The Fibromyalgia Dialectic

Jul 31, 2016

The Fibromyalgia Dialectic: Finding the Balance Between Rest and Move

One of the most confusing aspects of Fibro is that often the person suffering does not know whether to rest more or to move more. These two ideas seem to be diametrically opposed. The truth is, they are both right. And that’s the confusing part.

There is a new and growing trend in treatment called DBT — Dialectical Behavior Therapy. The dialectic addresses two states of mind that seem to be opposites, but actually coexist: the need to accept wherever we are in the moment and the need to change. For the ideal therapeutic result, both the therapist and the patient must understand that they are both true, and operative in the moment. For Fibro patients, they are often caught between the body’s desire to stay still — as interpreted through the amount of pain being perceived, and the knowledge that motion may relieve pain.

It is no secret that exercise helps Fibro, and in fact helps all kinds of chronic pain and illness. The problem with the Fibro sufferer is that they are thinking two things at once:

Mind says, “Go to the pool! Take a walk! You’ll feel so much better!”

Body says, “Accept me where I am! Listen, I’m telling you to rest!”

This is often followed by, “If you go for that walk/swim/yoga class you’ll pay a price. You’ll feel worse later. You’ll over do it. And the pain will be worse tomorrow.”

Pain is then multiplied by the added layer of fear, and motion no longer seems possible.

The therapeutic goal is to recognize that these ideas can and do exist together in the mind, and that does not mean you stay stuck. The secret to successful treatment is to find the balance, and not allow fear to dominate the internal conversation.

Acknowledge pain. Move gently. Allow for healing as a possibility. Be a warrior.