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FMS Community› FMS Articles› Relieving Fibromyalgia Pain By Use of Suggestion
|Relieving Fibromyalgia Pain By Use of Suggestion|
|Written by Walt|
|20 September 2008|
Recently I read a New Yorker article ("The Itch," 6/30/08) by Atul Gawande , where he proposes that bodily sensations such as pain, itching, nausea, fatigue can originate in the brain, rather than somewhere else in the body, as is commonly thought. Possibly because of "malfunctioning sensors," due to sensory misperception ("perception is inference"), Gawande makes a good case for understanding some unexplainable pain as having a central rather than a peripheral origin. I recommend the article as important reading for fibromyalgia sufferers, as well as for victims of similar puzzling disorders.
I could see from Gawande's article that fibromyalgia may have a mental rather than organic origin. It then occurred to me that the use of suggestion might be of value for bringing relief from fibromyalgia pain. This was a stab in the dark, but what could be lost from considering it, with possibly much to gain? So, my wife and I undertook the following process:
1. We identified a specific pain (extreme pain in her shoulders), making sure as best we could that it was a fibromyalgia-related pain (sudden onset,
with no evidence of it having a physical cause, such as from strain, bruise, etc., and that the pain was similar to what my wife normally thought of as connected to her fibromyalgia).
2. I gave her some general instructions, e.g. to focus on what I would be saying; that is was ok for her mind to wander; to refocus as appropriate; defined necessary and unnecessary body pain.
3. My wife assumed a relaxed position, and for several minutes I slowly repeated, "You will not give yourself unnecessary pain."
The results were fairly immediate. She said that her shoulders felt better, but some pain was present. A few hours later we did another session, repeating the "mantra" for 5-10 minutes. She stopped me, as the pain had ended. We later used this process when she had pain in other areas of the body--arms, back, hips, without necessarily focusing on a specific body area. Almost always the pain lessened significantly, or stopped entirely. Pains often returned over time, most often to a lesser extent. My wife says her sleep has been better.
We later switched to auto-suggestion, and my wife now repeats the mantra to herself ("I will not give myself unnecessary pain."), for 5-10 minutes. Again, pain reduction for the most part occurs quickly, often disappearing, or leaving her with what she calls a "reminder" pain.
Five weeks after our first attempt, we consider this experiment for reducing fibromyalgia pain to have been very successful. My wife has experienced total pain relief 60% of the time, and significantly reduced pain an additional 30%. Certainly promising.
In regard to how this process works, I have little idea, except for the general consideration that the cause of the pain is possibly mental, and that the use of suggestion to impact thought and/or feeling may have influenced the malfunctioning sensors that Gawande talked about. But I am open to the probability that the reduction of my wife's pain has been due to any one, or several, unknown factors. What is most important is that it works for her. I expect the use of suggestion to reduce fibromyalgia pain may have value for others as well.
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