Fibromyalgia and Relationships

Fibromyalgia and Relationships

As a chronic pain sufferer, there are a lot of things that you have to deal with and think about that other people do not understand. The situation is made even more frustrating when it is a spouse/partner that does not understand your limitations. The results of this misunderstanding can lead to anger, bitterness, and ultimately the ending of the relationship. This article is a closer look at what to do when your significant other does not understand your limitations.

When you are dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, or any of the many symptoms of fibromyalgia, you are constantly aware of your limitations. You know when the pain is getting too great and telling you to stop. You know what combinations of tasks are sure to put you in the bed for a day or two. You also know that some days are better than others and that you can’t always count on your body to do what you want it to do. The process of learning to honestly assess your limitations is not easy and is really the first step of communicating that information to your loved ones. You are their teacher now. How can you communicate your limitations to someone if you do not know them yourself?

When you are first learning to deal with a chronic condition, like fibromyalgia or chronic pain, it quickly becomes clear that you are not able to maintain the same level of activity as before. To the person that is in a relationship with you, it can be confusing and frustrating when the roles in the household suddenly change. If you were the person that always shops, cooks, cleans or whatever else, and now suddenly you are not able to do as much as before, it is hard to process that shift. It is also hard for your family and significant other to process that shift as well. So, after you honestly assess your limitations as a result of your condition (which can take many months or even years), it is imperative that you have honest and open conversations with your spouse/partner. Communication is key! You can not expect them to understand what is going on if you do not communicate it to them. If you are not entirely sure of your limitations, then you need to communicate that. Be prepared to answer questions and discuss solutions. It may take more than one or ten conversations to get clear on your reality, and that reality may change over time. Keep those lines of communication open, so that you can try to be on the same page all of the time. This is an adjustment for them too. Be patient and calm, and try to keep from getting frustrated and upset if they do not understand. You can always pause the conversations and revisit it later if it is going off of the rails.

When you are trying to explain your limitations to your spouse/partner, and they are just not understanding or are making it all about themselves, it can be very frustrating. Firstly, If they do not understand the reality of that situation, it is useful to use analogies that help to explain it. Spoon Theory is a great tool for anyone with a chronic condition, to help their spouse/partner understand their limitations. Second, If you have a partner that is determined to feel sorry for him/herself because of this shift, then you may need to give them a reality check. You are not taking a break, or deciding to be the evil stepmother to their Cinderella. You are dealing with chronic symptoms and pain that is limiting your energy and activity. Make it clear that you would rather keep things the same if it meant that you could not hurt all of the time. Being in pain, exhausted, depressed, and bed bound is not a privilege, and is not your choice. This happened to you, you did not choose it to get out of housework. If your significant other cannot step out of themselves and see the reality of your situation, then you may need to think about counseling or outside professional help to address that situation. If you have access to counseling or psychiatry, it is not a bad idea to seek help for yourself and/or your relationship during this process.

With enough communication and dedication to solving the issues that surround your chronic condition, you can keep your partner/spouse close to you, and they can be there to help support you while you deal with your issues.

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Fibromyalgia and the ICD 10

If your health care professional isn’t listening, find one who will. Knowledge is power. Be your own advocate!

Fibro Cloud

For years, people who suffer from fibromyalgia have been twice victimized. Once, by the chronic pain and fatigue of a debilitating illness. And once by the refusal of people in the medical community to take the illness seriously. Fibromyalgia has existed for as long as any other chronic disease, but it’s never had the same sort of attention from doctors as many other conditions. Patients are told that it’s in their head, or that they don’t really suffer from a disease, or that if they do it’s not that serious. But that’s finally begun to change. In fact, in a rare bit of good news for fibro sufferers, there’s a new fibromyalgia ICD 10 code.

The ICD, or the International Classification of Diseases, is a listing of all the different conditions that doctors have identified that helps in diagnosing and treating different diseases. So, for a condition to like fibromyalgia, which has never had its own listing before the latest, or 10th, edition of the ICD to get its own classification is the first sign that doctors are beginning to take it seriously. So, what’s the new classification of fibromyalgia? Why does it matter? And why has it taken this long for the condition to get recognized?

Fibromyalgia ICD 10

The ICD works by breaking diseases into classifications that are denoted by systems of numbers. It’s similar in that respect to the Dewey Decimal system used in libraries to classify books. Each type of disease receives its own number. Diseases in the 001-0139 range are infectious or parasitic diseases, for instance.

Fibromyalgia is grouped in the 700 range, which means that it’s related to the musculoskeletal system. The actual number in the ICD 10 for fibromyalgia is M79.7. That means that it’s classified as a musculoskeletal disorder (700), while also classified in the general category of myalgia, or muscle pain (9). The .7 is the actual differential for fibromyalgia, which now has its own classification.

And that’s good news when it comes to the struggle to get the condition the recognition it deserves.

Why Does It Matter?

The first step in finding a cure for any condition is for doctors to acknowledge that it exists and is a serious enough condition that it is worth investing research resources into. For a long time, fibromyalgia wasn’t even listed in the ICD, because doctors weren’t in agreement that it was even a real condition.

Obviously, that made the odds of finding a cure pretty long, since the condition received little attention or recognition. As the focus of the medical establishment has shifted towards understanding the condition, we’ve seen it move in the ICD from a subset of other conditions to being recognized as its own condition now in the ICD 10.

And while it may seem like a pretty small victory to get doctors to just realize that fibromyalgia is a real and distinct condition, it’s a big step forward towards getting the condition the resources we need to find a cure.

What’s Taken So Long?

Unfortunately, the road to this recognition has been a long one. Part of the issue with any illness like fibromyalgia, which doesn’t cause visible symptoms, is that people just don’t believe the people who suffer from it. It’s a sad fact of life that people are often not willing to empathize with others. And we often have a hard time accepting that someone could be in pain if we can’t “see” it.

Fibromyalgia doesn’t cause obvious symptoms that other people can see. Although the chronic pain and fatigue are incredibly obvious to people who live with it. After all, these people have their entire worlds turned upside down. They can’t do the same things that others take for granted. And they struggle twice as hard to just handle the day to day tasks that are a part of life.

So imagine how they feel to be told that they aren’t suffering from a real illness when their “fake” illness makes it impossible to live a normal life. But that same inability to accept pain we can’t see as being real has made it hard for doctors, who are people like anyone else and suffer from the same preconceptions, to accept that fibromyalgia is a physical illness. Luckily, the rise of awareness among the fibromyalgia community and the tireless efforts people with fibromyalgia have made together to get recognized finally seem to be making a difference.

So, keep it up, guys. Keep fighting for recognition and eventually a cure. People with fibromyalgia are always strongest together.

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Fibromyalgia and Homeopathic Treatment


If there’s one thing that anyone with fibromyalgia knows, it’s that so many of the medications doctors prescribe for the condition just aren’t that effective. In fact, there’s only one medication, Savella, designed specifically to treat fibromyalgia. And even that isn’t effective for a lot of people with the condition. So that leaves many people turning to alternative treatments like homeopathic medicine.

Homeopathic medicine is an alternative form of treatment that is designed to treat the body in a natural way. But whether it is effective is a bit of a controversy. So, what exactly is homeopathic medicine? Can it work for fibromyalgia? And what are some homeopathic remedies that you can try?

What Is Homeopathic Medicine?

Homeopathic medicine is based on treating the body as a whole. Homeopathic practitioners see the body as a single unit made up of interconnecting systems. Any illness is, in the view of people who practice this type of medicine, the natural struggle of the body to keep itself healthy. The idea is that by using all-natural cures, you can stimulate the body’s healing process and cure the symptoms of many different diseases.

Most homeopathic cures are based on plants and minerals and given in very small, diluted doses. The central idea is that the body only needs a small amount of a substance to begin curing itself. And many homeopathic remedies are based on ancient forms of medicine, particularly from places like India and China, where these cures are still used today.

But, not everyone agrees that these types of cures are effective.

Does It Work For Fibromyalgia?

You can find report after report arguing that homeopathic medicine isn’t an effective way to treat illness. Many studies have found that the dosages used are too small to really have any effect. Or that the benefits described by patients are due to the placebo effect, which is where the patient believes that the treatment will work, and therefore reports positive treatment outcomes. And many reports have argued that some of the substances that are commonly prescribed can even be dangerous.

But, there’s also a large body of evidence that suggests just the opposite. Recent reports from both the government of Switzerland, known for its unbiased medical studies, and Harvard University, have found that homeopathic cures are both effective and a cost-efficient way of treating patients.

So, ultimately, it’s hard to know what to make of the effectiveness of homeopathic medicine. And you can find evidence to support either side of the argument. But, if you’re interested in trying homeopathic cures for fibromyalgia, there are a few things that might be worth trying.

Some Remedies You Can Try

Because most of the information about homeopathic cures for fibromyalgia comes from amateur practitioners rather than licensed medical experts, you should approach every cure with a grain of salt. Don’t try any substance that can be dangerous. And only get your materials from sources selling products that are regulated by the FDA.

Furthermore, the lack of formal research means that most homeopathic remedies for the condition come from these practitioners rather than official experts. With that being said, there are few things that are commonly recommended as potential ways to treat the condition.

Acupuncture is a very safe form of treatment that consists of using pins inserted into the skin to stimulate the body’s natural painkillers and improve the functions of nerves. Many people report that it helps with their fibromyalgia symptoms and there have been a few studies that back up that claim. But there are also studies that suggest it isn’t effective at all. Like so many homeopathic cures, it’s hard to say what the truth is. But because acupuncture is such a safe and easy treatment, it may be worth trying to see if it improves your symptoms.

In addition, there are a number of different dietary supplements that fibro sufferers have suggested benefit their symptoms. Melatonin is a substance that your body naturally produces as part of the sleep cycle, and using melatonin supplements can help you manage insomnia that comes with fibromyalgia and may even reduce the amount of pain you feel.

5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is another supplement that helps increase the amount of serotonin in the brain and might help reduce your pain. And many people with fibromyalgia have low magnesium levels, which has led some to recommend magnesium supplements.

But even if homeopathic cures aren’t effective for fibromyalgia, the concept behind them has some merit. Taking charge of your health generally, and viewing your body as a single system is a good way to manage fibromyalgia. Striving to be as healthy as possible in diet and with exercise is one of the best ways to handle fibromyalgia.

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Fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue

Living with Fibromyalgia

If you ever want your doctor roll his eyes at you, just ask him about adrenal fatigue. Most physicians seem to feel about as much contempt for this concept as they do chiropractors. And you thought getting a fibromyaglia diagnosis was hard. Asking about adrenal fatigue is akin to telling your doctor that your symptoms are from an alien abduction. They dismiss it, almost like pseudo-science, and will even label it with quotation marks like this: “adrenal fatigue.” They claim that no scientific proof exists to support it as a medical condition. Rather, they will tell you that you simply have depression or, better still…fibromyalgia.

Thankfully, there are those in medicine and alternative therapies who are aware of this very real condition. Remember how long it took for them to believe fibro was a real disease? And yet you will still come cross doctors who dismiss it too, despite science. So, let’s take a look at this condition, see how it works, and what can be done about it.

Chronic Stress and Cortisol

Cortisol. We’ve all heard of it and know that it probably has something to do with stress and maybe even weight gain. It may also remind you of hydrocortisone cream. That’s because it’s the medicated version of cortisol. So why does cortisol have such a nasty stigma if it can also be used as a treatment? Well, it’s important to understand what exactly cortisol does first. We’ve all heard of the “fight or flight” mechanism, right? Your adrenal glands are part of this mechanism and produce various hormones, including adrenaline and steroids like cortisol, in response to fear or stress. When it’s working properly, this healthy response takes priority over all metabolic functions, but it’s not made to last long.

Maybe you’ve heard something like this: it’s not stress itself that’s deadly, it’s actually the way you respond to stress that kills you. If you have not trained your mind and emotions to handle stressors in a healthy way, then your body will respond by releasing cortisol. Again, that’s not so bad if it happens every once in a while because that’s what your body is supposed to do in these exceptional circumstances. But what if you endure sustained stress? What does that look like? While this is by no means comprehensive, Psychology Today summed it up nicely: “Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. This week, two separate studies were published in Science linking elevated cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience—especially in adolescence.”

Constant Fighting and Flying

Most of us in Western societies experience constant stress. All of our technological advances haven’t freed our time. Rather, we have found new responsibilities with which to fill the void. Dr. Michele L. Neil-Sherwood, an osteopath with the Functional Medical Institute, explains that most of us are “over-worked, under-nourished, exposed to environmental toxins, worrying about others — with no let-up. Every challenge to the mind and body creates a demand on the adrenal glands. And the list of challenges is endless: lack of sleep, a demanding boss, the threat of losing your job, financial pressures, personality conflicts, yo-yo dieting, relationship turmoil, death or illness of a loved one, skipping meals, reliance on stimulants like caffeine and carbs, digestive problems, over-exercise, illness or infection, unresolved emotional issues from our past or present and more. The result is adrenal glands that are constantly on high alert.”

Is it any wonder that Dr. Neil-Sherwood has noticed that 99% of her patients suffer from impaired adrenal function? I dare say this is the case with most Americans. She adds, “Adrenal fatigue may be a factor in many related conditions, including fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, premature menopause and others. It may also produce a host of other unpleasant symptoms, from acne to hair loss.”


It is imperative to note that impaired adrenal function includes more than adrenal fatigue or exhaustion. For example, adrenal insufficiency is also called Addison’s Disease. Alternatively, prolonged exposure to cortisol, often due to medications, can lead to Cushing Syndrome. Both of these, however, are extreme conditions. So far, conventional Western medicine only detects damage incurred by such conditions. In fact, you may even feel miserable, but your doctor will probably tell you that your cortisol is fine according to the test results. Regardless, it’s important to get a full physical to rule out these conditions and any other factors that result in your fatigue, weight gain, depression, and so forth.

If you’re unsatisfied with the results from your traditional physician, you may wish to consider an osteopath or another healthcare practitioner that works with alternative or complementary medicine. While some extreme cases may need personalized care, Dr. Neil-Sherwood adds that the majority of her patients find substantial improvement by practicing the following:

  1. Dietary changes to enrich your nutrition and reduce carbohydrates and stimulants, including high-quality nutritional supplements and essential fatty acids. There’s even an Adrenal Fatigue Diet.
  2. Stress reduction, including moderate exercise and taking more time for yourself. It’s helpful to make a list of your stressors, especially those that are constant.
  3. Take up a yoga practice. The focus of the breath can be a significant shift in the autonomic nervous system. Yoga helps us shift from a state of fight or flight into a state of rest and relax.
  4. Get a massage or some form of therapeutic body work: Hands on therapeutic soft tissue work aids not only the release of muscular tension and pent up stress but can also shift the fight or flight response to one of rest and relax.
  5. Get more rest. Your body needs time to heal.

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Chronic Illness and Cooking

fresh produce

n this article we are exploring cooking techniques that can make meals easier to make for those who suffer from chronic pain. The reality is that some days cooking is more of a possibility than other days. Here are some cooking techniques for you to try on those days when you don’t have that much energy.


The most important thing in all cooking techniques is preparation. Chefs use the french term Mise en place, and it means ‘everything in its place.’ the idea is to make sure that everything is cut, diced, peeled, chopped, etc before you start cooking. This is stuff that can be done on the weekend or earlier in the day to make the cooking easier later. Often times, I will work on dinner all day when I am home. I do a little at a time through the day, so that putting it all together is easier later. There are several tools that can make prep easier as well. A food processor makes chopping veggies easier. You will not get the super uniform dices or juliennes that you can with a knife, but it will save you time and pain. A garlic press is another gadget that will save time. There are so many gadgets out there that will save you time. Also, you can chop veggies and freeze them ahead of time, or you can buy chopped onions and bell peppers in the frozen section, or pre chopped veggies in the produce section. These products will save you even more time than doing them yourself. Prepping makes it easier to throw something together quickly, and with the right tools, you can make the prepping easier too.

Cooking Techniques for Easy Cooking


There are few cooking techniques that can impart as much flavor to your food as roasting. This is one of those techniques that is basically set it and forget it. All you need is food, oil, and seasonings. I often make whole meals in the oven because it is delicious and easy. The oven is a dry heat method. This means that it does not use water or oil to transfer heat to the surface of the food. However, to get the most effective results when roasting food, you need to use oil or water to transfer the dry heat more efficiently and to promote browning. The easiest way to do this is to either drizzle oil on the food or toss the food in oil. Then, it only requires seasoning to make it tasty. To use water to cook your food you would need to get oven bags or make foil or parchment pouches. In this style, you are trapping the water in the food from escaping. This creates steam and pressure that cooks the food. The easiest way to make a pouch is to wrap it in foil. When you prepare your pans for roasting, you can add parchment or foil to the pan to make clean up easier as well.

Slow cooker

We have a whole article dedicated to this cooking style. A slow cooker is a tool that every person with chronic pain needs to own. there are TONS of slow cooker recipes online that you can use to make meals quickly and easily. This is usually a wet cooking style that uses water to cook food. However, you can also cook things like “roasted” sweet potatoes and desserts in the crock pot. For this cooking method, you add all of the ingredients into the pot and it cooks all day while you are doing other things. It is a tool that you cannot afford to not have.


Dinner does not always need to be meat, veggies, and starch. Often times we have these ideas of what a meal needs to be. It is often easier to make breakfast foods than the full on meal. You can also use the oven to cook breakfast meats to make it even easier. Cereal is always the go to when we just have no strength to make a meal, but with just a little more work you can have scrambled eggs.

Whatever you decide to cook, the important thing is, to be honest when assessing your limits that day. There is nothing worse than getting right in the middle of cooking a meal and realize that you bit off more than you could chew (no pun intended). Make these tasks as easy as you can for yourself, and if you are just not able to make food that day, preparing ahead of time can make it easier for the other people in your house to make a meal for you.

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Fibromyalgia and Weather

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What is the Actual Reason Behind Weather Affecting Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

The reason behind the relation between fibromyalgia symptoms and weather conditions is not yet fully understood.

There are some possible explanations that explain the relationship between these two. Some of these are listed below:

1- Change in Sleep Cycle: Weather can directly affect the sleep cycle. Disturbance in sleep can affect and flare up other related symptoms.

2- Change in Circadian Rhythm: The internal clock of the body is known as circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is affected by changes in seasons. More fluctuation in weather leads to more effect on the circadian rhythm that leads to more fatigue and pain.

3- Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines: These are responsible for the increase in pain intensity at low temperatures.

How Can You Manage Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Weather Change?

Managing fibromyalgia symptoms is not that easy with the changing weather conditions. Some important points that can help in reducing the pain and fatigue are as follows:

1- Dress in Layers: In chilly and cold days, the sufferer should dress in two or three layers. This helps in keeping the body warm.

2- Avoid Cold Temperature: The fibromyalgia sufferer should avoid cold temperature as much as possible.

This can be done by keeping the air condition off even in summers. In winters, dressing up in layers, wearing gloves, shoes, scarf, and cap can be helpful when going out.

Try to be in Sunlight: Sunlight can cure many diseases and keeps germs out. The sufferer should try to be in as much sunlight as he can if he/she is comfortable to bear that bright light.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder of musculoskeletal system accompanied by mood swings, fatigue, sleep disturbances, etc.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia make the disease frustrating and depressing. People with the disease prefer to live inside their houses to avoid any weather fluctuations that might flare up the symptoms.

There are people with fibromyalgia who want to visit places that can provide some relief from the pain.

According to some researchers, there are some great places in the United States that can be ideal for the living of fibromyalgia sufferers.

Places with low humidity and warm temperature conditions are suitable for people suffering from chronic pain.

Places with heavy rain, high humidity, and low temperature may worsen the pain.

It is very hard to know what causes the symptoms of fibromyalgia to flare-up. Keeping a close watch on the surroundings and noting down daily observations can help in the trigger points of the disease.

Some studies show strong relation between fibromyalgia symptoms and changes in weather changes while other show no strong relation between the two.

Some people choose to live nearby to schools and shopping centers to prevent staying out for a longer time.

Others try to shift to a new place considering the weather condition of that place. Cold temperature, storms, and heavy precipitation make the pain chronic in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Thus, avoiding extreme weather conditions and keeping safe and cozy inside the house can prevent flare-ups of the disease.


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Fibromyalgia and Marijuana Edibles

Marijuana Edibles

by Preston Hemmerich

The potential medicinal benefits of cannabis products are too promising and too important not to encourage their use. As an advocate for the legalization of cannabis, including legalized medical marijuana, I believe it is a crime that this plant is off limits to the people who need it most.

For those who are new to cannabis use for pain management, there is a small amount of basic knowledge worth possessing. First, I think it’s important for people to know what two chemicals in cannabis help reduce or eliminate pain in patients. These two chemicals have different effects on the body. Second, it’s important to know what to expect from each of these chemicals and why some prefer one to the other.


Firstly, let’s talk about cannabidiol, also known as CBD. Patients who are looking for effective pain relief without the sense of being “high” from cannabis reach for CBD. Some patients also experience reduced anxiety and increased appetite from using CBD, while others might not get the additional therapeutic effects. Additionally, CBD products such as CBD Oil can also be used to come down off of a high from other cannabis products.

Secondly, it’s important to discuss THC in marijuana products. Users of THC, as opposed to CBD alone, traditionally benefit from increased pain relief, which makes cannabis products containing THC very promising treatment options for fibro patients and other chronic pain sufferers. THC users may also experience many beneficial side effects, such as help sleeping, mood enhancement, and an increased appetite. Some cannabis strains can help alleviate anxiety. Conversely, the opposite can also be true, so it’s important to ask for help from a professional budtender or doctor in finding the best cannabis strains for fibromyalgia. THC will likely get users high, and users need to be prepared for that.

Marijuana Edibles are ingestible cannabis-derived products available in myriad forms, such as chocolates, hard candies, lollipops, drinks, cakes, tinctures, and gummies. Of all cannabis products used recreationally and medically, marijuana edibles last the longest and are the easiest to use, and it’s because of those two qualities that so many chronic pain patients reach for ingestible marijuana before other forms.

The biggest advantage of marijuana edibles over other forms of cannabis is the duration of its effect. For chronic pain patients, this can be a life changer. Whereas smoked marijuana will provide relief for as short a period of time as an hour, marijuana edibles routinely offer reduced pain for eight hours or more. More than anything, reducing the number of times people need to seek relief from pain can have a profound impact on the quality of their lives, making it easier to leave the house, take part in family activities, and even make exercising an option for those whose pain would otherwise limit them.

All of the products listed above, from chocolates to tinctures, offer longer-term pain relief than smoking cannabis products, but it’s the chocolates and candies that perform best in that regard. With that said, tinctures provide faster relief, making them an appealing choice for those with sudden onset pain.

For those familiar with cannabis from their younger days, long before ingestibles were available from purveyors, it’s worth noting that edibles are quite a bit more potent than what you are probably used to, and the saying “a little bit goes a long way” holds true. Consider that yet another reason why edibles are perfect for fibro patients. For extreme pain, the efficiency and efficacy of THC and CBD in edibles can be life altering—in a good way!

Cannabis edibles are available with both CBD and THC in them. Products containing only CBD can last anywhere from eight to twelve hours, with some people experiencing significantly longer or shorter periods of relief; the same goes for THC products.

When deciding to use cannabis edibles containing THC, I recommend people begin with a 5 mg dose, or half of one regular serving from most authorized cannabis retailers. For all food products, it may take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours before the pain relief takes effect. Tinctures may work in as little as fifteen minutes, but anecdotal evidence suggests a 30-minute wait is more likely.

Once the edibles take effect, patients should feel relief from pain for several hours. Other benefits may include, but are not limited to, an increase in appetite, improved sleep, a reduction in muscle cramps, and an improved mood. Some also get relief from nausea, irritability, and other fibro symptoms. In men, cannabis can also increase one’s libido, though excessive use can alternatively lead to temporary and reversible erectile dysfunction.  All of these issues are but the start of the challenges fibro sufferers face, but the fact that one type of medicine can provide relief for several symptoms of fibromyalgia while avoiding the challenging side effects of traditional pain management is why so many fibro patients are making the switch from pharmaceuticals to cannabis-based treatments.

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Edible Marijuana Side Effects


Article by Preston Hemmerich for Follow the above link to find the complete article. Image from Google.