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Fibro or not?? Plz help
8 Replies
jackieg123 - December 18

I have not been formally "diagnosed" with fibromyalgia but my doctor seems to think I have it. I have had chronic muscle tension in my upper back since February. I struggle with SAD and it seems that this pain started when I am at my "low" point with the winter blues. I have struggled with this pain "daily" since February along with Costochrondritis. I have lowered my stress levels and the pain had subsided some but still there on a daily basis. My muscles in the middle of my back are just chronically tense therefore causing the pain. I do not have fibro fog, fatigue or tender points. I do ocassionally have sleep disturbances but nothing on a regular basis and I do wake up energized. Therefore, this is why I do not feel that I have FMS. Could this be a lingering depression issue? I have struggled with depression/anxiety over the years but do not take any medication. Usually, it is just the "winter blues" and will go away by summer but this year it has not subsided and the pain is there daily. Massage helps tremendously and the harder the better; the massage therapist tells me my muscles "are like concrete". I sit at a desk all day long, dont exercise and am about 20lb overweight. My pain is only in one area and no where else. Everyone talks about the "pain" but no specifics. Can someone shed some light on what the "pain" feels like? My Dr. keeps pushing the Zoloft to help with my anxiety which she thinks is causing all of this mess. I just want an answer to this pain.....I had an accupunture treatment last week followed by massage and was "pain free" for 4 days and then it came creeping back, like the muscles have been like that for so long, they don't know what is normal.....any response is appreciated. Thank you for listeneing.


axxie - December 19

jackieg123, I will first describe fibromyalgia and what isn't. Fibromyalgia is not a musculosketel disorder. Many think it is, but in fact fibromyalgia should have been called "Central Nervous Sysstem-myalgia". That is where the dysfunction is located. It has nothing to do with the fibers of your muscles. In FMS, muscle fibers are not causing the problem, although there may be cellular changes caused by the biochemical FMS dysfunction. Fibromyalgia is a biochemical disorder, and these biochemicals affect the whole body. You can't have FMS only in your back or in your hands. You either have it all over or you don't have it at all. If you have localized complaints, they are probably not caused by FMS, although FMS may be amplifying the local symptoms.

Fibromyalgia is not progressive. If your illness becomes significantly worse over time, then there is some prerpetuating or aggravating factor or some coexisting condition that has not been addressed. If you identify that factor and deal with it thoroughly and promptly, your symptoms should ease considerably. Fibromyalgia is not a diagnosis of exclusivity. You may have coexisting conditions, such as ms, arthritis, and or myofascial pain, and still have FMS pain amplification.
Fibromyalgia is not a catchall, wastebasket diangosis. It is specific, chronic non degenerative, non inflammatory syndrome. It is not a disease. Diseases have known causes and well understoor mechanisms for producing symptoms. A syndrome is a specific set of signs and symptoms that occure together.
Fibromyalgia is not the same as chronic myofascial pain.
Fibromyalgia is not the same as Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrom (CFIDS) although they may be part of the same family of the central nervous system dysfunciton.
Finally Fibromyalgia is not just widespread pain or achy muscles.
Fibromyalgia is not homogenous condition, is not an autoimmune condintion and is not a mental illness and must not be categorized as such, and finally fibromyalgia is not infectious.


axxie - December 19

After reading your post, I don't either believe that you have fibromyalgia. Widespread hypersensitivity and allogynia can be present with fewer than eleven tender points. You don't have to have widespread pain, if your doctor was to do the tender points, and hurt where pressed, but they do not refer pain. In other words, pressing a tender point does not cause pain in some other part of the body. When your doctor did your examination, the examiner must use enough pressure point there has to be pain in all four quadrants of the body, that is, the upper right and left and lower right and left part of your body. Tender points occure in pairs, so the pain is usually distributed equally on both sides of the body.
Initiating Events, in fms, world health organization difination, is believe that there is often an initiating event that activates biochemical changes, causing a cascade of symptoms. For example unremitting grief of six months or longer can trigger FMS. In many ways, FMS, is sort of like survivor's syndrome, Cumulative trauma, protracted labor in pregnancy, open-heart surgery, and even inguinal hernia repain have all been initiating event for FMS. The start of each case of FMS probably has multiple causes. Not all cases of FMS cases have a known triggering even that initiatites the first obvious flare.
Fibromyalgia seems to be the result of many neurotransmitter cascades. If you are wondering what a neurotransmitter cascade is like a waterfall that starts at the top and bounces off rocks and ridges on the way down the rock, on and on.


axxie - December 19

OK, so you work, many people who have fms work, sometimes they work for years other times, some of us have to quit, because of pain and neurostansmitter that are faulty. What you may have are trigger points, many people confuse trigger points with FMS, it's not the same. TrPs can cause what you describe, such as tense muscles in the middle of your back, that would cause you to loose sleep when the pain is not relieved. Like you said, you go for massage and the pain goes for a few days. What you may have is, degenerative back disorder, arthristis in your back, partly that is my main pain concern and even since that was diagnosed, and prescribed opiod medication I have returned to working and walking and joining my family in almost all of what I couldn't do prior.


axxie - December 19

Depression you may have since you said that you have had it prior and you find that SAD comes and goes in winter. You can buy yourself the light therapy, you can set it up on your desk and have it on all winter which should help you with your SAD after several days using it. I have one find that it helps me tremendously. Also what I have found is, taking fish oil, with vitamin E and other oils in pills forms. It helps with SAD and has been known to help people with ADD.
Another thing you should be using is, calcium supplements, you will find after using it for a few days that your pain is less. Stop using it and you see the pain returning. Another thing you should use is hot water therapy, hot shower for twenty minutes helps with a massage shower head. If that is not available go where they have warm water pool and swim, that would also help you with your depression.

By all else, try medication if you think, that your depression is chronic, many of these medication will also help you with the pain. They say depression does bring muscle pain and will help with anxiety.

I hope this helps you see what maybe ailing you.
Good luck to you and do stay on the board, we like company and even if you think you don't have it, you can still by part of our very large and extended family.

Read what they post and if you feel like it, post back, sometimes encouragement is all we need, other times we need to describe our emotions to get on with life.


axxie - December 19

You asked about PAIN, describing pain, so much negative emotions when trying to describe what pain is.
First thing, you can describe pain, by saying it's interfering with your functions. Doctors understand the language of pain, so choose wisely, when talking to your physician about your pain.
Some of the words to describe pain, can be tingling, crushing, tugging wrenghing, lancing, hot cruel, dull, sore, aching, heavy, tender, taut, tiring, rigid, numb, squeezing, could be cool, cold, icy.
Other words to describre different kinds of pain more pricely, when accompanied with physical pain is other symptoms, such as vomiting, skaking, distractibility, inability to concentrate.
Don't forget to ask your physician if he understands the severity of your pain, that is one of the first step in finding a gread doctor who will help you elevate your pain, mood, anxiety and depression, so that you gain a better life after suffering so much pain.


Fantod - December 19

jackieg123 - In a nutshell, I don't think that you have Fibromyalgia (FMS). You don't have enough of the symptoms to qualify. That being said, if you don't get this upper back problem sorted out you could be in a good position to progress to FMS based upon your other problems.

I agree with Axxie that your upper back muscles are probably trigger points. Trigger points are muscles that have contracted and will not release on their own. I think that the most effective way to deal with them is to have them injected to break the pain cycle. You will probably need to see a rheumotologist to have this done. The injections should relax the muscles and keep them that way for a few months. The longer a chronic pain cycle continues, the harder it becomes to manage or stop. It is possible that you may need a second set of injections but not likely.

Has anybody taken a good look at your teeth to see if you are grinding or clenching at night? TMJ will cause chronic tension in the upper back, neck, head, shoulders and arms. If you do have bruxism, than you need to have a bite splint made to be woren at night to relax your jaw.

Do you use a light box for SAD? They are incrediably helpful and not to expensive too purchase.

I also think that a round of physical therapy to stretch the offending muscles and get you moving would not hurt either. I'm quite sure that sitting all day at a desk and working on a computer is also a big contributing factor to your upper back problems.

If all your doctor is doing for you is pushing Zoloft and not suggesting anything else than you need another doctor. Everything that Axxie or I have mentioned are simple common sense fixes for your medical problems. You may like your doctor but she is not doing you any favors. A new treatment regimen is needed and apparently she does not "see" that. Good luck to you and take care. Have a wonderful holdiday.


jackieg123 - December 19

THANK YOU axxie for providing such an enlightening and informative reply. I do appreciate that you took so much time in responding to my question. Quite honestly I have learned more from your reply than from 3 different doctors and hours on the internet. I feel more at ease now that I am more educated about FMS. I will keep plugging away at the massage and accupuncture and will try fantod's recommendation for a rheumatologist and possible physical therapy. This daily pain has just brought me down so far and making me further depressed as I am exhausted at the end of the day from dealing with the pain. I did go to the health food store today and got some malic acid which I have heard may help, she also recomended a "magnesium oil" (topical oil to be massaged in) so I will try these two in addition to taking turmeric capsules for the inflammation. My doctor did tell me my x-ray showed minor disc degeneration in the thoracic (sp?) spine which causes arthritis??? idk yet one more thing to research and figure out. So sick of spending my days worrying and trying to figure out what is wrong.....a waste of time/energy. Thank you once again axxie and fantod for taking the time to reply....Bless you and yours....Happy Holidays to you both!


axxie - December 20

Jackieg123, I am quite happy that you were able to learn a few facts. One thing you do need to do is get some liquid calcium in you. I also have the same pain, and I can vouch liquid calcium does help.

One thing for sure bone density decrease because of other factors, such as age, genetic, poor nutrition, alcolhol and cigarettes were found to contribute to bone loss.

In women, estrogen levels decrease, so does bone density, usually occures during menopause, low estrogen follows bone weakness and osteroporosis.

Stress and tension are other causes for bones getting weak as they affect the bone density. Again is one of the main causes of osterooris.

As years go the cartilage loses its water content while the protein content degenerates, as this happens, there is less cartilage to cushion the joints and finally they rub against each other and that causes pain. There are many factors that will contribute to osteroporosis, sports, poor nutrition, family herederity, health issues, etc.

Taking liquid calcium magnesium is an effective calcium product which contain, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and some other nutrients. The benefits to taking this jam packed nutrients for your bones and the pain you are experiencing, not counting that it helps to not deplete anymore of your bones density.

You can also use it in pill form, but found that the pill form does not absorbe as well.

Here is what you are looking for in a good liquid calcium supplement, you must have 1000 mg of calcium salt, 600 mg of magnesium salt and around 150 IU of vitamin D. This is the ideal composition and very effective in preventing various diseases and health conditions associated with nutrient particularly calcium deficiency.

Good quality calcium tablets and liquid supplements are a bit more expensive than others, similarly, marine grade coral calcium has been found to be the purest and most effective salt of calcium and most effective to help ease the bone pain that you are experiencing.

Chriropractors is found to be very effective, massage, etc. also help in easing the pain you are experiencing.



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