health

Fibro Fridays – Why So Many Symptoms?

Happy Fibro Friday! To all of my fibro family out there, I hope that you all are having a pain-free day, full of energy and zero fibro fog. And, if you are having a not so great day, I hope you’re able to rest a bit and give yourself what you need to feel better <sending hugs>

As the seasons change, I know that many people diagnosed with chronic pain conditions notice an uptick in their discomfort. While not every fibro warrior experiences discomfort from the same weather stimuli (some difficulty when the weather gets hotter, while others struggle with cooler temps), it should be noted that weather changes are generally hard on everyone, but the effect is amplified even more so when you have a chronic pain condition like fibromyalgia.

I am one of those people that doesn’t enjoy the cooler weather for various reasons, with increased fibro symptoms being my main reason for disliking autumn and winter. As I reflected on ways to make the seasonal transition a little less shocking on my body, I thought about the many symptoms that I need to consider when coming up with a game plan for the cold months. I thought about how I need to increase my iron intake, so that any fibro symptoms wouldn’t be worsened by being anemic. I pondered what my morning routine need to include, in order to help properly warm up my muscles upon waking, without overexerting myself. I considered the textures of certain clothing and linen, and how some of them felt painful against my hypersensitive skin and how these needed to be given to a thrift store instead of staying in my wardrobe and linen closet. I thought about warming essential oils that I could add to my muscle balm, so that it’s more comfortable to apply.

These thoughts are what led me to the topic of this post. Thinking about all of the symptoms that needed to be managed during the fall and winter brought to mind how all of my fibro family have to make adjustments with each seasonal change, that go beyond putting new pillows on the couch and changing out the floral arrangements in the house. I mean, I understand having fibromyalgia symptoms, but why are there so many symptoms? According to one YouTuber that I follow, fibromyalgia has been attributed to around 200 distinct symptoms that fibro warriors experience.

Let that number sink in.

200 symptoms is literally one symptom each day for more than half of the year. Just think of having one distinct, random, uncomfortable thing happen to you daily for the first 6 months of the year, then for another 3 weeks, just for good measure. Those are the possibilities that exist when you have fibromyalgia.

Thankfully, the average fibro warrior experiences the main, classical symptoms of the condition, and only a few of the “extra” symptoms in the average day. Altogether, these total less than 20 symptoms on average. However, the potential to experience all of the symptoms over the duration of the condition (which, for the majority of us, is the remainder of our lives) is there. The good news is that you probably won’t ever have more than 50 symptoms in any given day. The bad news is that you’ll probably live long enough to have a brush with most of the 200 or so symptoms that have been documented as possibly being attributable to fibromyalgia.

There is a good reason why fibromyalgia can be linked to so many symptoms. Fibromyalgia isn’t a muscle condition: it’s a neurological issues that shows up as musculoskeletal pain, cognitive dysfunction, and extreme fatigue (along with a slew of other things). The nervous system, which includes our brains and spines, affect every other system within the body. A little nerve dysfunction can make an entire body system go off of the rails, so it’s not a huge stretch to understand that fibromyalgia could mean haywire internal temperature regulation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety and depression, irrational pain, skin sensitivity, headaches, etc.,.

In short, a fibromyalgia diagnosis could mean a grab bag of assorted symptoms that don’t make much sense when considered individually, but make perfect sense when set against the backdrop of fibromyalgia. Fibro is the tie that binds all of these symptoms together.

That’s all for Fibro Friday! I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable weekend. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday!

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