Why Fibromyalgia Is Different From Any Other Kind of Pain

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People suffering from fibromyalgia often face difficulties and they are so disappointed because no one understands their pain. This is because the pain of fibromyalgia is different from any other pain. For example if you burn your finger or your toes gets hurt somewhere, you will feel pain where you get injured.

But this is not the case with fibromyalgia. Apparently we cannot appreciate that something is wrong with fibromyalgia sufferers. They may have been seeing different doctors for the past 15 20 years because of pain in different parts of their body. Fibromyalgia is fundamentally a very unique and different type of pain.

This pain does not originate in the place that hurts; in fact this pain originates in brain and spinal cord. The brain becomes hyperactive and it overreacts to the signals coming from the body. It sends reaction and signal to the wrong part of the body that doesn’t hurt.

This fact makes the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia a real challenge for doctors. This pain cannot be treated like the ordinary pain that originates from knee or elbow. Different and specialized techniques are needed to treat this pain of unknown origin.

Opioids and narcotics that have been used for centuries to treat the ordinary pain, have failed in treating this unique pain of fibromyalgia. Using narcotics in fibromyalgia have made the problem worse. Now after a lot of research three drugs have been proved for treating fibromyalgia pain. But Clauw said that beside medications exercise and behavioral should also be used to treat this unique fibromyalgia pain. Women are affected more than men. They have a positive family history of fibromyalgia.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia often begin in childhood or early adulthood. Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and right now there is no lab test available to diagnose this pain. Fibromyalgia pain occurs on both sides of the body, both above and below the waist and that pain has lasted for last 3 months. Pain in the abdomen and bladder is also reported by some patients. Patients may also feel headache, memory issues and mood disturbances.

Study found out that people suffering from fibromyalgia had damaged nerve fibers in their skin. They constantly feel like they don’t have energy. They even wonder that how could they be in so much pain and just have fibromyalgia? They also suffer from severe pain in shoulders, neck and back. They wish that people know more about the misery they are going through.

Doctors still don’t know about the exact cause of this immense pain, but they think that trauma or infection may be the cause. Some doctors think female hormones may be the contributing factor in pain.  Diagnosis is difficult because symptoms often come and go and they also resemble with other conditions.  

“All you’ve got to make the diagnosis is usually a strong constellation of symptoms without anything else backing it up,” said Richard Danehower, MD, a rheumatologist at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut. “It drives some patients and doctors crazy, but that’s just the way it is.”

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.

Management of this pain

According to the American College of Rheumatology, relaxation techniques such as yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, and alternative treatments like acupuncture may help. Mullholand found that hot water eases her pain, so she takes frequent baths.


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