fatigue Uncategorized

Fatigue and fibromyalgia

Fatigue can be a relentless symptom. Chronic fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of FM, right with deep muscle pain and body aches. But it isn’t normal fatigue. The feeling of fatigue, weakness and just exhaustion can lead to things like social isolation and depression. Even hours of rest doesn’t alleviate it. It is often described as flu-like, crippling and exhausting.

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The fatigue with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) often coincides with mood disturbances, anxiety, or depression. People with fibromyalgia may describe their sleep as unrefreshing or light. Some people with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the joints in the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it even more difficult to sleep and worsens their daytime feelings of sleepiness and fatigue.

WebMD

I have been having an immense problem with fatigue for some time now. It is insane how bad it is. Like dragging your body around when it doesn’t want to move and just wants to sleep. It is horrible in the morning, but it doesn’t really improve much. Sometimes on my way to work I have almost fallen asleep. With long blinks and grogginess. Sometimes that lasts all day. And nap attacks all the time. But the weight of the fatigue makes it hard to think or do anything at all. It is so exhausting to just move. You can’t rest though, because laying down for a nap, well that hurts… laying down for any period of time hurts the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders. But I want to. I want to just rest.

Results of qualitative studies provide insights into the encumbrance that fatigue inflicts on patients with fibromyalgia and the concomitant problem of articulating to their doctors what is wrong. Patients with fibromyalgia describe fatigue as ‘an inescapable or overwhelming feeling of profound physical tiredness’, ‘weakness in the muscles’, ‘an uncontrollable, unpredictable constant state of never being rested’, ‘a ghastly sensation of being totally drained of every fiber of energy’, ‘not proportional to effort exerted’, ‘not relieved by rest’, ‘having to do things more slowly’, and ‘an invisible foe that creeps upon them unannounced and without warning’ [8, 18, 19]. Patients also report that fatigue is interwoven, influenced, and intensified by pain, and is sometimes more severe than pain [18]. Although fatigue is reported by both men and women with fibromyalgia, one study demonstrated that men had less fatigue compared to women and a second study reported that men tend to focus more on pain and women on fatigue [8, 20]Beyond pain in fibromyalgia: insights into the symptom of fatigue

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Basic tips for fatigue are:

  • Planning rest breaks for before activity- because we literally need to build up energy to do anything.
  • Change routines- to fit your fatigue, if you can in fact do this. So plan down times. Plan rest times. Plan recover times. Pacing in the extreme, people, pacing, pacing, pacing.
  • Exercise- is a big one. Not major exercise. Mild exercise. Whatever you can literally manage. Start real slow. Like a ten minute walk sort of exercise. But it can be stimulating.
  • Short naps- like power naps. Not late in the day. 90 minutes being the longest because that is a sleep cycle.
  • Sleep hygiene- well we have serious issues with sleep as is, so always a go idea to have good sleep hygiene.
  • Stress reduction- I think this is always on the list and likely because the fatigue is caused by a lot of other factors including pain, so reducing stress can sometimes help manage our other symptoms.

Personally I am increasing my B12 and starting Rhodiola supplement wise, hoping for Some sort of boost.

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8 comments

  1. Fatigue is my biggest enemy. It is what I struggle with the most. Can identify so much with what you have written. Wishing you extra spoons. xo

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  2. Nikki,
    Thank you for saying “laying down for any period of time hurts the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders” I hadn’t really paid a great deal of attention to what was making my hips and ankles, back and shoulders ache but you are correct, it’s rest.
    |
    I have found some success by basically turning my bed into a hospital bed using pillows. I am going to link them here so sorry for the long comment.

    During the day I have a Reading pillow (https://smile.amazon.com/Ultra-Comfortable-Reading-Pillow-Relaxation/dp/B072BKB7NJ/ref=sr_1_6?s=bedbath&ie=UTF8&qid=1504895083&sr=1-6&keywords=reading+pillow) that I use as a base for my fluffier pillows when I am resting but not sleeping. I also use a leg pillow (https://smile.amazon.com/Restorology-Elevating-Rest-Pillow-Memory/dp/B01LXPM2CN/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1504895137&sr=1-5&keywords=leg+pillow) to keep my body in a more natural posture.

    At night I use a knee pillow (https://smile.amazon.com/ComfiLife-Orthopedic-Pillow-Sciatica-Pregnancy/dp/B01ARJ7SBM/ref=sr_1_4?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1504895137&sr=1-4&keywords=leg+pillow) to help my hips and legs a bit) and I use a special ergonomic pillow for the shoulders and neck (https://smile.amazon.com/Little-Tree-Ergonomic-Orthopedic-Hypoallergenic/dp/B01N0OG8SS/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1504895271&sr=1-5&keywords=ergonomic+pillow+side+sleeper)

    Sometimes when I need to sleep on my back I find the leg pillow more helpful than the knee pillow. I wish I could say this removes all my pain all the time but it doesn’t. It does lessen it most of the time though. That is not nothing.

    Good luck to you, I hope you find some help for the sheer hell that is fibro-sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has improved my physical fatigue, but I have to take it twice a day because I can feel when it slumps. Not a massive reduction in fatigue but enough I can function better. And it helps with mental fatigue as well.

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