What is fibromyalgia swelling and What Causes of Fibromyalgia Swelling?

By: Wyatt Redd
Fibromyalgia swelling makes life difficult for a lot of sufferers. The pain and discomfort make daily tasks a challenge. Putting on shoes, or picking out an outfit, or even just getting around is harder with painful swelling in your hands or feet. But what causes the swelling? And how can you treat it?

What is fibromyalgia swelling?

Fibromyalgia often causes swelling in sufferers. Swelling, or edema, is a medical condition where fluid builds up underneath the skin. Edema is usually the result of injury, but with fibromyalgia, there is usually no obvious cause behind the swelling.

Now, this swelling usually happens in the hands and feet. But this fact often causes people to confuse fibromyalgia with arthritis, which also affects the hands and feet. And that sometimes makes treatment difficult. That’s because doctors may confuse your fibromyalgia pain with another condition. So, make sure that your doctor knows you have fibromyalgia.

In addition, fibromyalgia sufferers sometimes feel like their joints are swelling when they are not. It is part of the generalized, uncomfortable symptoms that fibromyalgia causes. And it makes treatment even more difficult since there are no physical symptoms.

What causes fibromyalgia swelling?

Fibromyalgia is a neurological condition, which means it affects joints and other nerve endings. No one knows how or why fibromyalgia targets nerve endings. But the overactivity in the nervous system causes joints to become inflamed.

Fibromyalgia is believed by many doctors to be a condition that causes your body’s immune system to over react. And in the same way that an allergic reaction can cause inflammation in the joints or face, your body’s immune response may be the cause of fibromyalgia swelling. That suggests that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder, but again, there is no scientific agreement on that issue.

What can I do to treat fibromyalgia swelling?

There is currently no cure for fibromyalgia. That means that treatments for fibromyalgia swelling involve easing the discomfort instead of treating the underlying cause. Until a cure is developed, most treatments will simply involve reducing the swelling and managing the pain so you can continue to live an active life.

There are a few things you can do to limit the swelling caused by fibromyalgia. First, try to move the fluid away from the affected areas. Raise your hands over your head or put your feet up against a wall. Raising the affected limbsover your head will cause the fluid to drain away from the temporarily.

Ice can sometimes help reduce the amount of swelling. Anyone who has ever had a busted lip or black eye knows that an ice pack can help reduce the swelling around the injured skin. Ice causes the water in your cells to contract, which reduces swelling. And in addition, it can help alleviate the pain.

Finally, your diet can play a big role in limiting how much fibromyalgia swelling you experience. High sodium levelsoften cause your body to retain water, which makes swelling more severe. Try removing sodium from your diet and see if your fibromyalgia swelling becomes more manageable.

Vitamin B-6 is another nutrient you should think about when dealing with fibromyalgia swelling. Vitamin B-6 can help regulate fluid build up in your body. So a daily vitamin supplement can help you limit the swelling associated with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia swelling is another one of the many uncomfortable symptoms that make fibromyalgia such a difficult disease to live with. But with some careful monitoring of your diet, and some basic home remedies, you can reduce the amount of fibromyalgia swelling you have to live with.

Via- Fibro Treating

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The Unwritten Battles of Receiving Disability Benefits  

I don’t know how I keep managing this, but yet again I find myself in a tumultuous period of time. My kids have been off school for a couple of weeks and we have been blessed with good weather and physical ability on my part that has allowed us to go on some wonderful adventures together. Sure, I’ve had to make them watch a film when we get home so I can lay still awhile, but we’ve lived. It’s been great.

Underneath this happy, primary-color-saturated series of pictures, though, the undertow is pulling. In amongst those happy, grin-filled days came a rather unwelcome visitor. Those of you that follow my personal story know I have lived in temporary housing for over five years.

For those that don’t, here’s  a quick refresher — great academic job, big house, three kids. Successful. Health rapidly deteriorates, lose job, lose house, found out was pregnant the next day.

So here I find myself five years later, now a single parent with four children, still a homeless statistic. Still working to create a new better life, but on benefits and totally beholden to the state.

Going back to my visitor, or visitors should I say, the people at the local council housing department. Rarely do they come bearing good news; this time it was pretty damn crappy. The landlord who rents my house to the council as emergency accommodation is selling up, in part having been pressured to resolve the mountain of disrepair issues in my home, in part because it’s easier and more profitable I’m sure. This leaves me for the second time in five years with nowhere to go, this time with four children. The council of course have a duty of care to me and the kids, so we will be moved into another set temporary accommodation, a flat, house or B-and-B somewhere in my 1,376 square mile county.

So most likely not in my hometown.

Then bam, hit me again, the school allocations arrive and we don’t get option one, two or three. Instead we get put in the school closest to my home, although still not in walking distance for me. The school that wasn’t on my list for a wealth of reasons.

I have spent 20 years building up a support network in my hometown and at the public services I use here. The schools and doctors all know me and my family, because we have a very distinct and specific set of circumstances. I have worked so hard to develop that support system that enables me to retain my independence but gives me a plethora of options when I am in crisis with my health. I have a list a mile long of contacts and people that willingly offer support and assistance, teachers included, when I have needed it. Instead, I’m expected to start from scratch.

I don’t even know where we will be in three months’ time, let alone next September, so in many ways it feels pointless appealing this decision and as for the housing, I’m not being defeatist, but what can I do, really? Seriously, if you have some suggestions hit me with them, as I feel utterly powerless to control or change any of this stuff right now. Not where I live, where my children attend school, where I’ll be in the future.

I can control nothing.

I am a long-term sick and disabled single woman. I have four children. I can’t work and will never be able to in a full time sense again. I’m on state benefits. There’s a huge stigma to that fact, despite my best efforts to shake it. I’m a well-educated, smart, sometimes articulate woman who’s fought hard for every last thing, and I’m tired. I’m so tired of fighting for everything, every right I allegedly have. I’m tired of every single thing being a battle. It’s so hard being in my situation; I can’t even explain the constant conflict with the various agencies I deal with, aside from the battles with the general public and their ill informed opinions of people like me.

It is no holiday being in my situation. I present to the world a predominantly positive, happy image as that helps me to remain positive about my, at times, dire situation, but it’s not real a lot of the time.

It’s tough. It’s tears. It’s frustration. It’s anger. It’s self-pity.

It is a constant fight to see the bright side or be positive. I can’t work my way out of my situation. I can’t retrain for a better option of my life, I can’t magically wipe away all the baggage that comes with me. I am utterly powerless.

That’s the me behind closed doors that few get to see.

Next time you make a flippant comment about people being on benefits, or how being off work long-term must be lovely, please, stop and think for a second about the reality of that choice. Do you really think I would choose this battleground over my well-paid, respected successful previous life?

What would you choose?

I choose to live with as much joy as possible. I choose to continue to fight. I choose to be happy regardless. But please don’t think that’s the easy option, that my life is wonderful without any work. It’s by far the hardest option available to me, it’s a full-time job keeping as healthy as possible aside from solo parenting four children. Then there’s dealing with our family unit being in crisis mode over and over through external circumstances — housing, money, school.

All of us who are chronically sick or disabled have so many unwritten battles, it really is nothing like a holiday, laying in bed all day. On those day I have to it’s frustrating — I hear the birds singing and see glimpses of the world I want so desperately to be part of, through my window. I’m always aware of the million things I should or could be doing.

We keep going regardless and grab the good bits, focus on the positives and desperately try not to sink under the plethora of pressures put upon us.


Cold Therapy Can Improve Quality of Life in Fibromyalgia Patients, Trial Shows

Exposure to extreme cold can help improve the quality of life in fibromyalgia patients by reducing musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, according to a clinical trial.

Results of the trial suggest that whole body cold-based therapy, called cryotherapy, should be considered as a treatment for fibromyalgia.

The study, “Effect of whole body cryotherapy interventions on health-related quality of life in fibromyalgia patients: A randomized controlled trial,” was published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Cold has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in many conditions, including rheumatic diseases and fibromyalgia. Cryotherapy has been shown to provide short-term pain relief in fibromyalgia patients.

Whole body cryotherapy is designed to trigger thermal stress that will promote blood vessel constriction and slow nerve signals, resulting in pain relief.

To better understand the potential benefits of cryotherapy for fibromyalgia patients, a team led by researchers at University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne in France conducted a randomized, controlled trial.

Participants included 24 adults with fibromyalgia who were randomized to undergo either whole body cryotherapy or not (these patients were called the control group). All patients underwent physiotherapy during the study period.

Patients in the cryotherapy group were exposed to extreme cold for three minutes at minus 110 degrees C (equal to minus 166 degrees Farenheit) in MECOTEC’s cryoair whole body cryotherapy chamber during 10 treatment sessions over eight days. All sensitive parts of the body, such as the face, ears, feet, and hands, were protected to avoid tissue damage.

All participants were asked to complete a quality of life questionnaire before treatment began and again one month after the final session.

Participants in the cryotherapy group reported significantly improved physical and mental health scores, compared with the baseline, or before treatment began.

The mean physical score improved from 21.3 to 55.6, and the mean mental health score from 30.1 to 60.4, whereas the control group did not have any significant changes in values.

“With few whole body cryotherapy sessions, rapid improvements have occurred both in the mental and physical dimensions of patients’ quality of life,” the researchers said.

Additional studies are still warranted to evaluate the long-term benefits of whole body cryotherapy for treating fibromyalgia. Since this therapeutic strategy has been demonstrated to improve sleep quality, further studies should address if whole body cryotherapy could improve sleep patterns in patients with the disease, the researchers said.


Please Don’t Tell Me How To Feel When My Pain Flares Up

By: Alexandra Dukat

When I sit down and write to advocate for my illnesses, I feel this pressure that I always need to be positive. That if I’m not, that if I’m not seeing the positive in the things I’m still able to do, that well, I’m just not grateful or positive enough.

That is the power of stigma. And let me tell you, I am tired of it.

I wasn’t diagnosed with lupus, fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s disease or Sjogren’s syndrome until I was 28. But for years, I struggled medically, not knowing or understanding why. I cannot say that having answers or diagnoses has made it any easier. I feel some days, it’s made it worse. You’d think having an answer means having a treatment, treatment makes you better, doctor’s appointments end, life finally moves on. As someone who also has post-traumatic stress disorder, I unfortunately knew better once I was diagnosed.

That is not the case with autoimmune disorders. I am trapped in this body that one day, or for one extended period of time cooperates, and then for a month or so does nothing that I need it to. It lets me down. It tests my patience. It pushes me into hole that I can’t scramble out of. And a lot of the time, that hole is very dark.

After my diagnosis, I mourned the person I used to be. I still do. It is even more difficult to accept the life you need to adjust to when you’re in a flare-up. Flare-ups for me are vicious. I will never be able to explain the pain that is shooting through my body every day.

Currently I cannot eat solid food, and have been on a liquid diet for over a month. I have been trying to keep up with going to the gym, because if I don’t my joint pain is even worse, but even when I’m there I feel like I just can’t do anything. I cannot sleep because I lay in bed and sob from the pain. I cry because I’m alone. I am that type of tired you just can’t explain to anyone. My Methotrexate, which I take twice a week, is making me more sick than usual. I don’t know why. I’ve started missing work because of it. And that means I’m disappointing people.


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My body disappoints me. In turn, it disappoints everyone else. In the end, there are days where I lay in bed and I can’t imagine going on like this anymore.

I have incurable, painful diseases, in which the treatments are less than ideal and are limited. I have lost friends because I am “too much.” I am no longer the friend to people I want to be. My life at times is overcome with doctors appointments and medical bills.

I feel when people ask me what’s going on with me, they don’t want to hear what truly is. They already know I’m chronically ill. I’ll be this way forever. So, why talk about it? I feel burdensome to others because the truth is, I feel burdensome to myself.

I never asked to have to slap on a smile every day, to go to work, to grind as hard as I can because I have to make sure I keep my job because I know I’ll miss time. If I don’t seem like I’m worth it to my peers and supervisors, I am so fearful I’ll be let go.

I never asked to be in pain every day. I never asked for scary diagnostic tests, to feel like I’m sitting around waiting for bad news every six months that I walk in my local diagnostic center. I never asked to have my appearance change so drastically that sometimes looking in the mirror makes me want to smash it. I can’t stand the person looking back at me because my hair that I’ve lost from my treatment growing back isn’t my hair, and yet I can’t get anyone to truly understand how awful that feels.

But everyone wants me to be positive. Because apparently I’m going to “feel better.”

There is no better. There’s flaring, and there’s not flaring. And people need to understand the emotions we feel when we flare. Being in pain every day does something to you. It eats at you and tests you in ways you didn’t think you could be tested. And I am mad because I didn’t ask for it.

I didn’t ask to be sad over my bodies, to not only feel constantly disappointed by them, but also by people’s reactions to it. Sometimes, I get to be angry. Sometimes, I get to be sad.

I ask people to please not feel that they get to dictate how I feel, or how I react to my flare because they don’t understand what I am feeling inside my own body. They may not understand the depression that comes with losing friends, and ultimately feeling as though you lost yourself to illness.

Today, and this month, I am flaring. And ultimately, I am mourning. People are just going to have to be OK with that, because sometimes, things are just bad.

We as a society need to stop glazing over negative moments to fill them with unauthentic, false-positive, “hope” filled candy coated, sugary motivational quotes that make you feel better.

I never said I lost hope.

Via- The Mighty

I Can’t Be the ‘Perfect Housewife’ With Fibromyalgia, and That’s OK

By: Alicia Thompson

I have to admit, I was a pretty unusual kid. I grew up watching cooking shows, Martha Stewart, and “I Love Lucy.” I dreamed of being the ideal 1950s housewife with a spotless home. (I know, call me old-fashioned, but it sounded like fun to me.) I imagined some day making the detailed crafts that Martha Stewart somehow found time for. I imagined cooking gourmet meals, homemade bread, fresh butter and still having time to sew, craft, clean and garden. I dreamed of someday being, well, perfect.

When I finally got my big dream, I planned all the ways I would use my time as a housewife. I was going to keep my home spotless, cook dinner every night and work on fun crafts in my free time. I was finally going to have time to do all the fun projects I had dreamed of. I was going to make our house a home, and I was thrilled!

But it didn’t go at all the way I had planned. (And honestly, I’ve realized that’s OK!)

About a year after I got married, I found out I had fibromyalgia. I had been struggling with fatigue and pain that kept me from doing most of the things I had planned. I found myself spending most days laying on my couch watching TV and dreaming of all the projects I wanted to do.

On my really good days, I’d push myself past my limits and try to do all the things on my list. Again and again, I pushed myself too hard and ended up in too much pain to do anything for weeks. I was so frustrated that no matter how hard I tried, my body kept giving out on me.

It’s not easy to accept that my body doesn’t have the strength and energy to keep up with my ideals. I spent months feeling guilty, lazy and useless. The frustration of letting myself down was probably the biggest hurdle I had to overcome.

So often, those in the chronic illness community discuss the difficulties and frustrations of other people’s responses to our illness. But we combat more than other people’s expectations. Some days we have to combat our own.


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I finally realized that I need to take a step back and figure out what really matters. My husband assured me over and over again that I was much too hard on myself, but I had a hard time realizing he was right. He doesn’t care if our house is spotless; he doesn’t care if we have fast food some nights; he doesn’t mind that some days all I accomplish is getting out of bed. My friends don’t walk into my house and judge me because it’s not as clean as I think it should be. More often than not, my friends and family don’t even notice the things that I find to be my most frustrating faults.

I honestly had to realize that I can let myself off of the hook. I don’t have to be Martha Stewart. I don’t have to have everything in my life be just perfect. Sometimes we need to just slow down and enjoy the beauty of life, even in the chaos.

My life isn’t perfect. And I’m OK with that


The Stages of Grief After Learning You Can’t Be ‘Fixed’

When looking for answers to a health issue, without really thinking about it, you might have this idea that once you know what it is, you can cure it, or at least treat it and make it significantly better.

So, when the time comes after months or years of tests and unanswered questions when you finally get an answer, you don’t expect to hear that there’s not much you can do about it. You don’t expect to find out that there is no cure. You know that can happen, that it’s possible, but some place deep in your mind, you don’t want to acknowledge it. This information – that they know what it is but still can’t help you – is like a 20-foot brick wall toppling down on you, and, written on each brick is a new, complex emotion. Each one crashing down on you until you are buried in the rubble of your inner avalanche.

The main feelings, from the moment you have answers to the moment you realize it doesn’t make much difference, goes like this:

Elation. You don’t have to wonder if you are “crazy” anymore. You don’t have to prove yourself to doctors or family or yourself. You can finally research and understand the specifics of what your body is doing and why. You can get a glimpse into the future progression of your illness. Hooray! Answers!


Grief: You’ve gained a diagnosis and have lost the possibility of getting better. In that moment, you’ve lost the dream you’ve played in your mind a thousand times before. The one that kept you hanging in there, that gave you the strength to keep trying. That hope for a healthy future full of infinite possibilities. Being able to function normally again. It can be devastating to lose that dream. You feel like you’ve lost a part of who you are, who you were meant to be. You’ve lost hope. Hope for a cure. All of a sudden, that future dream is shattered. Gone. That part of you, the future you, who you’ve envisioned a thousand times in your mind, crumbles like the imaginary world it was.

Acceptance: This can take some time. Grief always has its own timeline. It’s no different in this situation. Slowly, though, you begin to come to terms with your new truth. You acknowledge that it is good to at least know. Having more information means being able to make smarter treatment decisions. Knowing can also help you work around possible future symptoms, be two steps ahead. Be prepared. Be proactive instead the reactive way you had to live pre-diagnosis.

Reframing your dreams: Now comes the time when you need to reevaluate how you will proceed with your life. How you will find happiness. Examine what will make you happy. What is most important and what is least important. Figure out ways to achieve your goals. Choose which goals can be saved and which ones must go. It’s important at this time to remind yourself that even healthy people can not fulfill every dream. We all have limitations. We also all have choices. You start to realize you can be creative in how you live your life. You can be the tailor for your own world and let it work for you instead of against you.

I think some grief will always remain. It will pop back up during a bad flare-up, or when you least expect it to. Seeing someone else who appears to effortlessly be living the life you had drawn for yourself can cause the grief to come back in waves of despair. It can appear when you have to say no to an incredible opportunity, or feel like its suffocating you when you see how your illness is affecting your loved ones, causing them pain. But, because you’ve worked through the other steps, you can work your way back out of the grief. You can take back the power you do have and use it to find a new entrance. A new door. A new way to live your life to your fullest.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Igors Reisonoks.


Sinus Inflammation, Fibromyalgia And ME/CFS

By Celeste Cooper

Many of my fibromyalgia and ME/CFS friends tell me that they also suffer from chronic sinusitis, which is inflammation of nasal passages. A 2003 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found those of us who have unexplained fatigue are ten times more likely to have non-allergy related inflammation. In a 2008 systematic review of change in bodily pain after sinus surgery, nine of eleven studies noted significant improvement in bodily pain scores following endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) in patients like those of us who have fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.

At the very least, we know the inflammation and dry mucous membranes add to our distress. Maybe we don’t sleep as well. Trigger points that develop in the face and those that contribute to TMJ might be pressing on tissues that are responsible for regulating moisture. Nerves with facial trigger points and nerves affected by migraine disease may be affected. Maybe there is an immune component yet to be discovered. Many contributing factors could be at play including the spring season rich with high winds and flying dust, which further dries winter dry sinus passages. Any or all of these things can cause a rebound. Our nose runs, and our sinuses are still inflamed! For those of us who also have seasonal allergies, our world just got a little more complicated.

It’s important to be proactive because when our sinuses and nasal passages aren’t moist and happy, neither are we. We are at a greater risk for developing a bacterial or yeast overgrowth. A histamine response to allergies makes our sinuses feel like overfilled balloons, and our nasal passages don’t filter out pathogens as successfully. As if all of this isn’t enough, obstruction of airflow can apparently worsen our pain and fatigue.

So What Can We Do?

Things we can do include talking to our doctor about our symptoms. Or maybe a referral to an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT) is in order. If you think your symptoms are much worse when allergens in the air are high, maybe you should see a doctor that specializes in allergies; some ENTs do both.

Other Options:

Sterile saline nasal spray. Saline is bio-friendly and moisturizes without the pain and sensitivity of medications.

Periodic saline nasal irrigation. (Overuse may wash away normal protective flora.)

Use a humidifier.

Apply warm moist packs.


Consider the following if allergies are also present:

Oral decongestants.

Nasal vasoconstrictors such as Afrin® (Beware of rebound swelling if overused.)

Antihistamines and decongestants for seasonal allergies can further dehydrate mucous membranes. (Follow the precautions on the labels. They are there for your safety.)

Steroid nasal sprays decrease swelling during an attack. (I know these are over-the-counter now, but please check with your doctor first. Using these sprays for a chronic condition can lead to overuse. Consequences of overuse, though rare, can lead to local or systemic yeast overgrowth, weakening of the immune system, and possibly more serious effects.)

Allergy proof your home. (Change air filters frequently and get a maid! Seriously, allergy proofing a home is a tiresome and unending job I know too well. It’s not easy. Solicit help where you can.)

Other considerations:

Your doctor may want you to have a consultation with an ear, nose, and throat doctor (ENT).

Your doctor may want you to have a nasal endoscopy. (Similar to a colon scope, but MUCH smaller, a nasal scope made of flexible tubing with a camera on the end is put into nasal passages to look for abnormalities such as polyps, nasal septum abnormalities and other things that can interfere with normal functioning.)

A CT scan or an MRI (Both provide imaging of sinuses that are not accessible with an endoscope.)

A culture of nasal secretions may be done to look for bacteria, fungi or yeast.

Referral to an allergist.

The goal of any treatment is to reduce inflammation, open nasal passages, minimize the number of flares, and if possible, remove the underlying cause.

“All it takes is a single moment.
And she tried to breathe.”
~ Alison McGhee ~
All Rivers Flow To The Sea

In healing, Celeste


Chester AC. Symptoms of rhinosinusitis in patients with unexplained chronic fatigue or bodily pain: a pilot study. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Aug 11-25;163(15):1832-6. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12912720

Chester AC, Sindwani R, Smith TL, Bhattacharyya N. Systematic review of change in bodily pain after sinus surgery. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 Dec;139(6):759-65. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2008.09.020. Review. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2871684/