Journey from Frustration to Self Management
Fibromyalgia symptoms are chronic, frustrating, and they are often confused with many related conditions.
The overlapping of symptoms frustrates your medical provider, complicates finding the right treatment and leaves you crying for help!
I have heard you state:
• No one believes me!
• I have seen so many specialists without any help!
• My family is tired of hearing me complain!
• I am so tired of hurting all the time!
• Some think it is all in my head!
• It is all I can do to make it thru the day!
• I feel good when I leave your office; BUT the pain always returns!
• How and why is this happening to me?
At one time or another you have felt the same frustration.
I am a retired Physical Therapist who began treating fibromyalgia patients in the 1970’s. Initially my treatment consisted of moist heat, ultrasound and massage. You would leave my office feeling great but would return to your next appointment still complaining of pain. Your symptoms were not consistent; and I felt like I was failing you, because I could not “find” the one treatment that would end your nightmare.
Beginning in the 1990’s, the medical community began to recognize fibromyalgia syndrome as a separate entity even though many medical problems shared the same symptoms.
The first stop on your journey will be to explore just “what is Fibromyalgia”. Before you can swim you must learn to respect and control your fear of water. The same holds true for learning to manage your symptoms. Before you complete a puzzle, you must start with the first piece.
By the time we reach our second stop you will be ready to advance to “treading water” in preparation for self-management of your symptoms.
Our second stop has two objectives. I will explain your symptoms and how they weave themselves among a variety of related conditions. We will attempt to answer that age old question, “Which came first…” the fibromyalgia or the chronic fatigue syndrome, or maybe it is just myofascia pain with all its trigger points?
I spent 30 years trying to answer this and other questions. I tried to make sense out of all this confusion for each one of my patients.
You may want to review the sections on symptoms and their related conditions several times to gain as much clarity as possible before continuing our journey to treatment options.
You are now ready to proceed to learning different treatment options that will be used to keep you moving forward for the long haul.
I will explain your treatment options from the viewpoint of a physical therapist. You will be overwhelmed with the number of options at your disposal.
Initially you may need to see a specialist for accurate identification of your symptoms and then have instruction in your appropriate treatment options in order that you can continue your treatments at home.
Matching treatments to specific symptoms is a challenge since it is “trial and error”. Some will help and others will provide no relief.
It will involve exercise, behavior changes, lifestyle changes, support groups, physical therapy, counseling, and appropriate medications. There is NO ONE answer.
Our journey will be long and tedious. I will be with you each step of the way as we explore:
• What is Fibromyalgia?
• Causes and triggers
• How do doctors diagnose
• Related conditions
• Treatment options
Your future will be brighter as we complete our journey. It will be ongoing; but you will be in full control of your treatment options while managing your symptoms.