit in my recliner for a while, until the pain subsides somewhat. I also use pain medications and pain relief creams to help this pain. My husband and I invested in a memory foam mattress, and since then I do not have this type pain as often as before.

Additionally, I have periods of intense pain from knots located under my skin in certain areas. These small, hard knots are extremely painful to the touch. They tend to occur in clusters. A few years ago, these knots were mainly in my upper arms. During the past two years, the knots have improved in my arms, but have migrated to the outside of my lower thighs, just above my knees. These knots are not the type that can be massaged to “release” them, thus relieving the pain. Pressure increases the pain, and during a severe flare, I cannot tolerate anything even touching my skin in that area. Usually only heat and pain relieving creams help this type pain. Sometimes I get relief using Lidoderm Patches, but it is hard to get them to stick in this area.

I have found that some of my pain can be caused by or increased by my clothing. Since my body and even my skin often feels sore, tight clothing is definitely on the “No” list. As much as possible, I avoid wearing clothing that contains elastic, especially on my waist, thighs or chest area/upper back (bra area). This problem can make it very difficult to find comfortable underwear, although I have just recently discovered some bras and panties that are “almost” comfortable for me. (Barely There by Bali Microfiber Damask panties, Barely There by Bali Microfiber Damask Crop Top Bra and Spanx Bra-llelujah Comfort Bra are my new favorites. I found these at http://www.herroom.com . Kohl’s department store also carries Bali’s “Barely There” brand. In the beginning, I was not sure that I liked the Spanx bra, but after wearing it a few hours, I decided that it is definitely a “keeper.” Neither of these bras are “support” bras.) I must also be careful about the type of material from which my clothing and sheets are made. The material must be soft, silky and smooth to the touch. Materials that do not disturb other people often feel like sandpaper to my skin. I cannot tolerate “beading” on material, or scratchiness of any kind. We have purchased 400+ count sheets, and that eases some of my discomfort at night. For more information on dressing for less pain, check out the article, “How to Dress for Less Fibromyalgia Pain” at the following website.
http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/managingyoursymptoms/a/fibroclothes.htm

Most people have heard of this last pain type; pain that I will define as “weather-related pain.” I have often heard of people with arthritis or even those who have had a broken bone in the past, being able to “predict” the weather, especially rain. Well, it is true with Fibromyalgia as well. Usually my warning signs occur through burning pain, pressure pain and/or intense pain in the knots under my skin. When the pain gets extremely intense, I often check the online radar for our local area. There within a few miles is usually a thunderstorm. I may not be able to hear the thunder yet, but my body definitely “feels” the nearby storm. Most changes in weather set off a “flare” of pain. Days of rain, high humidity and cold are the days that usually bring some of my worst pain.

One more point that I would like to share is that frequently I have layers of pain without being aware of it. For example, one day I may experience intense burning pain in my feet. I treat this pain, and once it is under control, I may notice severe pain on my legs where the sore knots are located. I had not noticed that pain before, because the burning pain on my feet was more intense at the time. If I am able to decrease the pain from the knots, another pain often demands my attention. By the way, getting the pain “under control ” does not signify that the pain stopped. It usually just indicates that the pain is barely tolerable. From my research and individual experience, I have found that most people who have Fibromyalgia are rarely without any pain.

These are the main types of pain that I experience personally, although it is probably a little different for each FM patient. One of the “curses” of Fibromyalgia is that so many of the symptoms that people experience are very similar in some ways; on the other hand, they can be very different. The important fact to remember is that the next time someone with Fibromyalgia refers to their pain, remember they are probably hurting in more than one area and are most likely experiencing more than one type of pain.

* http://chronicfatigue.about.com/od/whatisfibromyalgia/a/fibromyalgiapain.htm
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperalgesia
* http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Allodynia
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allodynia