Cognitive behavioral therapy with fibromyalgia and anxiety

Croatian Man

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Jun 13, 2022
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I too am newly ordained to this FM Forum. Just joined after reviewing posts as an outsider. I am 70 YO, Retired, male, who was diagnosed for FM by my pain management doctor a few years ago. Without really knowing what FM was, I was probably suffering with it for a few decades with real intensification the past 10 years or so.

I have a long story, but it may serve readers well. I suffer with numerous spinal ailments that coincidentally ran side by side with FM. In 1966, I fractured my right Femur playing HS Football (the last practice before my 1st game - never played again). That resulted in a 1 " shorter right leg. When the body cast came off (after 3 Months of a full body cast!), the Ortho doctor saw immediately that my right leg was shorter. It was left unaddressed and my parent didn't think to question the doctor about what should be done.

Fast forward about 15 years and now the lower back started to ache and become overly stiff. I saw my very first Chiropractor, who said the moment he saw me that I have problems, and will have many more down the road. He was Right !! Soon after that, working in suits and dress shoes, I started to "adjust" unscientifically my right shoe with an extra 1/4" shoe insert and add an extra rubber heel (about 1/4") to the right dress shoe.

Over the years, the Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD) took its toll on my spine and hips. Circa 1987- 1988 (after the birth of our second son - Who did Not sleep throughout the night for 15 months) I experienced my first Panic Attacks. Sought Psychiatrist help / counseling for about a year. Got better taking Xanax and Counseling.

Primarily I am a sufferer of anxiety (a demon in itself) for many years - starting with nail biting at 7 years of age, finally culminating into Panic and Anxiety attacks.

In 1994-95 , the Anxiety Demons returned with scary out of The Blue panic attacks. Then I met a great Doctor at Cornell in White Plains NY. He told me that the panic is purely a Chemical Imbalance in the brain. Put me on Prozac - which took a few weeks to kick in, but DId help. By 1996 i was off the Prozac (weaned off) and commenced "working out" with weights / and some aerobics, at age 45. In the beginning of working out, I would experience the waves of anxiety (especially the aerobics?) but it would subside in time. It changed my Body - I became the most muscular in my lifetime in relatively a short time. I was working out at least 4-6 times per week.

In late 1997, after doing squats I tore the meniscus in my right knee, requiring surgery. I continued to workout my upper body while recovering form the surgery - working out became an obsession (Anxiety disorders can manifest into obsessives - compulsive behavior). Despite the working out, improving my musculature, I was experiencing & tolerating on and off headaches, back aches, stiffness (which was not debilitating but was there.

In 2011, I finally sought Ortho consult. That doctor confirmed the 1 " short leg, and now the existence of Dextroscoliosis of 22 degrees (now it's 25 degrees). since that time, i have had my right shoe orthopedically adjusted to account for the LLD. But , it was too late as it only helped stabilize and not Correct the deficiencies. When i asked why do we not increase the lift, the doctor responded that like a deflection in the main Beam of a house, Move that and You could many more problems "in the House".

Then I met my Pain management doctor. He ordered my first MRIs (cervical and Lumbar ). Both indicated sites of concerns : Stenosis, Degenerated Disc disease, Disc bulges & herniations of varying degrees, and Osteo-Arthritis (OA) affecting many vertebrae and the facet Joints. But one other indication which i didn't really learn until a few months ago, was the radiologist report in 2012 form the cervical MRI specified that I had a More Narrow Than Normal Spinal Canal !!.

Since then, I've had a few Facet Joint injections, & Epidurals (benefits were short lived from a few hours to a few days), visited numerous Chiropractors (6 to date), Acupuncturist (45-50 sessions , hey what the heck, Insurance paid for it! - little help ), PT at least 5-6X , and consulted with 6 different Spinal / Neuro Surgeons - all of which told me that No Surgery for You - too much arthritis.

Since 2015, the workouts became less and less. Chronic Pain and the horrendous Stiffness spurned heightened Anxiety again (it is a DEMON ), with occasional Anxiety / Panic attacks. As one Neurologist (with 52 years experience) told me in late 2018, due to the spinal compression, your Central Nervous System and Peripheral nervous systems are "merging' into each other, hence the heightened Super Sensitivity to Touch, Temp Changes, etc. I have been to soooo many doctors it makes My Head Spin. After my Rheumatologist ruled out RA and Ankylosing Spondylosis (AK) pushed me to go to see a neural psychologist, which I did.

Involved some cognitive therapy, but focused more on dealing with Chronic pain using Hypnotism and combined with back on 20Mg of Prozac. Then COVID hit Spring of 2020, those sessions stopped. I have weaned off Prozac. When my PM doctor, after examining me, using the standard testing techniques, pain and tenderness in all Joints and many Muscles, diagnosed FM !!

My PCP confirms it, but a bit more hesitant until a full blown FM testing was done. Never did that to date. Over the past 5 years or so, I began intensive personal research of these ailments, learning MUCH on line watching various You Tube Channels. I take many Supplements in search of the Magic Wand. Some help a little, some may be a complete waste of $$$. Doctors only tell you to: Take A Pill For The Ill, never digging for the cause , just treat the symptoms. Three of the worst aspects of FM (if in fact it truly is FM), IMHO are: 1. The Chronic Pain / Stiffness / muscle pain & soreness; 2. The Chronic Fatigue - there are days that the fatigue is so grave, I feel like I'm going to Die; 3. The poor ability to Sleep which w/o a doubt makes everything Worse. I'm looking forward to some discussions here and further insight. Like Mulder said on X Files.

The Truth is Out There!
 
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sunkacola

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Hello Croatian Man, and welcome to the forum.

It sounds as if you are going through the more or less typical thing that people with fibro go through at first.

I am glad you found this forum, as there are many helpful people here and you will get support.

To start you out, I am recommending you read my post below:

 
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JayCS

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He told me that the panic is purely a Chemical Imbalance in the brain. Put me on Prozac - which took a few weeks to kick in, but DId help.
So no CBT at that time, or even at all for panic? Depends of course what kind. I got my social phobia completely under control without meds, just CBT and later mindfulness. Whilst others like @sunkacola might have something to say about panic like general anxiety/panic disorders.
I became the most muscular in my lifetime in realtively a short time. I was working out at least 4-6 times per week. In late 1997, after doing squats I tore the meniscus in my right knee, requiring surgery. I continued to workout my upperbody while recovering form the surgery - working out became an obsession (Anxiety disorders can manifest into obesssive - complulsive behavior) .
Hmm, my anxiety has often resulted in a bit of compulsive or addictive behaviour, but I think a bit is OK. If you were self-caring at least a bit it yours wouldn't sound too bad or OCD to me... ?
Central Nervous System and Peripheral nervous systems are "merging' into each other, hence the hightened Super Sensitivity to Touch, Temp Changes, etc.
Sounds like a pre-version of the "central sensitisation" hypothesis as possible cause of fibro?
I have been to soooo many doctors it makes My Head Spin.
Quite a list! Mine might be similarly long, 50 in the first 2 years of fibro, to get everything checked, but apart from that pretty useless compared to self-education and forums.... You seem to have got some explanation, but not that much help.
Involved some cognitive therapy, but focused more on dealing with Chronic pain using Hypnotism and combined with back on 20Mg of prozac.
Only some cognitive therapy? Does hypnotism work for you? A bit for me, but what feels similar is Yoga Nidra, my best help, for sleep or sleep substitute as well as relaxation whatever I'm doing.
My PCP confirms it, but a bit more hesitant until a full blown FM testing wsa done. Never did that to date.
What do they and you consider full blown FM testing? - I'd've thought everything you'd got tested to date has pretty much revealed what there is to see. Or do you mean bloods, incl. hormones etc.? Since the newer (2016) fibro criteria you can fulfill them even if you also have something else, which I think is sensible. Have you looked at those?
I take many Supplements in search of the Magic Wand. Some help a little, some may be a complete waste of $$$.
Have you tried amino acids yet? Those help me much more clearly than the rest, for fibro as well as MCAS. I have 28 at the moment, but don't take any that I think are a waste of... €€ ;-).
Doctors only tell you to: Take A Pill For The Ill, never digging for the cause , just treat the symptoms.
Not all docs, here very few actually. But the pill mills don't, agreed. Fortunately I don't tolerate pills anyway.
Three of the worst aspects of FM (if in fact it truly is FM), IMHO are: 1. The Chronic Pain / Stiffness / muscle pain & soreness; 2. The Chronic Fatigue - there are days that the fatique is so grave, I feel like I'm going to Die; 3. The poor ability to Sleep which w/o a doubt makes everything Worse.
These do all sound like the severe symptoms necessary to fulfill fibro, and I'd guess your pain is also pretty widespread, from what you've told us...
I would like very respectfully to make a request to you that you use paragraphs in your posts, especially when writing a long one such as the above.
Maybe that's helped a bit with this and altogether... :cool: ...hope so...
 

Charz

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Dec 21, 2019
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DX FIBRO
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03/1980
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You live on Westchester County! If yes I can recommend some great doctor's.
 
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