Biodance, more commonly known as biodanza, literally means the dance of life.
It is described in Wikipedia as “a system of self-development that uses music, movement and positive feelings to deepen self-awareness. It seeks to promote the ability to make a holistic link to oneself, emotions and to express them. Biodanza also claims to allow one to deepen the bonds with others and nature and to express those feelings congenially.”
Biodanza was created in Chile in the 1960s and is now practiced in at least 30 countries.
To analyse the effects of an aquatic biodance based therapy on sleep quality, anxiety, depression, pain and quality of life in FM patients, researchers assigned 59 patients to 2 groups: experimental group (aquatic biodance) and control group (stretching), for 12 weeks.
Significant differences in the experimental group were seen on sleep quality (49.7%), anxiety (14.1%), impact of fibromyalgia (18.3%), pain (27.9%), and tender points (34.4%).
This video discusses and demonstrates what Biodanza is all about.
In this next video, Biodanza is performed in the water. Although the voice on the video is speaking Portuguese, you can still see what Aquatic Biodanza looks like even if you don’t understand Portuguese.
Anyone tried this one yet?
Trigger point injections (TPI) is an option many of us choose to treat pain.
TPI is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. Trigger points may irritate the nerves around them and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body.
TPI is used to treat many muscle groups, especially those in the arms, legs, lower back, and neck. In addition, TPI can be used to treat FM and tension headaches. The technique is also used to alleviate myofascial pain syndrome that does not respond to other treatments.
What Happens During a Trigger Point Injection?
In the TPI procedure, a health care professional inserts a small needle into the patient’s trigger point. The injection contains a local anesthetic that sometimes includes a corticosteroid. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Usually, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief.
Injections are given in a doctor’s office and usually take just a few minutes. Several sites may be injected in one visit. If a patient has an allergy to a certain drug, a dry-needle technique (involving no medications) can be used.
The effectiveness of TPI for treating myofascial pain is still under study.
Two days until the beginning of the hospital visit (again!)
When we (the Team: my pain specialist, Mommy and me) decided we were going to try this ketamine thing again, my doctor suggested we put in a central line instead of trying to find veins for a cannula.
You might remember I had a lot of trouble with cannulae last time: 6 wonderful needles into my veins instead of what should have been only 2 or 3, and then, finally, a subcutaneous cannula in my tummy – to which I had a horrible reaction. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear that this wasn’t going to happen again.
In fact, I was so happy that I didn’t bother to ask any questions…off to Google I go, and now I’m a bit worried…
A temporary central line is a short-term, long, fine catheter placed in a vein, with an opening at each end used to deliver fluids and drugs. The central line is inserted through the skin into a large vein that feeds into a larger vein sitting above the heart, so that the tip of the catheter sits close to the heart. There are several veins that are suitable for access, and the line may be inserted above or below the collarbone, on the side of your neck, in your groin or at the front of the elbow. The actual skin entry site depends on which vein is used. AAAARGGHHHHH! I am really hoping they choose above the elbow – I seem to have gotten that impression from the doctor.
So, at 9am on Wednesday morning, I am expected to arrive at the Radiology department of one hospital, where an interventional radiologist will use x-ray and ultrasound guidance along with minimally invasive techniques to insert a special hollow needle. Supposedly, I will be under conscious sedation (a twilight sleep) and be given pain medication in order to minimize any discomfort. Bit, it really is beginning to sound VERY scary!
A tourniquet will be applied to my arm (hopefully – I really don’t like the idea of a needle going anywhere near my neck!) and the area is cleaned and draped; a local anaesthetic is injected into the skin near the vein. The catheter will be inserted through the needle, threaded through the vein and positioned so the tip of the catheter is in the large vein that carries blood into the heart.
Next, about 3 hours later (or so I’ve been told, although my Google searches says it only takes an hour), I will go to another hospital. No, blood will NOT be gushing from the protruding tube! When the line is not in use, a plastic cap and a clamp to prevent leaking of blood close any part of the line that sits outside the body. It should be secured with a “Stat lock” device (ie without stitches), and can be left in position for several weeks to months as long as it does not become infected. Thank God I only have to have it in for a week!
And, then, the ketamine experience will begin again…
Guess what? I’m going back to hospital for another ketamine infusion on January 30th. Yes, I’m doing it to myself AGAIN!
This time, my own pain specialist is going to run the whole procedure; it’s a different hospital, which means different nurses; and we’re going up to a higher dose.
My headaches are still under control but it feels like the previous infusion stopped at my elbows and knees – the pain in my wrists, lower arms, calves and ankles feels amplified. My head is clear – there are still no words in it! And I still haven’t adjusted to the difference in my energy levels and fatigue on-set.
But, I’m hopeful (sort of)….and it’s seven days in hospital – so I will be trying to quit smoking AGAIN!
Vibration can help reduce some types of pain, including pain from FM, by more than 40 per cent, according to a new study published online in the European Journal of Pain.
When high-frequency vibrations from an instrument were applied to painful areas, pain signals may have been prevented from travelling to the central nervous system, explains Roland Staud, MD, professor of rheumatology and clinical immunology in the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville.
If you think of a pain impulse having to travel through a gate to cause discomfort, the vibrations are closing that gate. “When the gate is open, you feel the pain from the stimulus. It goes to the spinal cord. When you apply vibration you close the gate partially,” says Dr Staud. You can still feel some pain, but less than you would have felt without the vibrations, he adds.
Subjects were split into 3 groups: 29 had FM, 19 had chronic neck and back pain and 28 didn’t have any pain at all. Dr Staud and his research team applied about five seconds of heat to introduce pain to each participant’s arms and followed that with five seconds of vibrations from an electric instrument that emits high-frequency vibrations that are absorbed by skin and deep tissue.
Dr Staud used a biothesiometer, an electric vibrator (not THAT kind of vibrator – get your mind out of the gutter!) with a plastic foot plate that can be brought into contact with the patient’s skin.
Similarly, you could buy/borrow a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS), which is a medical device, designed specifically for the purpose of assisting in the treatment and management of chronic and acute pain; and it does exactly what Dr Staud is suggesting. I am currently borrowing a compact TENS machine. The pulse rate is adjustable from 1-200 Hz.
Following the use of heat and vibration, patients were asked to rate the intensity of their pain on a 0-to-10 scale and found that the experimental pain, as opposed to their chronic pain, was reduced by more than 40 per cent with the use of vibration. What was of particular interest was that the patients in the study with FM appeared to have the same mechanisms in their body to block or inhibit pain through the use of vibration as those in the pain-free group.
“Fibromyalgia patients are often said to have insufficient pain mechanisms, which means they can’t regulate their pain as well as regular individuals. This study showed that in comparison to normal controls, they could control their pain as well,” Dr Staud explains.
What they don’t know is how long the pain relieving effects will last.
I used the TENS on my arms two days ago and the pain has not returned (yet! Knock on wood!) If I choose to buy it, it will cost me $175.00 from www.tensaustralia.com.au
Dr Howard, a rheumatologist and director of Arthritis Health in Scottsdale, Ariz., says this study is still very interesting. “Vibration is another way of minimizing pain, and it sounded like it would be more helpful for regional or local pain rather than widespread pain,” he says.
Dr Staud says this theory is still very much in the testing stages and the vibrating instrument used in this study isn’t available to the public. “Although we didn’t test it, I think that the size of the foot plate of the biothesiometer is relevant. I wouldn’t suggest that everybody should go out and by any vibrator to use for pain relief. But pending a commercial product this is entirely feasible,” he explains.
Until then, Dr Staud’s message for patients is that vibration involves touch, and that can provide pain relief.
Dr Howard agrees that this study reinforces the importance of touch therapy, like massage, and even movement therapy, like gentle exercise, for people with chronic pain.
“When you have pain, you want to stop what you’re doing and protect the area. But for some types of pain that’s not the right thing to do,” Dr Howard says.
You do, however, need to know what types of pain touch is good for and for which ones it isn’t. Dr Howard says his general rule is to baby your joints and bully your muscles.
“Fibromyalgia patients often shrink away from touch therapy and movement. The foundation of treatment is to use movement and touch and stimulus to help with their pain, but their natural reaction is to withdraw and avoid tactile activity. Don’t be afraid. Don’t avoid it,” Dr Howard says.
There is a current ad in Australia about the 10,000 tonne woman. This woman has got a bit of weight to lose this year – she is asking for our help. She has been a weight loss consultant for years, so she has seen a lot of people try to lose weight, and the difference support makes. Why are we trying to do it by ourselves? She decided to lose weight with a friend, as a team. Then other people got on board, and then she noticed that the more people shared the weight, the easier it got for everyone.
That’s why she is asking the whole country to join in. Pledge some weight, support someone on their mission, and we’re going to lose 10,000 tonnes together.
I have pledged 30kgs (about 66 pounds) – yes, it’s a lot but it is the amount of weight I have gained since being on antidepressants and FM medication. It is ironic that, although many of these medications cause us to gain weight, excess weight is known to aggravate FM symptoms – such as pain sensitivity and sleep disturbances – and reduce quality of life among patients.
New research now shows, the more severe the obesity, the more severe the FM symptoms, and those who have a body mass index, or BMI, of 35 or higher experience the worst symptoms.
“I’m not surprised,” says study co-author Terry H. Oh, MD, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn. She says that earlier studies have shown that obesity increases symptoms, but there hadn’t been concrete information before this study about whether different levels of obesity affected FM symptoms differently.
In other words, is all obesity the same when it comes to FM?
The answer is no: Bigger definitely is worse, leading to significantly more severe symptoms. “The severely obese seemed to have the most problems,” says Dr Oh.
The study, published online in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, divided 888 adults with FM into four groups: non-obese (BMI less than 25), overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9), moderately obese (BMI of 30 to 34.9) and severely obese (BMI equal to or greater than 35). Patients were tracked for three years, underwent a physical evaluation and were asked to fill out health surveys and the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.
The researchers found – for most symptoms, but not all – that as the BMI category increased, so did the severity of the symptoms. But trends showed most symptoms worsened with higher BMI, but for the most part, the difference in the severity of symptoms was statistically significant for the highest BMI group compared with the other groups. Patients in the highest BMI group, for example, missed work more often because of symptoms and reported more pain, stiffness and fatigue compared with those who were not obese or less obese. Also, the study found that the severely obese patients had more tender points on their bodies and worse physical functioning than the non-obese and less obese.
Why is there a relationship between BMI and the severity of symptoms? Dr Oh and her team write that multiple factors may be at work, including a higher level of pain receptors in fat tissue, elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, loss of physical fitness and an increase in mechanical loads on the body. And the higher rate of obesity in FM patients “may be caused by a vicious circle of pain and physical inactivity.”
It is important that people with fibromyalgia find a way to stay active despite the chronic pain and fatigue that come with it.
“Those who are severely obese may need more help for weight-loss management,” Dr Oh says. “The basic message is that they have to stay active and exercise by starting slowly and gradually in terms of duration, intensity and frequency. It’s more than saying ‘lose weight.’ They need specific recommendations or to see a dietitian or endocrinologist or get other treatment options.”
Akiko Okifuji, PhD, a psychologist at the Pain Research and Management Center and professor at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, conducted earlier research on FM and obesity, which found that obese patients had more pain, less physical strength and more sleep problems.
“Both obesity and fibromyalgia are very different persistent conditions that impact overall health, physical well-being as well as quality of life,” Okifuji says.
She believes people intuitively know what Dr Oh’s study showed – that severe obesity is bad for FM patients. “But it’s good to show it scientifically,” Okifuji says. “Patients need proper nutritional education. It is difficult when you don’t move much. Sometimes food becomes a comfort. They need education on how to deal with that and how to maximize calorie burning while minimizing intake. When dealing with chronic fatigue and chronic pain, it is very difficult to do weight management. The key issue for the scientific and clinical community is to come up with an effective [weight management plan] for people who can’t move that much. It’s a tricky thing.”
Mine is 39 and I have decided it is time to get myself together! Anyone else with me?
I haven’t ‘met’ (well, I haven’t actually met any of you, but you know what I mean) any one of us who doesn’t suffer from an absolute heap of sleep problems. But it appears, according to a new report from BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, that link may be worse than previously thought. In fact, patients with FM may be plagued with even more sleep problems than other patients with chronic illnesses.
The report found that 88% of patients struggle with sleep, and 66% of those people have more than one sleep problem such as falling or staying asleep. The effects of sleep difficulties on patients’ quality of life appeared to be more severe for FM patients compared to patients with other disorders like back pain or osteoarthritis.
This suggests that addressing patients’ sleep issues could be a crucial component of managing FM, although another study (that I have reported about previously) suggests that there is absolutely no link between the amount of sleep and level of pain that we experience.
Previous research has also shown that having insomnia or sleep issues may increase your risk of developing fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.
Hmmm…it looks like previous research can show absolutely anything it wants to!!!!
- 10 Health Conditions That Disrupt Sleep (everydayhealth.com)