Fibromyalgia Or Something Else?

elbowpain

“Could I have this?” I sent the email to my husband back last February along with the link showing a list of symptoms that included widespread pain, extreme sensitivity to pain, muscle stiffness, joint pain, ligament pain, fatigue, cognitive problems, forgetfulness, headaches, IBS, lack of energy, sensitivity to cold, anxiety and depression.

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Fibromyalgia/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
It seemed every website I went to which had different variations of these symptoms and the more symptoms I uncovered the more I found I had all of them. The pains I experienced were weird. Just the slightest pressure would feel painful to the touch. If I slightly bumped my leg against the table I yelled out in pain even though it was a very slight bump. The websites seemed to explain a lot. I had thought I was getting older or that I must have a combination of several things but here was a list of all my symptoms under one heading: fibromyalgia.
What Are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?- http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/understanding-fibromyalgia-symptoms
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
• Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms, or tightness
• Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
• Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
• Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
• Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks (“fibro fog”)
• Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)
• Tension or migraine headaches
• Jaw and facial tenderness
• Sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold

fibromyalgia

For the next few days I kept researching fibromyalgia.  I even found a youtube video of someone who had it which showed her sitting the way I do with arms  straight so as not to feel elbow pain.

http://youtu.be/7F61vIMDG7s

It seemed very obvious that I must have it since I had all the symptoms although interestingly enough the symptoms also mimic those of hypothyroidism. However, I had been tested twice before for that and each time it came out negative. My husband was totally convinced I had fibromyalgia but I still had a nagging doubt. I phoned and made an appointment with the doctor and arrived with a typed list of all my symptoms so I wouldn’t forget (forgetfulness was one of my biggest problems). The doctor was a training doctor and so brought one of the other doctors in to consult. The pain I had was worse in some areas in my body on some days and affected other parts of my body on others. The worse pain was the constant pain in my elbows and wrists particularly on my left side. It made it difficult to sleep because I had to keep both arms straight. I also couldn’t lift pots of food unless I used both hands and moved quickly. The doctor thought I had tennis elbow and asked if I was sporty…ha! No. Did I have children that I picked up?…my youngest was 12 at the time so no. They decided to give me an iron test as I had had low iron in the past and to test my thyroid. The doctor also decided to send me for some physical therapy in the meantime.

wrist pain
The physical therapy helped a lot although it was very painful at first. The pain didn’t go away completely but it felt better. The result of the blood test was that my thyroid was fine but my iron was so extremely low it was virtually non-existent. The doctor prescribed strong iron pills. Ferrous Fumerate 250 mg two pills 2x a day. She also advised me to eat more leafy greens. I thought it was silly nonsense and finally mentioned fibromyalgia but she said they needed to rule everything else out first. To be honest I never had much trust in doctors because of bad experiences in the past and having to cure myself when the doctors failed to find a cure but I was willing to be open minded. I needed the iron pills anyway so I just had to be patient and wait.
Within days, I started to have more energy. (Find me on St Patricks day dancing to the Dubliners in my living room). The pains in my joints, muscles, ligaments grew less and less and slowly my depression began easing as well. I still can’t believe that something as small as lack of iron could have caused all those severe symptoms! Now please bear in mind that fibromyalgia is real and I feel for anyone who has it. The result is that I don’t. I had all the same symptoms but it was caused by years of very low iron the doctor said. I know it started when I was a teenager but my iron had been stabilized many times over the years since. It is currently being investigated why my iron is so low. I had lowered my iron pills to one a day as per the doctor’s suggestion when my iron was tested and found to be at the correct level but had to increase it again and then yet again when the pains came back. I for one am never taking myself off iron pills again and I do eat lots of leafy greens now. I am for the most part feeling great. I think it is great that the doctor treated this for the most part naturally. I do believe natural medicine and nutrition is the best way to treat most things. The difficult thing is knowing what you lack and how to treat yourself so it’s good to get advice from professionals sometimes.

lettuce

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One thought on “Fibromyalgia Or Something Else?

  1. I think we are all guilty of self-diagnosing ourselves due to accessibility of information. I am glad the doctor was able to figure out what it was and treat it as naturally as possible. It is definitely good advice to get help from a professional when you do not know what to do about a problematic condition. So glad you are, for the most part, feeling great! 🙂

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