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Archive for September, 2008

Rain, rain go away!

Rain, rain go away!

A bout of food poisoning has hit me like a truck this week. While I’m now keeping down regular food, my Fibro has gone haywire. It’s raining in North Texas, to boot (weather changes can affect Fibromyalgia symptoms). It’s so frustrating to not be able to perform normal daily tasks when things like these hit. My muscles are so tired and pain is radiating throughout. At work today I found my forearms in agony after only a couple hours at my computer. I may not have carpal tunnel, but I tell you, the Fibro spots on my forearms flare up like you wouldn’t believe. I wonder if there is any new medication that could keep this from happening. I would try it in a heartbeat right now.

I’m in the process of working out all the details to start a new (incredibly awesome) job, and I’m hopeful that by the time we’re ready to go this latest flare up will have calmed. I suppose I should check the 10-day forecast.

(Note: Thank you for letting me complain. It’s work the arm ache, I swear.)

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I got so excited when I came across news of a sleep study revealing more about Fibromyalgia. Each article I read lead off by telling of two Michigan universities that developed a new way of analyzing sleep fragmentation, which distinguishes between Fibromyalgia patients and those without the condition. And…that’s it. That’s all the info they’re giving.

It’s good that now they can identify the sleep patterns of Fibro patients, as a sleep disorder is one key component of the syndrome. However, where do they plan to go from here? Not sure, but they’re pretty excited about their new technology. Really, these headlines just need to quit teasing me.

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Beginning an exercise routine is always hard, but starting one with Fibromyalgia is doubly difficult. As I mentioned about a week ago, I picked up Wii Fit in an attempt to actually do yoga regularly. So far, so good.

The Wii Fit yoga program is pretty straightforward, and so far hasn’t overwhelmed me. I’ve taken the “slow and steady” plan, and am only exercising (for the first two weeks) for 20 minutes at a time. It’s just enough to work up a sweat, but not so much as to put you on the couch for the next three days.

I’ll admit, I was extra achy the next day after my first go-round, but since then it hasn’t been too noticeable. Next week, I’ll step up to 30 minutes and start adding in more strength training. Of course, I’ve already been playing with the balance games (like downhill skiing) that come along with Wii Fit. They’re fun, and may do some good.

As promised, I’ll continue to update on how using Wii Fit does or doesn’t help with my Fibro.

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The hippocampus may have something to do with fibro fog, among other things.

The hippocampus may have something to do with Fibromyalgia symptoms including fibro fog.

Researchers have (another) new idea about what causes some Fibromyalgia symptoms. In a small study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, researchers found FM patients had a dysfunction in the hippocampus region of the brain, MSNBC reported this week. The hippocampus is in the front of the brain and is involved in regulating emotions and memory.

The doctors calculated the levels of three brain chemicals within the hippocampus — N-acetyl aspartate (NAA), choline and creatine — within the study group of 15 Fibromyalgia patients and 10 control group patients (same ages as the FM people, but Fibro-free). All patients underwent assessments of sleep patterns and cognitive function as well.

All FM patients in the study exhibited cognitive functional impairments on the Mini-Mental State Examination and 60 percent had sleep disturbances. No control subject exhibited any of these problems.

“NAA levels of the right and left hippocampi were lower in the patients compared to controls,” Dr. Yasser Emad, of Cairo University, Egypt,’s research team explains. “Another statistically significant difference was observed in choline levels in the right hippocampus, which were higher in the patient group.” The Fibromyalgia patients also had significantly lower NAA to choline and NAA to creatine ratios compared with the control subjects.

This sounds really exciting, but it’s hard to not be a bit skeptical because of the tiny sample group used in this study. A mere 15 FM patients isn’t exactly representative of the whole group. However, I do think this study warrants further investigation into the role of the hippocampus and NAA brain chemical deficiencies in Fibromyalgia. Perhaps this can lead doctors toward a cure?

I’ve long been convinced that something was different in FM patients’ brains, particularly in the way we experience pain. Perhaps this is a start of something big. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

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Fibromyalgia and PMS

In my daily perusal of Fibromyalgia blogs and blog items, I came across someone relating Fibromyalgia symptoms to PMS. I’m, well, floored. In the more than 10 years I’ve had Fibro, I’ve heard people say a lot of things about the condition — often jerks thinking it’s not real or that’s it is a psychological condition instead of a physical one — but this one is a first.

So, let’s just clear this up. Fibromyalgia can intensify the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, but that’s hardly a main component of the condition. However, it does exemplify a key part of FM: pain is often amplified. The example I often give people when first explaining my condition is that when you (a non-FM person) have an intense workout at the gym, you’re sore and fatigued the next day. When I do the same thing, I’m down for three days. So, yes, PMS can be worse, but to connect PMS to Fibro is idiotic. Particularly as there are men who suffer from Fibro, too.

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Take it and you'll fly to Europe to enjoy your pain-free life.

Lyrica: Take it and you'll fly to Europe to fully enjoy your new, pain-free life.

The most recent commercial for Lyrica, the medication for neuropathic pain approved for Fibromyalgia treatment, has an older woman grabbing her shoulder when talking about her Fibro pain (see the video). I don’t know about you, but my shoulder sure isn’t my main point of pain…and is a good four or five inches from the nearest trigger point. While Fibro patients’ symptoms may vary, since when are shoulders a big part of the problem? Forearms, sure. Knees, oh hell yes. Neck, yep. Shoulders, uh, I guess when everything else is amped up, they hurt but nothing compared to those areas with trigger points.

Someone should let Pfizer know that being consistent with a condition’s symptoms in the commercial would help. That, and maybe throwing in a younger woman from time to time. The blog Bee’s Eclectic Life brings up a litany of other problems with the Lyrica advertising, for those of you wanting to delve further.

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