Fibromyalgia, rather than physical pain

You will fibromyalgia? Antonia is a woman of 52 years. It makes a life without too many limitations: it works in a goal, clearing the farm, and deals with his own house. It’s a nice person, talk to your friends and neighbors, always with a smile. Almost never complain, because she always has to go on, no matter how it is.

But only she knows the sacrifice made every day to lead a seemingly normal life. Feel body aches in different parts and diffusely. It activated a hard time in the morning because it does not rest well at night. Sometimes you feel so much pain that he can not finish washing the dishes, leaves lathered and later clarifies. Other times, feel like you have a wooden sword stuck in the back … You ‘ll have fibromyalgia?

People like Antonia, who constantly have feelings of pain that appear for no apparent reason, you may suffer from fibromyalgia. Normally fibromyalgia syndrome is difficult to understand, because the symptoms are not perceived externally . It may seem that these people these pains are opened or complain for no reason, making excuses for not doing what they need to do. But this is not true, because their pain is real and, as such, are suffering.

What is fibromyalgia?

On the one hand, fibromyalgia generally described as  chronic pain in muscle and fibrous tissue  (tendons and ligaments), ie in the muscular and skeletal system. On the other hand, it can also be defined as  pain hypersensitivity . To stimuli that produce pain, the brain ‘s response gives information as if there was more pain that usually produce that stimulus. Even when there is no stimulus that causes pain, pain can persist.

This is how,  more than a muscle disorder, research is declined by an alteration of the central processing at the spinal and cerebral level . This could be due to a lack of analgesic activity (less endogenous opioids) and changes in the main neurotransmitters associated with central sensitization (less serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine).

Besides pain, you may also have other symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disorders, numbness in the extremities, lack of concentration and sometimes affective symptoms such as depression or anxiety.

Stone above the body representing the weight of fibromyalgia


Woman with fibromyalgia pain

Fibromyalgia turns out to be a very difficult to describe syndrome. Really  it has not been given any specific or biological nor psychological causes to explain these pains . Anyway, thankfully, it was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992.

The criteria for diagnosing fibromyalgia are widespread pain presenting in 11 (13) sensitive points of the body (especially in the cervical, back and joints such as elbows and knees), for more than 3 consecutive months. Besides that no other pathology to explain the pain.

That’s how this unknown pain became recognized, charging a little voice. This assessment represents a first step and very important for these people to feel more accompanied and could better cope with the disease.

Does Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain?

Antonia, like many others, when in doubt about why he had to suffer this pain for a long time, visited many doctors to find the cause and alleviate their suffering. For a long time, a sense of hopelessness came over her, until she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. But this was not the end, it was very difficult to accept that this pain is chronic and accompany him throughout his life.

Unfortunately, there is no specific medication to ease the pain of fibromyalgia. Anti – inflammatory, commonly used are ineffective because they do not eliminate or attenuate pain, but reappears. It is important to note that  fibromyalgia is not a degenerative disease, does not destroy the joints or cause irreversible injuries or deformities . Therefore, it is necessary to demystify the false belief that this disease can have serious mobility problems and even having to resort to the help of a wheelchair.

Although there is no cause or specific drug for fibromyalgia syndrome, you can have a better quality of life . The person can learn to take care so that the pain does not increase, which at least maintained or even reduced arrive. Change is possible.

Is it appropriate to continue doing activities or is it better to rest?

Usually people with fibromyalgia feel the need to perform many activities and do not spend time to rest. So much so, that there comes a time when extremely exhausted and then need to rest for hours and sometimes even days, because the pain they feel is so intense that does not allow them or move.

Therefore, it is not always stringing activities or rest. It is essential to find a middle ground, which will vary by individual. It is very important that people suffering from fibromyalgia learn to regulate their pace of activity and rest .

To regulate their pace of activity and rest, the first thing we recommend is  to observe and listen to your body  to avoid reaching the maximum level of their pain (10, on a scale from 0 to 10). They must learn to be aware of when you are in a Level 5 and allowed to rest. In this way,  they will avoid the peak of pain and fatigue , in which they feel they can no more and are forced to stop altogether.

It is noteworthy that although more time is devoted to rest,  it is convenient toperform a minimum of daily physical activity with moderate intensity to prevent impaired locomotor disuse occur. Not do any physical activity you could aggravate the pain, fatigue, stiffness; not only physical but also psychological state.

“The art of relaxation, is part of the art of working”

-John Steinbeck-

Woman with body aches

The importance of devoting more time to rest not reach the maximum pain sensation it implies the  reduction expectations . This entails not aim to do too much work in one day, establish more achievable goals or divide large tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks.

It is also beneficial that these people  learn to be more flexible and less demanding with themselves . For example, when one day can not come to make everything that they planned because they feel more pain, they have to avoid torment and punished, as this will only increase your discomfort.

Is the psychological treatment can relieve pain?

It has been found that  a better regulation of emotional and relational levels helps relieve physical pain . This is how psychotherapy allows them to get a higher quality of life and improve in many aspects such as:

  • Accept the pain and live with it.
  • Restore emotional balance.
  • Increase the quality of sleep.
  • Improve relations with others, especially with family (who live more closely the effects of suffering and pain of fibromyalgia syndrome).

People suffering from fibromyalgia generally  (not all, since no defined personality specifically) , tend to engage and help others more than themselves . They have to learn to say “no”. Obviously helping others is positive, but up to a limit not have to involve oneself neglected.

Thus, psychological treatment is focused, among other things, to learn to care and more respected themselves. This objective involves be able to say “no” in certain circumstances and engage more assertively.

As usual, it is easier to say, I get it . Themselves may know that, for example, rest would help them feel better. The problem is that people with fibromyalgia are not normally accustomed to rest and when they do have a great sense of guilt : feel the need to fulfill “its obligations”. Therefore, they must learn to devote themselves to a time without feeling bad about it.

Although rest seem a simple way, for many of them this rest questions his identity and somehow detracts them. From based on “personal construct theory” Kelly studies found different “constructs” (adjectives) that are related to the “dilemmas” (obstacles) that these people have to get the changes they need, as for example, versus selfish generous “constructs”.

Typically, people with fibromyalgia  are considered workers and generous people and unconsciously,  if relegate their activities and “obligations” feel they are nolonger so , becoming weak and selfish people. For this reason, one of the aims of psychotherapy is that they may realize that rest or ask for help from others does not entail ceasing to be oneself.

It is important that the changes are consistent with their identity so they can really be significant changes.


Woman back with his head down with chronic pain

What else can you do to take care of?

It seems that the pain of fibromyalgia is uncontrollable, you can not predict when will intensify and there is nothing you can reduce it . However, according to the “gate theory”, you can get to  identify certain situations that “open” the gate of pain or “close” .

For example, it has been observed that many people with fibromyalgia agree that feel  less sensation of pain when they are more relaxed and distracted , in the company of family and friends. On the other hand, aspects that increase pain are feeling tense, stressed, overwhelmed or worried, for example after work, doing excessive exercise or discuss.

Once you are aware that these situations influence the perception of pain,  it would be to diminish those aspects that intensify pain and increase those that reduce it as rewarding activities.  Something easy to write but difficult to meet for people who lead an entire life assuming a sacrifice that torture many times more than the disease itself.

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