I can bend my flip-em-the-bird finger again! It still hurts and is incredibly stiff, but it bends all the way again. This latest fibro attack is pretty classic in terms of the way symptoms spiral and feed off each other to create the perfect storm. When I have any sort of pain, people ask me all the time if it’s fibromyalgia. The answer isn’t easy, and attacks like this illustrate why.
Remember I have non-fibro issues, bursitis and osteoarthritis in particular. When non-fibro issues are involved, pain management for those problems is important. With this attack, I can say with some certainty that lower back pain combined with the acute stress of changing jobs probably initiated the fibro pain.
Think in terms of knee pain. Everyone has twisted their knee at some point. When you twist it pretty good, you probably have a tendency to limp. Suddenly, as you limp your way to a better knee, you notice that your OTHER knee is acting up, or your back, or your hips, or your left shin. In fact, those pains may be even worse than the initial twist. You stop limping and the other pains settle down. This is a simplistic version of a fibro attack. The difference is that when you stop limping, the other pain doesn’t settle down. In fact, it may intensify before it gets better. It may last a few weeks or even months.
In this case, the lower back pain probably put my stride off balance a little and exacerbated both the arthritis in my knees and the bursitis in my hips, both of which prodded along all the other pains, including the ones in my fingertips. Remember fibro pain is a bit irrational. My cat walked across my abdomen the other night and sparked a pain in my shoulder. I know he caused it because he decided to walk back and forth several times before curling up on top of me. Every time he hit a certain spot near my pelvis bone, a nerve in my shoulder came to life.
This is the reason why I was so amazed that I could exercise. In the past with light exercise, it took only a twisted ankle, sore calf muscle, a little over-exertion, and the pain would flatten me for weeks. Unfortunately, I have discovered now that extreme exercise during a fibro attack may not be the best way to go. My muscles went from bouncing back and feeling good to becoming lead weights in my arms, legs, shoulders… And then fatigue set in. Taking a break from the exercise is helping, and in a couple days I’ll get cortisone shots in my hips to fend off the bursitis, which will allow me to start walking correctly again, which will ease the lower back and knee pain, and slowly the fibro pain will continue to ease up. Until the next time a domino falls…