As a fibromyalgia and chronic illness health practitioner, I’m asked these four questions most often. How can I get out of pain? How can I get more energy and stop the overwhelming fatigue? How can I eliminate fibrofog? How can I get a good night’s sleep?
You’re probably asking the same or similar questions, too.
Years ago, these questions and more were definitely the focus of my own health quest. I studied everything I could find on pain, energy, and cognitive dysfunction. I read about sleep studies related to insomnia. I wanted to learn what I could about not only falling asleep, but staying asleep.
In fact I’ve spent more than a decade, not to mention thousands of dollars searching for these very answers.
Here’s what I figured out.
When all was said and done, I realized I wasn’t asking the right questions in the first place.
I should have been searching for the answers to — What’s at the root of pain, fatigue, fibrofog, and chronic sleep issues?
You see, I call these main topics –
These symptoms are a RESULT of deeper issues that can’t be addressed at the surface level. Despite our greatest desires, there is NO pill, supplement, exercise, or treatment that can address these issues in a snap.
We read all the time about studies that show how the body feels pain. We’ve discovered information about the relationship between our overactive sensations of pain and our skin, hormone dysregulation, the central nervous system, and the brain, etc.
But, what causes this over-sensitivity in the first place? What’s at the root? What causes us to be hyper-vigilant and stuck in “stressed out” mode? What causes us to burn out our adrenal systems and wipe out our endurance resources?
Here’s a simple analogy. Imagine that your car engine is making a clanging sound. That sound is your clue that something is wrong. You take it to a mechanic who does a bunch of diagnostics, charges you an ungodly sum of money, and says, “Here’s your problem – you have a clang.”
You roll your eyes and say, “Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me what’s making the clang!”
He points under the hood and says, “That metal thingy is banging against this other metal doohickey.”
Do you now feel the problem is solved? Of course not! What you want to hear, is that he fixed the problem by doing a basic oil change, putting in a new fuel filter, and adding some gasoline conditioner.
There … problem solved. No clanging.
Our bodies actually work the same way. That “clanging sound” might be pain, fatigue, fibrofog, and/or sleep disturbances. It’s our body’s way of warning us that something is wrong.
We can see different doctors who may point out what doohickey is malfunctioning (i.e., your pain sensors are overacting), but isn’t it even better to solve the problem once and for all so the clanging stops?
The clanging stops as a RESULT of the action taken to fix it.
So … what’s causing your doohickey to malfunction?
From my personal healing experience and from the experience I have in helping my clients, there’s not just ONE doohickey.
There are multiple facets to the healing process, but the fundamental principles of the following always apply – vibrant, whole food nutrition, healthy body movement, and emotional wellness.
In my book, FibroWHYalgia, I refer to these components as the Restoration Trio.
The emotional wellness component of the Restoration Trio is particularly interesting. We’re each different. Some may have emotional wounds or traumas, chronic stress, toxic relationships, fear/anxiety issues, disempowering belief systems, and more.
For obvious reasons, I use a multi-pronged approach to deal with chronic health concerns. I do this because ALL the issues need to be addressed. Yet, many want to skip over this vital point. The fact is, we can’t participate in regular fitness activities, practice great self-care – yet fill our bodies with empty calorie junk foods. It just won’t work.
In the same way, we can’t eat well and follow a regular fitness program, yet leave emotional issues unaddressed. You get the point. ALL THREE components of the Restoration Trio are necessary. They work in tandem to create the nurturing environment that the body needs to heal.
As you can see, the main symptoms of pain, fatigue, fibrofog, and sleep disturbances are a RESULT of other issues. It’s likely there are many other issues that in combination cause the problem.
A body that’s dealing with fibromyalgia
and/or other chronic health challenges
is a body out of balance.
Fortunately, the body is always receptive to restored balance.
What’s out of balance for you?
Healing takes place when the body is nourished, strengthened, and calmed. Addressing your issues doesn’t have to be difficult and complicated. They’re complex, for sure, but not all that complicated. The body has an AMAZING capacity to heal and when given even half a chance, that process kicks in with zeal.
So, the answer to the query “how to get out of pain” is better when re-phrased: In what way are you out of balance? What are the root causes behind YOUR pain?
I can’t wait to hear your insights to this post. What component of the Restoration Trio is your greatest source of imbalance? Is it nutrition? Fitness? Emotional Wellness?
Have you tried addressing one of these components but not all? Share your helpful comments with the Rebuilding Wellness community below!
Interested in reducing your PAIN? Grab your FREE Stop Feeding Yourself PAIN guide here!
Thank you for this insightful article, Sue. I agree that the whole-person approach is best when treating any type of chronic illness. Diet and environment can play a significant role in the exacerbation or healing of symptoms. Education about this is important. Keep up the good work!
Thanks so much, Dr. Craig — we appreciate your feedback here and look forward to more great conversations about the whole person approach and healing!
After reading this article & ‘The Fibromyalgia Energy Crisis: A Balancing Act’, I don’t even know where to begin to compare you to my battle with Fibromyalgia. I lose every time because I push myself past the limit of what I know I shouldn’t be doing, but have to in order to get the job done (whatever it may be). The ‘Energy Bombs’ list fits me about 90%. I know I need to turn it around to the ‘Energy Boosts’, but just need to focus myself to there. I don’t get enough fitness & emotional wellness is usually 50/50. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in September of 2007 & my boyfriend was diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus in September of 2001. I have tried to figures things out for the both of us. He is on Disability (2003) & I am still able to work full-time.
The questions you list at the beginning of the ‘Why Pain, Fatigue, FibroFog, and SLeep Are Results Symptoms’ article are, of course, landmark for us. At first for me it was the fog, then the sleep, & now the fatigue & pain are predominatly controlling my life. I take so many medications & that’s where my focus is that I don’t want to have to take Topamax, Vicodin, Vistaril, Flexeril, Morphine, Diazepam, Compazine, Cholestyramine, & Imitrex. I have also been diagnosed with Lymphocytic Colitis, Migraines, had 2 neck surgeries, 1 low back surgery, & Metabolic Acidosis. I am 44 years old & all of this started with the migraines at age 15, but the other main things at about age 35.
I’ve been in car accidents for the back surgeries, the colitis is from contracting Norovirus in January of 2013 & ending up in the hospital, & the acidosis I don’t know. Some days I feel like I have every disease system under the sun. I try to stay positive because I know I’m here experiencing all of this for a reason – good or bad. Reading your articles gives me more & more insightful information considering I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands of articles about Fibromyalgia & EBV to help both my boyfriend & I.
I would have to say that the root causes behind my pain is stress & my nutrition – lack of. I’m trying to do the right things with both, but I know I’m not completely right. I don’t ‘believe’ in supplements, alternative therapy, or holistic medicine. I’m an only child & wish there were days I had a sibling to talk to even if s/he didn’t have any of the conditions I do.
There are days I wear myself out so bad that my body will literally ‘shut off’. My boyfriend even has days where his body ‘shuts down’. I think he & I are talking about the same symptom for the most part.
I know I don’t organize my thoughts, but I wanted to comment on these 2 articles & ‘introduce’ myself to you (I’m on LinkedIn too), so I have a source & know that I can come to this website & find some ‘answers’ to our questions sometimes.
Thanks for listening.
Monica – thanks so much for your gracious response! Yes, I am listening. I’m here to answer questions and to act as a sounding board to your experiences. Because our experiences here — as a collective — really matter. Your comments deserve more conversation than this limited medium can offer. Please email me from the Contact Sue tab on my site. I look forward to further conversation. Most importantly, you’re NOT alone.
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