I use the word “Fibromyalgia” very carefully because it more or less describes the symptom rather than the actual reason for the pain.
If you were told that you have fibromyalgia (or something vaguely like that), it’s likely that you
1) have pain in a number of locations on/in your body
2) have had it for a while
3) have had X-ray/MRI/ other scans & tests and been told that there is “nothing they can find”
Well, the scans and tests won’t show anything because a body is perfectly capable of creating pain without anything that can be seen by such scans and tests.
In fact the diagnosis of "fibromyalgia" is a little too frequently incorrectly used. Click here for the internationally-accepted criteria of diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
In order to understand fibromyalgia you have to understand a process called sensitisation. It is a process when the nerves responsible for pain in our body undergoe some changes, sending signals even when they are not supposed to. A good example is when you have flu; if you can think back to the last time when you were sick it's very likely that your body felt quite tender to touch.
Of course the reason that you were feeling such pain when you had been sick was NOT because you had something wrong on your joints or muscles, but your nerves became "sensitised" (when we have fever, the rise in body temperature lowers the threshold of the nerves that are responsible for feeling pain) - it's not an abstract concept but physiological, actually perfectly normal, behaviour of the nerves.
However it does become abnormal if this continues to persist. And in order for you to make a recovery from fibromyalgia it is absolutely crucial that we consider possible reasons / contributing factors behind this persistence of sensitisation to pain. Following are some of these (some more scientifically valid than others):
Identification and addressing mal-adaptive changes
- Mis-management at the early stage of the symptoms (REALLY common)
- Chronic emotional stress that have activated "fight-or-flight" for a period of time
- Sudden one-off emotional stress that have activated "fight-or-flight" response
- Repeated physical stress that is not well-managed or had gone aware
- Unhelpful, undermining belief in regards to body and pain (e.g. fear, poor information from internet)
- Genetic disposition to the condition (this is quite common)
- Hormonal (fair bit of debate on this but certainly very possible)
- Lack of muscular fitness of the body, resuting in excessive physical load on nerves (this is a hypothesis but clinically observable phenomenon)
While it is widely agreed in the medical realm that there is no "cure" for fibromyalgia, we strongly believe that that is an incorrect perspective; it's an opinion that stems from framing fibromyalgia as a black-and-white, you-either-have-it-or-you-don't category (which medicine attempts to with most conditions).
Fibromyalgia is a continuum; you can fall into a "spectrum" of the condition and for many, excellent recovery is very much possible with gradual shift to the milder end of the spectrum.
Our role is to be the coach, companion and clinician to guide and treat you as we discover the core issues that are contributing the persistence of your fibromyalgia, and help you to "correct the ship".
Please don't hesitate to contact us and tell us about your condition so you can take the first step towards your recovery.