Fibromyalgia and foot (?) pain

” When things get really bad, just raise your glass and stamp your feet and do a little jig”, Leonard Cohen

As I have been limping along these past few months following hip surgery I began to have foot pain, a condition I had never had before. I was speculating about the cause. Too little walking of late? Plantar fasciitis? Shifting from soft sponge shoes (GoWalk) to sneakers which are heavier? Shuffling after the surgery? The possibilities are endless. No one can tell me what the issues are that inhibit my walking and cause almost shock-like pain in arches and the top of foot.

Once more I was in a quandary and begin thinking it was just a fibromyalgia symptom. Why not? I find myself blaming all my woes on this devilish syndrome…not a disease but a dis-ease of the central nervous system. It affects all my muscles, joints and body parts so the feet are not immune. This is a dangerous state of mind. One can have other conditions that cannot be blamed on fibromyalgia. But, the puzzle persisted. Should I try other shoes?

I have been having reflexology which is very soothing and comforting. Foot massages are lovely and I do them myself. Nonetheless pain in the arches and tops of feet persist. I cannot find any research on fibromyalgia and foot pain. Then alas! I was referred to the Chronic Pain Clinic where I met with a wonderful registered nurse and a phenomenal physician who explained to me (once more!) about degenerative disc disease and lumbar spine pain. I learned (once more!) about pain from these discs which can radiate down the legs and feet. Aha! Aging is not for cowards. One thing leads to another and it is a matter of extrapolating, yet joining together the dots of the body’s complex, yet wonderful central nervous system and its relationship to the brain and even the feet. I suffer from low back pain and of course those bulging discs radiate pain down the legs and feet, made worse by the hyper-aroused central nervous system.

The staff at the Clinic tell me that the majority of their clients have fibromyalgia. When I gave the physician my short version of fibromyalgia he said it was “well stated”. Once more, as I have written many times in other blogs: FIBROMYALGIA IS CAUSED BY A HYPER-AROUSED CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM IN PERSONS WHO ARE HIGHLY SENSITIVE. IT IS THE SAME AS PTSD AND CHRONIC FATIGUE. IT IS NOT A DISEASE BUT A DIS-EASE. PEOPLE WITH THESE CONDITIONS HAVE HAD A LIFETIME OF ANXIETY AND THEIR CONDITION IS OFTEN EXACERABETED BY A CRISIS SUCH AS SURGERY, A DEATH, DIVORCE, ACCIDENT, ABUSE AND WAR TO NAME A FEW. OTHERS MAY DEVELOP THESE CONDITIONS MORE SLOWLY AND NOT QUITE SO ABRUPTLY. ALL SYSTEMS OF THE BODY CAN BE AFFECTED BUT THE PAIN IS “DELIVERED” THROUGH THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM TO THE BRAIN.

As written eloquently in the most recent blog of Adiemus Free (http://healthskills.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/does -central-sensitisation-matter/) this is known as “central sensitization”. Do we need more of an understanding of the physiology of pain (and other symptoms) of this fibromyalgia syndrome (central sensitization)? For those of us suffering from chronically overstimulated nerves ( in lay language) all we want is to find ways to live a better quality of life. So, once more the treatment: meditation, walking, light yoga/chi gong/tai chi, avoiding stimulating foods like sugar, alcohol, caffeine, talk therapy addressing past traumas which are responsible for these conditions, and avoiding stressful situations or those which are too stimulating. In short, a change in life style while recognizing that our central nervous systems are not going to ‘recover’ completely.

So, what about my sore feet now that it is established that my spine, which does have some abnormalities (ah, but we all have this degenerative disc disease as we age!) is sending messages to my brain that walking hurts my feet? Well, there is some degree of help through paravertebral blocks which may temporarily help with leg and foot pain, but I was advised that fibromyalgia clients do not do as well as others with disc disease, for all the reasons cited above. Nonetheless, I am happy there is the possibility I will be walking for longer periods of time without foot  and back pain! I will walk for short periods of time like 15 minutes, several times a day and sometimes supplement this with my trekking sticks.  “Hope springs eternal in the human breast” (Alexander Pope).

5 comments

  1. Nancy says:

    Hi Barbara! It was good to read another post from you! I feel bad about your foot pain! I had plantar fasciitis so I understand foot pain! I too blame all my aches and pains on my fibromyalgia. It just seems like everything goes back to that anyway, doesn’t it? I just started taking Gabapentin. It’s the only thing the rheumatologist could do in addition to what I’m taking. So I’m crossing my fingers! I take it they haven’t mentioned surgery like a spinal fusion to you? Do anti inflammatories help the pain any? Did they order physical therapy? Sorry, I don’t mean to be nosy but I would like you to feel better! Are you still experimenting with the cannibus? I got my card and I got some edibles that help take the edge off. That relief feels so good, I just want to relax and enjoy it rather than get stuff accomplished. Ah, such a never ending battle! Try to stay well, my friend!!
    Nancy

  2. Barbara Keddy
    Barbara Keddy says:

    Thanks, Nancy! I have been slow in writing posts of late, but winter blahs, struggling with snow and ice, and all that entails have zapped my energy. I do indeed have regular physiotherapy and massage therapy! I am fortunate to be able to afford these luxuries and appreciate them so much. The cannabis is helping tremendously, especially with sleep. After a lifetime of night terrors I have not had one since I began medical marijuana. Amazing! I would not be a good candidate for a spinal fusion and at any rate back surgery is not often that successful, at least for the condition of my spine. Plus further surgery would only heighten the arousal of my central nervous system. I am lucky that Gabapentin works for me and the combination of cannabis and Gabapentin seems like a good fit. I am happy you have begun them both and hopefully you will find relief. Any more medication for the ill effects of fibromyalgia would be an overload to your system, I believe!
    Keep up the good work! I just saw a robin in the snow so hopefully that is a good sign:-)
    Regards,
    Barbara

  3. Lori says:

    Barbara – can you please tell us who makes those shoes on the left in the picture, and are you pleased with them? Thanks in advance.

  4. Barbara Keddy
    Barbara Keddy says:

    Hi, Lori:
    I have found that good footwear is so important and often sadly neglected for those of us with weak muscles, ligaments and joints. So, happy you asked. I wear sneakers every day and I have found Saucony Ride9 to best fit me. But everyone has a different foot structure so they may not be suitable for you. I like all the bright, funky colours these days!
    I wear the GoWalks as slippers as the sponge like cushions are somewhat supportive around the house.
    Dress shoes I wear rarely nowadays as too painful.
    I am finding in consultations with others who have fibro just how sensitive we are to clothing that isn’t 100% cotton and shoes that aren’t comfortable and supportive.
    My view is that women’s shoes in general are painful and sneakers are best for everyday wear. I groan when I see women in high heels, ouch!
    Search out best brand for you!
    Good luck.
    Barbara

  5. Lori says:

    Barbara – you are so kind to spend the time to respond fully. I have given up dress shoes as well, and sneakers are my everyday choice. I have a terrible overpronation problem due to valgus knee deformity in both legs, so I have to be very careful which shoes I choose too! Thanks for the resources, even though these won’t work for me.

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