fibromyalgia_smIt has been discovered that there is a link between Hepatitis C and Fibromyalgia. What exactly that link is has not been completely determined at this time. If, however, you are at all predisposed to Fibromyalgia, Hepatitis C and/or it’s treatment can definitely bring it out. Fibromyalgia is brought on by a major stress in ones life. I think we can all agree that treatment of Hepatitis C can be considered a major stress. Fibromyalgia is a rather common syndrome in which a person has long-term, full body encompassing pain and tenderness in joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues.

Other symptoms of Fibromyalgia are chronic back pain, fatigue, sleep problems, insomnia, headaches, depression, brain fog and lethargy. Getting a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia can be rather tricky as you will run into some doctors who don’t believe in it and others who are more than willing to throw anyone in the Fibromyalgia category when they can’t figure out what the problem really is. Many people have been misdiagnosed with Fibromyalgia simply because their doctor found it to be an easy answer. The signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia are similar to various other disorders so you may wind up seeing several different doctors before you are actually told for certain that you have FIbromyalgia. Usually, a family practice physician will send you to a Rheumatologist, an arthritis specialist, to confirm the diagnosis.

The criteria for a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia are as follows:

  • Widespread pain lasting at least three months
  • No other underlying condition that might be causing the pain
  • At least 11 tender points out of a possible of 18
  • Presence of back pain

Described by Hippocrates in ancient Greece, Fibromyalgia is one of the world’s oldest medical mysteries. When you have Fibromyalgia, sometimes just getting through the day means making difficult choices. It’s almost like a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. One minute you’re fine and you can handle anything you need to, the next day will leave you so exhausted that you feel like you can’t even get out of bed to feed the kids. As bad as this feels, there are steps you can take to avoid some of the Fibromyalgia pain.

Stress – “If a woman with Fibromyalgia spends too much time stressing about her condition, she uses up precious energy.” says Scott Glaser, M.D., a Chicago-area interventional pain medicine specialist and board member to the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

There is a difference between controlling your Fibromyalgia symptoms and letting your Fibromyalgia symptoms control you. Learning to treat yourself well can make all the difference in the world. Little things in live can impact your Fibromyalgia. What your family and friends might do to stay healthy may not be appropriate for you. You have to find the balance in your life that is right for you. This is different for everyone.

Here are some things that will hep you get rid of guilt, pace yourself on difficult days and sidestep stress when Fibromyalgia symptoms flare up: –

  • Listen to your body. There is nothing wrong with taking a “time out” if you need one. When the fatigue of Fibromyalgia hits, you need to rest. Fighting thru the fatigue will only cause more fatigue and more pain. Your body is telling you to take it easy. You need to listen.
  • You can’t always put your family first. It is natural to put the needs of your children and family before your own. This is part of being a Mom BUT Mom’s with Fibromyalgia shouldn’t let parenting responsibilities prevent them from making healthy choices. Basically, this means not to skip a doctor’s visit to attend you child’s soccer game. If the Thursday afternoon car pool is too much for you to handle that day, ask someone to cover for you. Taking care of yourself will make it much easier to take care of your family.
  • Make good use of the energy you do have. You are going to have times when you feel good. Don’t avoid activities during those times out of fear. It is easy to fall into the “I can’t do that..” mindset even without trying but don’t use Fibromyalgia as an excuse to avoid activities you actually can do. In other words, don’t underestimate your capabilities when you are feeling good. That kind of attitude makes you a victim. You are not a victim. If you are feeling well, do what you can for as long as you can. When pain or fatigue kicks in, stop.
  • When you are having a good day, don’t overdo it. On those amazing days when you are pain free and fatigue free don’t try to make up for lost time! This is an easy trap to fall into. You feel great and you’re going to do everything you haven’t been able to do in a few days. Trying to do too much at once because you are feeling great can trigger one huge Fibro flare. Even if you are feeling good and have all sorts of energy, your muscles are still very susceptible to soreness. So instead of trying to do everything, do one thing and then rest. You will still feel like you’ve accomplished something but you wont have that pain hangover.
  • Learn to say NO. We have all had this problem before. Saying no is not something we want to do but there are going to be times when hosting a party, a family dinner or just baking cupcakes for the school bake sale is not something you can handle. It is okay to say no. Only say yes to things you are really able to do. Learning to say NO will help you handle your Fibromyalgia much better. And don’t feel guilty about saying no either. You are the one that suffers the consequences, it’s your health and you are the one that feels the pain.
  • Learn when “enough” is. There is a fine balance between doing enough to feel good but not so much that the repercussions knock you out the next day. If you feel like someone beat you with a crowbar while you were sleeping, you overdid it.
  • Keep your mind busy. You may not have the energy to take a walk or to do household tasks but using your mind does not expend physical energy. Stay mentally active. Online games actually help with the brain fog that sometimes comes with Fibromyalgia. Try working a crossword puzzle or a game of Solitaire. Things like this can take your mind off of your pain, even if it’s only for a little while. You will relieve stress and tend to worry a little less while you’re involved in these activities.
  • Don’t stress out. Stress only makes the pain worse. Worrying about what the next Fibro flare will bring increases your stress levels. Try focusing on something other than the pain. It may help.
  • Ask for help. With any disease process, having a support system in place is key. Let your family and friends know what is going on with you. Don’t try to hide this. Let them know what good days and bad days are like for you so they can understand. There are so many misconceptions with this disease because you don’t look sick. Fibromyalgia is one of those invisible illnesses. You can’t see it but if you educate those around you about what you are going thru they will be better prepared to help when you need it. Family and friends that volunteer to help you are doing it because they want to do it not because they feel some sort of guilt or pressure to do so. Learn to accept this help. This is your support system. On bad days, you need to rely on this. Get that support system in place. Surround yourself with people who understand and are willing to help you. Then don’t be afraid to ask for their help.
  • Find the right doctor. There are doctors that believe in this diagnoses. There are also doctors who specialize in Fibromyalgia. Find one. Ask questions. Find out what medications he thinks will help you. There are many medications out there that are being used for Fibromyalgia. There are the ones that are geared for it and the ones that are designed for something else but are very useful in treating the symptoms. There are also alternative treatments out there like massage and acupuncture. They may work for you. Ask your doctor if there are supplements that he feels will be helpful for you. Keep an open mind.
  • Whatever you do, don’t shut down. When you have Fibromyalgia and you are not feeling well, it is very easy to seclude yourself from everyone else, to hide in your bedroom with the covers over your head. However, that can make you feel worse and not better. Remember, this condition may be part of your life but it is not your life. Don’t let your Fibromyalgia take over your life. Don’t become a victim. FIGHT BACK. Talking to friends and family that understands at a time like this is important. Let them help you. Remember that having Fibromyalgia just means you make changes to your everyday life. You can live with this disease. Don’t let it consume you.
Written by Teri Gottlieb

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