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I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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Managing Pain by Decreasing Stress

Guest post by Dr. Ramoun D. Jones, MD

Fibromyalgia affects nearly 2% of the entire U.S. population, roughly 6 million people, the majority of those affected being women. Arizona pain doctors, like myself, spend countless hours treating mothers, sisters, wives and daughters who have lived with this condition for the better part of their lives, all of them just hoping to wake up the next day and breathe a sigh of relief. If you’re a spoonie, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

I’m a pain specialist at The Pain Center of Arizona, and though much of my focus is on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, fibromyalgia has always been a chronic condition that never ceases to amaze me. Our patient’s are resilient, living with this painful condition that affects all aspects of their lives, and yet they continue to work, take care of their families, and function as well as possible on ‘good days.’ However, when trying to prevent those ‘bad days’ from sneaking up on them, many of our patients turn to ‘unconventional’ forms of pain management.

Coping Strategies
Fibromyalgia is like the ghost in the night. You know it’s there, the pain specialists know it’s there, but it is nearly invisible to everyone else. That’s why coping strategies and family counseling play a huge role in decreasing your overall stress levels. As our behavioral psychologist and pain specialist often puts it, “everyone knows it’s there but no one talks about it – they treat it like the elephant in the room.”

Patients get tired of answering the question, “How are you doing?” Both parties may feel resentment about the negative impact chronic pain has had upon their lives. When the elephant in the room is ignored a whole new problem emerges—pain-related emotional distress. If left unchecked, the emotional stress related to chronic pain can take over. The room gets cluttered with a mix of feelings that can include; unexpressed guilt, anger, sadness, anxiety and depression. Speaking with a therapist who specializes in pain management, either by yourself or with your family, can help everyone involved to lower stress and thus decrease pain.

Stress and Yoga
Recently, a study emerged illustrating the link between yoga, cortisol, and decreased pain. Cortisol is a hormone that the body secretes to manage stress and keep our bodies balanced. As with yoga, this balance can help to maintain stability within our bodies. Patients living with fibromyalgia have far lower cortisol levels, which greatly affects how their bodies deal with stress. Yoga can be a wonderful stress reliever, as well as a great exercise alternative, when choosing a type that is designed to increase flexibility and strength while decreasing stress.

We have found that stress is one of the largest contributing factors to pain management for fibromyalgia, and some of the best ways to decrease pain is to decrease stress. At The Pain Center of Arizona, we use a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach to managing pain that includes conventional medicine such as prescription medication, physical therapy and nutritional assistance, as well as unconventional treatments such as yoga, acupuncture and deep tissue massage.

Dr. Ramoun Jones

To learn more about Dr. Jones, check out his bio, linked at the top of this post.

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