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Why is weight loss a cure-all?


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Posted on Jun 7, 2012 7:10:52 PM PDT
leila says:
The local library probably has books about fibromyalgia. Unfortunately it's sort of a mystery ailment. The name itself just means "pain in the muscle fibers." What's a little weird is that nearly all sufferers are females, young and middle-aged, often with difficult social lives, depression, and anxiety. (And usually the depression/anxiety comes before the fibromyalgia.) The only things that have been shown to help it are some depression meds, good sleep habits, and gentle exercise. Some people ache for a couple years then recover, while others seem to adopt the label as their defining characteristic and spend the rest of their lives lying in bed, talking about their aches and pains and focusing on how sick and miserable they are. Sometimes there's a doting husband or child wrapped around their finger, doing everything for them.

I will tell you a story about myself -- I don't know if it has any bearing on your situation but it might give you something to think about.

At 24, I was stressed out from competing in my sport but didn't know how to quit. Suddenly my asthma flared up and I had to miss the last race of the fall season. I was secretly relieved. But later the asthma flare didn't subside. I stayed short of breath for weeks... then months... When the spring season opened, I was still short of breath and couldn't train. I could walk and bike slowly but all my strength and athleticism were gone. I was very depressed. I binged at night. I began to develop severe pains in my temples, chronic sore throat, jaw pain, an itchy flaking rash around my eyes, light sensitivity, a ringing in my ears, and occasional loss of balance.

At the time, I was a secretary but applying to med school. I became convinced I had a neurological or autoimmune or allergic disease, and if only the crappy doctors would LISTEN to me they would see it was true!! I saw my family doc, a lung doc, an eye doc, and they all listened politely and made me feel stupid and sent me away without an answer.

Finally I saw a fatherly, soft-spoken ENT guy. I told him I was sure it had to be chronic sinusitis (my current self-diagnosis) and I needed a head CT. He listened very kindly and patiently and when he examined me, his touch was wonderful. He said my symptoms didn't sound like sinusitis but he agreed a head CT was a good idea. (It was negative, of course.)

I went home that evening feeling like I'd been really listened to and respected for the first time. Suddenly the familiar bolt of pain shot through my temples. Again. And again. I suddenly realized that I was clenching my teeth over and over -- and that every single time a worried, depressing, or angry thought passed through my mind, I would clench my teeth -- like a thousand times a day -- and this was the source of a lot of my pain! Amazingly, I must have been doing this habitually for MONTHS and hadn't been aware of it at all!

Within a couple weeks I was able to train myself out of the teeth-clenching habit. My temple and jaw pain subsided, and with it went my depression. I stopped focusing endlessly on my symptoms, and they all just faded away; today I'm as healthy as anyone. Just like you might be, in a few months.

In retrospect, I think stress (and my half-conscious desire to escape my team) caused the asthma. Then anxiety/depression made me start clenching my jaw, which caused chronic pain and dry throat, which caused misery and emotional suffering, ("poor me!"), then to hypervigilance about my symptoms, which made my mind start creating a hundred new symptoms. I also think that one kind ENT doctor let me abandon my defensive, teeth-clenching mindset ("I really AM sick, damn it! LISTEN to me!") so I could open myself and see what was really going on.

I suggest you undertake some kind of body relaxation, biofeedbacky, imagery sort of therapy with a professional you trust. It could be that the cause -- and the cure -- of your physical problems is already in your mind.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 7:42:31 PM PDT
I'm aware that my hand pain tends to flare up when I make a fist with my hand at night-as a result, I've made it a habit to lie my palm down on my mattress and it tends to help me not balled my hand into a fist (the only problem is that without a brace, my hand gets really weak and painful-to the point where I can't grip anything). I reach a really good place in my life about a year before my pain started being as bad as it is (I have good days and bad days) and I've been there for a while but then my pain started. My doctor says I have bursitis in my hips and that I have/had a vitamin D deficiency, but nothing explains my hands. I think that's my biggest worry. I love to bake and try new recipes and crochet and I can't. That is truly my biggest issue (the other pain, I can deal with most days but not being able to do the things I enjoy really sucks). My anxiety was pretty bad but I got out of that situation and I've been better as of late but my pain hasn't gone away-I think that's why it annoys me so much when doctor's think I'm faking it, because it seems that nothing I do helps it in any way-even ignoring it doesn't help it even a little. Thanks for the story-I'll make sure to look at the little things I may be doing that might be making me hurt more.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 7:54:32 PM PDT
leila says:
Best wishes to you. Sounds like you're doing everything right. Bursitis and vitamin D deficiency are diagnoses similar to fibromyalgia.... your doctor is really saying, "I don't know what's causing your pain, but you came to me for an answer so I'm just guessing in the dark, trying to make you happy." I mean, those are real problems but they don't last forever and cause chronic pain. Bursitis should get better at least temporarily with a steroid injection, and vitamin D deficiency gets better, naturally, when you take vitamin D. Don't give up.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012 3:50:26 AM PDT
Alpha says:
Although you are the apparent medical professional in this thread, I would have to disagree with your recommendation of injections for bursitis. My personal belief, using corticosteroids does more harm than good. The mechanism for its relief- destruction of tissue to reduce swelling, is what I dislike. It masks the pain, and makes the area unstable which can then lead to injury. Wouldn't it be better to strengthen the muscles, making the area more stable? BTW, I was diagnosed with degenerative osteoarthritic changes in my hip before I was 30 years old. Traumatic in origin, but OA nonetheless.
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Discussion in:  Weight Loss forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  29
Initial post:  Feb 29, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 14, 2012

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