The worst part about chronic pain is the complete unknown. It will always be lingering in the background no matter how your feeling, waiting to turn a relatively good day into a painful one. Nothing in your life is planned because you can feel good today, or maybe even for a week but, then out of nowhere you are back to square one. It’s not just pain. It’s a complete physical, mental and emotional assault on your body.
There are 7 types of pain that are wrapped in the Fibromyalgia box. I felt it was important to break these down into bite-sized pieces that people like me could understand as the internet can be full of technical terms and overwhelming information.
Three of these have a medical definition:
Hyperalgesia: in short this type of pain is described as our brains sending pain signals but at a higher frequency than those without the condition. This causes an abnormally heightened sensitivity to pain.
Allodynia: Allodynia means “other pain”. Imagine the feeling you get when sunburnt. Your skin is painful to even the lightest touch. Now imagine this all of the time.
Painful Paraesthesia: also known as pins and needles is a pricking, burning tingling or numbing sensation which is usually felt in the arms legs, hands and feet. In my case, I generally feel this in my feet. Imagine walking over hot burning coals all of the time. This is pretty much how it feels on a regular basis.
The other four are not medically defined but, are just as important:
The Knife in the Voodoo Doll pain: This pain I can describe as an intense stabbing pain that feels like it is going straight through you.
The Randomly Roving pain: this pain is evidence that the pain from Fibromyalgia is never really concentrated in one place and is pretty random. It can migrate from one area of the body to the other with seemingly no reason
The Sparkler Burns pain: This one is pretty self-explanatory. In my experience I get this pain most frequently in my hands. It feels like a throbbing piercing pain that only seems to get worse if aggravated and can then trigger pain in other parts of the body.
The Rattled Nerves pain: this pain, in my opinion, is one of the worst. It is usually a very uncomfortable body ache that can start up in all different places in the body, mine being mostly in my legs and back. This can then be joined by dizziness, nausea and anxiety. It is said to be caused by stressful situations and can potentially be triggered by loud sounds, flashing lights and large crowds.
I never realised how much I took for granted – working, shopping, socialising – until chronic illness came into my life and these various types of pain became “normal” to me. Nothing has been quite the same since but, I am trying my best to put on a brave face and work with the body I have. I know it’s not going to be an easy journey but, we have to live through the bad days to get to the good ones.
You just have to remember that you were given this life because you are strong enough to live it!