Put a Name to Your Fibromyalgia Pain
by Krissy Ward
Can I just start by saying, dealing with Fibromyalgia and all of its weird symptoms is annoying (AF!). One symptom of Fibromyalgia we are all VERY aware of is “widespread pain”... But if you live with the condition, you know Fibromyalgia pain is way more complex than it sounds. Fibro pain affects any and every part of the body. Sometimes, it’s difficult to explain the types of pain we’re experiencing.
Well, now you can put a name to some of those aches and pains, some are medical terms and some are well known amongst the chronic illness and spoonie community.
Hyperalgesia is the medical term for amplified pain. Our brains take regular pain signals, amplifies it, and makes the pain more severe than it should be.
Imagine you're planning a party and expecting about 20 guests. Three or four friends told you they'd come early to help you out. But they don't show, and instead of 20 guests, you get 100. You're overwhelmed.
That's what's happening with pain signals in someone who has fibromyalgia. The cells send too many pain messages (party guests), up to five times as many as in a healthy person. That can turn mild pressure or even an itch into pain.
When those pain signals reach the brain, they're processed by something called serotonin. People with fibromyalgia, however, don't have enough serotonin (the friends who didn't show up to help), leaving the brain overwhelmed.
Chest & Rib Pain/“Costochrondritis
Costochondritis is when the cartilage that connects your ribs to the breastbone has swelling. Depending on how much inflammation there is, it can range from mildly annoying to intensely painful. Costochondritis can sometimes make you feel like you're having a heart attack. Even though costochondritis is common, please receive medical attention if you're having unexplained chest pains.
Allodynia is pain caused from situations that normally shouldn't cause pain. If you want to understand allodynia pain, try to imagine a gentle hug of a child causes excruciating pain. With allodynia, the sheets from your bed or the material of your shirt can cause discomfort or severe pain.
There are three different types of allodynia.
Tactile allodynia: Pain caused by touch.
Mechanical allodynia: Pain caused by movement across the skin.
Thermal allodynia: Pain caused by heat or cold that is not extreme enough to cause damage to your tissues.
Paresthesia affects the nervous system. When experiencing paresthesia, you may feel prickly feelings, numbness, tingling, and a burning sensation in your feet or hands. You may also experience this symptom with itching or you may feel as if there is something crawling on your skin.
These next few terms aren’t medically correct, but if you're a spoonie, you know what I'm talking about.
Knife in Voodoo Doll
This is an INTENSE stabbing pain that can occur anywhere in the body. This is pain that comes out of nowhere and in places you'd least expect it. Sometimes, it really feels someone stabbing knives into a little voodoo doll with your name on it.
Fibromyalgia patients experience sparkler burn problem due to our hypersensitivity to pain and touch. For some people like me, it will also be itchy. But when we try to scratch it, it causes extreme pain.
Random Roving Pain
This is one of those things that reminds you that Fibromyalgia just doesn't make any sense and just does whatever it wants whenever it wants. This is the pain that just tends to migrate all over the body.
Although, there are so many more types of pain and symptoms that comes with Fibromyalgia, but I really hope this list was able to help you put a name to some of your Fibromyalgia pain and help when explaining certain types of pain.