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What’s the Worst Case of Fibromyalgia?

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Have you ever wondered what the absolute worst case of fibromyalgia would be? After all, it’s a disease that affects everyone differently. And it makes sense that some people are affected by it more severely than others.

So what would be the worst case of fibromyalgia? How severely could it affect your life? And what could you do to treat it?

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disease that is not well understood. Essentially, it creates a general feeling of pain and fatigue around your body. There are a number of possible explanations for what causes fibromyalgia, but no one is sure what the right one is.

Some doctors believe that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease. That means that the body’s immune system begins to attack the healthy cells which make them inflamed and tender and causes aching in certain points around your body.

While no one knows exactly what the cause of fibromyalgia is, it’s a debilitating illness that affects people in a lot of different ways.

What Does It Do To Your Body?

Fibromyalgia causes a number of very different symptoms. And it varies so much that no two people have the exact same reaction to fibromyalgia. However, the most common system, and one that all fibromyalgia sufferers have, is chronic pain.

The pain is located along 18 specific points of the body. These are usually in your joints on both sides of the body and the level of pain can be different for different people. The level of pain can also change throughout the day.

And another common symptom for people with fibromyalgia is fatigue. Fibromyalgia sufferers often find that they can’t sleep very well, and when they do, they don’t wake up feeling refreshed the next day. As a result, people with fibromyalgia end up feeling something that is usually called a “fibro-fog.”

Fibro-fog is the name for a sort of mental cloudiness that comes with fibromyalgia. It usually presents as short-term memory loss, or trouble focusing on tasks.

Finally, fibromyalgia can cause some slightly more unusual symptoms. People with fibromyalgia often have irritable bowel syndrome, and gastrointestinal problems are very common among people who have fibromyalgia. And there are other conditions like constant itching which sometimes affect fibromyalgia sufferers.

What’s The Worst Case Of Fibromyalgia?

So if you’ve been diagnosed, you’re probably wondering how bad your fibromyalgia might actually get (what the worst case of fibromyalgia might be, basically).

Well, the good news is that your fibromyalgia won’t kill you. But fibromyalgia can still severely limit your quality of life.

Fibromyalgia affects many people by causing them to feel a constant feeling of pain and fatigue. So for people who have fibromyalgia, daily life can get very difficult.And the stories of people who have suffered from the illness for decades are heartbreaking.

Generally, fibromyalgia begins in its early stages with some warning signs. These are things like chronic fatigue and mysterious pain in eighteen points around the body. This pain is what causes most fibromyalgia patients to go to the doctor for a diagnosis. Though, if you have fibromyalgia, you probably already know how that goes.

Fibromyalgia then progresses into the chronic stage, where the pain and fatigue are constant. This is what most fibromyalgia patients live with every day. And though there are treatments, not all are effective. And everyone’s fibromyalgia seems to respond differently to different drugs.

Even the most up to date and cutting edge treatments might be completely ineffective for a lot of people. And this kind of treatment-resistant condition is the worst case of fibromyalgia since it is unresponsive to treatment and can often seem to get worse.

This is a tricky subject to discuss with any certainty, however. While most doctors will say that fibromyalgia isn’t a progressive disease for most people, some sufferers definitely report that their disease gets worse over time.

Can Fibromyalgia Make You Disabled?

So if you’ve just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, there’s a chance that your pain and fatigue levels might begin to plateau and stay roughly where they are, though some days will be worse than others.

But in the worst case of fibromyalgia, the disease will get more painful and debilitating over time.

For people whose situation is the worst case of fibromyalgia, they will likely suffer their entire lives with constant, and unmanageable pain. This leads to serious problems in their daily lives.

Often, they lose their jobs due to the fact that they are effectively disabled. The constant pain and fatigue and the mental cloudiness, or fibro fog, makes working impossible.

And for people with extremely severe fibromyalgia, even getting out of bed is close to impossible. They require heavy doses of painkillers to even walk. And it takes them heavy doses of sleeping medication to get anything close to a full night’s sleep.

For those people who have the worst case of fibromyalgia, every day is a physical struggle. But it can be an emotionally struggle as well.

Can The Worst Case Of Fibromyalgia Affect Your Relationships?

Having severe fibromyalgia makes it difficult to maintain relationships with friends and family. People who used to enjoy your company sometimes drift away because your chronic pain and lack of mobility become tough for them to deal with. While that isn’t even remotely fair, it’s often how people are.

So in the worst case of fibromyalgia, expect to lose some of the friends you had who aren’t really friends. But the good side is that you will see who truly cares about you because they will stick around.

In addition, dealing with such a severely limited quality of life is extremely difficult emotionally. The constant pain can make it feel like life isn’t worth living. And suicide is tragically common among people with severe fibromyalgia.

It’s important to get help if you feel like you might be considering taking your own life. Suicide is never a good solution, and the saying that “it doesn’t end the pain, it only spreads it to the people who care about you,” is very true.

Fibromyalgia is a horrific disease to live with. And it takes a special kind of courage to endure the worst case of fibromyalgia.



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10 of the Worst Things Said to People with Fibromyalgia

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1. People with fibromyalgia are just lazy

This is a killer, and the vast majority of our respondents mentioned being told they just “don’t want to do” stuff.

Some responses:

That i’m lazy i play up to my fibro and its all in your head and you can do more than you think you can!

Lazy, everybody hurts. Everyone has arthritis. You need to exercise, you need to walk. Blah blah blah.

My 17-year-old son broke my heart, he said I wasn’t sick I was lazy. Even though he hears me cry in my sleep in pain threw two walls. I’m 53 and have to use a walker.

They have told me I was just lazy that I got up and moved around I would feel better or its all in my head if I would find something to keep my mind occupied I would be ok.

“Child protection services took my 5 children. On court records, the judge overruled me and my doctors and expert witness and said that it wasn’t a disease and I was just lazy.

Lazy, a waste of space, nothing wrong with me, so why would I want to leech off the government with wanting to get disability?

My ex husband told me I was a lazy sponging c$&t that I wasn’t contributing financially or around the house enough after much abuse I found out he was cheating and he left.

As you can see, this is very common and hurtful. In fact, people email Fibromyalgia Treating just spew this kind of hate. For example, this person got themselves so worked up they finished in all-caps:

you weak individuals are just looking for a quick fix, a simple cure, there isn’t one, very over it (sic) and care for yourself, lol no medication is going to help ANYONE with fibro you have to actually get off your ass to help yourself. Why not post TRUTH like that? Stop peddling trash. YOU ARE MISLEADING. I UNFOLLOWED YOUR TRASHY BULLSHIT PAGE AND I’LL KEEP REPORTING THOSE POSTS AS MISLEADING. HAVE NICE DAY. (sic)

We did have a nice day, and banned this person, too. But this person’s comment touches on our next type of hateful comment.

2. Fibromyalgia doesn’t exist

A classic that everyone’s heard, and it’s so hard because that maybe we should have made it the number one hateful statement because it’s the basis of all stigma against people with fibromyalgia.

I saw a doctor for a different medical condition. Once he saw Fibromyalgia listed on my medical chart he made a point to tell me “I don’t believe Fibromyalgia is a real thing. The doctors that do these days should have their license reviewed. It simply does not exist. What meds are you taking for it?

It’s an awful disease. I put my brave face on 24/7. No one can see our pain and suffering, so they question if it’s real or we’re just attention seeking. It’s much easier to pretend I’m ok, than it is to explain why I’m not.

3. It’s all in your head

This is closely related to the “doesn’t exist,” but it’s a much more explicit way to gaslight fibro sufferers.

That i’m lazy i play up to my fibro and its all in your head and you can do more than you think you can! And people have said i don’t want to hear it and we all have problems. They should step in my shoes for a day !!

They’ll say things like “you ain’t sick it’s all in your head” or “it doesn’t look like you’re in pain” makes your heart ache with tears that nobody will ever understand you.

They have told me i was just lazy that i got up and moved around i would feel better or its all in my head if i would find something to keep my mind occupied i would be ok.

As you can see, people are cruel and they like to use more than one category of hateful comment.

4. You Don’t Look Sick

Since fibromyalgia is an invisible illness, people who have it often don’t “look” sick, whatever that means. It’s also one of the most frustrating things a fibro warrior can her.

You don’t look sick. Look at you, you’re a runner. No way it’s that bad. Suck it up…. I’ve lost 2 very good paying jobs because of my faked illness.

I went to a concert at a stadium to be told I don’t look disabled and that fibromyalgia is just a figment of my imagination to scam the tax payers, needless to say we left the concert and headed straight home, wrote a letter of complaint but never even received an acknowledgement from them.

This women came to the car and said you can’t park There? On showing her my disability disk she said neither of you look disabled and it was disgusting that we were able to have a car???

5. God is punishing you for your sins

These people take victim-blaming to the next level by making illness a judgment on a person’s moral character. It’s shameful.

My uncle, who is a preacher, told me I was being punished by God for all of the wild things I have done & my family wonders why I don’t believe.

The rudest thing I have been told is GOD is punishing me for my sins. I know a lot of good Christians that died of cancer…I don’t think they were punished either. How dare they say this to me?

6. You’re just trying to get drugs

This is also a sad side-effect of the opioid crisis in the United States. We assume anyone in pain is just trying to get pills.

I’m lazy, good for nothing, will do nothing with my life, I need to do more, im a pill popper (I have a hard time taking meds unless I have too) and my favourite is I’m faking everything!

I’m not sure but to day I was left feeling like a addict over Tylenol. I am 54 years old when do you stop defending yourself. It made me cry.

I work with my mom and I was having an awful pain day. Around lunch time I had finally had it and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I was crying and crying as she spent 10 minutes telling me to suck it up and go back to work. I told her I needed to go home and take my meds to which she said ‘I think you’re just addicted to your meds.’

I was called a drug addict at one point because I was on so many medications. I felt like I might as well have been shooting up with the way people looked at me.”

I’ve had a receptionist look at my file and count my meds telling me I should still have plenty left, would never greet me, and I finally told my Dr after months and he got so upset with her and told me to tell him those things straight away, she has no right to be doing that. He sorted her out and also the pharmacist that would comment on my meds and how much I’m taking, without knowing my many medical issues.

7. You just need to exercise and lose some weight

This is similar to the “You’re lazy” and “it’s all in your head” with the added bonus of weight-shaming. It’s despicable. Here’s what our readers shared:

I have had to deal with uneducated Dr.s who were insensitive however , saying things like, Well, if you would lose some weight and get out and exercise you would be ok and this condition isn’t really a condition!

Just exercise and lose some weight and you’ll feel better. Or you sound happy to have that diagnosis, are you just looking for excuses.

“Well maybe if you lost weight and exercised you’d feel better.. THANKS SIS.. love you too.. maybe if she knew that the majority of the over 20 pills I take daily cause weight gain and bloating.”

Eye rolling while telling me ‘oh I don’t believe in all that crap! If you just exercise and diet you will start feeling better. Lose some weight and you’ll feel better. I would be in pain too if I just laid around all day.’


Lose weight, you are too big, that’s why you are in pain, you carry too much weight on your body.’ ‘You need to move around and exercise.’ I’ve been told this many times.’

Family member told me to just suck it up. You don’t need your Lyrica . You don’t look sick you’re just over weight…… U dont go out enough….. It’s all in your head……

8. You just want attention

People love to break out their arm-chair psychiatry degrees for this one. Munchausen Syndrome is a real thing, but so is fibromyalgia. People are so rude.

‘Attention seeking’
‘It’s in your head’
‘It can’t be that bad’
‘Stop being lazy’
‘You need to go out and exercise more’
‘I did this with that and that’s worse’
‘Are you sure you’re not putting on?’
‘You’re always sick’

Was in hospital with the worst pain flare up, had so many tests and they all came back normal!….so the dr said to my dad does your daughter like being in hospital??…must of thought the blue curtain around my bed was soundproof.

You just want attention. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re a hypochondriac. You just need some exercise and to lose weight. These are just some of the things I hear!

9. That’s all you talk about

This is a big one. People are afraid to talk because they’re met with eye-rolls or worse. Here’s a tip: If you don’t want to know how someone is doing, don’t ask.

I can’t talk about how I feel….I always get the same comment…you always say your not feeling well…like it’s something I’m making up.Each day is different and can be a struggle.. It’s hard when people around you don’t understand how your feeling and don’t want to hear it and don’t really care.

10. Oh yeah, that sucks, but it’s not as bad as this

There are some people who can’t just empathize. They have to outdo your pain by telling you how bad they’re hurting.

A friend of a (friend), said, “O I have that too, but that’s nothing compared to ” and that’s where they say their condition is worse than mine.


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Fibromyalgia Or Lupus?

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Among all the syndromes of our days there are two that excite a continuous fascination on researchers and doctors around the world: Lupus and Fibromyalgia. Both of these medical conditions have long been researched and on both of their causes many theories have been built. Still, up to now, there is no absolute and complete answer to the questions both doctors and their patients pose about Fibromyalgia and Lupus.

In both of these cases, determining the actual cause behind it is almost impossible, mainly because they show a lot of random symptoms that can differ a lot from one person to another. On Fibromyalgia, the main theory states that it is caused by the abnormal levels of neuro-chemicals in the human brain, which lead not necessarily to pain itself, but to feeling pain more stringent.

Other theories claim that environment and genetics are important in determining what actually triggered the Fibromyalgia syndrome, but up to now, no conclusive evidence has been brought.

There are even theories that are based on how the number of vessels in the extremities of the human body can change the way the brain perceives pain. How the other symptoms of the syndrome occur and how they can be so varied and affect multiple parts of one’s body – this still remains a complete mystery.

As for Lupus, things are not clearer either (not even by far, actually). Its causes may be related to a lot of things, including environment and stress (like in the case of Fibromyalgia), but not limited to it. Lupus does seem to “run in the family” and stress does play an important part, but there are other causes behind it as well.

Among these, you can often find infections with CMV (cytomegalovirus), a parvovirus, Hepatitis C virus and the Epstein-Barr one. Also, exposure to UV light, to trichloroethylene (and other chemicals) and certain types of antibiotics (such as the penicillin-based ones) can be causes of the development of Lupus.

The mystery behind the causes of Lupus and those of Fibromyalgia are not the only thing that these two medical conditions have in common. Also, some of their symptoms may overlap a lot to the point where misdiagnoses (and thus, poor treatment) occur. Some of the symptoms they have in common include painful joints, swelling of the extremities (in the case of Fibromyalgia only the sensation may occur), fatigue, photosensitivity and rapid, unexpected shifts in weight can occur.

One thing that is quite particular to Lupus though is the fact that patients can develop butterfly-shaped rashes on various parts of their skin, which is not found in the case of Fibromyalgia. However, a lot of Lupus patients show no such symptom as well.

Furthermore, Lupus can be mortal (and Fibromyalgia cannot directly cause the death of anyone), especially when it gets to affect serious very important parts of the human body. Quite frequently, it can get to affect kidneys (leading to kidney failure), lungs, the Central Nervous System, the heart, and it can make one’s body more prone to acquire infections or even to develop Cancer.

So how can medical professionals distinguish between Lupus and Fibromyalgia?

Thorough analysis of a patient’s state is key when trying to put a diagnosis and having to choose between Lupus or Fibromyalgia. A series of inquiries will be made by the doctor, as well as a series of examinations to establish how many parts of the body are affected and how they are damaged.

In the case of Lupus, medical professionals will start by analyzing the patient’s symptoms and they will run a series of basic blood tests to determine if he/she has anemia or lacks certain elements in the blood. Furthermore, the doctor will also run an ERS (an Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) which can determine the presence of an autoimmune disease in the body. If the red blood cells settle faster than the usual during this examination, then the patient will become a Lupus or an autoimmune disease suspect.

Other tests that may be run by a doctor to determine exactly if it is Lupus or not that he/she is dealing with include testing the kidneys and the liver (to see if certain enzymes are present or not), testing the urine (to see which is the level of proteins and which is the level of red blood cells in it) and testing for Syphilis (to check the presence of anti-phospholipid antibodies).

In the case of a patient who is rather a suspect of Fibromyalgia, the medical professional will start out by testing the pressure points on the patient’s body. According to a set of guidelines, if the doctor is testing 18 such pressure points and the patient finds them painful, then the chances of Fibromyalgia are quite high.

Further on, the doctor will run a blood test that is very good in diagnosing this syndrome. This test is called FM/a and it can determine whether or not certain markers are present in the blood cells (markers which, apparently, are present in all the patients suffering from Fibromyalgia).

Other than that, there are not many tests that can clearly determine the presence of Fibromyalgia, although doctors may choose to investigate the patient for other Fibromyalgia-related diseases as well (Arthritis, Hypothyroidism, renal diseases, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and so on).

Diagnosing correctly Fibromyalgia and Lupus is essential for the improvement of the patient’s health. Although the two medical conditions do show common things, their treatment may vary a lot and it may not be “transferrable”. For instance, in the case of Lupus, measurements will be taken to avoid serious complications, while in the case of Fibromyalgia other than pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs will not be administered (and, according to each case, anti-depressants and sleeping pills will be prescribed). In the case of Lupus, the same range of drugs may be used, but the dosages and the exact type may vary, according to each patient’s symptoms, their medical history and their severity.


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Fibromyalgia & Muscle Twitching

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Our muscles are at the core of fibromyalgia issues, and because of that, our muscles are where we are going to notice the majority of our issues. Controlling our fibromyalgia is based on a lot of factors, but many of them are related to the muscles that are most affected by the disease.

Muscle twitching is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia, and it’s important to deal with it quickly. In this article, we’re going to look at why muscle twitching is such a common issue with fibromyalgia, and how you can cope with it in a manner that allows you to continue to live your life.

Why Does Muscle Twitching Happen with Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder where our body is constantly in pain. At this point in time, there isn’t really a single known cause of the disorder, and because of that, it’s often hard to treat. Many times, professionals are just dealing with the symptoms and trying to make it as simple as possible for the person suffering from the disorder to live a normal life – or as normal as they possibly can.

Muscle twitching is just one of many symptoms that may end up occurring in people who are suffering from fibromyalgia. What is a muscle twitch? In short, it’s when the nerves in your body (usually in muscles) start to work without you telling them to.

They shoot off signals and move without you prompting them to. Many people know about the twitch in their eyelids or in their fingers, but they can be a lot worse in those with fibromyalgia. But why do they happen?

There are a number of emotional reasons that we can end up with muscle twitches. Stress and anxiety are probably the two biggest reasons. Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia will deal with one or both of these problems at some point.

Under these conditions, our bodies will start to be tense and they won’t act as they should, thus making it difficult for us to control what is going on with our bodies. We may tremble or twitch, even though we didn’t tell our body to do any of those things.

Anxiety will often make people tremble or twitch, even if they can’t sense the mental part of their anxiety, their body may still react with twitches and trembles. Either way, it can be a bit disconcerting.

Another reason is that of an injury or because of tension in the muscle itself. Injuries can make it so that the nerves don’t fire as they should, and tension makes it so that your nerves may be strained or pinched.

In either of those cases, it’s likely that our bodies will shake and/or twitch, and we won’t really be able to do much about it. It can be scary and sometimes cause frustration, but it’s quite common and not something that you necessarily have to be afraid of if it happens to you or a loved one who deals with fibromyalgia.

How Can We Deal with and/or Prevent Muscle Twitching?

As with anything else, we can deal with muscle twitching (and in some cases, we can even prevent it). Your specialist is the only one who can actually give you a full plan as to how you want to go about it, but here are some suggestions that you can use in order to help prevent and/or deal with muscle twitching that is related to fibromyalgia.

It sounds simple, but staying active can actually play a huge role in preventing muscle twitches as a result of fibromyalgia. If you are exercising (which, even though it can be difficult with fibromyalgia pain, you want to try and do at least semi-regularly), then you are stretching your muscles and making them less tense. Even just doing stretches around the house can really help limber you up.

It will also make it easier for you to move around. Remember – some movement is better than no movement at all, so even a little bit can end up helping you feel a lot better and can help to reduce the spasms and twitching of your muscles. Go and take a walk around the block, or just use the muscle that is causing you the issues – sometimes, just using the muscle is enough to help it work correctly and to turn off the “misfiring” that is going on in your body.

Even if you have fibromyalgia, some muscle twitches could be signs of bigger problems in your body. There are a few reasons that you may want to call a professional and get help if you’re having a muscle twitch that is out of the ordinary.

If you can’t move a part of your body because of the twitch, if you start to feel dizzy or sick, and/or you are in so much pain that moving your body (or at least, the area that is affected) is out of the question. In those cases, you will want to go to the hospital and get treated – there could be some bigger issues going on.

If the twitching is severe and making it difficult to function, your doctor may end up prescribing medications for you. Some of them are muscle relaxers, others are anti-spasmodic medications. It depends on what your doctor believes is causing the muscle twitching in the first place. They may also send you to a physical therapist and/or give you electrical therapy, depending on where the spasm is located and if the technologies and/or techniques have been proven to help your specific area of issue.

Muscle twitching is, unfortunately, a common truth that many people who suffer from fibromyalgia have to deal with. It’s important that we’re not only aware of this issue, but also that we can take care of it when it comes up. If muscle twitching has become an issue for you, talk to your specialist. They can help you with more suggestions and give you a treatment plan that actually addresses the twitching and its severity.


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Fibromyalgia & Clothing

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Many fibromyalgia sufferers can attest to the fact that clothes can give them a lot of extra painful symptoms. Patients describe the pain they feel from their clothes as sharp, stabbing, or like a bad sunburn on their skin. Waistbands, socks, undergarments, and anything that ties can cause this extreme pain. Changing your wardrobe to lessen your symptoms can actually help them a lot. Figure out your most tender spots that hurt the most, and buy clothes that accommodate to that area instead of making it worse. Here are some tips on how to buy fibromyalgia clothing to help ease your symptoms.

Fibromyalgia Clothes


For women, bras can be extremely uncomfortable and restricting to begin with. As a fibromyalgia patient, the pain of a tight bra can be unbearable. Because of that, look for bras without an underwire. As perky as they make your girls look, sometimes the pain isn’t worth it. There are lots of soft padded bras without underwires that work very well. Sports bras can also be very comfortable, as long as they’re not too tight. Consider getting your bra size checked by an associate at a store as well to make sure you’re wearing the right size. If your bra size isn’t right, it will be almost impossible to feel comfortable.

Underwear waistbands can also pinch and pull to cause pain. Choose underwear that rides lower on your hips, rather than up your waist. The lessened pressure on your abdomen will provide lots of relief.

Socks that ride lower will also offer relief. Thinner cotton socks seem to cause the least pain, especially relieving pain in the calves with the low-rise rather than high-rise.


Stay away from high-waisted pants! They are usually tighter and they squeeze your abdomen, which is a major cause of pain. As silly as it may sound, try looking in the maternity section. Some of their stretchy materials in pants could really be helpful to your fibro symptoms. While trying any pants on, sit down and move around to test if they truly are comfortable. You won’t be standing in place all day, so sitting down is a good way to find out if they provide the comfort level you desire.

Drawstrings generally offer more comfort than elastic, because they’re adjustable and don’t squeeze as much. Some people even try removing the elastic in pants to relieve it. Get creative and find what makes you the most comfortable.


When dresses are necessary (like for work or a wedding), choose one that is flowy and doesn’t have a waistband. Reducing the amount that a dress is fitted will lessen any pain from pressure on your body. Try a few on, and be mindful of your most painful spots. If a dress tugs or pulls near that area, it’s not a winner. Flowy is the way to go.


Different fabrics make fibro sufferers feel differently. Generally, lighter fabrics like cotton or silky materials feel less abrasive and heavy on the skin and muscles. Large sweaters, even though some are cotton, are often times too heavy and add extra pain to the shoulders and other tender areas. Go for the most recommended fabrics – cotton, silk/satin, stretchy knits, fleece and flannel all in lighter weight. Every little bit helps, so find what makes you comfortable and buy it in every color!



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Fibromyalgia & TENS Units

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TENS therapy is a pretty common treatment for any condition that causes muscle pain, like fibromyalgia. And if you spend any time reading about these kinds of conditions, or in a physical therapist’s office for therapy, you’ll probably end up considering it at one point or another. So if you’re curious about a TENS machine, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s talk about what TENS therapy is, how it works, and if it’s really as effective as a lot of people claim it is.

What Is TENS Therapy?

TENS stands for “transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation.” And essentially, TENS therapy uses a small machine, usually battery powered and portable, that sends a small electric current through the skin and into the underlying muscle.

It’s a fairly common method of treating muscle pain and is frequently used by sports therapists to help athletes recover from injuries faster. And people with arthritis sometimes use it to deal with the joint pain of the condition.

Usually, a TENS unit has an adjustable knob that allows patients to slowly turn up the voltage. TENS machines typically aren’t powerful enough to be dangerous and are designed to simply offer mild stimulation of the nerves. This fact, along with the fact that it is portable, means that you can actually purchase your own TENS unit and carry it with you throughout the day, and use it only when you feel pain.

That’s good news because the relief that TENS offers tends to be short lived. So, someone using it for chronic pain would have to turn the machine on several times a day to get the best results.

How Does It Work?

The idea behind TENS therapy is that the electric signals disrupt the neural pathways what cause our brains to register pain. The nerves in your muscles transmit electrical signals to your brain when they are damaged, which in turn is interpreted by the brain. The brain then sends its own signals back to the muscle, which we then perceive as pain in that muscle.

People using TENS machines hope that by sending an external electric current into that nerve connection, it will overwhelm the pain signals, which disrupts your bodies ability to process pain. In addition, many proponents of the therapy argue that the electric current stimulates the body’s natural healing process, leading to faster recovery times.

And finally, some theorize that TENS therapy triggers the endorphin system. Endorphins are a chemical released in the body that stimulates pleasure centers in the brain and dulls the sensation of pain. The idea is that it releases these endorphins and thus leaves you feeling better.

But the scientific basis behind the therapy is actually a little bit spotty.

Is It Effective?

There’s no question that some people who use TENS therapy report a decrease in their pain symptoms. There are numerous studies that back up the idea that TENS seems to work for some people.

But in many of these studies, the effectiveness of the therapy seems to vary widely. Some people report positive results while people with the same condition, at the same voltage, don’t see any improvement at all. It could be that some people are simply more likely to respond positively to it based on genetic makeup or body composition or any number of other factors. That could explain why results seem so variable.

But some have argued that these mixed results are better explained by something called the sensation-enhanced placebo effect. You see, the placebo effect is a well-understood principle in medical research where people who have been given an ineffective treatment seem to feel better anyway. They believe that the treatment was effective and so they report an improvement in symptoms.

The sensation-enhanced placebo effect is essentially the same thing but with a tool like a TENS unit that causes a physical sensation in the subject. So not only does someone using it believe they are receiving an effective treatment, but they feel like the machine is clearly doing something because they can feel the electric pulse.

This would explain why some people report success with TENS but others don’t. Some people are more susceptible to the placebo effect than others. But with that being said, anything that leaves you feeling better is a valid form of treatment. What matters when it comes to treating chronic pain are results that make it easier for you to live a normal life. So if you think a TENS unit may help you, there’s little harm in trying. Just don’t expect wonders from it.


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Fibromyalgia & Dyshidrotic Eczema

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Have you ever noticed that you sometimes develop small, red blisters on the bottom of your feet or on your hands? Often, these blisters will itch, and the skin surrounding them can grow tender and painful.

If those symptoms sound familiar, you might suffer from dyshidrotic eczema. And if you’re already suffering from fibromyalgia, you may be at a higher risk of developing the condition.

So what is dyshidrotic eczema exactly? How is it linked to fibromyalgia? And what can you do to treat it?

What Is Dyshidrotic Eczema?

As with all forms of eczema, no one is really sure what causes dyshidrotic eczema. But there seems to be an interaction between the skin and the immune system. Basically, the skin gets irritated by dehydration or external irritants like pollen or dust.

The immune system then overreacts to these irritants and triggers an inflammation response in the skin. When it comes to dyshidrotic eczema, this response creates the blisters that are closely identified with the disease. Usually, they develop on the soles of the feet, the toes, the palms of the hands, and the fingers.

Image: Wikipedia Commons

It’s often possible to tell when the blisters are developing as the skin begins to grow tender and may sweat around the area that the blisters will eventually form.

Typically, they come in small groups. And the individual blisters themselves are usually small and might even be hard to notice. But the blisters can also eventually grow large enough to make walking difficult. In most cases, the blisters are intensely itchy and occasionally they can be quite painful.

It’s more common in women than men. And there seems to be a link between allergies and the condition. People who suffer from hay fever are more likely to develop dyshidrotic eczema.

And like many skin conditions, there’s a possibility that it could be linked to fibromyalgia.

How Is It Linked To Fibromyalgia?

We know that many people with fibromyalgia suffer from different skin conditions. There’s little evidence of a direct link between fibromyalgia and dyshidrotic eczema beyond the anecdotal.

And it doesn’t seem as though fibromyalgia itself causes skin conditions. Instead, the most likely explanation is that these conditions are linked to some of the complications of fibromyalgia. There seems to be a link between the stress of living with fibromyalgia and many different immune system disorders.

It’s possible that the resulting changes to the immune system make people more likely to develop skin conditions like eczema. But we’re not sure just what sort of role the immune system plays in conditions like eczema, or in fibromyalgia for that matter.

All we can say for certain is that there does seem to be a link between fibromyalgia and these sorts of conditions. There are a number of different theories about what it might be, but there’s no convincing evidence that supports any conclusively.

Until more research is done on the subject, it’s hard to say for sure what the connection is.

Of course, the fact remains that if you have developed eczema, you want to treat it. And there are a few ways to do that.

How Can You Treat It?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to cure dyshidrotic eczema. That means that managing the condition comes down to simply treating the symptoms as they appear and trying to prevent them from recurring in the future.

The blisters and skin irritation will usually come and go every few weeks or months. In some cases, the condition might spontaneously disappear after a few years.

In most cases, doctors usually prescribe topical corticosteroids to treat the outbreaks. These are creams that contain artificial hormones that help block the immune response that triggers the blisters. If those prove ineffective, you may also be prescribed corticosteroid shots or pills.

Other treatment options include UV light treatments or medications that can suppress the immune system. In some cases, doctors may suggest botulism shots to prevent your hands or feet from sweating.

Sweat seems to contribute to triggering the blisters, so keeping your hands and feet dry might help prevent outbreaks. In terms of over-the-counter options, there are a number of moisturizers that block water from escaping the skin. These can help you avoid blisters and have the added benefit of keeping the skin healthy.

Antihistamines can help with the itching and are available in pills and topical creams. It’s important not to scratch at the blisters, as this can damage the skin and make the condition worse.

As with any chronic condition, the most important thing to do is to take the necessary steps to manage the condition proactively and take charge of your health.


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