Fibromyalgia, living with the symptoms

Jessie Rogers

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I sat inside my truck, so tired I could barely move. It was a beautiful morning and I should have felt rested and ready for the day, but all I wanted to do was go home, go back to bed, and try to sleep. I thought to myself there must be something wrong, if everyone in the world felt the way I did, how did anyone ever get anything done?

I forced myself to get out of my truck and go in to work and face the day. I really don't know how I made it through. I wasn't in a lot of pain, just exhausted and depressed.

I booked a massage with a new massage therapist I'd never seen before. During the massage, she asked me a few questions about how I felt and what was bothering me. She told me that I had the tender points for fibromyalgia. There are 18 tender points over the body, some easy ones to check are at the lower front sides of the neck, around the collar bone, inner elbows, the back of the knees, and the top of the shoulders. Each of these points hurt like a deep bruise.

I didn't know anything about fibromyalgia back then, and neither did my doctor, he told me it was all in my head and that I was under stress and I needed to relax. He was wrong, since that time, so much has been learned about the symptoms and the treatments. Fibromyalgia is classified as a neurological disease, according to womenshealth.gov it is not a progressive disease and there are treatments available.

There are many different levels of fibromyalgia, I think my symptoms are fairly mild compared to some other people. If I'm under a great deal of stress or physical pain, my symptoms will get worse. I have to be careful with my diet and exercise routine, if I eat the wrong things or over-exercise, I will get worse. If I don't exercise enough or don't stay hydrated, my symptoms will get worse.

Common symptoms include fatigue, trouble sleeping, anxiety and depression, headaches, numbness or muscle aches, and twitches, and the worst part for me "fibro fog", trouble with concentration and memory. Sometimes these symptoms can be hard to define as fibromyalgia since they are close to symptoms of hypothyroid and low vitamin D. The tender points are a good indication of fibromyalgia.

I tend to push through a lot of the symptoms. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and so I keep going when I'm tired or uncomfortable in order to reach my goals, but sometimes, I can't move another inch and the only thing I can do is rest. Usually, the best place for me to rest is outside with my bare feet on the grass and the sun on my face. I also try to focus on deep breathing and relaxation.

The strangest thing I've noticed is the disruption in my sleep. I will wake up in the middle of the night smelling food cooking or something burning or sometimes I can not wake up and I sleep through my alarms. I have found that I get the best sleep if I sleep with a light on. I haven't found out the reason for this but it's the only way I can get restful sleep.

I am grateful for the progress being made with medical studies. I try to deal with my symptoms as naturally and proactively as I can. I am very grateful for the support I have from my massage therapist and other practitioners such as acupuncturists and nutritionists. All the information and treatments help ease the symptoms and help me to normalize my life.

This article is based on my personal experience and is not meant to replace medical advice. This is for information only and is not a sponsored or promotional article. For more information on fibromyalgia check out https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/fibromyalgia

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