Fibro Flare: Pain is such a barrier

Obviously trying to do anything with a migraine is stupid, necessary, but stupid. However, struggling to get through the day with that sort of pain makes me rather forget how painful the fibromyalgia pain can be. Today was an extra special pain day where I got both. The migraine was consistent but not bad enough to seriously disrupt my thinking. Some would find that statement hard to believe knowing what a migraine is… but you get used to what you have to get used to. Such is the life, eh? Put that on your resume…’ superhuman pain tolerance’, ‘won’t call in sick for severe pain or run of the mill illness, only for mind-blowing scary-ass nasty pain’… but don’t mention how often that occurs or you’ll never land a job!

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The FMS pain had to be triggered by the storm we had, but who knows? Sometimes a flare is just a flare, with no reason to be named for it. It started mid-morning with an ache in my knees and a sort of stiffness in my legs. Like zombified. Call me lurch. That sort of level of pain is normal. FMS pain shifts around to different muscles and ranges from mild to moderate on a daily bases, excluding days when I do my intense workout (12 minutes of yoga). It got significantly worse until my knees and ankles were in severe pain and my legs felt like the current running between them. Now it is at that level where it is hard to walk and it damn well hurts enough without moving. Seriously, it is insane how intensely FMS pain can hit for no reason. I get that if I walk too far, do exercise, or whatnot I can expect there to be consequences, but man does it suck when it just comes out of the blue like that. There is just something about spring and early summer that my body loathes and so I get more FMS flares and migraines as a result. Seriously is there somewhere in the world where the temperate is always moderate with lows are -10 and highs are +20 and it is always cloudy? Let me know. I was to move there.

But sometimes I wonder about the normal baseline FMS pain. I think to myself I live a sedentary lifestyle and weak muscles will hurt. So maybe some level of pain is just normal. That is until I have a chat with someone and realize, nope, so not normal. A co-worker of mine is on this diet which is doing wonders for her and she routinely exercises as well. I joke about my yoga efforts and my pathetic limits and muscle pain. She said she had bad muscle pain after a workout (of good cardio by the way, as if I could do that!) but that she was told to stretch before and after the work out which eliminated that pain. I did not say anything about my FMS situation because why bother when it would take too long to explain and make me sound more of a cripple than my chronic migraines do.

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But it made me think about what I do and the level of pain. I know FMS makes it so my body has a low threshold to feel pain, with more intensity and for longer durations… but what she is able to do (and seriously I am impressed with her willpower and determination) is nothing compared to what I can do and I really feel the consequences. But exercise is something I know will cause pain and I do a minimal amount when I can just because I think I should. Not enough that I can shed the weight I gained. Not enough to give me any more muscle endurance. So pain is a barrier to creating a routine in that aspect, but I don’t let it be a barrier to stop me from trying.

Nonetheless, realizing how crippled I am today, body pain is just as much of a barrier as migraine pain but in a different way. Body pain when it gets severe limits my mobility, and my ability to be comfortable, and sleep and is also a distraction. While I can push through work, and mental stuff, with a nasty ass migraine I cannot force my body to do anything when in an FMS flare. The pain just explodes in intensity when I do. Of course, this is why I knew at a very young age I was destined for a desk job. I have had flares that made a ten-minute walk to school take a very long forty minutes. I vividly remember most of those worst ones. I do not remember much about the situation, all that is vague and hazy, but I remember the single-mindedness of needing to get through what obstacle was directly in front of me so that I could get home. I remember that intense focus of ‘just a little farther. Just a little longer Then there were times when the pain gets so insane your body simply says nope, no further, and gives out. That happened sometimes when I had summer jobs where I stood for eight hours, the moment I would sit down I was screwed because my legs would not let me stand after. This is also by the way why I prefer not to hold babies… I’m just saying, my arms can’t hold much weight either before they tremble, ache and then just give out. And dropping babies is never a good idea. So ‘just muscle pain’ does not quite define how nasty FMS can be. In some ways it might be less invisible than migraine pain because while I can mask both quite well when FMS gets to the crippling point I cannot walk well at all, just shuffle very slowly (I need a scooter or an old lady walker). Can’t hide that and damned hard to find a reason for those not in the know.

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