The Fibromyalgia Cycle

Fibromyalgia Cycle

The Fibromyalgia Cycle

This is one of the best graphic representations of the fibromyalgia cycle I’ve ever seen, so I had to share.  Based on my own personal fibromyalgia symptoms, I would make a few changes though, if this were my drawing.  I would change fatigue to Fatigue/Poor Sleep.  Sleep is key for fibromyalgia sufferers.  I need a minimum of 8 hours a night.  I don’t always get that, but I do my best to come close.  Even if I do get 8 hours, its usually not a full 8 hours of good, restful sleep.  Our bodies need a chance to recharge and get a break from the havoc our brain’s screwed up pain signal wiring causes.  Sleep gives us this necessary break.  Without sleep, we are fatigued and our pain is worse.

I’d also change limited activity to Limited or Too Much activity.  Too little exercise or activity can increase our pain, but so can overdoing it.  If we have a good day and push ourselves too hard, we’re going to pay for it the next day with more pain.

I’d also change Depression because it isn’t just that emotional state that feeds our pain.  Any extreme emotion will do it.  I’ve had a long crying fit trigger a fibro flare up, but I’ve also had a really good day where I was super excited and almost manically happy trigger a flare up.  If we go too far to either side of the scale, we’re going to pay for it with more pain the next day.

All of these triggers feed our pain.  They all feed eachother.  They all form a vicious cycle that just causes all these symptoms to get worse and worse.  It’s incredibly hard to break this cycle.  Medications can help.  A daily exercise program can help.  Working with a cognitive therapist can help.  But most of all it takes willpower and inner strength to pick a symptom, target it mentally, and work to make it better.  If I can make one of these symptoms better, my pain gets a little better.  If I can balance these symptoms so they’re all in a more normal range, my pain drops to the lowest level, which I call my good days.  It’s like keeping plates balanced and spinning on poles.  It’s hard and nearly impossible, but it’s really cool when you achieve it.


11 thoughts on “The Fibromyalgia Cycle

  1. Reblogged this on chronicpainsurvivor and commented:
    The Fibromyalgia Cycle by blogger Fighting Fibromyalgia

  2. Excellent!! I would agree with your additions. sleep is my big issue. Usualy I get no more than 2 to 4 hours.

    These are great. know if I don’t comment on each I am reading and liking them.
    Be blessed ~ BB

  3. I like the cycle but would switch fatigue and put it before limited activity..and yes, add sleep deprivation. I get 2-3 at one time, sometimes can fall back to sleep, more likely I am up for awhile.

  4. This will be an interesting poll. – I’ll keep my eye peeled. ~ BB

  5. C-Joy says:

    I love the idea of targeting one thing at a time! It is so easy to be overwhelmed by all the components in the cycle. And of course, when you feel overwhelmed, your muscles start to tense. And when you are tense, it is harder to manage daily stress…..

    • sage54 says:

      I agree with you whole heartedly !! This is a great visual to have and maybe, just maybe people will start to understand the debilitating factors of this “thing” called fibromyalgia. I have had it for about 8 years and I am still having a difficult time accepting the person I have become., however, I try to stay positive and healthy. Thank God for my pain meds

  6. ddLynn says:

    Wow, can relate to so much here. I tend to get at the lowest of lows, begin to target and reduce each outlying issue one by one, get a day or so of low pain and then the mean, nasty cycle kicks back in. Of course, one of the hardest thing on those good days is always to remind ourselves to not make it a “get everything done while I can” days. Love your analogy about keeping the plates spinning and in the air…practice and patience are helpful but don’t always make the balance act work unfortunately.

  7. […] The Fibromyalgia Cycle ( […]

  8. Tonia Williams says:

    Thank you for this. I have not met anyone who talked about cycling. Especially frustrating is how one pain site awakens another, so that as the first location summers down, another increases, causing another as the second site settles down, until slowly the cycling stops.

    • Bev Wilt says:

      UNBELIEVABLE how you ,can write about Fibro and it could be me writing it!!!! Your symptoms are spot on with mine and all the replies and comments so. Identical to how I feel and how I suffer! I’d like to add how misunderstood we are ! Sometimes you just push through the pain but I did that after Christmas this year and I went into a full Fibro flare up ! I was up until 2:30 am trying all my tricks in my tickle trunk ,to no avail! My head felt like it was going to blow off my shoulders ! I took my blood pressure and it was 240/130! I got my husband to take me to emergency at the Hospital ! They did an ECG and kept me on telemetry . When the blood work came back and ruled out a heart attack, which was four hours later they told me to sleep for awhile! I had told them over and over about my SPLITTING HEADACHE and asked over and over again for something for it! The Dr looked at me like I was a bad little girl (I’m a 57 yr old retired nurse) and said “I believe you are here for us to treat your heart not your Fibromyalgia !” I for the life of me could not believe the ignorance of a Professional GP to utter such a response ! I reminded him that my head was connected to my body and I didn’t know if the headache put the B P up or if the B P was giving me the headache . He comes back with fair enough I’ll have the nurse give you a Tylenol . I saw 5 Doctors before getting pain meds that worked and a BP pill and it took me 5 days to accomplish this! You can imagine how unbalanced my Life with Fibro is now!!!

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