Fibromyalgia Research UK
Making sure no one has to manage Fibromyalgia alone
Let talk about PAIN
WHAT types of pain is there?
Pain is a physical sensation, ranging from uncomfortable through to excruciating.
musculoskeletal pain is caused by damage to muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue, for example neck or back pain.
People with fibromyalgia may experience pain for other reasons including:
as a side effect of medication eg headaches
from an accident
It is common to experience more than one type of pain.
Treating pain may include medication or things such as physiotherapy. You can also make changes to your everyday life so that pain has less of an impact.
What is pain?
No two people experience Fibro pain in the same way. Pain can be annoying, uncomfortable or excruciating. It can have a big impact on the person and it yet seem completely invisible to those around them.
Acute pain begins suddenly and then improves or disappears. It is usually an intense, sharp, burning or shooting feeling.
Chronic pain is longer lasting pain. It may feel better sometimes than others but never goes away.
Paroxysmal symptoms begin suddenly and only last for a few seconds.
Making a Pain diary
You can help your GP by writing down what you are experiencing as accurately as possible. Then they can understand what it feels like for you and the effect it is having on your everyday life.
Can you say this like-
where you feel the pain?
when you feel the pain?
whether some things make it worse?
whether it feels sharp, dull, aching, burning, crawling, tight or like a pressure?
You might like to think about whether the feeling:
comes in short or long lasting bursts or is there all the time
started suddenly or increased bit by bit
started at the same time as other new symptoms or when previous symptoms came back quite suddenly. This may suggest that your pain is part of a relapse.
improves with pain killers?
is stopping you doing what you’d like to do.
What causes pain?
Different types of pain have different causes.
Nerve pain is a result of damage caused the nerves.
Although the pain feels like it is in a particular part of your body, such as your fingertips, there is no damage to the tissues in your hand. The only damage is in the nerves which report to your brain about your hand and this is what makes it seem like there is something wrong with your fingertips.
Examples of nerve pain-
trigeminal neuralgia, an intense painful sensation in the side of the face
Lhermitte's sign, electric shock feelings in the neck and spine which are sometimes painful
optic neuritis which can give a sharp, knife like pain behind the eyes and sometimes also causes difficulties with vision
painful altered sensation, i.e pins and needles, burning, numbness, prickling, itching and crawling
Hip and back pain caused by alterations in how you walk due to fibro possibly because of muscle stiffness, weakness or problems with balance.
Back pain due to sitting for long periods because of fatigue, walking difficulties or inability to stand for long.
Muscle or joint pain due to changes in posture, spasms or muscle stiffness
What can I do if Im getting pain?
Some people opt for medications but you can also have natural therapies such as physiotherapy. Sometimes a combination of both works best.
What can I do to help myself?
Exercise, due to pain or other symptoms, can cause a gradual loss of strength and fitness. This is called deconditioning and can make your pain worse. Although it may not sound appealing, regular exercise and small bursts of exercise can help strengthen your muscles.
Movement. It can be tempting to lie down or sit still for long periods if your pain is troubling you but it is better to move around regularly if you can. You could try small regular changes of position will also help prevent pressure sores
Pacing This involves breaking large tasks into smaller ones and taking regular, short breaks so you overdo it.
Change your habits. It can be helpful to change the way you usually do something. You might buy a more supportive mattress, do the ironing while sitting on a stool or order your shopping online so you don’t have to carry it.
heat applied to the affected area can be helpful. You could try using a hot water bottle or heat pad. A hot bath can be good for pain as well.
Cold. Some people find that applying ice or a cold pack helps. Ice should be wrapped in a tea towel not applied straight to the skin or you could try a pack of frozen peas.
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). There is some evidence that acupuncture can help fibro pain. Aromatherapy can reduce muscle stiffness and promote relaxation and wellbeing.
Distraction. It can be difficult to ignore painful or painful symptoms and they can become the focus of your thoughts. Try to distract yourself by doing something else like colouring or photography.
Relaxation. You may become tense if pain is having an impact on how you feel and how much you can do. This tension may increase your pain and may also create other aches and pains which add to your discomfort. There are many relaxation techniques which can help you so it can be worth trying a range to see what suits you best. You could try breathing exercises, massage, mindfulness, meditation, hypnotherapy or gentle yoga stretching exercises. You might also like to try restful things that you enjoy like listening to music, meeting up for a coffee, gentle walking or sitting outdoors.
Stay positive. pain can be very upsetting so it is vital to stay as positive as possible. cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) encourages new ways of thinking and changes in behaviour.
Share your thoughts. Pain is an invisible symptoms of Fibro, Even people close to you may not notice that you are in pain. It can be good to share how you are feeling and to ask for help when you need it.