Fibro: What People Don’t See (Infographic)

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Below the surface, living with fibro can mean days spent in bed, missed appointments, and alternate days when we seem “fine.” There’s so much more to fibromyalgia than meets the eye. We know that fibromyalgia comes with hundreds of possible combinations of symptoms, many of which appear invisible to outsiders. Most people don’t see the many symptoms we experience.Image may contain: text

The social network and online support group for people living with fibromyalgia, members discuss the chronic nature of the disease and its hidden symptoms. MyFibroTeam has grown to reach 200,000 members and members have shared over 10 million conversations about life with fibro! Throughout the year we will share themes we see come up time and time on MyFibroTeam. We chose the image of an iceberg to represent fibro symptoms because the life-impacting implications of a fibro diagnosis aren’t obvious on the surface. Please share to spread fibro awareness!

As with many other common symptoms, fibromyalgia neck pain can really be frustrating.

I know, I say it often…fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and stiffness and can affect nearly any part of the body, but neck pain is still one of the more noticeable symptoms.We use our neck muscles for hundreds of small daily activities, including turning our head when someone calls our name, while cleaning or bending, and supporting our head when we are in bed. Those muscles and their supporting structures can stop us from enjoying daily life if we don’t take care of this vulnerable area.

Eliminate Other Potential Causes

If your fibromyalgia neck pain is persistent and continues to increase, consider an appointment with your doctor or chiropractor. Tell him or her when the pain surfaced and note whether it’s constant or comes and goes at certain times.

Your doctor should give your neck a thorough exam and may want to run some tests to eliminate injuries and any other medical conditions that can explain your pain. You might also discuss your lifestyle patterns that can exacerbate fibromyalgia neck pain.

With a simple x-ray, they can assess the curvature of your neck. If you have lost that natural curvature, this can increase pain and stiffness. Work on restoring that curvature by lying on a cervical pillow as much as possible.

I  have used a device at home called a “Dakota” that also helps to restore the natural curve of the neck. You might ask your chiropractor or physical therapist if they sell these. They are inexpensive and easy to use.

Simply by lying on the Dakota (looks like a large triangular piece of sturdy foam with a forehead tension adjuster) a few minutes per day, you can be on your way to improving that natural curvature that many people lose or compromise from excessive cell phone use, computer use, television watching and more.

Simply adjusting how you sit and making it a point not to sit for longer than 20-30 minutes at one time can be helpful for some types of neck pain. If you have determined your neck pain is due to fibromyalgia, you should still keep those preventative measures in mind. It’s also important to remember that simple things like stress or changes in the weather may cause increased neck pain in fibromyalgia.

Severe neck pain can also exacerbate symptoms in other systems of the fibro body. It can stifle breathing, leaving you with shallow breathing. It can affect the thyroid and adrenals as well due to the stress and close proximity to the thyroid gland. Yes, there are many reasons that we need to take extra care for this vulnerable area of the body.

Cellphones, Computers, and TV Screens

It is important to not perpetuate fibromyalgia neck pain with daily activities such as excessive use of our cellphones, computers, and TV. You see, with fibromyalgia, we will tend to feel the pain of repetitive motion, sitting, standing or staying in one position long before a non fibro person might feel it.

So let’s say you put your neck in a compromising position for merely a few minutes, or even seconds, you could cause a major pain in the neck before you know it.

This list is by no means exhaustive. What symptoms would you add?

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