Why Fibromyalgia Pain Feels Different

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Fibromyalgia is condition characterized by widespread chronic pain and fatigue with no known cause. The pain is normally not caused by injury or a single chronic condition. Because symptoms can resemble those of other conditions, but fibro is not like other more common problems causing chronic pain. Fibromyalgia pain can often be perceived as worse than normal pain because of its characteristics and related consequences.

Fibromyalgia is described as a long-term body wide pain with associated tenderness in joints, tendons, muscles and other soft tissues. Fibro is not like any other condition because the pain can vary in both the location on the body where it is concentrated and the frequency. Many feel a heightened and painful response to applied pressure. Normal pain such as that after a back or neck strain or ankle sprain is often self-limited after the body begins its normal healing phase. In Fibromyalgia the body may have an abnormal response to painful stimuli.

Fibromyalgia is debilitating and relentless. It’s not like the pain you get from a headache or a sprained ankle. With fibro, you might feel like there’s a four-alarm fire raging in your muscles or sulphuric acid in your joints. Sleep disturbances, physical or emotional trauma have also been implicated in causing fibromyalgia. Often the pain from fibromyalgia takes on a burning quality and physical exam will reveal at least 18 tender knots where muscles are in constant spasm. The pain is intense and widespread. Getting out of bed can be more challenging than sprinting along the Great Wall of China.

We all get tired.  And who doesn’t feel sore, achy and stiff, especially after a weekend of sports activities or heavy gardening?  For those with fibromyalgia, these debilitating symptoms of pain and fatigue are severe and constant, lasting for months and years and causing poor quality of life for its millions of victims damaging jobs, families and personal lives. Along with the muscle pain, fibromyalgia may happen with another pain-related illness such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Unlike the acute pain of a pulled muscle or backache, fibromyalgia pain is chronic or long-term and needs an ongoing treatment plan to manage the pain and other symptoms. People with fibromyalgia describe the pain as stabbing, shooting, throbbing, and aching. Some people with fibromyalgia have tingling and numbness throughout the body, along with the deep muscle pain. While acute pain lasts for a few hours or days, fibromyalgia pain is chronic, or long-term, and lasts for months to years. In fact, widespread body pain and deep muscle pain are the main symptoms of fibromyalgia. Others with fibromyalgia may have more pain in the morning. Pain may also worsen with weather changes, poor sleep, too much exercise, not enough exercise, and chronic emotional stress.

As the pain drags on sleep can be further compromised and depression and anxiety can develop or worsen which can require separate treatment. A thorough investigation and treatment of underlying sources of pain such as osteoarthritis of the spine, degenerative disc disease, rheumatoid arthritis etc. can hopefully remove a source of pain if the fibromyalgia is caused from the body’s abnormal response to underlying pain.

Exercise aggravate fibromyalgia pain or actually help it?

Many people with fibromyalgia follow their workout plan daily, but after some days they realize that exercise aggravate their pain, so they stop exercising. Senior author Dennis Ang, MD, associate professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest Baptist said that they are hoping that one day there will be enough research to reassure the fibromyalgia victims that exercise can never aggravate their symptoms; it can actually help them to relieve their pain. The most misunderstood thing about fibromyalgia is that it’s real, it isn’t in our heads. We may not look sick on the outside, but we are sick on the inside.


Also Read: Fibromyalgia Diet: What to eat and what not to eat


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