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Fibro Fridays: Chronic Pain & Relief Methods

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Fibro Fridays. Today I wanted to talk a little bit more about pain, what it's like, and what kinds there are. Pain is one of the main defining characteristics of fibromyalgia, so I thought it deserved its own dedicated post.

Pain is one of the hardest symptoms of fibromyalgia to deal with. While I've gotten used to having pain all the time and I don't remember a time when I didn't have pain, it isn't exactly fun to have pain 99.9% of the time. I often can't move in any direction without experiencing pain of some sort. Even if I'm laying completely still, I can have pain. While I don't want to never say never, I'm pretty sure I have pain all the time.

There are also different types of pain, so today I wanted to delve into more about what they're like.
  • Joint pain. This is when my joints—my elbows, my hips, my knees, my wrists, my ankles, my fingers, and sometimes even my toes—ache. This can be triggered by cold, whether that's the arrival of cold weather or a frigid breeze. It can also be triggered by movement or pressure. There are also probably triggers I'm not aware of. 
  • Muscle pain. This is pretty self-explanatory—it's when my muscles ache. This can also be triggered by movement, but it also can be triggered by absolutely nothing at all. Often it feels like a burning or a strain. 
  • Nerve pain. Nerve pain is the pain most unique to fibro and also the hardest to explain. Sometimes it's like a stinging, like a bug bite. Sometime's it's like a firing electrical current. Sometimes it's like bugs crawling all over my skin (my least favorite; it's seriously creepy, and I never know when there's an actual bug on me). This one can be the most annoying because of all the weird sensations it provokes.
  • Headaches. This one isn't really a fibro thing because I have chronic migraines, but it's a type of pain that I experience. I'll go more into headaches in a different post, but there are different types of headaches I experience, and they can be pretty debilitating. They radiate throughout my whole head, make it painful to open my eyes, and sometimes make it impossible to do anything except lay in bed and sleep. I'm on some medicine that does cut down on the frequency, but headaches are definitely a huge inconvenience and a source of pain in my daily life.
Now that we've talked about the pain, let's talk about some relief methods.
  • Medication. I'm on a variety of medications to help with my pain. However, this doesn't mean that it goes away. I still experience a lot of pain every single day. Medicine has helped cut down on the intensity, but it hasn't solved it. Additionally, there are a lot of side effects that aren't pleasant. Still, I'm grateful for medicine and the ways it helps me.
  • Biofreeze. This is a green gel that is kind of like Icy-Hot. I use it on my neck mainly to help cut down on inflammation.
  • Essential oils. I've found a combination of essential oils to be helpful in pain relief. Peppermint and wintergreen especially help with my headaches.
  • Heat and ice. A combination of heat packs and ice packs, depending on the day, have been really essential in managing my pain.
  • Hot showers and/or baths. When all else fails, hopping in the shower and letting the hot water take over is sometimes all I can do. Taking a bath and adding some epsom salts is also helpful at times.
  • Massage. For the worst headaches and neck/shoulder pain, I have to ask my dad to rub the tension out. Thank goodness for his patience and willingness to do so.
  • Rest. Sometimes I just have to lay still, lay down, and not do anything. It stinks, but that's sometimes the best thing I can do.
Hopefully this gives you a better idea about what fibromyalgia pain is like. In the midst of it all, I manage to find relief and joyful moments, so it's not a hopeless existence. Sometimes I get sad, but I'm not always. I have ups and downs and experience life just like everyone else. Living with pain is just my reality, and I don't know any different, so I've adapted. I've learned to live with it, and I'm grateful that I'm here, pain and all. No matter what, I've learned to remember that it's going to be okay.

If you have chronic pain, what relief methods have helped you? What does your pain feel like?

If you don't have chronic pain, what would you like to know about fibromyalgia? Let me know what you want to hear about in an upcoming post!

Until next time,

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