Hi all, I posted a wee while ago about the difference a holiday or even a weekend away makes to my fibro with a question: 'Is it more psychological than physical?' Got lots of interesting articles and the consensus is, rightly I think, that it is both. But for me, and perhaps for many others, the key to controlling the fibro must be to manage stress better. I can see a regular and direct correlation between stressful periods and pain, even between one very minor stressful event, e.g. a difficult conversation with a colleague at work or even a family member, and the onset of a flare up.
The following articles might be of interest to others:
Medical paper on relationship between stress and fibro:
- Argues stress may play a causal role in fibro
- Stress - threat to physical wellbeing or emotional burden - triggers our stress response in hypothalmus and amygdala (parts of brain)
- Stress affects cardiorespiratory, metabolic, reproductive, digestive and immune systems (ie pretty much every major bodily system) and 'turns them off temporarily'
- Discusses links to stress response and traumatic childhood experiences - this is not relevant to me but I gather from posts that it may be to others here. Early life stress may predispose to stress-induced illness and may lower pain threshold of individual
- Chronic (long term) stress is thought to increase pain (though more research needed)
- Inflammation and immune activation may also be stress induced
- "A substantial subgroup of FM patients seems to be characterised by problematic self-esteem and immature defence mechanisms with a tendency to anxiety, depression, and lack of emotional openness". I don't like this statement but I recognise that it may, in part, be true as I have low self-esteem and a tendency towards anxiety.
- This, it says, may lead to 'compensatory overactive lifestyles' and striving for high acheivement. Such personality factors and behavioural styles may be an important source of chronic stress. (Much as I don't like it, I believe there's some truth in that for me)
- Anxiety may perpetuate pain, muscle tension (and trigger points?), irritability, hyperventilation
And the result of all this: It's worth looking into stress avoidance, stress management, CBT etc to help. I don't have time to write more now. Must dash but will follow up with more on stress and pain