How much of the Psychological pain causes Physical pain and vice versa with Fibromyalgia?

I saw an answer from a physician, but mine comes from personal experience from fibro (8 years and counting). It’s not a simple answer, unfortunately.

Fibromyalgia, for me, is a reactive condition. What that means for me is that I have a constant level of pain that is my day-to-day pain level. It’s usually somewhere about a 4 or a 5. If it’s a little lower, that’s a fantastic day, but I can survive with a 4 or a 5. However, when I hit certain triggers, that pain level spikes up.

My biggest spike at the moment is stress – I have quite a stressful job – and it will trigger my fibromyalgia and cause it to flare. This may mean that my pain level shoots up to a 7 or an 8 or even a 9. I usually lose my weekends to self-care and recovery, to try to get back to my 4 or 5 levels.

My other trigger is over-exertion, which unfortunately at the moment, is pretty much any sustained activity for over 30 minutes. The physical effort pushes me into a flare. These again are probably about the 7 or 8 levels.

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In pain, I’ll notice that my blood pressure and heart rate rise and my resting heart rate will be at least 10 bpm higher than it usually is. My BP will be on the worryingly high side. I can take my painkillers, and rest and relax as much as I can, but I have difficulty doing things like holding my body upright, and everything takes so much more effort.

I also get more emotional during flares because I’m beating myself up for being useless, relying on my partner for everything including helping me to take off my bra. Pain has an effect on the body that people don’t appreciate until they experience it and it goes away. It’s tiring. It’s depressing.

It’s horrible. And because of that, it’s easier to overexert yourself because you have less energy to do the things you would regularly do, which puts you in a flare, which further depresses you… It’s a vicious circle.

I wish that there were more research on fibromyalgia, on the cause and treatments that aren’t huge doses of painkillers. I wish that the opioid epidemic wasn’t making it difficult for people who have a genuine need to get their medications. But it all adds up, unfortunately.

There are theories out there – and I’m basing this on some “opinions” that I’ve had from medical and alternate therapy practitioners, so your mileage may vary – to say that fibromyalgia is a reaction to trauma at some point in your life; physical or psychological.

I once attended a lecture where a woman claimed that it traced back in her life to her parent’s divorce at age 4 and the excessive shouting that took place then. I got told that it’s my body locking up and locking me in, and the only way to combat it was to spend £75 a week for a professional massage, by a doctor whose wife was a professional masseuse and would I like a card and a referral? I’ve been told it just happens.

I don’t have a truth to share on that. I don’t recall a specific trigger for myself. I know that the diagnostic pressure points have always hurt. I remember being surprised when I was told that normally, they don’t hurt people – it’s just pressure for normal people. It’s never been that way for me. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t in some sort of pain, but it definitely got worse after the age of 25.

I thought I was broken until I got my diagnosis, but when we moved surgeries, I lost the doctor who was actively helping me to deal with it and started having to fight for my condition to be recognized and treated.

I have so far found one medication that helps, but my last doctor would not prescribe it because one of the side effects was weight gain. Lady, I’m already fat, but my fat a$$ can’t do anything about it if I cannot move because I am in levels of pain that you’ve never had to deal with.

So, for fibromyalgia, we live, we survive, we rest, we fight and we do what we can in a body that seems some days to actually hate us.

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