Feb 26, 2018

Top Ten Fibromyalgia Symptoms


Hope you are all doing well and the pain and fatigue of this illness is not affecting you to bad.  I thought I would write about the "Top Ten Fibromyalgia Symptoms" today since I am experiencing several of them these last few days.

  1. Pain all over 
  2. Fatigue
  3. Sleep difficulties
  4. Brain fog
  5. Morning stiffness 
  6. Muscle knots
  7. cramping 
  8. weakness 
  9. Digestive disorders 
  10. Headaches/migraines
  11. Balance problems 
  12. Itchy/burning skin
Tonight it is what I like to call Painsomnia!   I have been to the sleep clinic at our university hospital and they have ruled out sleep apnea, so it is either caused by menopause, MS or the fibromyalgia...

A lot of people with fibromyalgia also have this sleep disorder. It is sometimes called a symptom and other times referred to as an overlapping condition, insomnia is prevalent enough that the American College of Rheumatology included the disorder in its 2010 revised diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia. 

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is defined as the inability to get enough sleep to feel restored/rested. 
You may lay awake in bed, unable to get to sleep, or you may wake up frequently. For a diagnosis of insomnia, this has to happen even when you have the opportunity for sleep, and it must impair your functionality. 
From what I have been reading it can be hard to distinguish insomnia symptoms from fibromyalgia symptoms. 

Insomnia Symptoms vs. Fibromyalgia Symptoms

They can both cause:
  • Fatigue,
  • Headache,
  • Attention/concentration problems,
  • Low energy,
  • Lack of motivation,
  • Anxiety or other mood problems.
The major distinguishing factor, therefore, is the regular inability to sleep through the night. If Fibromyalgia & Insomnia Join Forces you feel "Painsomnia"  fibromyalgia pain can be enough to keep you from getting to sleep or staying asleep as you wake up during the night, so you might not know what's really behind your inability to sleep. Sleep problems, in general, are common in all pain conditions.
Here is to wishing you a restful and restorative sleep!


Feb 19, 2018

Fibromyalgia & Dizziness

Hello friends,
This is a problem I have suffered with most of my life as I lost the hearing in my left ear at age 5, causing my equilibrium to be off.  But 7 years ago it became decidedly worse with the onset of fibromyalgia, clinical MS and my chronic migraines.  My husband and i tended to joke about it but it became dangerous at times especially if on the stairs. 
In fibromyalgia, dizziness, poor balance, and falls are common complaints. For some people, these can be a  minor annoyance that pops up on occasion. In others, they can be severely debilitating and lead to regular injuries.
Falling, and especially falling frequently, is a serious problem. The last thing you need when you're already in constant pain is to hurt yourself all the time. Frequent falls or balance problems can also lead to a fear of falling.
That fear can, in turn, can make you afraid to remain active, even within your limits. 
Falling is less a symptom and more a consequence of the symptoms of dizziness and poor balance.  With this condition, falls and balance problems may also be related to changes in how we walk.
So why does fibromyalgia include these problems? And what can we do about them?

Fibromyalgia & Dizziness

In fibromyalgia, dizziness most often comes on when you first stand up. It's similar to the feeling of a "head rush" from when you stand up too quickly, only it can happen any time you go from lying down or sitting to standing up. The sudden onset of dizziness can make you sway on your feet, stagger, or it may even make you fall or faint.
Dizziness and fainting in this condition may be tied to a particular subgroup, according to a 2017 study published in the European Journal of Pain.
In addition to dizziness and fainting, this subgroup also had the highest pain levels as well as a variety of symptoms and overlapping conditions including cognitive dysfunction ("fibro fog"), irritable bladder, vulvodynia, and restless legs syndrome.
Research suggests that this symptom stems from dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which is called dysautonomia.
The ANS is involved with a lot of critical functions in your body, including heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, body temperature, metabolism, and digestion.
Dizziness resulting from dysautonomia can be called orthostatic intolerance, neurally mediated hypotension, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Essentially, these things mean that the heart and the brain aren't communicating properly with each other.
What should happen is that when you stand up from a lying or sitting position, the ANS increases your blood pressure in order to fight gravity and keep a sufficient supply of blood in your brain. With dysautonomia, this doesn't happen like it should. Instead, the blood pressure can actually drop when you stand, and the result is dizziness or lightheadedness. In POTS, the heart rate speeds up as blood pressure drops.
Dizziness may be associated with heart palpitations, blurred vision, increased pulse rate, chest pain, and a type of fainting called vasovagal syncope.
Not everyone with fibromyalgia-related dizziness faints, though. In a 2008 study, researchers say dizziness and palpitations were more common than fainting. They also say POTS was one of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms they observed during tilt-table tests, which measure your response to changes in position.

Alleviating Dizziness & Fall Risk in Fibromyalgia

The more successful you are at treating your fibromyalgia, the less these symptoms should be a problem. However, if they need more attention or you've been unable to find effective fibromyalgia treatments, you have several options.
For dizziness from POTS, orthostatic hypotension, or neurally mediated hypotension, your doctor may be able to recommend medications that help. These can include:

  • benzodiazepines
  • beta blockers

Some of these drugs may help alleviate other fibromyalgia symptoms, as well—SSRIs and SNRIs are commonly prescribed for this illness. Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes.
If you smoke, research published in the rheumatologic journal Joint, Bone, Spine suggests that quitting may help alleviate fainting and several other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
When it comes to balance and gait, physical therapy is a common treatment. You might also want to ask your doctor whether something like yoga, tai chi, aquasize is safe for you.
Until you find ways to improve these symptoms, it pays to be careful. Assistive devices such as a cane or walker may help keep you on your feet. Seated exercises may be the safest option, and they're certainly a better choice than being less active than you can be.

Feb 12, 2018

Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis


Thought I would share a bit more information on exercise and MS  as I just read an article titled‘Exercise and Multiple Sclerosis’,  which was written in 2004 by Lesley J. White and Rudolph H. Dressendorfer. Their findings suggest that exercise is good for people with MS and can aid with:

  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • depression
  • balance
In addition the paper cites a study by Kraft et al. which showed that, ” progressive resistance training improves muscle strength in MS patients and the ability to perform common daily activities while also improving psychosocial wellbeing.” The paper goes on to conclude:
Disability in MS is associated with reduced strength and aerobic endurance, spasticity, impaired balance and systematic fatigue…… Although further research is indicated, prescription of exercise that enhances cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, mobility and balance shows promise as an effective intervention strategy to minimize functional losses in persons with MS. 
Its not rocket science, but we need to recognise and understand the role that exercise can have on MS and Fibromyalgia.
In my humble opinion we don't need to run marathons or bench press 300lbs but instead remain active and to challenge your body to heal itself.  Easier said and done by someone who was active before but for those that lead an fairly inactive life before diagnose really need to make it a priority.
Even if you can only walk one block today try for a block further the next day, just keep moving.  I went to a class on Pain Management offered through the Living Well Program thru Alberta Health Services and this was something we discussed in detail.  For those that couldn't walk outside due to our winter weather it was suggested that during commercials to stand up and walk in place.

I am hoping to start walking again in the morning at least 3 days a week in our local mall for about half hour and hope to increase by 5 minutes each time till I get up to 1 hour.  If I am in town, I hope to do the MS Walk 2018, it has been a few years since I last did the walk.

What have you done lately to increase your physical activity?

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