Southeastern Health

Fibromyalgia 101

Living on planet earth these days makes it very hard to lead a lifestyle that allows our bodies to run optimally. Face it, it’s hard to eat right when our grocery store shelves are lined with convenience foods and our schedule is so hectic that there’s very little time for exercise. Because of that, some systems are off a bit—hormone levels are off a little, blood chemistry is not quite right, we have borderline diabetes, we don’t have quite enough energy to last us until bedtime, we are a little stressed and a little rushed all day long—and our bodies can compensate for those things, up to a point. Fibromyalgia (FM) is, in effect, the “perfect storm” where those things come together under some acutely stressful event (physical or emotional), and the structures that normally regulate the body’s systems throw up a white flag and say, “I can’t do this anymore!” Most FM sufferers can remember the very date and time of the event from which they just could never recover. All of a sudden, they had 10 medical appointments a month and difficulty making the money to pay for them. When the regulatory “circuit blows,” then comes the hypersensitivity issues—noises, lights, odors, and heat/cold are poorly tolerated and hugs no longer feel good. Sleep comes easily, because they are exhausted, but just as the brain gets ready to fall into deep, stage IV sleep, the brain turns back on. Lack of restorative sleep, in any condition, makes everything worse. Because of the complexity of fibromyalgia, medical and emotional support is a must.

There are physicians in the country (some who have FM themselves) who have devoted their lives to research and treatment development, and people can and do get better. Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s FM Support Group is working to pull together community resources to bring that information to Robeson and surrounding counties. We meet once each month on the second Monday at the Southeastern Lifestyle Day Spa, located behind the Fitness Center on Fayetteville Road in Lumberton. The meetings are from 4-6 pm and each meeting features a guest speaker and light refreshments. Each event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 738-4554 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Julie Sawyer is a physical therapist with Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Regional Medical Center. She also coordinates Southeastern’s fibromyalgia support group.


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