In A Nutshell

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Despite being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about a decade ago, I was able to work and lead a "normal" life, until I became severely ill with MS type symptoms one month after being laid off in June 2009, which meant no health insurance to properly address the problem. I spent 3 days in the hospital but since they initially did not want to keep me (one doc said I may have MS, but was overruled), I did not qualify for the financial aid for hospital bills because they did not think I belonged there. I was misdiagnosed with Labyrintits and sent on my way. I was told it would go away in a few weeks, that was 3 years ago and I have had the symptoms of dizziness, balance problems, vertigo, and pain every day since then. I went to a local free health clinic until they told me they exhausted all their options and could not help me any longer. I cannot drive nor work outside the home and only walk briefly with the aid of a cane, but also can't get disability because I have no real diagnosis for these particular symptoms. These are the chronicles of my (so far) dead-end journey riddled with bodies of good intentions.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What's in my Head

I never cease to be amazed at how I uncover information that is relevant to me as an individual when doing research for articles I have to write. A few weeks ago, I had to read up on something that was related to different massage therapies for a client. Among those I found one called myofascial release, which treats myofascial pain. What is all this? It is a massage technique that works by applying "low load" pressure to the myofascial connective tissue that gets stuck together in order to restore motion and get rid of pain. Huh?

In a nutshell: Our bodies have a soft tissue just below the skin called superficial fascia. It connects all our nerves, muscles, bones and blood vessels. Fascia and  muscles together are called the myofascia system.

According to Dr. John F. Barnes, myofascial pain is classified as: "Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.)" Read more about it on the Mayo Clinic website. (It's funny how they recommend to see a doctor for it).

This applies to me as I was diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome years ago by a chiropractor. Why did I never research it before now? For one, no one around here takes a diagnosis by a chiropractor serious so I never gave it much thought. Secondly, it's just one of a laundry list of conditions and doctors tune out by the time they hear the word syndrome. They are much more likely to listen, and lecture, if you if have visible problems, like obesity.

Lastly, I figured as long as I was going there he would "treat" it with whatever he was doing. Little did I know that he didn't, nor did he ever talk to me about how to treat it. Why diagnose me then in the first place and why am I bringing this up now, years after stopping chiropractic treatments due to financial reasons?

Well, I like to face my demons and drag them out into the light, and I can't do that without naming them. Mine have mostly medical names, and this one just happens to be one that's joining the ranks. Also, others with the same diagnosis may gain an understanding when reading this. After all, no one (outside 12-step programs) goes around introducing themselves with: "Hello, my name is and I have MFPS." Or FMS, or CFS, or diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, or whatever.

And last, but not least, I am now prepared to have an intelligent explanation when the next doctor tells me again "the pain is in your head." Besides, "normal" people like facts and figures, and 2,000 pounds per square inch of pressure is a good description of what this pain feels like.


Glory Lennon said...

Holy moly, that's a lot of pain. IS there a treatment and what in the world causes it in the first place?

Diane said...

Great info, Alex. There are a lot of people suffering from undiagnosed pain. Now if only you can get help!

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Great post Alex--and very informative. When muscle groups and tendons burn like fire as they stretch, rub together flex and move, it is very clear there is a real problem. Problems with the fascia inflammation, myofascial restriction , friction, tension and damage from trauma cause incredible pain--that is wide-spread, FAR too common, and should be getting a lot more attention from the medical community. Hopefully there will be --at some point, serious treatment of some kind available--that will show promise to relieve the problem and it's excruciating pain. Great job on bringing this OUT. ~R

Conny said...

When doctors can't figure out what's wrong with a patient, they resort to "It's in your head". I hope that you won't let the next doctor who says that to you get away with it.

Anonymous said...

"it's in you head" whether stated out loud or implied should be removed from every doctor's vocabulary. What it means is,"I can't figure it out so it must be you.". Arrogance!!! Have you looked into reflexology? You can teach yourself and it helps some with various issues.