Review Of The Article: Fibromyalgia Now Considered As A Lifelong Central Nervous System Disorder

Review Of The Article: Fibromyalgia Now Considered As A Lifelong Central Nervous System Disorder

This article comes from the website and it covers research done by Daniel Clauw, M.D., Professor of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan

I do this review with thirty-one years of chronic pain experience. I spent about twenty years with chronic pain and misdiagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. I’ve been correctly diagnosed with fibromyalgia for the last eleven years. I have been to more than fifteen doctors over the years, maybe more. Fibro fog does a number on the old memory.

The article talks about the research that Dr. Clauw has done on fibromyalgia. It is stated in the article that fibromyalgia is the second most common rheumatic disorder, yet he states that is it a central nervous system disorder. That confuses me. A central nervous system seems like it should be treated by a neurologist, whereas a rheumatic illness would be treated by a Rheumatologist.

The majority of the articles deals with the issue of the central nervous system. He also states that it is a life long CNS disorder.


When I first read this article over a month ago, I wondered about the assertion that it is a life long disorder. My first thought was, “no it isn’t.” Then I was preparing a Blog post about fibromyalgia having more than 70 symptoms. I thought about a few symptoms manifesting while I was a child, but pain was not among those symptoms. Then I talked to my Neuro-psychologist and she said that people may have fibromyalgia waiting for a stress-induced trigger. That stress inducing trigger might be a car wreck, an operation, abuse or suffering some other traumatic life event.

So maybe it is a lifelong condition. But for me, it has not been a life long chronic pain condition.

Because it is a Central Nervous System (CNS) disorder, the pain one feels with fibromyalgia comes from the brain and spinal cord, not the area of pain. If you feel extreme pain in your lower back, hips or thighs, the pain is coming from the CNS not the lower back, hips or thighs.

This article makes three other questionable statements that I take issue with. First, he asserts that opiates are not a good treatment for fibro. I have eleven years of experience and two pain management doctors who would disagree. My pain is helped a great deal by opiates and muscle relaxers.

And then after making that assertion doesn’t go into detail, but glosses over the alternatives to pain management. He does mention gabapentinoids, trycyclics and serotonoin reuptake inhibitors. Those MEDs have not worked for me and I have heard from many fibromites that they do not work for them as well.

The last criticism is that he states that goal improved function. While he is obviously not a patient of fibromyalgia he can say that, but to those of us with fibromyalgia, we want pain, relief first then we can try to work on improved function. Often, managing pain alone improves function.

The biggest contribution the article makes to the issue of fibromyalgia is that is suggests that fibromyalgia is an illness of the CNS. Other than that, most of the information has already been presented by many other researchers.

What do you think about the article? Do you agree or disagree with my review of the article and why?

Troy Wagstaff ©

I am not a health care professional of any type and I assume no liability for the information and opinions presented in this article or Blog post.

Five Fibromyalgia Emotions – Part One

Five Fibromyalgia EmotionsPart One

There are countless emotions that those with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and chronic pain go through. I will write a small series of posts on some of the emotions that we who are afflicted with one of these chronic invisible illnesses go through. Here are the first five emotions.


Anguish is an emotion that is derived from the distress of suffering or from acute suffering. Whether we are in dire life sucking pain or find ourselves drowning in fatigue we are suffering. From that suffering we go through the emotion of dire anguish because there is no end in sight from our suffering.



Feeling conflicted comes from many different angles when suffering from chronic fatigue or pain. We feel conflicted from the myriad of symptoms that seem to contradict themselves and unless you’ve gone through it, you can scarcely understand that conflicted emotion. We also feel conflicted by the way others treat us. Some are supportive, others unbelieving, and others judgmental.


It is so easy to feel frustrated when you are chronically ill, especially with fibromyalgia. You can be having a good day when the pain scale shows your pain at a three or four then out of nowhere are pain jumps up to a nine or ten. The symptoms come and go so much that it is impossible to make firm plans for this evening or next Friday because you don’t know how you will be feeling.


Of all the emotions we go through, loneliness is one of the roughest to experience. Being healthy and lonely is tough, but being chronically sick and in pain all the time adds to your feeling loneliness. Even if you are around supportive family and friends and they are talking about their day or their vacation you feel lonely because you can be a part of that conversation. Who wants to hear about your pain and stiffness or your fatigue or chronic headaches and the fact that you lay around all day?


The feeling of being overwhelmed is something most people can relate too, except for the feeling of being overwhelmed by chronic pain and fatigue. Day in and day out, night after night always feeling some type of pain and feeling worn-out constantly and nothing you can do will give you the energy you so desire. This is the emotion of being overwhelmed that we go through all the time.

Troy Wagstaff ©

How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life – Stress

How Fibromyalgia Affects My Daily Life – Stress

It’s no secret to anyone who has had a chronic illness for a long time that stress aggravates your condition, especially when that chronic illness is pain centered like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia or other chronic pain disorders.

Yesterday, I had a very vivid experience that illustrates this point.

Without boring you with the details, I’ll summarize the event. My daughter is finishing up her cosmetology education. She had one last project. When my daughter handed in that last project, Darlene failed it with spurious claims on not following directions. She followed the instructions to the letter and so I called up the head instructor Darlene, and she told me what she told my daughter. What the instructor told me and what my daughter told me about the guidelines of the project was almost word for word the same instructions, yet she had the nerve to fail her.

I tried to explain how wrong it was, using her own words against her, in failing my daughter. She was stubborn and wouldn’t budge. A while later the Vice President of academics called us and asked that we bring in the project as part of her investigation. We did. During the conversation, it became readily apparent that she was taking the side of the teacher. The facts were not disputed, but she took the side of her friend. Although, to her credit, she provided two compromises to resolve the issue.

how_fibromyalgia_affects_my_daily_life_stress1My daughter choose an option and then I let myself dive into to her for the sake of justice. Since there would be no consequences for Darlene I decided I needed to make my case and educate this Vice President on the concept of consequences and justice. Granted, I did this from the standpoint of anger, but my points were valid. Finally, after I said what I wanted to say twice or more I stopped, thanked her for her time and found my daughter and left. Looking back on it, while I had valid points, I acted out of anger. I will write more on that in a later post as a way to manage stress.

This is where the story really begins.

This is where the story begins in dramatic fashion. Within four, maybe five minutes, we were still driving in the complex, I felt my lower back muscles move and twist and spasm. The pain wasn’t too bad because I had recently taken a pain pill and muscle relaxer. But when I started to feel those muscles move and squeeze I was amazed at how soon after that ordeal stress kicked into my body and physically manifested itself.

This story is just one more of a million ways about how fibromyalgia affects my daily life when stress is involved. This epiphany opens up room for me to consider in the future how to control my anger, that will be a topic for the future.

Troy Wagstaff ©

84 Possible Fibromyalgia Symptoms

84 Possible Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Of those who respect fibromyalgia as a legitimate medical condition, most of them associate chronic wide spread pain as the primary symptom. Some also recognized chronic fatigue and fibro fog as additional symptoms. But what many do not realize or appreciate about fibromyalgia is that there are more than 82 symptoms that go along with fibromyalgia, either as a primary symptom or overlapping secondary symptom.

Also consider that many of these symptoms can be unrelated to fibromyalgia and could easily be symptomatic to other types of illnesses or diseases. This list is presented as something to think about and as information you may want to talk to your doctor about.

This list of fibromyalgia symptoms are alphabetically ordered.

  1. Abdominal cramps
  2. Abdominal & Digestive Symptoms
  3. Awkwardness
  4. Bloating & nausea
  5. Bruising or scarring easily
  6. Chronic wide spread pain
  7. Clumsiness
  8. Confusion
  9. Coughing
  10. Cravings for carbohydrate and chocolate
  11. Delayed reactions to physical exertion or stressful events
  12. Depression
  13. Difficulty speaking known words, other language impairments (dysphasia)
  14. Diffuse Swelling
  15. Directional disorientation
  16. Earaches & itchy ears
  17. Fatigue
  18. Fibro Fog
  19. Fibrocystic (lumpy, tender) breasts (as an overlapping condition)
  20. Foot Stiffness
  21. Foot Pain
  22. Free-floating anxiety
  23. Frequent Chronic Sciatica nerve pain
  24. Hair loss (temporary)
  25. Headaches
  26. Hemorrhoids
  27. Hip Pain
  28. Impotence
  29. Inability to recognize familiar surroundings
  30. Insomnia
  31. Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)
  32. Irritable Bladder
  33. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  34. Light and/or broken sleep pattern with unrefreshing sleep
  35. Loss of libido
  36. Loss of ability to distinguish some shades of colors
  37. Migraine Headaches
  38. Mitral valve prolapse
  39. Mold & yeast sensitivity
  40. Mood swings
  41. Morning stiffness


  1. Muscle Spasms
  2. Muscle Twitches
  3. Nails that curve under
  4. Night driving difficulty
  5. Nose bleeds
  6. Other family members with fibromyalgia
  7. Pain that mimics heart attack, frequently from costochondritis
  8. Painsomnia – Insomnia directly related to pain disturbances
  9. Panic attacks
  10. Paresthesias in the upper limbs (tingling or burning sensations)
  11. Pelvic pain
  12. Pelvic Pain
  13. PMS (as an overlapping condition)
  14. Poor balance and coordination
  15. Post nasal drip
  16. Pronounced nail ridges
  17. Ringing ears (tinitis)
  18. Runny nose
  19. Sensitivity to pressure changes, temperature & humidity
  20. Sensitivity to noise
  21. Sensitivity to light
  22. Sensitivity to odors
  23. Sensory overload
  24. Sensory Symptoms
  25. Short-term memory impairment
  26. Shortness of breath
  27. Sleep starts (falling sensations)
  28. Specific tissue pain
  29. Specific muscle pain
  30. Staring into space before brain “kicks in”
  31. Stiffness caused by sitting in the same position for a prolonged period of time
  32. Sweats, usually night time
  33. Swollen Hands
  34. Teeth grinding (bruxism)
  35. Tendency to cry easily
  36. Tension Headaches
  37. Tingling Hands
  38. Tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors. lipomas, ingrown hairs, cuticles, adhesions)
  39. Trouble concentrating
  40. Unaccountable irritability
  41. Unexplained weight gain
  42. Unexplained weight loss
  43. Urinary frequency
  44. Vision changes (including rapidly worsening vision)This list is for informational purposes and is not a diagnostic aid. Always consult your health care provider for any diagnosis or treatment of any of the symptoms.

9 Tips For Coping With Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

9 Tips For Coping With Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia

1. Understand what else can trigger a fibro flare to avoid it.

2. Say no when you need to.

3. Don’t feel guilty for saying no.

4. You have a lot of limitations, don’t feel guilty for having limitations.

5. Remember you did not ask for Fibromyalgia.

6. You can always do something within the parameters Fibro has given you. Find out what there are.

7. Find something to laugh about, every single day.

8. Take time out to pray or meditate

9. Take time out for yourself each day


Six Good Things About Fibromyalgia

Six Good Things About Fibromyalgia

Is it even possible to have something good come from the pain and suffering of chronic pain, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia? I think so. Here is a legitimate list of things I can think about the are possible to learn from suffering from fibromyalgia.  Can you think or more to add to the list? If so, what are they?


1. Learn about who you really are.

2. A renewed or deepened relationship with God.

3. Learn more about empathy.

4. Learn or increase your ability to be grateful or show gratitude.

5. Understanding you internal capacity for pain and tribulation

6. Learn about your external capacity to bare pain.

Not All Fibromyalgia Symptoms Are Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Not All Fibromyalgia Symptoms Are Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Most people discover that they have fibromyalgia after a long bout of chronic pain. Then it usually takes a year or more to get it correctly diagnosed. In the meantime and for the next several years they discover additional symptoms of fibromyalgia like chronic fatigue, fibro fog, IBS, chemical sensitivities, dizziness, impaired motor skills and the list really goes on and on.

I’ve heard that there are more than sixty symptoms related to fibromyalgia. I haven’t researched that statement yet but here are a lot of additional fibro symptoms to consider such as Chronic muscle spasms, or tightness, chronic fatigue and decreased energy, Insomnia, waking up feeling just as tired, as when you went to sleep, stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long, difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks (“fibro fog”), abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome), tension or migraine headaches, jaw and facial tenderness, sensitivity to one or more of the following: odors, noise, bright lights, medications, certain foods, and cold.

Even more fibro symptoms are feeling anxious or depressed, numbness or tingling in the face, arms, hands, legs, or feet, increase in urinary urgency or frequency (irritable bladder), reduced tolerance for exercise and muscle pain after exercise, a feeling of swelling (without actual swelling) in the hands and feet.

not_all_fibro_symptoms_are sympRemember, there are countless more symptoms of fibromyalgia. But here is the point, when you notice a new symptom don’t just assume that it is a fibro symptom, at least get it checked out before assuming anything.

My first example from my decades long experiences that illustrates this concept: I have been having problems recently being way more fatigued than usual. I went the doctor to check it out. It felt a little more than traditional chronic fatigue symptoms. To make a long story short, I found out that my heart rate was hovering in the mid 40’s. Sometimes and low as 40. That can make a person very sleeping. I am currently being monitored by a Cardiologist.

The second example is related to dizziness. Dizziness can be a symptom of fibromyalgia but it, like most of the symptoms of fibromyalgia can by symptoms related t other things. Occasionally I have dizziness with fibromyalgia. In the past I have had a few inner ear infections. I started getting much more dizzy than usual. Went to the doctor to finds out I have an inner ear infection and fluid build up behind both ear drums. I was able to get some Meclizine to help with the dizziness. I was told to take Mucinex to help get rid of the fluid.

Ten days later I went to my doctor again and the fluid was gone behind one ear and the other ear was infected. Got an antibiotic and after three days I am seeing improvement.

If I had not gone to the doctor then I would have got really dizzy and sick and suffered longer than needed.

My third example is that I take medicine for IBS, irritable bladder, anxiety, muscle spasms, to manage fibro symptoms. Always treat the symptoms if they are a part of fibro or not. Chronic pain is more than enough to deal with, manage your other symptoms the best you can.

Troy Wagstaff ©

This is not medical advice. This is for informational purposes and should not be considered medical advice. Consult your doctor for any questions about your health.

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