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There are times where getting a massage makes an immense difference in my Fibro pain, other times it just makes it worse. I discovered this video showing massage techniques that help people with Fibromyalgia. I suggest getting a loved one to watch it, and then convincing them to employ a technique or two when trigger points are acting up.

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I came across an item about Pfizer’s commercials for the Fibromyalgia drug Lyrica on the Schwitzer Health News Blog, written by Gary Schwitzer of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism & Mass Communication. He was commenting on how the women in the commericals appear to have a very mild case of Fibromyalgia. I was enjoying his critique (you know my thoughts on the commercials) until I reached the end where there is an insinuation that Fibromyalgia is not a “real” medical condition. The blog links to and excerpts from a New York Times article about the launch of Lyrica, which asks if Fibromyalgia is real.

It’s disheartening to see that so many years after the discovery of Fibromyalgia Syndrome, we still encounter disbelief with such prevalence.

Before getting into this post, let me apologize for the break in items. I had a significant Fibro flare-up, and started a new job. Let’s just say my body has been overwhelmed. However, all of this had me thinking about how much to share with my employer about my Fibromyalgia.

Once I was offered the job, I asked about flexible hours. I told my employer that I have a chronic condition that flares up from time to time and mornings can be particularly hard. I lucked out that my new employer understands.

Figuring out what to tell bosses about chronic illnesses and when to do so is always a tough decision. While employers shouldn’t fire you because of an illness, that doesn’t mean they can’t find a way to do so.

Before making the decision to disclose your Fibromyalgia to an employer think about where your condition is at currently and what, if any limitations it causes. If it may inhibit essential job functions, wait until absolutely necessary to confide. Otherwise, it depends on your comfort level and the climate of your company. It can be helpful to ask around to see if coworkers have been in similar situations. Of course, this will have to be done delicately.

Here are a few tips for having the Fibromyalgia talk with your boss:

  • Be positive. Talk more about your skills, qualifications and your ability to do your job. Reassuring your employer that your FM doesn’t affect your performance.
  • Do not present your Fibro as a weakness
  • Think about concerns he or she may have, and be prepared to provide information, strategies or solutions to each of those potential issues.
  • Know what workplace accommodations you may need. It may help to look into the availability and funding programs that your employer can access to make these accommodations.

The University of Delaware offers a list of ideal times to disclose disabilities (or in our cases chronic illnesses) and guidelines on how to do so if electing to tell a potential employer on its Career Services center’s site.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you aren’t required to tell your employer about your Fibromyalgia. In my experience, doing so alleviates job stress and makes work life more comfortable.

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.)

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.

Getting Wii Fit: Round One

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.

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.