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CD 1 - 60 minutes

What is fibromyalgia syndrome?
Over 90% of people with chronic musculoskeletal pain have fibromyalgia syndrome, although many other names are used to describe this condition. On this CD we therefore use fibromyalgia as the name to describe a wide range of long lasting pain conditions. We expect that you will find many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia to be very familiar to you.

How does fibromyalgia affect you?
The main complaint is pain which can be localised or generalised moving from one part of the body to another and varying in severity. The second main feature is a low pain threshold (or pain sensitisation) which means that pressure and movement previously not painful become painful. Thirdly the majority of people with fibromyalgia have poor quality sleep waking stiff and sore in the morning. Fatigue and emotional distress are also present. Other symptoms include pins and needles or tingling in the hands, headaches, irritable bowel symptoms, swelling in the hands or elsewhere, and blueness in the fingers.
Concern about these symptoms takes people to the medical merry-go-round searching for a cause and cure. Unfortunately there is no simple cause or cure and the person in pain becomes frustrated, anxious, disappointed and even depressed as they fail to get an answer.

What causes fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a gross disorder of the pain system. Simply put, the pain system is too sensitive. This sensitisation arises when pain becomes chronic but emotional distress also plays a big part in causing the lowering of the pain threshold. The interaction of physical, psychological and social factors is explored to help you understand the causes of fibromyalgia.

What can you do about fibromyalgia?
Because the pain and other symptoms are not due to damage or disease the condition is potentially reversible. It is also important to realise that pain sensitisation can co-exist with other diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis) or structural changes (like degeneration) amplifying the pain caused by the disease or structural changes. The first step is to understand the condition and stop searching for causes and cures. The next step is to learn to be a self-manager who accepts responsibility for her health and healing. The second CD explores a self-management program designed for people with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Managing stress, getting fit, improving sleep, taking appropriate medication, and keeping active provide the path out of pain. The majority of patients do well with this approach.

In this highly technological world our remarkable capacity for
self-healing is often forgotten. Awakening the healer within is the key to recovery but a self-manager is also organised and well-informed. Dispelling chronic pain myths and believing in your capacity to reverse the condition or raise your pain threshold are fundamental to healing.

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