Chronic Condition: Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition defined by three or more months of full body musculoskeletal aches, fatigue and memory problems. Fatigue in effected individuals commonly results from sleep cycle disruption by generalized pain, restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.  Memory problems specifically consist of problems with focus, attention, and concentration. Most individuals will also experience headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, painful menstrual periods, numbness or tingling of the extremities, sensitivity to light, sound and temperature. The symptoms may begin as a result of an acute injury or trauma, or simply build over time.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Recent studies suggest that the cause of the disorder may be the brain’s incorrect processing of signals being sent from the limbs and muscles, making certain sensations more painful than they would be to those who do not have fibromyalgia. NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) supported researchers are currently investigating possible genetic dysfunction within the disorder and have already found genes that are more common in individuals with the condition.

Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is not consistent throughout the medical community and it may take those suffering from fibromyalgia multiple visits to several physicians before receiving a correct diagnosis. Some doctors are unfamiliar with the condition and some do not believe it exists but that it is a group of overlapping separate conditions. This disbelief has a basis- oftentimes it is hard to diagnose fibromyalgia as its symptoms overlap with multiple psychosomatic disorders.

Because of its unknown cause there is no cure for fibromyalgia.  Treatment must be multifaceted with different remedies for improving mood and sleep, and reducing pain.  There are three drugs that were approved by the FDA in treating fibromyalgia. One- Duloxetine is an  anti-depressants, another Milnacipran an anti-depressant mimic, is only for the treatment of fibromyalgia and the last drug, Pregabalin, treats the chronic pain caused by nervous system damage. Doctors also recommend over the counter and prescription painkillers but never narcotics as they may lead to psychological and physical addiction when used for long periods of time. Physical therapy and regular exercise also reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Patients will often enroll in therapy to learn skills for coping with physical pain and to lessen the depression that often a reaction to prolonged physical illness.

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Moving away from the cult of the body in 2014

Fit and Feminist

In recent years, I’ve made a habit of spending the last several days of the year engaged in a sort of psychological reset, which is basically a fancy way of saying I spend my time relaxing and thinking about things.  I haven’t normally made resolutions because I’ve found that making resolutions on Jan. 1 – particularly specific ones like “write an hour every day” or “keep a daily journal” – is usually a solid way to ensure I keep said resolution for an average of about 11.7 days.

Instead, I spent some time making lists of goals I’d like to accomplish for the upcoming year.  Some of those goals are athletic, and I will write about them later. Some of them are creative, like figuring out how to produce a podcast and writing a new zine.  Others are personal, like learning to cook more vegetarian meals and converting the spare…

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#LikeAGirl: What young girls teach me about the woman I want to be

Fit and Feminist

pink-bike-triathlon

This past Sunday, I did as I often do, which is get up at an obscenely early hour and drive to the site of a race.  Except this time I wasn’t competing; I was volunteering.  But even if I had wanted to compete, I wouldn’t have been able to, as we were volunteering at a youth triathlon.

The opportunity for volunteerism came about because Brian and I have recently gotten involved with a local running and triathlon team, and part of our responsibilities as members of the team is to volunteer for at least two events sponsored by the team.  The youth triathlon was being held about five minutes away from home, and really, who can resist the lure of watching hundreds of little kids run around a soccer field and pedal furiously on bikes equipped with training wheels?  Volunteering at a youth triathlon seemed like a total no-brainer.

The…

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