I’ve never really experienced pain. What is it like?
For me, it’s hard to imagine what NO PAIN is like. I have had pain most of my life. Some of it, I thought was just normal for everyone.. until I was diagnosed. I’ll try to explain below.You've never experienced pain? Well, let me tell you about it. #fibro Click To Tweet
To really understand what is happening with Fibromyalgia, we need to understand how pain works. We have an amazing body. The whole system of how messages are sent through our body to the brain is remarkable to me. We have thousands, maybe millions of little tiny nerve endings that speak to each other and pass the message along. It’s mind-boggling how it works. But it’s a safety mechanism of sorts.
Each tiny nerve has a receptor on the end which “talks” to the connecting nerve receptor These messages move along the nerves until they reach the brain. Then the brain returns a message to tell your muscles how to handle it. It does this all with lightning quick speed. Think about if you were to touch a hot stove, your hand quickly pulls away. You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to do anything, your body just responds. And this is wonderful.Fibromyalgia nerve receptors send the wrong message. #fibro Click To Tweet
However, with fibromyalgia, the nerve receptors are sending the wrong message.
Reminder: 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.
Remember when you were a kid and you played the telephone game? One would whisper a message to one person, then he whispers to the next one, and she whispers to the next, and so one. What happened by the end? The message was completely different.
Our bodies have nerve all over. Each nerve has a receptor on each end. These receptors pass the information along to the brain. Then the brain sends back a message on how to respond. Such as,
- “No danger move on”
- “That hurt a little”
- “Good grief that hurt” Rub that spot a bit.
- “severe pain” double over and scream
- “You are in grave danger” “run, move quickly away”
This is how fibro pain works.
The nerve receptors are passing the message along, but then one receptor changes it up. And what was a small prick is now amplified. Like the dial on your radio, the more you turn it up, the louder it becomes. By the time the message arrives at the brain, it is telling the brain, “This is a severe situation”. So the brain responds in kind and sends the message back that something must change to stop the pain. But the receptors keep sending that PAIN message back to the brain.
Here’s an example we were given at Mayo Pain Clinic. When you put your socks on in the morning, at first you can feel your sock, but your brain says this is ok, not a problem. And after that, you are hardly aware that you have socks on. However, with fibromyalgia, the brain keeps sending the DANGER message. “There’s a sock on your foot!” “There’s a sock on your foot”www.mayoclinic.org
With fibro pain, the message may just keep coming back as “DANGER” or the message is greatly amplified. [The pain can be multiplied by up to 200 times]. The brain receives the amplified message and responds accordingly.
This is why just a touch, a poke, or a hug can be so painful.#fibromyalgia pain can be multiplied, or turned up, 200 times the actual pain. Click To Tweet
This amplified sensation can affect not just the sense of feeling but also your sense of hearing, smelling, and taste. For myself, I have become less tolerant of noise, such as a roomful of children, or even a vacuüm cleaner running. And lately, I’ve even noticed that spicy food is spicier than usual. I recently wrote about some of the things I can no longer do in another post. Check out this diagram to see all the areas that can be affected by this amplified pain.
I hope this explains the pain for you. What’s really strange is that you never really know from day to day how the pain will be. Some days a quite normal. Others, not so much. Also, it depends on the person how much pain is involved. Different people respond differently to protocols for maintenance. Some are helped with medications, some with exercise, therapy, diet, etc. It’s all still pretty much a crapshoot.
Watch for more “letters” from me and my friends to learn more about this crazy invisible disease.
Fibromyalgia National Coalition – Background information
Mr Doctor dot Com – Pain and How You Sense it
Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.