Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic and long-term pain disorder that affects about two percent of the adult population in the country. Sadly, despite being a common problem, some people still don’t consider this an illness. Others also struggle to grasp how it works and how it affects patients and their families. Thankfully, with the advancement of technology and research, it’s just a matter of time before we understand this condition fully and learn its connections to several identified fibromyalgia triggers, such as psychological stressors.
If you’ve come across this article, you’re probably asking the same questions as several others. How can you cope with the psychological impacts of fibromyalgia? Can stopping yourself from feeling guilty help lessen the burden of the condition? What actionable steps can patients take to embrace one’s new reality and thrive despite having debilitating symptoms? We will expound on these questions further through the article.
Common Fibromyalgia Triggers
At present, the exact cause of the widespread musculoskeletal pain remains unknown. However, experts have linked this condition with different fibromyalgia triggers, including the following:
- Physical stress
- Psychological stress
- Weather and temperature changes
- Changes in hormone levels
- Traveling or changes in schedule
- Medication or treatment side effects
- Poor sleep quality
Similar to the triggers, fibromyalgia also varies from person to person. This makes it extra tricky to gauge the severity of the condition and get an accurate and timely diagnosis. In general, here are some of the commonly reported indications of fibromyalgia:
- Widespread pain – Most patients notice tenderness in several body parts.
- Fatigue – People with fibromyalgia often feel incredibly exhausted, leaving them unable to partake in their usual activities.
- Muscle and stiffness – Besides causing pain, fibromyalgia also triggers muscle and joint stiffness that usually worsens after a long period of inactivity.
- Cognitive difficulties – Fibro fog causes mild to severe cognition problems ranging from confusion to difficulty remembering things.
- Emotional issues – Fibromyalgia leaves patients at risk of experiencing mental health issues, including anxiety, panic, and depression.
- Sleep problems – Fibromyalgia patients often struggle to sleep and stay asleep, causing them to wake up exhausted and mentally drained.
Methods of Detection Used by Doctors
With the primary cause being unknown, detecting fibromyalgia proves to be challenging to medical experts. There is no particular method to diagnose this condition. Instead, your doctor may base the presence of this condition on the following:
- Tender points – Your doctor may apply pressure on pre-identified tender points all over your body and identify the level of pain you feel.
- Pain duration – Your doctor may consider pain felt for about three months before consultation linked to fibromyalgia.
- Other medical concerns – Your doctors will also check other health conditions related to your widespread pain. Some medical issues can coincide with fibromyalgia and its symptoms.
Dealing with Guilt and Other Steps to Cope with Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is difficult to deal with. While some of its triggers may be beyond your control, it may help to shift your focus. Why not pay more attention to things you can readily work on, such as psychological and physical stressors? Let’s tackle some helpful steps you can try:
Learn to say no and feel less guilty about your choices
As we mentioned in the triggers, physical and psychological stress can trigger fibromyalgia, making flare-ups worse. These include feeling guilty and forcing yourself to engage in activities that contribute to your physical pain.
For example, you said yes to an event weeks ago, but you cannot make it anymore due to factors you can’t control, such as weather changes or hormone fluctuation. Feeling guilty can only make your pain worse and may even keep you in bed for longer than you like. People who genuinely care for your health and welfare will understand. You do not have to make up random excuses that will only make it more stressful for you.
If someone invites you to do an activity that you know will trigger your fibromyalgia, saying no is always an option. When you decline, it doesn’t mean that you disrespect the person or reject the notion of spending time with them. Instead, it only means that you respect your body and you want to prioritize yourself.
Feeling guilty makes it worse for you, especially if you’re dealing with chronic health problems. It can readily become one of your fibromyalgia triggers that can cause severe disruptions in your everyday life.
Learn to process your emotions
Your emotions or feeling can get in the way of your efforts to manage the effects of fibromyalgia in your life. Hence, it’s essential to learn ways to process your thoughts and emotions with the help of a journal, a counselor, or a support group. Additionally, you might find it helpful to confide in your most trusted loved one so you can slowly start embracing your new reality and find better ways to adapt and thrive.
Tap into upper cervical chiropractic
Experts now believe that fibromyalgia affects how your brain and spinal cord process pain signals. Your brain and spinal cord are connected by your brainstem, located at your base. The brain stem found in the upper neck is protected by your upper cervical spine’s top two bones – your atlas and your axis. If any of these neck bones get misaligned, your brainstem endures unnecessary pressure, distorting messages from your spinal cord to your brain, including pain signals.
An upper cervical chiropractor can help identify and correct any misalignments in your upper spine to restore your brainstem’s optimum health and function. Once the misalignment is corrected, your body will slowly heal naturally, influencing the rest of your body systems.
Suppose you want to explore this natural and non-invasive method to deal with your fibromyalgia. In that case, you can browse our directory for upper cervical chiropractors to find the best one near you. We have a wide range of doctors specializing in NUCCA, Blair, EPIC (atlas orthogonal), Orthospinology, and other unique upper cervical techniques united by the same goals – to help patients heal and provide long term relief.