Monthly Archives: September 2007

Fibromyalgia and the attempt to quantify and describe the pain

“We also often add to our own pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally”, Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dali Lama quote

One of the difficult issues that people with fibromyalgia grapple with is trying to describe their pain to others. Words such as ache, raw, ragged, searing, blistering, shocking, nagging pain do not always convey the message; the list of adjectives is endless. The vocabulary is not precise and it can be a daunting task to find the right words. Even more frustrating is that the nature of the pain itself changes, sometimes from hour to hour or day to day. Equally as  problematic are the areas of the body where the pain attacks, as that too can vary from one place to another or, pain can occur in several areas of the body simultaneously.

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Fibromyalgia: spasms, restless legs, trapped nerves, exercise and strengthening

“Am I alone in my egotism when I say that never does the pale light of dawn filter through the blinds of 52 Tavistock Square but I open my eyes and exclaim “Good God! Here I am again” not always with pleasure, often with pain, sometimes in a spasm”, Virginia Woolf

The body of someone suffering from fibromyalgia is often (but not necesarily) very sensitive to even gentle touch without experiencing pain. Muscles are tense, often in spasm, aching, and after prolonged use can become even more stressed. Exercise, the 20th and 21st century mantra of those who want to become or remain fit, often creates more pain for those of us with FMS, unless it is very gentle. Even then for some, any kind of movement can precipitate episodes of severe pain. What are people to do who cannot exercise, move, even walk slowly without wondering which body parts will break out in agony? The younger person begins to feel even older and the older person is additionally burdened with the aches and pains of aging.

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