Most of us fibromyalgia folk, and the people acquainted with us, understand that we have pain and fatigue. While really truly understanding the pain and fatigue might still be elusive, generally speaking it is a given. But are people aware of all of the other fun symptoms that seem to go hand in hand with fibro?
Even those of us diagnosed with the syndrome may not really know what to attribute some of our symptoms to. It’s especially difficult when you had certain symptoms prior to developing fibromyalgia or to receiving a diagnosis. Some of us have had other diagnosis, too, that seem to explain the symptoms. But who knows… could the fibromyalgia be causing it now?
My 5 year journey (approaching 6) with this ugly illness has given me a wide variety of experience with ailments. A strange burning sensation that runs down my arms at times, (it’s like someone is drawing a line down my arm with a hot poker!), intolerance of loud noise and very little tolerance of chaos of any kind, forgetfulness, the “fog”, headaches, hot sensations on my face, burning sensations on my ears, all of these funky things can happen (and the list can go on) but some can be explained by an assortment of ailments. From imbalanced hormones to pinched nerves to lumping it all together as fibro, there is no telling where it is all coming from. Add in other issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety and…seriously, who can make sense of this human puzzle?
Well, thank goodness there are people who are trying to figure it all out. I just read an article from the Fibromyalgia Network titled, “Is Sensory Overload Part of Your Fibro?” (I suppose it would simplify things to know that it was.) The article discusses the possibility that in addition to an extra sensitivity to pain, fibromyalgia patients might also have a heightened sensitivity to sensory experiences, which really, makes sense to me. If one part of our neurological system has become extra-sensitive, why wouldn’t all of it?
I am not sure if it is more of a correlative effect versus causative, but there definitely seems to be a relationship. Sensory symptoms listed in the article include: numbness and tingling sensations in extremities, swelling sensations, burning skin, sensitivity to loud sounds, sensitivity to odors, sensitivity to bright lights, and burning eyes. Researchers at the University of Michigan have demonstrated that the pain levels of fibromyalgia are directly tied to these other sensory symptoms. They found that those with more of these kinds of sensory type symptoms experience higher levels of pain.
The article concludes that treatments aimed at buffering these sensory experiences may be beneficial in reducing pain levels. So the research continues…
Whatever the cause of these funky and seemingly unrelated symptoms, I believe every little thing that we as fibromyalgia sufferers can eliminate from our repertoire of pain is one step closer to a more beautiful life. I am interested in learning more about how to lessen the nuisances and dull the pain, how about you? Turns out that my friend Felicia (aka Felicia Fibro) has a blog post that touches on how she deals with a lot of these symptoms herself: Sensitivities. I found it to be a resourceful post and her site is wonderful, go check it out!
What do you think? Do you experience a lot of sensory disturbances and symptoms? Do you think it is directly linked to fibromyalgia or to a completely separate condition?