First an announcement!
Please note: I’ve been working for a few months on setting up a telephone support group for those interested. The idea is to have it weekly for 45 minutes to one hour. I could speak on a topic and then there would be plenty of time for questions and answers. The nice part is that all conferences will be recorded and e-mailed to you after the call. If interested, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and write support group in the description.
Tentatively: Every Tuesday: 6 PM Pacific
7 PM Mountain
8 PM Central
9 PM Eastern
Perhaps the most common trigger I see and have seen for years is trauma/stress. This can be one large trauma (bad auto accident), or many small traumas over a period of time. Continual stress also adds to the equation. An example would be nursing a loved one for years through cancer or other illness. The stress is so intense and you become so involved that you really don’t notice it.
Think of it as an empty glass, Each time you encounter stress or a trauma you’re adding more water to the glass. Ultimately the water level reaches the top and starts spilling over. This is when you begin to experience the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
From my experiences in the office, I always ask about prior traumas/stress. Sometimes there are enough to fill pages, other times, the patient cannot remember any incidents. I usually tell them that over time they will begin to remember and this is invariably the case.
Stress/trauma can be physical, emotional, sexual or mental or a combination of any of these.
We’ve probably all know someone who was injured at work or in a car accident. Even though the person was showing symptoms, the company doctors or insurance companies would claim that the person could not have been injured and the benefits would be cut. (We know that the underlying job of an insurance company is to collect premiums and payout as little as possible. The difference being the profit.).The patients are now cut off from care, their symptoms increase and ultimately Fibromyalgia rears it’s head. (I’ve seen this again and again).
For you fibro sufferers, try to think back in time. The trauma could have occurred as a child playing sports, falling off a horse, an accumulation of minor fender benders etc. Think of divorce, problems at work, problems with parents etc.
The best statistics show that 22% of women in the U.S. are physically abused (battered), and more are emotionally and mentally abused. I can usually see this in the attitude of the husband who is very bossy, barks out orders to the wife and is not interested in the consultation, sometimes going as far as to read a newspaper while the wife and I are speaking. Sometimes the wife will appear to jump when the husband speaks. I’m not a psychologist, but I do know that spousal abuse is a huge problem and much more common than we know.
For those with Fibromyalgia, you’ve probably noticed that stress makes your symptoms flair up, thus it would make sense that trauma/stress can very well be a trigger for Fibromyalgia.
In some people there seems to be a genetic propensity for Fibromyalgia, not all people, just some. Please note that if you have Fibro, it does not mean that your children will get it. On the other hand if you have that genetic possibility, it still doesn’t not mean your child would get it, unless the child goes through a number of traumas and or stresses. Than he/she would be more likely than a child where the genes were not a factor.
I have seen identical twins in my office, both with Fibro except one girl started having symptoms at 9 years old and the other girl and 19 years old. There were long histories of physical traumas in both cases (falling off horses, contact sports, and some general teenage craziness).
I’ve also seen identical twins where one had Fibro pretty severely while the other had no sign of fibro at all.
One thing I hear again and again is that my adult Fibro patients told me that when they were children, they had pain in the legs and the doctors just dismissed it as growing pains. Thus if your child exhibits those symptoms, I would absolutely think Fibromyalgia and have him/her checked out. Hopefully it’s not Fibro!
Another trigger appears to be surgeries, when you are put to sleep under general anesthesia. I spoken to many many people who relayed that when they woke up they were either in severe pain and their fibro was flaring very badly, or they woke up with Fibro pain which they were experiencing for the first time. Than the rest of the symptoms started over the next days.
All general anesthesia implies a risk to life, though small, and a risk for flaring if you have fibro. If it can be avoided with a local, the better off you might be.
Friday: More Triggers