This series is written in letter form explaining different aspects of Fibromyalgia. It begins with a question others might ask and then answers the question as best as we can. Letters are written by many guest writers and Mandy as well.
I lost supporting other homeschoolers and teaching classes,
No freedom as I could no longer drive myself where I wanted to go,
I lost my social life,
However, I gained a new perspective on life.
I gained an empathy for others who are ill…sicker than myself.
I gained an understanding of the concerns and pressures placed on a caregiver. None by their own choosing (other than the promise given in the wedding vows, or that blood is thicker the water).
and ultimately, my husband lost his job due to my illness. Which meant we lost our home, our income, our self-worth.
We gained a new trust in God as our provider (no relying on our own abilities here.)
The greatest thing I gained in the stillness, was time to really get close to my Creator. I now gave Him time to really speak to me and, oh, how I have grown.
Illness can teach us what is really important in life.
We can get so busy doing stuff.
Stuff that doesn’t matter worth a flip.
Stuff that will only burn up when we stand before God one day.
Why don’t we listen
when we read or hear God’s Word?
He says …
Jesus: If any one of you wants to follow Me, you will have to give yourself up to God’s plan, take up your cross, and do as I do. 35 For any one of you who wants to be rescued will lose your life, but any one of you who loses your life for My sake and for the sake of this good news will be liberated.
36 Really, what profit is there for you to gain the whole world and lose yourself in the process?
37 What can you give in exchange for your life?
38 If you are ashamed of Me and of what I came to teach to this adulterous and sinful generation, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes in the glory of His Father along with the holy messengers at the final judgment.
I’ve heard that we can re-train our minds and deter some of our pain. This year, I would like to instill some “feel-good” scriptures in your minds to help fight against the drudgery of our invisible pain. I have asked fellow pain warriors to write a quick note of encouragement using scripture that helps them get through the pain. Here is the first one by my dear friend, Bettie Gilbert who has shared here on the blog before.
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for being so concerned for my health, and for asking how I am getting along.
Recently I was reminded of a Scripture Verse that confirmed what both my Physical Therapist and my Counselor had shared with me:
Did you know that the same areas of your brain that were triggered during a pleasant experience years ago, will be triggered again just by remembering it?
My counselor offered a beneficial practice for me then, on days when I am feeling low or depressed. She said that if I would look back and try to remember better days, and to even try to think about the specific details of a good experience, then those same areas in my brain would be triggered with “feel-good” chemicals now.
My physical therapist went a step further and said that studies have found a real benefit in pain therapy when a patient can remember a time of exertion, such as walking or working out, and slowly pace out the memory as if they are “walking” again in their mind. The right-left sensations trigger those same areas in your brain to produce those “feel-good” chemicals, and even can stimulate pain relief in some patients.
Walk the Halls of Memory
So, on days when you see me feeling particularly low about the days gone by and all that I cannot accomplish now, maybe we could join in a session of “therapy” and walk the halls of our memories together. Who knows, maybe your own “feel-good” chemicals might be given a boost as you share those pleasant memories also.
Isn’t the working of our human body and brain incredible?
Truly we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as the Psalmist tells us:
“I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”
I am praying for you my dear loved one, as you have reached out to me. May you feel so blessed by God as He pours His compassion through you.
Your loved one in Christ,
Thank you Bettie for reminding us of these feel-good scriptures. We can always depend on you to come through with great encouragements.
IT’S YOUR TURN!
Share an encouraging post on your feel-good scripture. It can be about getting through whatever you deal with… not just pain like Bettie and I..
It’s been a while since I shared my journey with fibro and RA pain. A new friend and fellow pain warrior asked if I would do an interview on her blog, so that gave me the chance to update my story.
When did you notice that something was wrong, at what age do you think the first symptoms appeared?
My first symptom was severe chest pains at the age of 11 or 12. Of course, after chest x-rays and such, nothing was found to be a problem, so it was diagnosed as “growing pains”. I had these pains all through high school. In retrospect, the more I learn about fibromyalgia the more I see that I have probably suffered all my life. Fatigue has always been an issue for me.
Normally it takes a few years to get the diagnosis. What was it like for you?
No other research was done until after we returned from a cruise in February 2011 (49 years old). I acquired dis-embarkment syndrome which is when a person never gets their land legs back after leaving the ship. I still have a feeling of bouncing in a boat (10 years later). Months went by as doctors tested me for the problem.
In August 2011,
I had an episode of shortness of breath. No diagnosis was found. Then I awoke one morning with a crick in my neck. I went to a chiropractor who tried to give me an adjustment. My neck would not move at first but when it finally did, it shot pain down my neck and body.
My journey with pain really began one Sunday in September; I laid down to rest but only lay about halfway down when pain shot across my lower back. The slightest movement would cause excruciating, contracting pains across my back. I was confined to my bed for about a month. No medications except large amounts of prednisone were helpful.
After visiting several doctors, I ended up with a blood clot in my left leg because I had been immobile for too long. Visiting these doctors entailed being carried out of my house in a wheelchair by four men. After recovering from the blood clot, my doctors decided to send me to Mayo Clinic. (Happy 50th birthday!) The doctor sent me home and said wait for Mayo Clinic to call.
Mayo Clinic called me within a month just to get my information and give me instructions for setting up an account. They said that it would probably be 6 months to get an appointment. I thought, “No way I can have this kind of pain for six months”, so I asked to go to Emory University. We went to the spine center at Emory but they found nothing wrong. Fortunately, after a month or so, Mayo Clinic called and had an opening.
The first appointment at Mayo was with one doctor. I brought him all my records and shared my entire story. We returned 2 months later for 3 days of testing and seeing several specialists.
I went home with a diagnosis of Central Sensitivity Syndrome with indications of Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, and Chronic Pain Syndrome. What a mouthful! That was sometime in March 2012 – a year and one month after our cruise. When I talk with other fibro patients, I feel that I was fortunate. I am thankful that I was so quickly sent on to Mayo Clinic. It is quite an amazing medical center. I wrote a post about Mayo Clinic.
After a few months of medications for the fibromyalgia, I was able to begin to reduce the steroids. At this point, my knees began to swell and have a lot of pain. So I was sent to an orthopedic specialist. He diagnosed a torn meniscus and arthritis.
Knee Surgery. Repaired the meniscus and cleaned out some arthritis. But things were not looking good in my knee. He wanted a second opinion. So we were scheduled to return to Mayo Clinic. Once you are a patient, It doesn’t take as long to get an appointment.
Returned to my rheumatologist. He agreed that it was likely just osteoarthritis. But he decided to schedule all the blood work again. It turned out that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I wrote about the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis here. The RA was caught early. The doctor said that I was fortunate and would probably not have the disfiguring that most have.
Have you ever heard your parents say this to you? I can remember a time or too when it was said to me. However, it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I saw the truth in that statement. We never had to discipline our children much but when the need arose, it broke our hearts.
It’s the same with God.
He loves us so much and He wants to keep us on the right path. And as we know there are times that the only way to keep us on the straight and narrow is to apply the rod of discipline.
I learned this lesson when I was hit with chronic pain in 2011. It was excruciating. But as time went by I realized that God was trying to get my attention. I was “working for the Lord” … very busy with children’s ministry and other things that draw the attention of a pastor’s wife. But in retrospect, God was saying to me, ‘Hey, you going out on your own and forgetting to rely on Me.” It was then that I turned my attention back to God. I got serious about studying His Word. And I found this statement from David.
It was good for me to be afflicted
so that I could learn your statutes.
God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons
Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. But there are other reasons as well. C.S. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain,
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Have you ever noticed that when tragedy comes, this is when people turn back to God? (At least for a while). And this is God’s purpose. .. to draw us back to Him. He did it time and again in the Old Testament. We may need to repent of sin or just develop our faith. You see, He doesn’t want us to stay infants in Christ. He wants to bring us to maturity.
Like a Shepherd, He gently guides
We, humans, are like sheep. dumb and ignorant. God places us in a green pasture and we start gobbling up the grass, never looking to the right or the left. Until that moment, when we look up and we are nowhere near the rest of the flock and now we don’t know how to get back.
So we need a shepherd to guide us and correct our paths. Just as David said in the 23rd Psalm. He allows us to go through the shadows of death, but He is right there to guide us and comfort us. He never leaves us alone.
Not long after my illness began, a friend reminded me of a wonderful book, Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet in High Places.
a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd.
Hind’s Feet in High Places, Hannah Hurnard
One surprising element in the book was that the Shepherd gave her a guide named, Suffering. Why would she want this guide? But the Shepherd assured her that Suffering was the best guide she could have. I have found it true as well. My pain and suffering has kept me at the feet of Jesus and caused my faith to continue to grow.
Even Years of Pain and Suffering are for our advantage
I just reached year 9 of chronic pain. LIke Paul I have talked with God about taking the pain away. But God and I have come to an understanding.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
You see, I have found that through my pain I have many blessings.
I am maturing in Christ daily.
Writing and blogging have been my new ministry.
Friendships around the globe have been cultivated.
I have more empathy for those who suffer.
Becoming an advocate for others who suffer.
I previously wrote about these things and came to one conclusion, If pain is what it takes to keep me in the center of God’s will, then …
I agreed to review this book because of my own journey with pain. What a great reminder of the reasons God allows pain and suffering in our lives. Just as we discipline our children when the veer off the path of righteousness, God also loves us enough to direct our path on the straight and narrow.
All of us will at some time, experience a bit of pain and suffering. That is when it is time to remember that God is with us in the Furnace of Affliction and it is for our good.
You May Benefit From Reading These Books
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It’s Your Turn!
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There’s is nothing more frustrating to me than fibro fog. My mind just won’t think straight and it seems to just come on for no reason at all. I start switching up my homonyms and forgetting the most common words. My friend, Nan Jones wrote a letter about this for me to share with you today.
I met Nan when I was doing a series for those in the ministry. Nan offered to write a guest post about discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour at that time, but in getting to know here I found we had more in common than ministry. She also suffers from fibromyalgia and other chronic issues. Nan’s words are always so beautiful and I really love it when she writes a prayer. She wrote a wonderful book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife. And boy, has she had them. If you have ever been hurt by the church, get your hands on this book.
Presently, on her blog, she is featuring women who have been through the fire and survived. Some very inspiring stories. She even interviewed me! Today, on my blog, she writes about the challenges of brain fog, fatigue, and The Crash. Continue reading and learn more.
Dear family and friends,
You know how we’ll be talking and out of the blue I say, “I’m starting to crash” and my speech begins to slow, becoming less fluid, creative, and sometimes even less cohesive? I literally can’t think straight. It’s a time when fatigue overwhelms me and my brain physically feels like mush as fibro fog takes over.
I detest those times. I feel totally helpless to the onslaught of fibro fatigue and its selfish tentacles that disable me and the work of my hands and heart. I’m embarrassed by the lack of mental clarity. And I feel frustrated that I must stop what I’m doing and sleep—sometimes for fifteen or sixteen hours.
During these times I need for you to love me and remind me that it will passand I will be able to return to normal activities. I need to be reminded that I am not defined by this disability and that by God’s grace and in His strength, I can do all things He asks of me.
Thank you for believing in me when I can’t believe in myself. This disease heightens my insecurities, especially as a speaker. It causes me to question if I should continue or not. But then God intervenes and affirms me and reminds me when I am weak, He is strong. For that I am grateful.
I am grateful for you too.
Thank you for being my cheerleaders, my prayer warriors, and my reminders of all things good.
Sweet blessings to you,
The incoherence and crash scare me the most about beginning my own speaking career. You are an encouragement to us just seeing you continue on the journey!
Don’t miss any of the “letters” we are writing. Check out previous letters and subscribe to this series on the main “Letters to Friends” page. If you know someone with fibromyalgia (and you probably do), join my Facebook page Fibromyalgia, Is it For Real?
By now you have heard about fibromyalgia, but maybe you don’t understand much about it or the effects it has on the patient. I have been writing about fibromyalgia for about 5 years now in the hope that I can explain it to you. Other pain warriors have also offered to “write letters” to answer specific questions.
Today, I introduce to you, Sue Ingebretson. She is a fellow pain warrior and best-selling author. She has offered to share with us an open letter she wrote a few years ago. We are offering part of this letter in print here but also offering the full letter as a downloadable, printable that you may more easily share with others or have handy for helping your friends with fibro. So without further ado, here’s Sue Ingebretson…
You’ve recently asked me about fibromyalgia and I’m sure you’re wondering what all the hype is about. While most people have heard of it by now, that doesn’t mean they know what it is. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there and it can be confusing.
After all, if everything you know about fibromyalgia comes from what you see on TV, you might believe I should be out rowing a canoe, gardening, or opening my own bakery and sweets shop. But, instead, you may see me not feeling well and not participating in activities that are too taxing or stressful.
To clarify my response to you, I’m providing it in this written format. It’s my way of making sure I don’t leave out anything important. Click below to open the letter in its entirety or read a portion below.
An Excerpt to Understand Fibromyalgia
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is how to express myself. Although it’s difficult, here are a few thoughts on that topic:
Please don’t ….
– Tell me that you know how I feel. Even if you have fibromyalgia and/or any other health challenge, we’re all different and experience our conditions differently.
– Tell me how I should feel. That’s up to me.
– Tell me that so-and-so drank this “magic juice” and got better. There are as many treatments that don’t work as ones that do. I’m on the journey to discover this process on my own.
– Compare me to siblings, friends, colleagues, who don’t have health challenges or even those who do. As I’ve stated, I’m on my own path to wellness.
Please do ….
– Tell me that you’re thinking of me. Even if I’m not terribly responsive or talkative it’s wonderful to know that you’re supportive of me and of my health.
– Send me books, magazines, cards, emails, notes, etc. that express that you’re there. Chronic illness can be SO isolating and every kind word from you matters to me.
– Ask if there’s anything specific that I need. Even if I say “no” 50 times out of 51, that one time that I really need something may mean the world to me.
– Continue to search for helpful treatments, protocols, nutrients, supplements, and practices. Just because I don’t always implement your suggestions doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the help. I’m always open to and encouraged by current news and information.
In Summary of Understanding Fibromyalgia:
My body may bruise like a tender peach, but my will is strong as iron.
Inside, I’m still the same me.
I’m just trying to find my way as best I can.
I’d love it if you’d come along with me on this unpredictable journey.
This being the two year anniversary of my daughter’s wedding, I thought it appropriated to update this post about how I managed fibromyalgia and enjoyed my daughter’s wedding.
You asked me recently how I am doing after my daughter’s wedding. It took me until now (about 6 weeks) to recover but it was worth it! It was the most beautiful day and I was able to be right there and most importantly, not in pain! I shared about the wedding on my family page The Farmers Place. [Just in case you are curious. 🙂 ]
To be honest, I was really concerned that I would be in a lot of pain on the wedding day. I asked all my chronic pain friends for their suggestions and took as many as I could into consideration. One thing I know, whether a person has a chronic illness or not, is that a wedding can quickly get out of hand. My strongest advice to anyone planning a wedding is to
KISS – KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
So here are a few things that I did:
Set Your Goals
If worse comes to worst, what is the very least you want to be able to enjoy? What are the most important things concerning the wedding? I had one goal in mind. To walk down the aisle as the mother-of-the-bride pain-free and possibly without my cane! And I made this happen.
Clear Your Schedule for the months preceding the wedding.
The wedding was in May. I decided the first of the year to do nothing that didn’t have to do with the wedding. I scheduled guest writers on my blog (See My Series Letters-To-Friends) and I turned down speaking engagements. Even some of the smaller opportunities were given a “No” response in order to keep my energy for the big goal.
Get on an Anti-inflammatory Diet
I struggled with this one because, in all truthfulness, I am a sugarholic. But I stuck to my guns pretty well for 5 months. And it truly did help me have not just a good wedding day, but all the planning days went pretty well too! I even lost 10 pounds. [I hate to admit it but after the wedding, I kinda fell off the wagon again. So I’m struggling with more pain now but trying to get straightened out again.] I guess that shows that getting on the right diet does, in fact, help a lot.
Prioritize the Wedding Events
Which events do you really, really want to attend? You may have to be selective about which events are most important to you, especially during the week of the wedding. Let’s be honest, we just can’t go like this without paying the price. If we go to everything planned for the week, we could likely miss the wedding altogether. I skipped out on the bridesmaids’ lingerie shower.
Also, plan to block out a day or two after each event because you will probably need it. In our case, both the groom’s mom and I have a chronic illness. She and I got together to address invitations. Who knew that just a simple job of writing addresses on envelopes would be so taxing. Both of us were worthless for a day or two. I might suggest getting the addresses printed on the envelopes. If you are savvy with the computer, you can do this yourself much easier.
Plan Your Doctor Visits Wisely and in Advance
I get an injection in my neck at Mayo Clinic every 4-6 months. Typically, by the time I get to the next appointment, I am usually in a lot of pain. This is a long day trip for us and I am usually down for the count that night and the next day. So when I was there last December, I asked if we could go ahead and schedule for the spring about a month before the wedding. My doctor was happy to oblige me. And I had no neck pain the entire month of May!
Another tough one to follow. I am a Type-A personality. Apparently, most fibro warriors areType-A. We want to be right in the middle of all the planning and doing. Thankfully, I have family members and very good friends that took on much of the work. Our daughter-in-law is a go-getter and also doesn’t let people get by with too much slack. She did a lot of the running and directing for me. The wedding gown was being altered about a 1.5-hour drive away. I was able to attend all the fittings but the last one. It was the week of the wedding. Our Daughter-in-law went with our daughter and picked up the gown. She got the instructions for steaming it and such. This saved me that day trip the week of the wedding. Sure, I hated not going, but it kept me in good shape for the most important day .. the wedding!
We found other people that we trusted for things such as flowers and decorations and reception. We gave them basic instructions and then let them run with it. I did have a few sleepless nights because I wondered if they were doing everything just right. But it all turned out beautiful.
By the way, be sure that you delegate people to specific clean-up duties for after the wedding. Especially if this is at your church, it will likely be your responsibility to get everything back in order. With chronic illness, by this time, you will be too tired to do it and everyone will have gone home leaving it to you. For example,
the sanctuary platform furniture returned to normal places,
reception hall cleaned and returned to normalcy,
and other rooms used by the bride and groom all straightened and clean, waste cans emptied.
[As a pastor’s wife, I know from experience that these are often forgotten. The regular janitor did his work BEFORE the wedding for you, it’s your responsibility to do it after the wedding or pay them to do it again before Sunday worship – which is often the next morning.]
Have Your People Come to You
A friend arranged for someone to do my hair. We actually went and did some hair trials. But then I learned that I was going to have to get up early and go to her house to get it done. I knew this would be too taxing on the day of the wedding, so I decided to fix my own hair at home and arrive at the church in time for pictures with my daughter. My neighbor ran around town looking for a pretty barrette and voila! we had it done. Sure it could have been nicer but I got to enjoy the wedding.
If your beautician can come to your house it will make your day so much easier. I’ve also heard that nowadays there is such a thing as a mobile hairstylist. This would be awesome if you can afford it.
Bring Your Own Chair
I knew that the church had no comfortable chairs. So I had my son transport my chair and footrest to the church the day before. We had this in the bride’s room so that I would have a comfortable place to rest and get my feet up before the ceremony.
I was also concerned about sitting on a hard folding chair during the reception. I had a padded folding chair at the house so we took it in as well. You might take something even better than that. I considered renting comfortable chairs for both family tables and then rent chair covers for them. This really wouldn’t be that great of an expense in the whole scheme of things especially if you are already renting linens.
Provide Accommodations to Visiting Guests Other Than in your Own Home
I have no family nearby. This meant everyone was traveling in for the wedding. In order to keep my home a peaceful place to retreat, I arranged for other accommodations for family members. Check out vacation condos or a bed and breakfast. I went to Airbnb and found a townhouse right in our neighborhood that could house all the bridesmaids and another family just a mile or so away that was renting a suite in their home which was perfect for my parents.
Honestly, I had a wonderful day at the wedding. I was tired, for sure, but who wouldn’t be? It’s taken me some time to get back into my old and new routines but I’m getting there. I hope that your wedding plans go just as perfectly as ours did.
Neck pain is a widespread problem. It often appears because of keeping one`s head in an uncomfortable position for a long time; especially by twisting it up and turning your head. Various aged people have it but mostly 40-60 years old.
The pain itself is often repeated and brings a lot of problems; such as, limiting movements in the neck, one can even feel it in an arm. There can often be numbness in the hands especially at night.
Other More Serious Issues
Another serious problem is dizziness and sometimes even problems with balance and unsteady gait. Luckily, it doesn’t happen very often. This happens because of irritation or compression of the vertebral arteries inside the neck. The blood gets running through the back of the brain, where the centers of body coordination are located. Such conditions are called vertebral artery syndrome.
Rough rotatory head movements are not particularly recommended. However, gentle movements can be useful, such as “air” writing letters and words with the tip of the nose. It is very good to draw an infinity sign. These movements must be done very slowly and smoothly, without provoking an increase in neck pain. Put it another way, any sudden movements of the head should be avoided.
Reminder: I just want to say that I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors taught me and what I have discovered in my own searching.
I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.
In no case, should you allow anyone to perform any maneuvers on your neck such as massage, stretching, etc.
Until you have an MRI and no discal hernia is found, maneuvers on the neck are not allowed by any specialists, manual therapists, nor physiotherapists. Manipulation is especially dangerous for patients who have a hernia in contact with the spinal cord or when the spinal cord is squeezed by a hernial bulging.
People over 40 often have osteophytes in the cervical spine. These spinal bone outgrowths direct themselves towards the spinal cord. If you make maneuvers on the neck, this can lead to damage of the spinal cord with irreparable consequences.
Regardless of where you work and your lifestyle, you can get rid of the cause of pain in the neck. Get rid of bad habits, doing exercises for the neck and properly organizing the workplace. If attacked by sharp neck pain, do the following:
Wear a neck collar made of special foam materials. You should choose its size so that there is no over-extension of the cervical spine, as this will entail increased pain.
During the first hours, attach ice wrapped in a towel, or an ice bubble.
Warm-up after the ice has slightly decreased inflammation, starting with a warm heating pad and ending with a hot shower. Do not over cool after a water treatment!
Use warming rubbing, but not at the same time as heating pads.
Take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 2 tablets 3-4 times a day after meals.
A set of exercises that relieve neck pain:
Slowly tilt your head forward, then back.
Keep your shoulders still. Slowly tilt your head first to one and then to the other shoulder.
Slowly turn your head from side to side.
Place your palm on the side of your head, and with the palm of your other hand, push towards the first. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 3 times on one side and the other.
Do the same exercise, but only by tilting your head forward, showing your palms on your forehead, slight resistance to tilting your head. Putting your palms on the back of your head, show slight resistance to tilting your head back.
Holding a load of 1.5-2 kg in your hands down, lift your shoulders as if shaking them.
Do each exercise 5 times twice a day. Perform the first 3 exercises for 2 weeks before proceeding to the rest. This workout complex will help to strengthen and relieve the spasm of the neck muscles. Thus, take care of yourself. But do not postpone the solution to the problem of neck pain for a long time.
Bed Position for Neck Pain
Your position in bed is also of great importance when treating neck pain. If the mattress is not orthopedic, place a shield or board under it to prevent excessive bending and extension of the neck. But as soon as you can, it is advisable to buy an orthopedic mattress.
Sleep with a small down pillow under your head.
When you lay on your side, it is better to put a not very thick roller on the pillow. It should fill the so-called arch formed by the lines of the shoulder, neck, and head. In this position, the cushion will help maintain a physiological straight position for the neck without subjecting it to bending, extension or lateral tilt.
On your side, the cervical spine will be located on the cushion, and as a result, the spine, neck, and head will be as if on the same line.
When lying on your back, it is also good to put such a roller under your neck. You can sew it by yourself, it should not be very hard.
When having significant levels of pain, temporarily limit movement in the neck. A special neck collar would be beneficial and recommended. For the first time, you can make it yourself out of cardboard; covering it with a soft cloth from the inside, and attaching ribbons so that it can be tied behind.
Naturally, all the recommendations above are only the first medical self-help.If the pain continues, you should consult a specialist neurologist or orthopedist involved in spinal pathology. But even if the pains have passed after the implementation of these recommendations, and in the recent past you have already had episodes of such pain more than once, you need to consult a specialist doctor and have an MRI of the cervical spine to exclude serious pathology requiring special treatment.
This is a question often posed to the fibro warrior. In short, the answer is YES! After a long night of restless “sleeping”. I finally, got up and wrote about it.
I’ve been tossing and turning all night because I just cannot find a comfortable position. The pain has been so troublesome since the change in weather back in October. I’m not sure if it’s fibro pain, RA pain, or “good ole Arthur” pain but it is definitely pain. Maybe all of these guys are culprits.
I’m one that has to get busy doing something in order to relieve pain so I decided I would get up and write to you about it. I’m already feeling some better just getting up and moving about.
The Arrival of Cool Weather is a Mixed Blessing.
I have always loved the Fall. It’s my favorite season of the year. Donning a sweater is so warm and cozy; like a big hug. But cool weather brings pain along with it. That part, I don’t especially care for. Yes, the cool weather can affect pain a great deal. The temptation is to curl up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and watch movies all day. But there is danger in that.
Avoiding the Temptation to Stay Still
It’s kind of an oxymoron-type thing for me – motion. You see, if I stay still for very long and then try to get up and move about, I have extreme stiffness and pain. It takes maybe 30 minutes of gentle moving to relieve the stiffness. But on the other hand, I must take care not to overdo it.
Too much walking and my knees suddenly swell up until it feels as if someone has tightened a belt just below my knee. After that, pain and achiness extend down my leg. (I was never an athlete but my guess is that it feels like shin splints.)
But wait, it doesn’t stop there. At this point, my ankles begin to hurt and then pain shoots down the tendons to my toes with every step. None of this pain subsides until I get home and off my feet for a while. A heating pad usually helps alleviate the pain as well.
But don’t stay there long.
Stiffness will return if I sit for more than 30 minutes.
So, there you have it. How cool weather affects pain from my point of view. Science doesn’t seem to really know why it happens, but if you want their opinion, you can check out what WebMD has to say about it.
Is there anything that helps or anything you can do for me?
Your prayers mean the world to me. Trust me, I feel the prayers of my friends and family. I really couldn’t make it without them.
I would love a swim in a warm saltwater pool. Water therapy is amazing. It lifts all the pressure off your body. But there doesn’t seem to be a pool around here.
So other than prayer or a vacation to the Carribean 🙂 …anything that will distract me:
Give me a call once in a while. (I get lonely sometimes)
Buy my a new heating pad, blanket, good book, or CD (Music, I love music)
Foods that help or at least don’t worsen the pain: Smoothie, Dark chocolate at least 70% Cacoa (Here’s my favorite-no soy), green tea
Well, I have sat here writing too long and my knees are stiffening up. So I best close this letter. Be sure to ask me anything you would like to know about my pain journey. I’ll do my best to give you an answer.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia (FMS). Myriads of symptoms make it nearly impossible to narrow down the problem. Additionally, and the reason the cure is unknown is that researchers are uncertain what triggers fibromyalgia. Studies show that most patients have had some kind of traumatic event in their life, such as surgery, an auto accident, abuse or even living in a war zone. The pain can be triggered at any time.
In my case, there is not any real event that we can point a finger too. However, I can see several indications that I have been dealing with the pain of FMS most of my life. In 5th and 6th grade, I suffered greatly from what they called ‘growing pains” and I have always had curious scalp pain from wearing a hairpin or a hat. So Who really knows.
Is It Even a Disease?
Fortunately, in 2015 the CDC finally came up with a diagnosis code, declaring that Fibro IS a disease and that all these patients have not lost their minds. Without this code, doctors did not take the problem seriously. Diagnosis has been difficult because there are no markers to show that one has FMS. Patients have terrible pain but a cause is not found. Nothing shows up in an x-ray or in the blood work. It has been called the Invisible Disease. Doctors can only arrive at the diagnosis by the process of elimination.
For me, it took 6 months of extreme pain to finally arrive at Mayo Clinic for three days of lab work (drawing 16 vials of blood), x-rays, body scans, balance testing and more. These tests ruled out MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Lupus, and other diseases.
Associated with Other Problems
Fibro likes to hang with a dozen other syndromes that all fall under the umbrella of Central Sensitization Syndrome (CSS). One can have several of these syndromes and likely will add more of them as time goes by. At this point, I have Chronic Pain Syndrome, FMS, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, and recently added TMJ to the mix. Along with these, we found later after reducing my steroid intake that I do indeed have RA.
Hope For a Cure For Fibro
Researchers have recently found some new markers and with a little more research it is possible that they may have found some indicators in the blood that are common to all patients.
If you would like to keep up with the latest news on FMS, follow my pain warrior & blogger, Donna at Fed Up With Fatigue. She reports on any important news in the field.
Thanks for asking;
This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday Prompt: Unknown. FMF writers accept a new prompt every week and write for 5 minutes. No editing. Come read what others were inspired to write today.
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