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Chronic pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than three months or persists long after an injury or illness. Fibromyalgia is the most common condition in which a person has long-term, body-wide pain, and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissue.
The most confusing part about chronic pain is that it varies day-to-day. Some days you may feel almost normal. Other days it is hard to do the simplest task.
People with fibromyalgia can experience:
- Pain that feels like a deep ache, or a shooting pain or burning pain.
- Tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness.
- For some, pain can improve during the day but gets worse at night. Others have pain all day.
- Pain may get worse with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety and stress.
In fibromyalgia, painful areas are called Tender Points. Tender points are found in the soft tissue and occur in symmetrical pairs in the:
- back of the neck
- lower back
These 18 points (9 pairs) tend to be painful when pressed and may spread the pain to other parts of the body.
Living With Chronic Pain
The truth is, that when it comes to living with fibromyalgia, there may always be some level of pain. I have had fibromyalgia for over 12 years now. I was on multiple medications for years, Lyrica, tramadol, antidepressants, etc. I no longer take any of it and I feel better. I lost 35 pounds and the brain fog and fatigue are not as bad as when I was taking all the medications.
I can’t lie, I am in more pain. And it is definitely CHRONIC. I have pain all day. Most of the time it is a deep constant ache. I can’t sit too long or I get shooting pain in my lower back and/or muscle twitches in my leg. There are days I have a stabbing pain in the middle of my back. And I have a lot of neck and shoulder pain.
I have found that for me, that getting the proper sleep is key. If I am sleeping good, I have more energy, less fatigue, less brain fog and the pain is manageable. I take amitriptyline, melatonin, and magnesium about an hour before I go to bed and I have been sleeping well now for several months.
In my next post, I will share several ways to manage chronic pain at home.
If you need help describing your pain to your doctor, the American Osteopathic Association has a Pain Assessment & Daily Journal that can help you provide your physician with a snapshot of your individual pain profile.