The challenge of living with fibromyalgia should be enough on its own, let alone having episodes when your back feels such intense pain keeping you in bed. But it may make you feel a little better to know there is an explanation for the intensity of the pain you’re going through.
“Both back pain and fibromyalgia belong to a group of disorders called central hypersensitivity syndromes,” says pain management specialist Ronald Staud, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The roots of both causes differ. For example, back pain could be caused by a damaged vertebral disk, yet the pain experiences of the two conditions bear some similarities. Among them is the sense that these chronic pain conditions cause you to be on a “high alert” setting of sorts (doctors call it hyperarousal). Once it starts, other players compound the game. The pain wears you down, causing fatigue, depression, and anxiety that make living with fibromyalgia and back pain all the more draining.
“The hyperarousal is really a normal response,” says Dr. Staud. It may be normal, but it is no comfort when the syndrome hits and finding the right combination of treatments can be exhausting to one who is already unable to exert any more energy.
One viable solution, especially in winter months, is to invest in a heating pad. Hot treatments can reduce your joint and muscle pain according to medical experts. Heat relaxes muscles, and heating pads can conduct heat to muscle tissue keeping the muscle supple and relaxed.
The trick is not to wait until you're inundated from the back pain. Instead, while lying in bed each day during your daily rest, click on that heating pad while you read for 20 minutes or so. Daily maintenance is the key by keeping the body's muscles relaxed continually. That warm, cozy feeling you'll get will keep lower back pain at bay.