Dealing With and Understanding Your Pain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Here is more "brain food!" This info is from the site. Even though most references state arthritis, I think we could probably substitute fibro -- fibro is mentioned in the text, too.



    Dealing with pain can be the hardest part of having arthritis or a related condition (such as fibromyalgia), but you can learn to manage it and its impact on your life.

    The first step is knowing which type of arthritis or condition you have, because that will help determine your treatment.

    Before learning different management techniques, however, it's important to understand some concepts about pain.


    Just as there are different types of arthritis, there are also different types of pain. Even your own pain may vary from day to day.

    Each person needs a pain management plan (see below). What works for one person may not work for someone else. You may need to try several different treatments before you find the one that works for you.


    Pain is your body's alarm system that tells you something is wrong. When your body is injured, nerves in the affected area release chemical signals. Other nerves send these signals to your brain, where they are recognized as pain.

    Pain often tells you that you need to act. For example, if you touch a hot stove, pain signals from your brain make you pull your hand away. This type of pain helps protect you.

    Long-lasting pain, like the kind that accompanies arthritis OR FIBROMYALGIA, is different. While it tells you that something is wrong, it often isn't as easy to relieve.

    Managing this type of pain is essential to enhance your quality of life and sense of well-being.


    Arthritis pain is caused by several factors, such as:

    • Inflammation, the process that causes the redness and swelling in your joints;

    • Damage to joint tissues, which results from the disease process or from stress, injury or pressure on the joints;

    • Fatigue that results from the disease process, which can make your pain seem worse and harder to handle;

    • Depression or stress, which results from limited movement or no longer doing activities you enjoy.

    You can get caught in a cycle of pain, limited/lost abilities, stress and depression that makes managing pain and arthritis seem more difficult.


    People react differently to pain for several reasons.

    Physical factors include the sensitivity of your nervous system and the severity of your arthritis.

    Emotional and social factors include your fears and anxieties about pain, previous experiences with pain, energy level, attitude about your condition and the way people around you react to pain.

    Many people with arthritis have found that by learning and practicing pain management skills, they can reduce their pain.


    What can make your pain feel worse?

    • Increased disease activity

    • Stress

    • Overdoing physical activity

    • Focusing on pain

    • Fatigue

    • Anxiety

    • Depression


    • Medications

    • Positive attitude and pleasant thoughts

    • Appropriate exercise

    • Relaxation

    • Massage

    • Distraction

    • Topical pain relievers

    • Humor

    • Heat and cold treatments


    Pain signals travel through a system of nerves in your brain and spinal cord. At times, your body tries to stop these signals by creating chemicals that help block pain signals. These chemicals, called endorphins, are morphine-like painkilling substances that decrease the pain sensation.

    Different factors cause the body to produce endorphins. One example is your own thoughts and emotions. For example, a father who is driving his children is hurt in a car accident. He is so worried about his children that he doesn't feel the pain of his own broken arm. The concern for his children has caused the natural release of endorphins, which block the pain signal and prevent him from noticing the pain.

    The body also produces endorphins in response to external factors, such as medicine. Codeine is one example of a powerful pain-blocking medication. Other external pain control methods, such as heat and cold treatments, can stimulate the body to either release endorphins or block pain signals in other ways.

    Note: Here is the "Pain Management Plan" as referenced in the above article.


    Work with your health-care team to create your own pain management plan based on the model provided below. Include plenty of space for your written responses. Post your plan where you will see it and be reminded to use it often.

    Information for Pain Management Plan:

    • Medications: Types of medications I take, when I take them, how much I take

    • Exercise: Type of exercises I'll do, when I'll do it, how often I'll do it

    • Rest: When I'll completely rest, when I'll rest specific joints, when I'll wear my splint

    • Heat, cold and/or massage treatment: What I'll do, when I'll do it

    • Relaxation: Forms of relaxation I'll practice, how often I'll practice

    • Other Healthy Habits: Some healthy habits I will practice

    • Questions for my health-care team

    • Resources and services I can rely on for assistance

    • Local Arthritis Foundation address and phone number

    • Doctor's name, address and phone number

    • Physical and/or occupational therapist's name, address and phone number

    • Pharmacist's name, address and phone number

    • Other members of my health-care team

    • Other resources that can help me



  2. sues1

    sues1 New Member

    Thanks for this post. True, we have Fibro, but much can still fit us. Plus some have arthritis and Fibro also.

    I am going to make a copy for my brother that has serious R.A.

  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

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