This is my 100th post! I’m not sure how helpful all this has been to anyone except me, but thank you to everyone who has been reading. I thought this might be a good time to recap a little bit. My initial goal was to simply to figure out why and how my body reacts to different things, foods, exercises, stress, etc, and how to manage fibromyalgia, since it seems that a cure is not forthcoming. As I’ve gotten older, the pain has increased, mobility has decreased, and my brain isn’t getting any nimbler. However, reading about the studies and theories about fibromyalgia is most definitely sliding headfirst down the rabbit hole, and I’ve had a change of mind about some aspects of fibro.
- I went into this thinking that fibro was a central nervous system disorder. I always joked about having brain damage but always thought in terms of the central nervous system. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I think the central nervous system is affected and helps perpetuate the symptoms, but I’m not convinced that the origins are in the central nervous system.
- Joking about brain damage isn’t so far off, which is a scary thought. The brain is directly affected by fibromyalgia in terms of gray matter at the very least. There are, however, a dozen parts of the brain that are affected by chronic pain, making brain damage at the very least a result of firbomyalgia. Again, however, I’m not convinced that the origins are in the brain. I think brain changes are consequences of prolonged pain.
- I went into this getting annoyed by people saying it was a psychological problem, as if I could will myself to feel better. That still annoys me – I admit it. However, psychology is more important than I acknowledged for two reasons:
- First, while you may not will yourself to get rid of fibromyalgia, you can will yourself to move even when you don’t feel well, and moving is key to fibromyalgia.
- Second, I’m finding physiological changes that happen to the body due to stress (either physical or psychological). I never really thought of the possibility of physiological changes happening with psychological stress. But they do happen, and fibro, while not a “fake” problem can possibly be a real physiological issue that arises from psychological issues. In our stressed out world and lifestyle, it is easy to connect the rise of fibro to the stresses we endure in our everyday life (psychological stress, sensory stresses, etc – the world is very different now).
- While I’ve always suspected a genetic influence on the development of fibro, I’m more convinced that there is something happening, not only on the genetic level but also on a general cellular level. Are they separate? I don’t know. I don’t understand genetics well enough to go into this and not prove my interminable ignorance. The difference that I see, (here I go proving it) however, is that genetics could be the origin of fibromyalgia while the cellular changes seen in patients could be a consequence. Certain people could be genetically predisposed to developing fibro if exposed to the proper stress (there’s that word again), a physical injury, a trauma, etc.
- While I always thought of fibro as being “systemic” – affecting multiple systems and the entire body, I never realized how the body reacts like dominoes. Tip one the wrong way and everything cascades out of control. Fibro is looking more like a disease of imbalance. But instead of being Weebles (wobble but they don’t fall over), we’re dominoes. We hit the table after pushing the next problem along and lay flat on our faces when we get out of balance.
My favorite ideas have to do with mast cells (my new pet), thyroid insufficiency, and dopamine. While thyroid and dopamine are related in some ways, mast cells don’t seem to connect to them. Unfortunately, I’m not really convinced that finding an origin to fibromyalgia will lead to a cure as such. It may, however, lead to a way to identify people who are at risk of developing it, and possibly ways to prevent it.
Most of all, looking at management options is still really important. So often I read about people who insist on one thing that helps above everything. Do this and you’ll feel better. I’m absolutely convinced that’s the wrong approach. Again, balance is the key. It’s going to take multiple balancing points to figure out how to feel better and continue to stay better. People with fibro are a breed alone in that way if for no other reason. Our management options are as fluctuating as the disease itself.
Disclaimer: As always, I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. Take nothing seriously.