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Old 04-01-2005, 09:42 AM   #1
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Question Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Hey all,

Okay, here I am again with some news. Just call me the Fibro Reporter!

Anyway, awhile back I read a post, can't remember who posted it, but they said that their doc asked them if they had been abused, not necessarily as a child, no age was specified, I don't think. just "have you ever been abused?"

Well, when I went to a different rheumy, cuz you all remember I didn't get along with my original rheumy, anyway, I was also asked if I'd been abused. I don't know why he asked, but I answered yes, as a child and went about my business of feeling icky.

So, yesterday, I had my PM appt. to get my pain meds. I saw the PA, not the doc, cuz he's splitting up his appoitments every other month you will see the PA and then see the doc. This is in part because of the new DEA regs that state PM clinics can no longer write multiple scripts with a "do not fill until" date on them, so we have to go once a month now to get our scripts. Anyway, this was the first time I've seen the PA, as she is new, so she spent some time asking me a bunch of questions. I told her about ALL my little ailments and she put them in her computer, she then asked me if I'd been abused in my past. I had to ask then. I was like why is everyone asking that when they hear a patient has Fibro. I asked was it some new research or something, and she said they are finding a correlation with people who have been abused in their past and FM. Researchers, most clinical psychiatrists and mental health pro's, believe that if we have been abused we bottle that up inside of us. We don't discuss it until way later on in our lives, if ever, therefore it literally makes us sick. Our internal bodies believe we have something wrong and try to fix it, but only end up attacking our healthy selves. Like trying to fix something that it can't get it's hands on, so to speak, which only messes us up even more. Our brain function is messed up as well as our internal "well being". Which kinda makes sense, since we all know, that when we have stress or emotional trouble, we can become sick. Ulcers etc. She said that the longer our bodies "knot" up inside because of the emotional damage caused by abuse, the sicker we get. So I said, do "they" believe that if we fix the emotional problems then we will fix the Fibro? She said no, the damage has been done, but, if people who have been abused DO seek counseling, this is after we know we have Fibro, it can help ease the symptoms of what we feel. At least this is what I took away from her explaination. The damage to ourselves is already done, but can be eased with counseling or at least if your doc knows that you have been abused in the past, he/she can treat you in a different mannor so maybe you can deal with that abuse and not keep it all knotted up inside of you.

Hmmm... What do you all think? I know, I personally was physically abused as a child by my mother. I remember one time she beat my face so badly with a beer bottle I couldn't go to school (I was in highschool then) cuz, my face was so swollen. She used to pull my hair so hard, my head would swell where she pulled the hair. I could go on, but it would probably only disgust a lot of you. I have come to terms with it. But maybe not! LOL Another thing, and this is just MY opinion, maybe this is why so many women have FM as opposed to men do to the overwhelming amount of women in this country who have been abused by their husbands, boyfriends, whoever, but abused in a "partner reltionship". I know, I know, women in other countries have been abused also,don't throw stones at me yet! I'm just going on what the statistics say about the population of people with FM in the USA, I know women all over the world are abused by their partner, and if you are in another country, please feel free to chime in, all comments from where ever they come, are important. And can certainly make sense out of this question of abuse, no matter where you live. It's just a thought. I personally don't know the ratio of young girls vs young boys being abused by a parent or parent figure, but I would think more girls have a history of abuse than boys. Boys tend to run away or fight back, at least this is what I remember from having young male friends when I was a teen. Most were never abused by their mother, but by their father, but not for long before they left home, or fought back, but I did know girls who were abused by their mothers, and we just simply "took" it. Wonder why that is? I know I took it for years, the physical abuse, mental abuse came later and lasted longer. I took it until I was old enough, probably around 16, that I finally one day fought back. First and only time I ever hit my mother, but I had just had enough. The physical abuse stopped immediately, then the mental abuse started. I was bigger than her also! LOL So I just stayed out of my home as much as possible. Could this all have been a pre-curser to Fibro? I guess some research points that way.

I'd like to hear what you all have to say. Obviously this is a touchy and very personal area, to say the least, but we are all anonymous here, so maybe some of you will share your stories freely. I want to know what you think. I'm sure there are plenty of you who have Fibro who have had very loving relationships with your parents and your partners. I don't think the research is saying it is the ONLY reason we have Fibro, I think it's just one more "defining moment" (being Dr. Phil here! ) that may have triggered the onset of Fibro. Like some docs think maybe an injury or an accident, or illness can trigger FM. Well, I guess being consistantly abused could be considered a traumatic event.


Okay, there you have it. I hope this sparks some good posts.
Waiting to hear from you my friends.



tk

Last edited by tkgoodspirit; 04-01-2005 at 09:48 AM.

 
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Old 04-01-2005, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

TK I'm one of the lucky ones, no abuse in my family or for me just a lot of love and acceptance. I can however go along with the theory of injury or accident in my case.

Glojer

 
Old 04-01-2005, 11:32 AM   #3
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

No abuse. No major traumas or injury. I was in a bus accident a few years ago, but all I had was whiplash and a bruised rib. So, I don't know if that counts or not. My mom has it though. And she got it after she gave birth to...it was either my brother or me, I forget. That's definitely a traumatic thing...
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Old 04-01-2005, 12:33 PM   #4
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

I have a history there as well tk, physical, sexual and psychological . None from childhood. I have also been in several car accidents , so who knows? I can see the validity of these events being possible "switches", but I disagree with the ideology that our pent up issues cause worsening of symptoms. I personally have forgiven and moved on, I could care less at this point what my past has been, everyone has one, and I am cetainly far from the only one to have negative experiences. However, I would never suggest that another person may be suffering greatly from FM due to these sort of things. My problem is when I hear Dr's saying such things, I automatically tend to think they are implying it's a psychological issue, and hence we need to get over it. That may not be true, but it is my reaction . Are there other illness or disease not in the family of fm, cfs, mps etc that are also considered to be triggered by such? I guess it is better than no research at all.

 
Old 04-01-2005, 01:19 PM   #5
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Corin,

That was my first response as soon as I heard someone here say that there doc asked if they had been abused. I thought "well now they are back at the issue that FM is psycological". So I don't know about this new research either. I'm going to peek around on the Net and see what I can find.

I think what my PA was telling me, cuz I did ask her then if they are saying that FM is psycological, she said that when we have stress inside of us that is caused by abuse it can make us sick. Kinda like when you have an ulcer.

I was abused and thought I was totally over it, I had put it behind me, but when my mother died and I went to counseling, still am in counseling, I realized that I still have a lot of issues concerning her abuse and how it made me feel unvalidated during my childhood and into my adult years. I believe, and this is just me, that that sort of abuse follows you into your adult years, even if you feel like it's over. That is just my opinion though. Everyone has there own thing when they have been abused. I DO know that even today, I don't like the feeling when someone belittles me or yells at me in anyway. I feel exactly how I did when I was a child, even now. So I guess for me, the issue of my mother's abuse is still there somewhere. And I think when I was with her while she was dying, it all came back. She had so many people come to visit her telling me what a wonderful woman she was and I knew a different woman that they didn't know.

But all that aside, I think what my PA was saying was that your feelings and stress can cause you to become physically ill. She did say that once those issues cause you an illness like FM, you have it, you ARE ill, and it's too late to fix that, but the thinking is that, IMO, this is another kind of trauma that can cause FM. Just like the stress of an injury, or giving birth, or going through surgery. It's all traumatic to your body, be it physical harm, mental harm, or another kind of trauma that will cause your physical body to react and become "out of whack", therefore causing an illness.

I hope it isn't back to the old "it's all in your head" thing again. I thought we had gotten past that, but the way my PA described it, it didn't sound that way. I hope not, cuz there sure is a lot of proof out there that shows FM causes physical changes in our bodies and our brains. Hopefully this is just considered a different sort of trauma that can cause FM, just like an injury, or accident. Just something else to add to the list.

Before I was dx'd, I had fallen and broken my tailbone, pretty severly, I had a hystorectomy, and I had an awful viral infection, all these happened within a couple years before I was officially dx'd. So who knows. But I am going to search the web and see what comes up when I look for FM and abuse. I'd like to know if anyone else has found or read anything about this.


Thanks,
tk

 
Old 04-01-2005, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Hiya Everyone,

Nope, no abuse for me either!! One thing that comes out of this for me is an obvious train of thought. Those who know me know I have physical disabilities, I have lupus, I have a nerve and muscle wasting problem, and I have had heart attacks and heart surgery. I will not carry on, it is boring me even he he. My point being, I have had such a physical battering of my body but not from somebody with a "big stick" as it were. My mind get very mixed up at times, but this is because the lupus causes me neurological problems, not because I have been emotionally abused. I too wonder if this type of trauma (for want of a better word) i.e. my physical state brings on my personal fibro symptoms.

I personally know someone who, when they get "stressed" (that word encompasses such a lot) or really worked up as I like to say, their jaw tightens to such a degree that they cannot release their muscles in that area for such a long time. Because their jaw is tight, their neck tightens, then the front of their neck and so on and so on. My point again is that it is obvious that any type of trauma, whether it be physical or emotional, we get so uptight, it is a normal reaction.

If we have a bad shoulder say, we will not want to use it because it will hurt, and then not using it makes it more stiff, so it becomes even more difficult to move it because we know it is going to hurt. Clear as mud aren't I? What I am trying to say is that I agree with the points others have made here, any type of trauma will bring on fibro symptoms I believe, it to me seems too far fetched to put it in a little box and label it "abuse". This is only how I see it.

I personally have depression, at times it is dreadful. The point is though, I have a lot going on in my life that really brings me down. I always get back up though. I carry on and no doctor will ever label me as a "victim" of anything. My life is the life I have been given and the life I live. I will not listen to anyone who say "oh, this happened because of blah, blah, blah". Sorry no. I am the way I am because -- I am. Nothing from my dark, deep past caused it. I know I am so lucky in that respect, and I cannot even begin to imagine how it must be for those of you who perhaps have had the trauma of abuse, but please you have enough to put up with, don't make things easier for these doctors who only want to label you.

The only thing I really object to in reading tk's story is that the idea comes across from these doctors that it is something in your mind that is causing these horrid fibro symptoms. See a counsellor and talk about your emotional issues, and the symptoms will ease off or hey even disappear for good. If it is that easy, why do we all go through this hell? I honestly don't agree. My personal take on this is as I say. I have many physical disabilities, I find it difficult to do things. This is where the fibro pain then kicks in for me. Not because I have emotional issues. Because I have physical pain and that pain in part is fibro.

Hope I made sense. He he, I know what I mean anyway. Thanks again tk, you really get us all using our minds with your brilliant topics.

Hope you are all doing ok.

goldenwings

Last edited by goldenwings; 04-01-2005 at 02:06 PM.

 
Old 04-01-2005, 02:48 PM   #7
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Hello TK, sometime back I wrote you about my family. We were hard
working farmers. Back then I never knew anyone who was abused and
as for me, I never even got a spanking. I married a man who has never
one time abused me either physically or emotionally. For 70 years I had
very few health problems; in fact, hypertension was the only problem.
An arthroscopy to an injured knee set the pain off 4 years ago and it's
been a constant companion since. I know my history is boring, especially
when I put it in writing, but I believe there is a physical reason for
fibromyalgia. I really think it's a little dangerous when unqualified
professionals begins to dig into the past. Until research proves fibro is
a phisical ailment, they will keep handing out antidepressents and
make lots of folks think it's only in their mind. To ease the pain, we will
try most anything and I think that is dangerous. TK, you amaze me with
your ability to find all this information and all of us appreciate your
input. Keep up the good work. Your Alabama friend.
Bilij

 
Old 04-01-2005, 03:16 PM   #8
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Goldenwings You were clear as mud, just kidding! I too have lupus and a few other orthopedic problems and I have never had a Dr. even suggest my pain is in my head. I agree with your shoulder analogy, last year I had a frozen shoulder and the more I did not use it the more painful it became. We all deal with stress on our own level, for instance for me the glass is always half full , but that does not mean that I can't go stark raving mad sometimes and release a little daily stress. I'm sure even the Dr.s release stress, does that mean they have a psychological problem. Now I'm being clear as mud! Anyway my point we all know our pain is real and the best thing for us to do is keep spreading the word and put down the naysayer.


Bilij Your right years of a peaceful and loving life does not guarantee that with FMS the pain just won't kick in when we least expect it.


TK very thought provoking.

 
Old 04-01-2005, 03:32 PM   #9
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Yes, I was physically and emotionally abused as a child.

I don't think this means FMS is psychological, it just confirms that there is a strong connection between body, mind and spirit.

That's why I believe for me, the treatment for FMS will need to be aimed at fixing all three.

In addition, those of us who have been told "we don't look sick," or that we just need to take some Xanax also have scars from all of that gobblety ****, so seeing a counselor could help us to cope better when people (and sadly, doctors) are less than kind.

 
Old 04-01-2005, 06:39 PM   #10
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Wow, alot of great views here. tk, what you said makes more sense when I look at it from a neutral point of view. It got me thinking, how I had an Aunt die of kidney failure at just 41, her kidneys failed her because she was an alcoholic. She was an alcoholic because of a horrific childhood. Does this mean her kidney failure was psychological? No, but it was a path among many that resulted in real illness and disease. When I think of these types of examples, it does seem less offensive. If a diabetic person, being upset over a breakup or otherwise, sat and ate an entire bag of cookies and went into diabetic shock, we wouldn't say it happened because they were upset. We would say the bag of cookies did it. However, the person did so due to emotional stress. I can see a link now. You clarified it very well thank you.

 
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Old 04-01-2005, 08:54 PM   #11
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Quote:
Originally Posted by corin
Wow, alot of great views here. tk, what you said makes more sense when I look at it from a neutral point of view. It got me thinking, how I had an Aunt die of kidney failure at just 41, her kidneys failed her because she was an alcoholic. She was an alcoholic because of a horrific childhood. Does this mean her kidney failure was psychological? No, but it was a path among many that resulted in real illness and disease. When I think of these types of examples, it does seem less offensive. If a diabetic person, being upset over a breakup or otherwise, sat and ate an entire bag of cookies and went into diabetic shock, we wouldn't say it happened because they were upset. We would say the bag of cookies did it. However, the person did so due to emotional stress. I can see a link now. You clarified it very well thank you.

Hey Corin,

YW. I am hoping that is why all these docs seem to be asking this question about abuse. Wondering if it, too, is just another "trigger" that is a traumatic event in our lives that would cause our body to react and turn in on itself. Define traumatic event? Could be anything, really. Internal or external. I think of my dear little friend who suffered from Anorexia for so many many years. She has OCD and there fore her anxiety caused her to see herself as fat. She got down to 78 pounds at one time. She is better now, but all those years of Anorexia have damaged her body. She is now married and wants to have children, but may not be able to because of her obsession with food.

There are a lot of good posts here, and I'm glad, corin, that you could see it past the idea that we are all "depressed". I don't think that is what this new idea of connecting abuse to FM is. I think that has already been done and rejected, by those of us who refuse to let docs tell us we are depressed, thank goodness. This is why I am so utterly opposed to anti-d's as a form of treatment for FM. I don't care what they say about serotonin re-uptake! I don't use them at all. You can read my post titled "New tidbits of info about FM" (or something to that effect) Which addresses the idea that anti-d's are not helping us Fibromites.
I'm not depressed. I get sad and I can feel depressed at times, but I don't need medication for it. Maybe some anti-anxiety meds! LOL And of course having FM as well as other conditions, like our dear "wings" can certainly be cause for depression, but I don't believe that we get FM from depression. I think this is just another type of trauma that may be contributing to FM. You made a good analogy with the alcoholic and the kidneys. Our bodys are a funny mechanism aren't they?

You know, we go along in our younger healther years without a care, and if you are like me, I used to laugh at people who would say "All I want is my health". Well, look at me now. I would give anything to be where I was 10 years ago, but you just never know when or how things will change. And I always ask myself, "how do I deal with all that?" Sure I have my many moment when I get mad and do the "why me", but it is what it is, nothings going to change it. Now I am who I am, and I am not healthy. It could be worse.

Personally, I read what "wings" writes, and I think I have not too much to complain about. But I do complain, and I will, but I will try my hardest not to let it get the better of me. Which probably is one of the hardest things I do every day.



Thanks all of you, for your comments, I love reading them, and they all make sense, mud and all!
tk

 
Old 04-02-2005, 10:18 AM   #12
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Goodmorning folks, I hope I didn't give the impression that emotional
stress and life style did not affect other diseases. With fibromyalgia,
stress can increase the pain, even lifestyle plays a huge part in coping
with the disease. Stress is a part of life, but when it takes over
our thought process, we're in trouble. To add to this, depression makes
it all seem hopeless. As someone said, it can hit us when least expected
regardless of age or circumstances in our lives. We are all on a journey
through this life. Somehow we have to take the bad with the good. We've
all had some wonderful ''yesterdays'' and there's wonderful tomorrows
ahead. Think how great it will be when the headlines read, ''CAUSE AND
CURE FOR FIBROMYALGIA FOUND". You all seem like personal friends and
and I pray for you daily.
Bilij

 
Old 04-02-2005, 10:56 AM   #13
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

I don't know if there is a connection there. I've often wondered though. Because I had been sexually and phy abused as a child and as an adult. Not now though.. I've often thought about it and looked back and have tried "pin-pointing" exactly when the fibro invaded my life. Yeah it could be a factor. I know you can get the fibro from Traumatic events , weather it be emothional or physical. And yeah once you get fibro the damage is done. It's all downhill from there. Treat the symptoms not the disease but then they don't quite know how to treat it properly either.

 
Old 04-02-2005, 07:32 PM   #14
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

Bilij Well said and AMEN to that headline!

 
Old 04-02-2005, 08:21 PM   #15
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Re: Abuse and Fibromyalgia: A connection?

TK~ Hugs to that long-ago girl who was bruised inside and out when she didn't deserve any of it. Congratulations for having the strength to put an end to the abuse. And super congratulations for being a survivor and becoming an awesome adult with so much good to share with the world (you've shared a lot of good with this board).

I wasn't abused as a child, but my mother was hospitalized for a long time when I was a toddler, and later died when I was 13. Both were traumatic and I handled them by being tough and trying to meet the needs of those around me. I'm not sure what triggered my fibro symptoms. I had a weird virus that affected my thyroid and caused hyperthyroidism, which could have done it. But then my sister was diagnosed with the same genetic defect that caused my mother's illness and death. She had major surgery and I brought her home to my house to recover. She needed a lot of care, and it was stressful. I wonder if that kind of connected to the loss I felt as a child to increase my stress. So maybe an earlier trauma can predispose us to developing fibro.

But I agree with everyone else that fibromyalgia is definitely a physical/chemical reality. I spent a lot of time beating myself up for causing my symptoms, thinking that if I could just relax I wouldn't have the soreness, constant headaches, and TMJ. It's been a relief to realize that it isn't my failure to relax that's the problem. (Yelling at yourself, "Just relax, stupid!" isn't very relaxing! )

Hope this helps sort through any possible connection with early trauma.

Marcia

 
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