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.
Are you willing to put your body on the line? Or might you be at the end of your tether and willing to try anything?
As it is beyond me to list EVERY research study on FM, here are all the studies that are currently recruiting in the top 6 countries where my blog is being read:
*** If you live in another country, visit ClinicalTrials.gov, then enter your country and ‘fibromyalgia’ in the search box…you never know what you might find ***
Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin; Drug: placebo
Interventions: Dietary Supplement: Omega-3 (oil); Dietary Supplement: Fatty Acids (placebo)
Interventions: Behavioural: Acceptance-based behavioural therapy; Other: Will vary per participant
Interventions: Drug: placebo; Drug: pregabalin (Lyrica)
Interventions: Drug: Duloxetine; Drug: Placebo
Interventions: Drug: pregabalin
Interventions: Drug: Minalcipran; Drug: Placebo
Interventions: Drug: etoricoxib
United States of America
Conditions: Fibromyalgia; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,
Interventions: Behavioural: Stress and Emotions; Behavioural: Thoughts and Behaviours; Behavioural: Brain and Body
Interventions: Drug: placebo; Drug: pregabalin (Lyrica)
Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin; Drug: placebo
Interventions: Drug: Duloxetine; Drug: Placebo
Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin
Interventions: Drug: Tramadol; Drug: Placebo; Behavioural: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for FM; Behavioural: Health Education
Interventions: Drug: quetiapine; Drug: Placebo
Conditions: Fibromyalgia; Pain; Sleep; Fatigue
Interventions: Drug: cyclobenzaprine ER (AMRIX); Drug: placebo
Interventions: Behavioural: Lower frequency, shorter period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Higher frequency, shorter period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Shorter frequency, longer period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Higher frequency, longer period of Tai Chi; Behavioural: Aerobic Exercise Training
Interventions: Procedure: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
Interventions: Behavioural: Lifestyle physical activity (LPA); Behavioural: Fibromyalgia education
Interventions: Drug: Neurotropin
Interventions: Device: AVACEN Thermal Exchange System
Interventions: Drug: TD-9855 Group 1; Drug: TD-9855 Group 2; Drug: Placebo
Interventions: Drug: Duloxetine
Interventions: Drug: Milnacipran
Interventions: Behavioural: Intervention Group; Behavioural: Placebo Comparator: Control Group
Conditions: Fibromyalgia, Pain
Interventions: Drug: Minalcipran; Drug: Placebo
Conditions: Dry Eye, Fibromyalgia
Conditions: Fatigue; Fibromyalgia; Pain; Complex Regional Pain Syndrome; Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
Interventions: Behavioural: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; Behavioural: Education
Conditions: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Interventions: Drug: Pregabalin (Lyrica); Drug: Placebo
…and continuing from yesterday’s post…
5. Create a new self.
If we hang on tightly to the “old self” we were, finding the value of our “new self” becomes increasingly difficult. (You may even exaggerate how fit that person was: “I didn’t need any sleep, I never felt bad, I could do anything!”).
This does not mean we should totally discard our previous conception of self; rather, we need to find a way to integrate the two. In other words, you should seek to find in your new body new ways to enjoy and experience the things that you had done before. Consider all the aspects of yourself that you like, and the things that you most want to do; then step by step, find ways to achieve as many of these as you can. At the same time, recognize that your expectations must shift so that you can once again meet them.
6. Don’t forget the good stuff.
While the physical symptoms of FM can feel all-encompassing, there should be other parts of your life – your social relationships, passions, family – that also exist. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you become more aware of how many there are: the friends that stuck by you, the things you still enjoy, and the accomplishments you have been able to make, however small, under very different conditions. Because each task now represents a challenge, we should celebrate whatever we manage to accomplish. As we have been told many times, if we shorten the list and pace ourselves, whatever we do eventually adds up to something to be very proud of.
7. “Oy, it could be worse.” (The Jewish mantra).
As comparisons shape our view, it is helpful to find comparisons that will provide a fuller appreciation for what has befallen us. OK, the ‘eat because children are starving in (fill in the developing country)’ did not work for you as a child. But try to think of it this way: Many bad things happen in the world. The odds are that some of them will happen to you. Not because of anything that you have done, but because, as the saying goes, shit happens. It takes only a short view of the evening news to remind ourselves of the horrors occurring every day. So, this is what has happened to you – you, too, were caught. Let us examine what we have:
- We know our condition is not terminal, so we need not begin contemplating our pending mortality.
- As bad as we sometimes feel, our underlying condition is not going to get worse. We have already experienced the worst, and, to our credit, have gotten through it.
- Although only a few people achieve permanent remission, many improve significantly. As we understand how our actions and emotions influence our general well-being, we can find ways to partake in more and more activities.
8. Keep the hope alive!
There is so much room for hope. It has only been since the 1990s that our condition has acquired any legitimacy from the medical community (okay, mostly!). We are in a far better position than the generations before us who suffered without ever receiving validation. We know much more about the important roles of exercise, medication, stretching, pacing and meditation to bring relief and a sense of control. Furthermore, as medical research increases, it is only a matter of time before better therapies (and perhaps even a cure!) are introduced.
9. Lean on me!
A single most important predictor of how we do is the support network we create. We certainly appreciate what it means when someone helps us when we feel especially lousy. Make sure that, within your abilities, you continue to be a good friend to those you care about. We still have lots to give. During a good moment, write to a friend that you are thinking about her. Help your family and friends find ways to maintain their relationship with you. Invite them to your place to eliminate travelling (and do not worry what your place looks like! They came to see you, not your house-cleaning abilities).
Try to be open with family members, while at the same time supportive of their needs. Put yourself in their shoes as often as possible – it can be scary to have someone you love be sick! Also make sure to seek help outside of your immediate circle so as not to drain your closest friends and family. There are now all sorts of support groups, both live and in virtual computer space (hey! Right here!)
10. Indulge whenever you can.
We have lots of time to focus on our thoughts. Most people do not have the luxury of taking time to relax and think. OK, we did not ask for these ‘time-outs.’ They are demanded by the needs of our bodies. Nevertheless, we have control over how we use this extra time.
Instead of dwelling on what our bodies are not doing, give your fantasy life full freedom. Turn these rest periods around to be indulgent time. In our mental playground, we can practice dance steps we used to know (for there WILL be some times we can dance!). We can use the time to think through problems we face and how we want to spend time when we are feeling ready, or we can analyse a movie we recently saw, say prayers, or mentally write a letter to a friend.
Meanwhile improvements in spirit have an added impact on our entire well-being. Laughter is good medicine; while dwelling on our troubles tends to compound them.
Have a positive attitude!
How many times have we heard that one?
While our emotions cannot cause FM, they no doubt affect our symptoms. But how can we maintain good thoughts when we feel so lousy? This challenge, of course, does not exclusively affect FM patients, but to any time when things do not go as we wish. But in our case, seeing the positive presents a continuous struggle.
Yet our moods are not necessarily in tune with our physical state. You can probably recall times that despite much pain or fatigue, you were able to cope and even achieve high spirits. Perhaps the weather was perfect, good friends visited, you just accomplished something or helped somebody, making you feel good about yourself. Other times, depression seems to take hold even when our physical discomfort is at a manageable level. Why is this? Answering this question is the key to finding optimism.
FM can feel like a swim in the ocean – sometimes it is dark, grey and turbulent, and it seems you have fallen and the waves continue to crash over you, as you struggle to rise, only to be knocked down yet again. But that same ocean sometimes allows us to find a wave we can ride smoothly to the shore.
What can we do when we feel under the waves? How can we find the strength to climb back on top, and the patience to know that we will?
There are 10 cognitive exercises you can use to maintain a positive attitude. So I don’t overload you, today I will only present 4 and the remaining exercises will continue in tomorrow’s post.
1. Expect bumps!
It is important to acknowledge that we will sometimes feel down. Who wouldn’t in our condition? But by expecting rather than dreading down time, such periods become more tolerable. In addition, recognizing that we will have blue periods helps keep them in perspective. You will be able to say to yourself, “I was depressed before, and got out of it; this time, too, it will pass.” It is easy to forget that before our illness, there were times we felt down. Now these periods are wrapped up in our medical problems; but everyone gets depressed some of the time. After accepting that you will sometimes feel sad, and even experience self-pity, you can concentrate on ways to shorten these periods and make them fewer and farther between.
2. Track the changes.
Keeping track of moods helps put ups and downs into perspective. During your best times, make a conscious attempt to capture the feeling. Leave notes on your wall attesting to the way you feel. Living with FM easily creates a Jekyll-and-Hyde persona, where your optimistic self and your flare-up self may as well be two different people. When we feel bad, it becomes quite difficult to imagine that things can be otherwise.
Similarly, during times of improvement, it’s amazing how quickly we may forget how bad a previous period was, making subsequent flare-ups not only intolerable but shocking. Counting and measuring the duration of the bad times – as well as the good ones – can put them into perspective. It may be that over time, our worst occurs about once a month, although it feels much more frequent. This knowledge is empowering, because we can remind ourselves that a bad flare is, for example, our monthly temporary setback, and find ways to ride it out until our baseline returns.
3. Stock-pile fun distractions.
What things make you happy? We all need to keep lists of the things that make us happy. One of the cruelties of our condition is that when we need distractions most, we are least equipped to seek them out. For this reason it is important to compile a list of your favourite activities when you are feeling optimistic to be used when you most need them.
People with FM often describe how even their worst pain can be put on a back burner, so to speak, when they become engrossed in an activity. This is not only a psychological but a physiological response: your brains can only process so much input at once. When you are engrossed in a beautiful movie, talking to a good friend on the phone, or listening to your favourite music while lying on a heating pad or in the bathtub, you can trick your pain receptors into leaving you alone!
4. Shape your perspective.
Is the glass half empty or half full?
Perspective determines, quite literally, how you view the world.
In Western culture, much emphasis is placed on independence, individualism, and achievement. Through this lens, developing a condition that makes us feel dependent and less productive is likely to be a huge disappointment. You are forced to adapt to a sudden, new condition by adopting a perspective that accommodates change. Your perspective is shaped by the comparisons you make and the expectations you create.
Consider, for example, the immigrant who had been practicing medicine in his home country, but flees to the US to escape a repressive political regime. Here he works as a janitor; after years of medical study, he has lost a prestigious and rewarding occupation. Yet he is thankful for the opportunity to work and wakes each day driven by hope, perhaps, of a better future for his children. Yet his difficulties are also quite apparent. What keeps his spirits up and makes him thankful rather than bitter? His perspective.
…to be continued tomorrow…
Many of us suffer from depression, as well as FM. But did you suffer from this horrible black dog before you developed FM, or after?
You’ve heard people complain that they’re depressed after a breakup, a layoff, or an overall terrible week. But are these people really experiencing depression? Are you really depressed?
When a stressful situation is particularly hard to cope with, we react with symptoms of sadness, fear, or even hopelessness — a type of reaction that’s often referred to as situational depression. Unlike major depression, when you are overwhelmed by depression symptoms for a long time, situational depression usually goes away once you have adapted to your new situation.
The problem for a lot of us is that FM is not going away – we can only manage it, so we need to adapt to our new situations as soon as we can.
In fact, situational depression is usually considered an adjustment disorder rather than true depression. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored: If situational depression goes untreated, it could develop into major depression.
“Situational depression means that the symptoms are set off by some set of circumstances or event. It could lead to major depression or simply be a period of grief,” explains Kathleen Franco, MD, professor of medicine and psychiatry at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in Ohio. However, she adds that situational depression may need treatment “if emotional and behavioural symptoms reduce normal functioning in social or occupational arenas.”
Who Gets Situational Depression and Why?
Situational depression is common and can happen to anyone — about 10 per cent of adults and up to 30 per cent of adolescents experience this condition at some point. Men and women are affected equally.
The most common cause of situational depression is stress. Some typical events that lead to it include:
- Loss of a relationship
- Loss of a job
- Loss of a loved one
- Serious illness (hello? anyone recognising themselves here?)
- Experiencing a traumatic event such as a disaster, crime, or accident
What Are the Symptoms of Situational Depression?
The most common symptoms of situational depression are depressed mood, tearfulness, and feelings of hopelessness. Some other symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous
- Having body symptoms such as headache, stomach ache, or heart palpitations
- Missing work, school, or social activities
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Feeling tired
- Abusing alcohol or drugs
How Is Situational Depression Diagnosed and Treated?
A diagnosis of situational depression, or adjustment disorder with depressed mood, is made when symptoms of depression occur within three months of a stress-causing event; are more severe than expected; or interfere with normal functioning. Your doctor may do tests to rule out other physical illnesses, and you may need a psychological evaluation to make sure you are not suffering from a more serious condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder or a more serious type of depression.
The best treatment for situational depression is counselling with a mental health professional. The goal of treatment is to help you cope with your stress and get back to normal. Support groups are often helpful. In some cases, you may need medication to help control anxiety or for trouble sleeping.
Situational depression and other types of depression are a common problem today, notes James C. Overholser, PhD, professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Many people are struggling with social isolation, financial limitations, or chronic health problems,” says Dr Overholser. “A psychologist is much more likely to view depression as a reaction to negative life events. Many people can overcome their depression by making changes in their attitudes, their daily behaviours, and their interpersonal functioning.”
If you have (or think you have) situational depression, you should know that most people get completely better within about six months after the stressful event. However, it is important to get help, because situational depression can lead to a more severe type of depression or substance abuse if untreated. For many people with situational depression, the coping skills they learn in treatment can become valuable tools to help them face the future.
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!
According to a new study in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, monosodium glutamate (MSG) in food may exacerbate our symptoms.
It was only a small study of 37 people: it included women with FM and IBS. Participants first avoided MSG and other excitotoxins (see below,) such as aspartame. Thirty one of the participants said that their symptom load was reduced by more than 30%.
Next, participants were given either orange juice with added MSG or plain juice (as a placebo,) three days a week, for two weeks. Those getting the MSG had a significant return of symptoms when compared to those who didn’t.
MSG also appeared to decrease quality of life when it came to IBS symptoms, and symptoms such as watery stools and abdominal bloating were higher in the MSG group.
Researchers recommend further exploration of what could be a relatively simple and low-cost, non-drug method of alleviating symptoms.
It can be tough to avoid excitotoxins in your diet. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in a wealth of products. It goes by the brand names Equal, NutraSweet, AminoSweet, etc. but should always be listed as aspartame in the ingredients list. Check your ‘diet’ products closely.
MSG is harder to identify and avoid, as it lurks in dozens of ingredients. The organization Truth in Labelling has a list of ingredients that do or may contain MSG: List of Ingredients Containing MSG.
- Aspartame: the Controversy! (outoftheboxremedies.net)
- Aspartame Can Kill You (healthupdates4u.wordpress.com)
- ASPARTAME…What Is It and Is It Good For You???? (coalitionofpositiveenergy.com)