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Thread: Today is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

  1. #1
    About Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
    Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, held on May 12 of each year, is a widely celebrated, high- profile media event observed by the millions of Americans with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses. Since its inception in 1997, the National Fibromyalgia Association has led Awareness Day activities nationwide in an effort to increase awareness of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses.
    What is Fibromyalgia?
    Fibromyalgia (FM) is an increasingly recognized chronic pain illness which is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances. The most common sites of pain include the neck, back, shoulders, pelvic girdle and hands, but any body part can be involved. Fibromyalgia patients experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane over time.
    Who is affected?
    It is estimated that approximately 3-6% of the U.S. population has FM. Although a higher percentage of women are affected, it does strike men, women and children of all ages and races. Because of its debilitating nature, Fibromyalgia has a serious impact on patients' family, friends, and employers, as well as society at large.
    What are the symptoms?
    FM is characterized by the presence of multiple tender points and a constellation of symptoms.
    Pain The pain of FM is profound, widespread and chronic. It knows no boundaries, migrating to all parts of the body and varying in intensity. FM pain has been described as deep muscular aching, throbbing, twitching, stabbing and shooting pain that defines the very existence of the Fibromyalgia patient. Neurological complaints such as numbness, tingling and burning are often present and add to the discomfort of the patient. The severity of the pain and stiffness is often worse in the morning. Aggravating factors which affect pain include cold/humid weather, non-restorative sleep, physical and mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress.
    Fatigue In today's world many people complain of fatigue; however, the fatigue of FM is much more than being tired. It is an all-encompassing exhaustion that interferes with even the simplest daily activities. It feels like every drop of energy has been drained from the body, which at times can leave the patient with a limited ability to function both mentally and physically.
    Sleep Problems Many Fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder which prevents them from getting deep, restful, restorative sleep. Medical researchers have documented specific and distinctive abnormalities in the stage 4 deep sleep of FM patients. During sleep, individuals with FM are constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity, limiting the amount of time they spend in deep sleep.
    Other symptoms Additional symptoms may include: irritable bowel and bladder, headaches and migraines, restless legs syndrome (periodic limb movement disorder), impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, dizziness, vision problems, raynaud's syndrome, neurological symptoms and impaired coordination.
    I experience fibromyalgia and have since 1989. It's purely coincidence that the short term of fibromyalgia is FM ... my screen ID is actually short for Fidomom. :smile:
    I feel a little odd posting about this ... it's something I usually try to hide it's embarrassing to admit to. :redface: I didn't ask to feel like this though and it's my hope that posting this might help someone else reach a better understanding of what their friend or relative is going through in experiencing fibromyalgia. :chi:

  2. #2
    Awareness bracelet developed by the National Fibromyalgia Research Association to promote FM and raise public consciousness. (

  3. #3
    Also one of the overly used diagnosis. 3-6% of the population? You wont believe how many of my patients think they have it..

  4. #4
    Hey FM,
    How's it going?
    I'm sorry you have this aweful disease, it sounds strong, and remember out thoughts and prayers are with ya! Deb

  5. #5
    Mrs CP 19
    I have a friend who was diagnosed with FM 7 years ago. Unfortunately, she has done nothing but use pain meds. And will do anything to get them. Vicadon to Methadone to patches to Norco, etc....I have told her about everything I could find on this...Start with short walks, work up to other excercise, etc.
    Have you tried anything besides the pain meds routine? Did anything help you? I hope and pray you are able to deal with this devastating illness better than some. My friend has had at least 10 Dr.s in the last 5 years...Doctor shopping for more pain drugs...Very dis-heartening. Plus she takes stimulants when she can get some, sleeping pills, tranqs, etc. Just seems like too many drugs, too many extremes.

  6. #6
    The best way to treat this condition is to never ever start in pain meds. I have never ever had a patient that said that they "used" to have Fibro. To start a patient on pain meds is wrong. Its neverending and it only compounds the condition.
    My experience with the illness is to start with exercise and also rule out any possibility of underlying depression. I dont care if its one step at a time. Exercise is a must with this condition. It also requires good support. Like I said earlier, its one of the most overly dx'd conditions, but when it is real it's terrible.

  7. #7
    I don't know other people with fibromyalgia and can't comment on how anyone else deals with it. For myself I hate popping pills and avoid it as much as possible. I have found ways to manage my pain and my energy without any help from a doctor. Beyond the diagnosis by a skeptical rheumatologist I was basically dismissed. It was suggested that perhaps if I lost weight the FM would go away nevermind it had been present before I gained weight but okay. So I've lost a lot of weight. I wanted the supposition to be right. I wanted my pain to be all weight related well it wasn't. It hasn't made any discernible difference to the pain I feel. It is a little easier and faster to walk not carrying around so much excess weight and I do feel otherwise healthier than I have in a long while so the weight loss was good. The fibromyalgia though is not my idea of fun. Some days are really bad and there's no managing the pain - it has control where I can't find comfort, not at rest, not in movement and not from the only analgesics I bother with (acetaminophen and ibuprofen combo) I just have to wait it out on those days and hope the flare up doesn't last too long.
    Laughter is my daily pain killer of choice and I'm really not kidding.
    I like to think by now I know my own limits of what I can and can't tolerate in terms of excercise. I do what I can when I can and I try not to overdo it because the downtime from overdoing it is unreasonable to what constitutes "overdoing it" for me. I'm getting to know some of what will trigger a flare up for me and I take it easy on those things. Sometimes they happen out of the blue though anyway - that pisses me off when that happens.
    For those that do not know feeling pain day in and day out is very draining; it saps energy like you wouldn't believe.
    I've a pain scale to help me gauge how I'm feeling and what I'm up to doing.
    10- gallbladder attack (worst pain I've ever felt)
    9 - frostbite/skin debridement
    8 - childbirth
    and so on
    Usual day for me is a 6 on that scale; if it spikes above that it's a flare up, if it dips below that then I consider it a good day. :smile: Lowest it's ever gone was a 3 and I couldn't figure out what made me have such a great day. I wish I could duplicate whatever I did different that day cuz I'd like another one like that or better.
    I appreciate the supportive comments and insights Deb, Mrs. CP 19, and moneypit. :smile:
    I try not to dwell too much on the pain cuz it just makes it too important and it isn't, it won't kill me, it just feels yucky. I try to keep my mind busy with other things and when I've the energy to do so, I keep the rest of me busy also. :smile:
    To all whose lives are affected by fibromylagia either directly or indirectly I feel for you and I hope something in the future will help us all improve our quality of life or dare I hope maybe even cure whatever is making us hurt. :clover: :chi:

  8. #8
    My wife (Ora) suffers from FM , chemical sensitivity and Latex allery. She uses conventional medicine practices plus homopathic which seems to be helping. She runs a support group on Yahoo for sufferers of these problems which seem to go hand in hand with each other. I'll pm her email address to you, she spends lots of time supporting and swapping ideas to help with these illnesses.

  9. #9
    Mrs CP 19
    Wow FM, sounds like you are dealing with it in a positive way. I am familiar with the flare up thing and the fatigue you must feel. I hope they will find something soon that will help. The ilness is becoming more recognized now and that helps. As Moneypit says, I imagine lots of hypochondriacs decide they have this condition, and that doesn't help. I had been pushing the excercise thing with my friend, and just wondered if that was a good thing.
    Again, all the best to you, I think unless you know someone who truly suffers from this devastating illness, it is hard to understand. All the best to you, you are in my thoughts and prayers. You are awesome for doing everything you can to get thru this! Jill

  10. #10
    FM- It sounds as though you are handling your condition as well as you can.. There are two ways to deal with things. One is to just give up and be unhappy. Two is to choose to be as productive as possible and be happy. I think that being happy is the best therapy beyond staying physicaly happy. One thing nice is that we can CHOOSE to be happy or we can choose to be sad.
    If you were to just give up and stop the diet and just stay inside the illness wins. You keep up the good work. Hopefully one day it will just go away....

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