Fibromyalgia Syndrome or FMS, is a disorder that brings both a sense of exhaustion and pain. It affects the whole body robbing the person of their energy and bringing with it sensations of pain. Currently there is no known cure for FM. The word “”fibromyalgia” has a definition that refers to the fibrous tissues in the body and to pain. Some people may describe it as similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, formerly known as ME) but with the addition of pain.
The soft tissues in body such as tendons, muscle, and ligaments are the places where the pain and discomfort is produced. Many FM sufferers describe having total body pain rather than a sense of isolated pain. They often feel like their muscles are extremely taut and they may experience twitches or spasms in their muscles.
Who Gets FM?
As with many disorders, there are certain characteristics that are noticed. For the person with Fibromyalgia, it has been noted there seems to be a connection to Type-A personalities. Type-A personalities tend to be hard-working, driven, constantly on the go, ambitious, competitive and may even seek stressful situations or experiences. Unfortunately, Type-A personalities are also less likely to admit to being stressed and recognising that they need to slow down and relax more.
Fibromyalgia has also an association with what are called mood disorders. Typically this means that the person may register somewhere on the spectrum of depression. They may be over-sensitive and quick to be hurt emotionally by others. A dip in mood may trigger an FM attack and they have to take to the bed until the pain subsides and their energy level picks up.
Some studies have noticed that women tend to get fibromyalgia in greater numbers than in men. FM can affect people of any age.
How is FM treated? As there is no known cure for FM, treatment tends to be around managing and reducing symptoms. In many cases fibromyalgia is treated with a mixture of drugs, complementary therapies and alterations to lifestyle.
The prescribed drugs tend to be anti-depressants for mood, and paracetamol for pain. FM patients do not react in the same way to these drug combinations and so there may be a period of trying out various medications until the patient discovers what works for them. Codeine may also be used to help reduce pain.
For some FM sufferers muscle relaxants and sleeping pills may be prescribed to help alleviate tension in the muscles and combat bouts of insomnia.
Lifestyle Changes That Aid Recovery
For the FM patient, lifestyle changes occur because of the pain and lack of energy anyway. However, it is the acceptance that the FM sufferer should pace themselves more and not stress about what they have not been able to accomplish. Opportunities to relax more often and not have to be driven to always need to work or take action are encouraged. Also a different way of perceiving experiences can aid better moods.
Hypnotherapy Helps Fibromyalgia
As stress may have been a major contributor to the onset of FM, it is vital to introduce a means for the FM patient to manage and reduce their stress levels. Hypnosis has proven to be highly effective in this area. Self hypnosis is a practice that when used regularly reduces stress and encourages relaxation and well-being.
A professional hypnotherapist who treats a FM patient may also assist in helping a change of perceptions that enable the FM sufferer to view life and any sense of what they “need” to do or “must” do differently. A hypnotherapist may also, through the use of regression, seek to aid the release of negative emotions experienced during past upsetting or hurtful events.
Self hypnosis is also used to help reduce pain and discomfort and eases tension in the muscles and encourages restful sleep. Self hypnosis can prove to be an important part of the total support structure for any FM patient helping them back to enjoying a fulfilling and purposeful lifestyle.
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_______________________________________________________________________________________ Author’s Details Steven Harold BA(Hons) DCH DHP
Clinical Hypnotherapist – Derby, Nottingham