Fibromyalgia Pain Explained

peakhwChronic Pain

Bryan Hainsworth, PA

Fibromyalgia is the bodies practiced ability to feel pain really, really well, much more so than a normal person.

Fibromyalgia pain can be incredibly frustrating.  Everything aches, your skin hurts, your hair hurts.  Why does everything hurt so much?!? Patients get so tired of being told: “It’s all in your head, can’t you just get over it? Can’t you just move on?” Unfortunately, that is not how fibromyalgia works.  
Often when talking about fibromyalgia I like to use the example of a little boy practicing throwing a baseball. Picture him in his backyard, throwing the ball against the wall again and again. He wants to be a pitcher and he keeps practicing day after day, again and again. He gets better at it over time and eventually gets really good. He gets to the point where it becomes a reflex, he can throw the ball hard and accurate without thinking about it and hit the target each time.

Our bodies do this with many things that we practice repeatedly over time. Our bodies basically develop reflex arcs to make us really good at repetitive activities. Unfortunately this can include feeling pain. We really don’t want our bodies to get extremely good at feeling pain.  It has all sorts of long term complications and problems, just ask your nearest fibromyalgia patient!

Running on road free from fibromyalgia pain.
Free from fibromyalgia pain.

This is the easiest way I have found to explain fibromyalgia to other people. Fibromyalgia is the bodies practiced ability to feel pain really really well, much more so than a normal person. For more information, please see the article about central sensitization to pain. 
Fortunately this gives us a couple really good treatment options to aim at. We can discuss the medication options in office but at home their are a couple things that really help a lot. The first is regular physical activity, especially yoga or aerobic exercise every day. The second thing is getting really good quality sleep every night. These two things alone have been shown to do more than just about anything else for quality of life for a fibromyalgia patient long term. In addition we really recommend omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin d3, as well as the Mediterranean Diet as a really good starting point. However, fibromyalgia itself can make things like exercise and decent sleep very difficult to achieve. That’s where clinics like ours come in! This is what we specialize in. We try to take people who hurt and give them their functional days and nights back. Please let us know if we can help you!

To learn more, visit the US National Library of Medicine. Click Here