How Do Doctors Diagnose Fibromyalgia?
Once you are diagnosed with having fibromyalgia, an incurable chronic disease, you may feel like someone has knocked the pins out from under you. We are a society used to taking a pill to be healed. We want instant results.
Unfortunately, few of us get that.
Living with your disease is all a matter of attitude. Being in chronic pain, frustrated that it has taken so long to get diagnosed, that it won’t go away and that you just do not have the energy or gumption to do what you once did, it is easy to get down and stay down.
But that will just make things worse.
Here are some Fibromyalgia Tips:Stay active.
Even during flare ups, moderate, slowly building up strength and endurance exercising is necessary to keep your muscles flexible.
Exercise relieves stress and helps your digestive, circulatory and nervous systems function better as well. Find a physical therapist or another professional who know how to work with trigger points and fibromyalgics.
They can assist you in developing a routine workout plan tailored just for you. Learn All You can
Visit websites, read pamphlets, blog with other victims of this disease, join support groups. No it does not have to rule your life and be your number one priority. Far from it. But there is strength in knowledge.
It may not go away, but you can somewhat control its effects on your everyday life. Be Kind to Yourself.
Don’t blame yourself for getting fibromyalgia. It happens. You do not have to feel guilty or frustrated. We all have limitations, especially as we age. The trick is to not let is weigh you down and sink you into a pit of despair and anger.
That will only make the hurt worse.
Sometimes you will have what is called “fibro-fog”. Your memory just isn’t as acute.
You forget little things. Chronic pain, stress and anxiety can do that. It is a physical reaction. Of course, some medications have that effect as well. If it becomes too chronic or bothersome, talk with your doctor.
In the meantime, carry a notepad or use your blackberry to make “mental notes”. Read and play games to keep your mind “exercised” as well as your body.Laugh.
Yes, that’s right. People who laugh are healthier. They have better digestion, better energy, a more positive outlook on life, are fun to be around and live longer. Volunteer.
Take your mind off you and do something on a regular basis for someone else. It does not have to be over- physical like building a house or mowing grass. Read to children at a local library.
Visit patients in nursing homes. Deliver meals. Sort mail and help stuff envelopes. Anything that helps others. Nonprofit and religious organizations are desperate for volunteers. Relieve Your Pain at home.
Use pressure, heat, ice, rest, good sleep- whatever works for you. The trick is to use as little pain medication as possible, reserving it for only the worse flare-ups.
Medications can make your system and your brain sluggish. They can be addictive. You already have one condition; don’t add another on top of it.Eat Healthy.
We all need to do that. Foods rich in antioxidants help the body function better. Sugar, caffeine, starchy fried foods can irritate your digestive tract, an area that is sensitive to many fibro patients. It can disturb your sleep; make your fatigue and listlessness worse. Make a log and notice what you eat in a given week.
If you have fibro-hypoglycemia you may have severe sugar cravings.
Talk with your doctor about the effects of smoking and alcohol. While these habits may seem to temporarily relieve pain and stress, they are actually making things worse.Identify what stresses you out.
Then try and avoid it.
Yes, that is oversimplifying it, but you can feel more in control when you do not let fibromyalgia “get to you”.
Find out what gets your goat and then change your routine or change your attitude about it. You can be in charge of most of your circumstances; and those you cannot, well; you can learn to not let them upset you as much.
There is an old saying, “You may not be able to change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”
By taking an active role, and using these fibromyalgia tips, you can learn to control fibromyalgia rather than have it continue to control you.
The more battles you win the more of a conqueror you will become and the better you will feel about yourself and your world.
One way doctors tell if a person is suffering from fibromyalgia is by examining the trigger points, also known as tender points.
Exactly what are these?
Fibromyalgia trigger points are unique places in the body that, when pressed, can generate pain. It can be a burning or radiating stab or a dull ache, but it is pain.
There are 18 trigger points in the human body.
Remember, the body is bilateral, so there is one on the left and the right side of each site.Location of Trigger Points:
The back of the head where the head and neck meet
Between the shoulder blades inside towards the back bone
On the tops of the shoulder- where a strap might hit
In the front sides of the neck right near the jaw
In the upper chest, halfway between where the neck starts and the nipple
In the outer elbows, the side that faces up
In the sides of the hips
In the upper hips- towards the small of the back right above the buttocks
In the inner knees- the part that rubs together with each other
Some doctors also consider the outside of the ankles as a place where fibromyalgia patients complain of pain, but this is not as often. Acupuncturists utilize trigger points in their treatments and have documented over 75 in the human body. But only these 18 are used for diagnostic purposes.
The examiner will place slight pressure on the tender or trigger point, enough for his fingernail to start to turn whitish or “blanch.” This is called a palpitation exam.
The whole exam takes about five minutes. The doctor watches for the patient’s reactions and asks them to gauge the pain on a scale of one to ten.
A good majority of fibromyalgia sufferers will react with extreme tenderness to around eleven fibromyalgia trigger point sites. But this is not written stone by any means. Many react to only eight or ten.. Some react to all eighteen.
Others can tell you “exactly where it hurts” even if it is not a trigger.
Some patients will feel tenderness in only a few places at one given time, or may feel pain in one greater and longer than in another point. It all varies and may be exasperated by weather changes, mood changes and physical changes in the body, lack of sleep or a virus..
Whatever “triggers” the pain, it usually begins in many of these areas. It can come on suddenly in a sharp pain, or gradually over a day or two then worsen into a stabbing or throbbing pain that will make getting into a comfortable position nearly impossible and affect the sleep.