Article by Ljubica Kostovic, GrowWise Health
Fibromyalgia is a condition in which chronic widespread pain is the primary complaint. It is most often diagnosed in women and has a high prevalence in individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although fibromyalgia is beginning to be better understood by the healthcare community and patients alike, it is part of a long history of stigma. For many patients, the Fibromyalgia diagnosis may have come after decades of trial and error of various therapies, and stagnant conversations with a doctor who may have believed that “it’s all in your head”. However, as more and more physicians and patients affirm, Fibromyalgia is very much a real condition, and one that is quite complex. In addition to persistent pain, which varies in intensity from day to day, Fibromyalgia patients often experience a slew of accompanying symptoms such as: morning stiffness, muscle cramping, fatigue, migraines, headaches, non-restorative sleep, cognitive dysfunction a.k.a. “fibro-fog”, depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, myofascial pain and sexual dysfunction.
If the above list of symptoms experienced by Fibromyalgia patients seems overwhelming and discouraging, it is important to remember that, like other chronic pain conditions, Fibromyalgia patients can successfully manage many of these symptoms by breaking the chronic pain cycle! It’s important to stay positive and remember that a multi-modal approach that includes exercise, diet, psychotherapy alongside pharmacological treatment options may help manage your symptoms holistically.
In addition, because many traditional pharmacological options are often ineffective and result in an unbearable amount of side-effects, it is important to consider alternative treatment options such as cannabis. In addition to providing pain relief, cannabis can help improve the quality and duration of sleep. Taking steps to ensure more restorative sleep can result in a significant reduction of pain, and can positively influence mood and healthy coping mechanisms. Similarly, decreasing inflammation and muscle stiffness can help reduce the frequency of occurrence of myofascial pain and tension headaches. Reducing experiences of anxiety and difficult emotions can positively impact symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Managing just one of these symptoms can help prepare you to more effectively manage many more symptoms in the future.
So, what are some of the ways cannabis can help break your chronic pain cycle?