Weight and Pain

http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/fibromyalgia/articles/obesity-fibromyalgia.php

I recently wrote a blog piece about my lowered pain levels, or remission state, from my fibromyalgia pain. In that piece, I concluded that a year-long illness I went through, which resulted in a large weight loss was the contributing factor, so I have decided to follow it up with some actual research into this connection. And indeed, losing weight has had medical validity in pain intensity for many years now (see above link). My doctors always told me to lose weight, and to exercise. The discussion of  exercise also been a popular thread among my peers in online support rooms. Most stating it as helpful, if not with weight, at least with a healthier, happier state of mind.

I was always conflicted about this idea. I would come away from the doctors or the thread feeling shame and anger. It’s easy to tell someone with constant pain that they should get out there and walk, or swim, but it’s not so easy for that person to do. I know that just walking the dog could trigger pain for the entire next day; a very large price to pay! I want to interject here that while that is “not” occurring for me right now, it is apples to apples that it will start happening again soon (I have never experienced a remission of pain for this long, not in all my 17 years of living with fibromyalgia). Another point, in my current relief condition, is that I do still have medium pain every several days and a flare-up of pain large enough to send me to bed for the day every 7-9 days, so as I write this I am clear that this piece on weight and exercise applies to me as well as my peers. I felt shamed because I simply couldn’t create a routine of regular exercise, not with the pain threshold I live with. Anger followed because it was easier to project this feeling onto the doctors and my peers then it was to look deep inside myself and take personal responsibilty for my choices.

After losing all the weight and feeling the relief of waking up everyday at a pain level of 4 instead of the years of 5-6, I now feel ashamed that I didn’t try harder a long time ago. Lately I walk my dog farther every day then I did before, even when my pain level is at a raging 8. I make time to walk a slow three miles at least once a week. I am getting a donated recumbent exercise bike for the winter and will be applying for a low-income monthly membership to my local YMCA where I intend to use the swimming pool, take water aerobic classes, and indulge in some gentle and light weight lifting.  I am also looking into finding a free, local Tai Chi group.

I have not turned into an overnight super athlete, far from it. With the evidence of research and my own, personal experience it is obvious that the adage, “no pain, no gain” is true.  I certainly can not do all of these items weekly, but I can integrate them into an alternating monthly schedule. I will need to start slowly! My upper body is triggered very easily, simply driving the car for more than hour creates triggers in my shoulders, neck, and then head muscles (just typing this is aggravating my trapveious muscles). I am planning to begin exercising in chunks and in no more than 20 minute intervals. I will track what I actually do in my journal and then track how I feel immeaditely after, that night, and the next day. After a month or two of alternating exercising styles and journaling the resulting pain or no pain increase, I should be able to create a program that is tailored to my needs. Losing weight has definitely helped both my pain and my attitude, I am sure my seretonin levels are higher than they were, what a blessing it is for any of us to gain this important nuerotransmitter back. Despite the gift of this gain, losing so much weight has left me with wasted muscle mass (as we age we “useit or lose it”). I am keenly aware  that if I don’t start now, I may never start.

I try to share healthy, successful, positive living ideas in this blog. It would be hypocritical for me to share them and not live them myself. Besides, I love the hope of staying in a state of less pain! Try to find your weight loss path. Decide which exercise routine fits for you. Then, start tomorrow. XX

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In-depth Research Information for Fibromyalgia Survivors

Hello Peers,

I felt that this informative piece should be posted for a overview of everything associated with our pain syndrome. It addresses all the nuts and bolts.

http://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/fibromyalgia

XX

When You Were First Diagnosed with Chronic Pain, What did you Need to Know to Help you Feel More in Control?

I am working on my chronic pain “Positive Tools Pathways” business. I really want my Peers input during this process. I already have 10 worksheets and handouts to assist us in discovering our individual paths to positive pain; understanding triggers and the tools that we need in our lives to achieve this.  Any input will be seriously considered 💜

Please put in comments or use my old email @, msclvwalker@ gmail.com. Please Note; I entered a incorrect email address when I first wrote this. Yikes! Please try again and accept my apologies

XX Lucinda

Newly Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, What now?

Link to Book That Helped me When First Diagnosed w Fibro

Find on Amazon, I used this Book with great results; complex, take it slow 🙂

Being diagnosed with any life changing syndrome or illness changes everything. Most people can’t instantly accept this loss, or make any changes in their lives until they absorb this new situation. No one would ask for this, it’s just as shocking to our emotions as a divorce or death of a loved one is. The five stages of grief generally comes up during the first months or years; denial, anger, bargaining, grief and acceptance (Kubler-Ross). I know this model well. I was diagnosed 17 years ago, it took me a year or so before I began to search for answers about how to live my new life.

I don’t expect you to be any different, but I do hope that after coming to terms with your pain you discover how to seize hold of the concept of wellness, beginning with taking back your own life by using “personal responsibility” (Copeland, Mary Ellen). I will discuss this further in future blogs, lets just keep the happy thought that there are ways, like the one mentioned above and others, which can enable you to work towards a new joy in your new life!

In the beginning, give yourself a break or three. Draw boundaries with family and friends (they truly don’t understand what is happening to your body or, your mental stress load) by taking the time to draft a loving but firm letter of what you can and can not do at this time (type in the “search” box for letter you can use). After it’s written reread it at least once, edit, hang on to it and dispense as needed. Remember to tell them how much you appreciate their support. Don’t forget to inform them right away when you are having an extra bad day. Tell them that you sincerely don’t mean to lash out, but you are not doing well today. When they feel hurt by your roller coaster emotions, remind them that it’s a bad day for you and that you are doing your best.

Please search out support groups! Brick and mortar or online groups are vital to understanding your pain and feeling that support from peers who have walked in your shoes is irreplaceable. This blog is just one of many places you will find on the internet; when I was diagnosed, I found exactly three! The amount of information available on the internet today is staggering, but, that is much better than very little. A word of caution; be discriminating. You know what types of treatments have worked well for you in the past, however, they may not work now. Trust your own feelings first; your body will let you know if the prescribed treatment or alternative treatment is working, for you.  Don’t instantly get caught up in the maze of options out there. Take your time. Don’t hesitate to advocate for yourself when the treatment is just not working for your life.

Another important thought about the beginning of your journey is this; your friends and family, who have loving and good intentions, will find many solutions for your chronic pain. Politely thank them and if it doesn’t seem right for you, ignore it. Hopefully this will be the end of the discussion. If not, and you value the relationship, try taking them to coffee or tea and explaining that you appreciate their research but you are already trying  “blank”.

Remember, you can always use the letter you wrote if all else fails. Remember, there is no one right way to have chronic pain; actually, chronic pain is vastly different from person to person with common threads. I hope you find a place here, and elsewhere, that helps you to become the best person you can in your new journey in life. In the meantime, run a Epsom salt bath, watch the birds, read a good book, meditate, journal, take a nap every day. Be good to you!
Lucinda, MSW:MH, ILS, Fibromyalgia Peer Advocate/Life Skills Coach

Newly Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, What now?

Being diagnosed with any life changing syndrome or illness changes everything. Most people can’t instantly accept this or make any changes in their lives until they absorb this new situation. No one would ask for this and it’s just as shocking to our emotions as a divorce or death of a loved one is. The five stages of grief generally comes up during the first months or years; denial, anger, bargaining, grief and acceptance (Kubler-Ross). I know this model well. I was diagnosed 16 years ago, it took me almost two years to really start searching for answers.
I don’t expect you to be any different, but I do hope that after coming to terms with your pain you discover how to seize hold of the concept of wellness, beginning with taking back your own life by using “personal responsibility” (Copeland, Mary Ellen). I will discuss this further in future blogs, lets just keep the happy thought that there are ways, like the one mentioned above and others, which can enable you to work towards a new joy in your new life!

In the beginning, give yourself a break or three. Draw boundaries with family and friends (they truly don’t understand what is happening to your body or, your mental stress load) by taking the time to draft a loving but firm letter of what you can and can not do at this time. After it’s written reread it at least once, edit, hang on to it and dispense as needed. Remember to tell them how much you appreciate their support. Don’t forget to inform them right away when you are having an extra bad day. Tell them that you sincerely don’t mean to lash out, but you are not doing well today. When they feel hurt by your roller coaster emotions, remind them that it’s a bad day for you and that you are doing your best.

Please search out support groups! Brick and mortar or online groups are vital to understanding your pain and feeling that support from peers who have walked in your shoes is irreplaceable. This blog is just one of many places you will find on the internet; when I was diagnosed, I found exactly three! The amount of information available on the internet today is staggering, but, that is much better than very little. A word of caution; be discriminating. You know what types of treatments have worked well for you in the past, but, they may not work now. Trust your own feelings first; your body will let you know if the prescribed treatment or alternative treatment is working, for you.  Don’t instantly get caught up in the maze of options out there. Take your time.

Another important thought about the beginning of your journey is this; your friends and family, who have loving and good intentions, will find many solutions for your chronic pain. Politely thank them and if it doesn’t seem right for you, ignore it. Hopefully this will be the end of the discussion. If not, and you value the relationship, try taking them to coffee or tea and explaining that you appreciate their research but you are already trying  “blank”. Remember, you can always use the letter you wrote if all else fails.

I hope to create an environment of daily support for my peers. My intention is to offer multiple experiences and perspectives. I will include research, news, links to sites, forums, chats, other blogs, hopefully humor and tools you can use.  Remember, there is no one right way to have chronic pain; actually, chronic pain is vastly different from person to person with common threads. I hope you find a place here, and elsewhere, that helps you to become the best person you can in your new journey. In the meantime, run a Epsom salt bath, watch the birds, read a good book, meditate, journal, take a nap every day. Be good to you!!
Lucinda, MSW:MH, ILS, Fibromyalgia Peer Advocate/Life Skills Coach