Fibro Pain, One of the Big Six

The following blogs will go through the big six symptoms of Fibromyalgia which almost everybody suffering with fibro will have. also included will be the mechanism behind that particular symptom.

Today, we’ll speak about “pain” perhaps the most troublesome for the most people.

Pain: The great majority of people with Fibromyalgia have pain, but not the typical pain that most people know and understand. It’s a deep burning type of pain which is just about impossible to describe to another person. The pain can be widespread (all over the body), can be centered in the arms or legs, the upper half or lower half of the body and even can be on just the right or just the left side of the body. The pain can lesson, increase, get worse, get better, without any apparent rhyme or reason. So why is this happening?

First, you must understand that Fibromyalgia is a nervous system that is running on overdrive. The system is constant firing at a much higher rate than the normal person. Now the nervous system is made up of 2 pairs of 12 cranial nerves which are in the upper neck and head and 31 pairs of spinal nerves which travel from the spinal cod to all parts of the body. These nerves are constant firing and when they constantly fire, they cause pain. It has been estimated that it only takes a dime’s worth of pressure on a nerve to make it fire. (According to a study done at the University of Colorado 20 years ago). Another way of looking at this is to picture yourself when you gently tap your “funny bone”, does it not seem like your arm and hand is about to explode? This is an example of a nerve firing.

With fibro many and sometimes most of these nerves are continuously firing, thus leading to pain.

Now, suppose you have horrendous fibro pain ion the leg. The doctor performs every type of test, including an MRI and an EEG yest cannot see any problem inn the leg. This is because the pain is firing from the spinal nerve which is located in the lower back. Therefore, in a sense, the pain from Fibromyalgia is “Phantom Pain”, the pain is there, it is real, it is horrible, yet it is originating from another place, not where the pain itself is. This is one of the reason why doctors have so much  trouble with fibro.

Think back to the young men who returned from a war, missing an arm or leg. They insist that they still feel the leg and can actually describe exactly where, on the leg), the pain is, yet they no longer have the leg. This is phantom pain, similar to what a person with Fibro is dealing with.

Another cause of the pain also relates to these same nerves. Nerves control all the muscles in your body. In fact you might think of the reason for the existence of most muscles to be to move bones, nothing more and nothing less. Think of lifting a glass with your forearm (the part from your elbow to your hand), the biceps muscle has to contract so the arm lifts up. when you place the glass down, the triceps muscle moves the forearm in the other direction. I won’t get into the entire biochemical process, but suffice it to say, the end product of muscle metabolism is Lactic acid which our bodies would normal flush out via the lymph circulation, into the blood circulation and than through the kidneys until you urinate it  from the body.

When the nerves are firing on overdrive, the muscles are constantly contracting. (This is why so many of you have that constant tightness in the neck and shoulders). There is so much lactic acid being produced that the body just cannot get rid of it all and the extra lactic acid starts to accumulate in the bellies of the muscles. As the lactic acid would harm the muscles, the body than lays down fibrous tissue (think of a cloth like material) that covers the pockets of lactic acid to prevent it from doing any harm.

I realize that many of your well intentioned doctors tell you that you must constantly exercise and even to push yourselves. This is just plain incorrect. when you do this, you teat the fibrous tissue, which itself causes pain and also allows great amounts of the lactic acid to be released into the body. This is why so many of you say that after being very active or exercising, you are on your backs for 2 or 3 days, trying to recover. Thus, this is another cause of the deep burning pain so common in Fibromyalgia.

As you can see, you have two overlapping mechanisms causing you pain, the pain nerves which are constantly firing and the breaking down of fibrous tissue leading to the lactic acid entering your body in large amounts.

For those who are exercising, it is imperative to drink lots of water to help flush some of the lactic acid out of the body. Keep a bottle with you and sip on it all during the day. this also holds true for those who have a good massage therapist (A massage therapist who does not understand Fibro will many times cause you to flare). Again drink water before and after the massage. (remember that water is important, even for those without fibro and that a good percentage of the population does not drink enough and is dehydrated).

Last note on pain, the same nerves that cause pain also carry sensation. therefore, many will find their skin to be overly sensitive to touch. Just a husband gently touching a wife’s should can be excruciating. This skin sensitivity can be anywhere and everywhere in the body, from the head down to the feet.

Next: More of the big 6 symptoms!

16 thoughts on “Fibro Pain, One of the Big Six

  1. Thank you for this informative article. You describe the process of “delayed pain reaction” perfectly.
    I have heard of Doctors telling people to “push” through the pain but this (for me) is impossible as my muscles contract and threaten to dump me on the floor if I do not sit down. I wish all Doctors could see this more clearly, some place an impossible exercise regime on people just adding to their stress when they find they cannot comply.
    At least through you I find that I am F.M. “normal” and can stop trying to find out why my body behave as it does. again, thank you.

  2. I get so frustrated about this…no mention of how to get that pain to ‘lessen or go away’, isn’t there anything that can help it?? I understand the nerve related thing, but why are WE as sufferers of ME/CFS/FMS etc always told we cannot be put on pain medication. Wouldn’t it help our self esteem if we could at least have a bit of relief? Must we live in a bubble of constant misunderstanding and relatively rude treatment by other people? Honestly I feel like I’m an Alien or something. Even to myself. If I straighten out my arm, it goes numb, if I bend it…it goes numb. If I drive my car it goes numb. If I try to get groceries I have begun to use motorized scooters because my legs/lower back give out and I feel like I’m going to collapse much like a character on the Flintstones!! My very own Dr laughed when I told him I use a scooter when I can find one to use, and he actually asked me WHY!!! I wanted to slap him but I had my 3 yr old Granddaughter with me. What GD nerve he had to ask me WHY!!!!! Is it any wonder we get treated like lazy idiots who don’t want to do anything but sit (if we can) around and moan in pain??? SERIOUSLY??? I do’nt think so…this 54 year old, who feels like 98 yrs old, would dearly love to be able to take a walk, do the dishes, the laundry etc without feeling like I’m going to absolutely die. I don’t think I can take much more of this abuse. I live in Pennsylvania and the Drs here are sooooooo out of the loop when it comes to all of these diseases. My Dr refused to even entertain the idea of the XMRV…laughed at me about that too. I need another Dr, someone who will take me seriously, not laugh at me, and help me get my spine fixed if I can have it fixed. I’m beginning to think because I’m on disability and PA assistance, that I will never be taken care of. I’m so bad lately that I find it almost impossible to even GO to the Dr…what’s up with that?? pain pain pain pain pain pain….oh and rain rain rain rain rain rain…..
    I’m done. Thanks for the info!! 😉

    • Don’t feel alone I’ve been in the wheelchair and I’m only 40. I bought my own chair. And the arthritis doctor didn’t understand why. Everyday is a different day of pain and I sure would like to know if this works to get us better.

  3. Bonnie, once I discussed “Quality of Life” issues my treatment picked up markedly. I now have some relief, only 30% but hey, beats total misery.
    I hope your Doc listens and has empathy, good luck.

  4. Thanks to all of you who posted…I just re-read my post., MAN I can really blather on!!
    I’m in one of those time periods of feeling totally useless. I’ve had to tell my daughter once again, to get someone else to babysit!! Geeeeeez!! My own family thinks that because I’m not all wrinkled up, that all is well.
    I go through these times where I cannot even watch a movie or a TV show because I actually seriously HURT when I see someone fall or have an accident. I am dead serious…you’d think that watching a show where people are falling and clowning around would be funny and all I can do is cringe with fear and pain when I see stuff like that. Does anyone else deal with this issue?? It’s very strange!! Can’t watch car racing because I cannot imagine being stuffed into a little space like that and driving for hours. I have difficulty watching football because…well it’s obvious.
    I am having a hard time getting past THINKING about doing the shopping. The mere thought of it makes me hurt even more. And the more I TRY not to think about it, well…it just doesn’t help much. I have time after time, written lists and circled things in flyers only to throw them out because a week has gone by and I’ve not been able to get to the store. We spend waaaay too much money on things at the store down the street because it’s too hard to get to the ‘cheaper’ stores that are 20 minutes away.
    Same thing with Doctors. All of my friends want me to comprise a list of my complaints and get to John’s Hopkins or somewhere like that…well sorry, but that’s not going to happen. How would I get there?? Oh well, thanks for the vent again and I’m trying to sign up for the webhinar…we shall see!
    Gentle hugs to everyone and thanks for listening!! This helps me a lot!! ❤

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