Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sometimes its Worth the Pain

I get monthly e-mail updates and quarterly journals from the Fibromyalgia Network.  They have a very informative website, as well as good articles in the journal and updates.  One of the articles in the update I just got was about a survey that was done with people with fibromyalgia.It was performed by Lillemor Hallberg, Ph.D., at Halmstad University in Sweden.   It was synthesized into 6 strategies for living a balanced life with fibro. The 6 strategies are:
1. Distract yourself from pain. 
2. Participate in activities that alleviate your pain.
3. Avoid unnecessary stress.
4. Use good days wisely.
5. Plan activities in advance.
6. Too much activity is sometimes worth it.
I want to comment on this last one.  Most strategies we hear about are strategies for decreasing the symptoms we don't like.  This last strategy is different.  This one tells us that while decreasing symptoms is good, you have to live your life, even if it means increasing symptoms sometimes. If you always err on the side of caution and avoid anything that causes pain or fatigue, you are missing out on life.  
Sometimes a family gathering or a social event are worth the price of a few days pain afterward.  The trick is knowing how much and how often. Each of us is different, there is no magic formula. It takes thought, and perhaps some trial and error.  What is important to you?  How much is this event/activity worth to you?  Project into the future to the day after the event.  You are lying in bed, groaning.  Are you thinking, "Where was my brain?  I should not have done that."  Or are you thinking, "Man, do I hurt.  But it sure was great seeing everybody."  If you skipped the event, would you be regretting it the next day?  
Asking yourself these kinds of questions will help you identify when it is worth it to push yourself past your usual limits, and when it is not worth it. You be the judge.  It is your life, live it.  (Yeah, I know.  Easier said than done.  ; )
The article ends with this:  
The only common strategy the researchers did not endorse was to ignore pain. “By ignoring pain, the women’s fast pace and hyperactivity is maintained,” says Hallberg. “This will probably result in increased pain and fatigue and increase the imbalance.” While the researchers felt the distraction and activities strategies were key and could be learned, patients felt that reducing stress might have the best impact.   


  1. I could not agree more!
    There are times when dealing with the pain is worth it.
    I have delt with R.S.D./C.R.P.S. for over 19 years and have put things on hold or cancled them alltogether because of pain.
    I have wanted to go to Ireland my entire life and I am going this year. I know that when the airplane takes off and lands will be HELL as far as pain goes.
    But this pain will be worth it.
    I'm guilty of not acknowledging pain because I believe that it gives it power over me and what is left of my life. This system has worked for me so far. I still try to not over do it and try to avoid stress but I don't talk about my pain very much at all. I have seen other people who talk about thier pain a lot and then they seam to have an increase in thier pain. I believe that they are giving it power over them, thier lives and thier bodies. I refuse to do this. I have been told that this is the wrong way to deal with it,but it works for me.

    In preparing for my trip, I found out that if you were born between the years of 1906 and 2011 in the state of Pennsylvania, you may need a new birth cirtificate.
    They changed the design and mine was declaired invalid and illegal to use, making it harder to get a passport.
    I was told that it was well advertised in PA. but I haven't lived there since I was 2 years old.
    (Just a bit of info that I thought should be passed on to others like me.)

  2. Great article, Sheryl, thanks for the link and the synopsis.

  3. Each of us has our own way of dealing with our maladies, there is no one right way. There is a balance point between dwelling on our pain and illness too much, and not attending to it enough. It is up to each of us to find the range where we function best.
    To Anonymous- Have a wonderful time in Ireland! If you see a leprechaun, tell him I said hello. (If you really see a leprechaun, maybe you need to adjust your medication.)