Day: October 6, 2011

Fibromyalgia

More fun medical news from Rachel!  Ever since my fall in January my chest muscles have been inflamed and tender to the touch.  For a while my endocrinologist thought it was costochondritis (an infection of the lungs).  The problem with that diagnosis is costochondritis usually only lasts for 1-3 months.  I have had this pain now for 8 months.

Next my doctor thought it might be a pulled muscle that kept getting reinjured.  This never made sense to me because why would the pain be all over my ribcage, an area that contains many muscles.  Could I really pull all of them and then keep reinjuring all of them? It seemed unlikely.

The other problem I have dealt with is the extreme pain I feel after almost any workout.  At first I thought this was just from a lack of training but after nearly 2 years of hard exercise it still hasn’t gotten any easier.  Granted I keep pushing myself harder and harder but you would think that after a while my body would learn to bounce back with greater ease.

Trying to diagnose the problem I had an MRI done a couple of weeks ago.  There they found an ‘old compression fracture’ on my thoracic area of the spine.  We are not sure how old this injury is but it’s most likely from the fall.  Typically a compression fracture is found in people who fall from a building or high place like I did with the stairs.  It is probably mostly caused by the intensity with which my head hit the wall at the  end of the stairs.

Fortunately the fracture has completely healed and shouldn’t cause me anymore problems.  However, it still didn’t answer why I kept having these chest pains.  So, I met with the doctor yesterday to discuss the MRI and my pain.

Now I’ve had my share of lame doctors but this one was wonderful.  She has dealt with chronic pain and knew exactly what to do.  She spent nearly an hour with me and asked me questions about my sleep, the pain, and my workouts.  Then she touched all of these trigger points around my body.  It was amazing when she touched certain spots the pain shot up through me like a bolt of lightning.

Evidently if you have pain in 11 out of 18 trigger points then you have fibromyalgia.  She also said the sleep apnea and slow recovery from exercise are big signs.

This might sound strange but it was so nice to have a name to the pain.  Now I can start my research and learn more about this condition.  I really feel this is a huge piece in the puzzle of my overall health.

This is where I come to you internet-world.  Do any of you have fibromyalgia or have loved one’s with it?  I would love to hear about what has worked for you?  According to my doctor there isn’t a ton they can do about the condition aside from taking anti-depressants (sounds strange but I guess it helps with the way your immune system transmits pain signals), which I will only do as a last resort.

I’ve heard that acupuncture helps and so even though the needles kind of freak me out I might give it a try.  I already get massages from my friend Jill who gives me a great deal.  I wish I could afford it every day, it helps so much!

I also love the hot tub at my gym.  It practically melts the muscles.

The doctor said that even though the workouts may cause additional pain they are the best thing I can do.  She added I should not expect any relief from the pain as I get more in shape.  Kind of a bummer but oddly comforting as well.  This whole time I thought I was just kind of a pain-whimp.  Turns out I’ve been pretty strong all along!

The other good news is that swimming is the best workout I can do for fibromyalgia.  It is the easiest on the body and is low impact on my muscles.  Hurray!  The one thing that is best for me is the activity I enjoy most!

Anyway, like I said if you have any experience with this condition that might help me, I would love to hear it.  Thanks in advance!

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