Fibromyalgia: The Game of Straws

Welcome to my Fibromyalgia blog. The topics discussed will also apply to many other pain conditions, such as myofascial pain, arthritis and chronic fatigue. The topics discussed are a result of years of interacting with you, the patient. For each lesson taught, there is a lesson learned. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to interact with so many wonderful patients. Thank you for teaching me along the way. As you read this blog, I hope you find something that you can apply to the management of your condition and improve the quality of your life.

The Game of Straws

Let’s think about “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” If you consider different aspects of your life as contributing straws, you can begin to get an idea how too many straws may accumulate. Any type of stressor is stress and can add straws to your life. The three general categories of stress include physiological (illness, medical conditions), emotional and physical (daily physical and mechanical stressors).

As you accumulate straws, the ability of your mind and body to physiologically adapt decreases. As your body approaches its saturation point, you run out of adaptability. At this stage, it only takes one additional stressor to push things over the edge. Once this starts, a negative cascade begins during which time your Fibromyalgia symptoms become overwhelming and you can lose control of your life.

In developing self-care strategies and management skills for Fibromyalgia, you need to assess the areas of your life where you can start “taking away straws.”  Every single straw counts! As you start taking away straws, your body and mind will develop more adaptability. This translates into improved tolerance to the physical and emotional demands of life without a flare-up. 

Take time to assess the areas of your life where you can start taking away straws. Analyze the areas that you can most easily change and that will have the biggest impact. Keep in mind that there will always be things that, even though they add more straws to your life, you cannot avoid. So take the initiative to create change in those areas of your  life that you can control and take away those straws!

Your medical team may include, but is not limited to, a doctor, physical therapist, psychologist, nutritionist, podiatrist, massage therapist or acupuncturist. Each specialty may help you reduce straws in different areas of your life. 

Your goal should be to take away enough straws in your life to enable you to return to a normal and healthy lifestyle.

Take control over your symptoms and don’t let your symptoms control you!

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