No one likes going in for surgery. It can be terrifying for anyone to face the prospect of surgery, especially when it involves full anesthesia. But it is especially terrifying for people with fibromyalgia. After all, fibromyalgia is a condition that results in a wide-spread sensitivity through the nervous system. So while anyone who goes through major surgery has to face the prospect of postoperative pain, someone with fibromyalgia knows that it will likely be much worse for them.
That’s why it is so important for anesthesiologists to have a good understanding of fibromyalgia. They need to know what unique challenges someone with fibromyalgia faces when it comes to major surgery. And proper anesthesia application can help reduce the pain that fibro patients feel after surgery. So, here are some things that your anesthesiologist needs to be aware of when you go in for surgery.
Fibromyalgia And Widespread Pain
We don’t know for sure what causes fibromyalgia. But we do know that the nervous system seems to play a central role. The nervous system plays a vital role transmitting pain signals between the tissue and the brain. Ordinarily, this system protects your body from injury by telling you when the tissue is getting damaged.
But in someone with fibromyalgia, their nervous system relays pain signals without any damage, resulting in widespread pain. And as a side effect of this process, they also become more sensitive to actual pain signals. Thus, physical injuries are more painful when you have fibro.
And though the point is to help us, a major surgery is essentially a traumatic injury. That’s why anesthesia is so important when you’re getting surgery with fibromyalgia.
How Anesthesia Helps
There’s evidence that a proper application of anesthesia not only helps with pain during surgical procedures, but actually reduces the amount of pain patients feel after the surgery. This is especially true for people with fibromyalgia.
If anesthesiologists administer an opioid-based pain reliever early enough, it can prevent more central sensitization of the nervous system. Central sensitization is essentially the way some people’s bodies respond to serious pain. And it makes the nervous system more sensitive to pain later. It’s even been suggested as a possible cause of fibromyalgia.
By making sure that your nerves are properly sedated, you can stop this sensitization from becoming worse during surgery. And you might even consider requesting that a local anesthetic be injected into the site of the incision to prevent any localized pain and make the anesthesia more effective.
In addition, little things anesthesiologists do during surgery can make a big difference when it comes to the amount of muscle pain you feel after the surgery. While you are in the operating room and unconscious, the doctors will need to move your body. Because you aren’t awake, a careless doctor can hyper-extend certain joints and muscles, which makes them stiff and sore later.
How To Deal With Anesthesiologists If You Have Fibro
It’s important to remember that not all doctors are aware of the complications facing patients with fibromyalgia. So taking a moment to discuss these complications with your anesthesiologist can often be very helpful, both for you and for them.
But at the same time, try not to be too demanding or assume that you know more about the subject than they do. Anesthesiologists go through a great deal of training, both academically and professionally. So they are going to be very well informed and experienced in how to perform their jobs. And they may even resent you for trying to tell them how to do their jobs.
Instead, phrase your requests as polite suggestions. Tell them that you have fibromyalgia and voice your concerns that the surgery might make your condition worse. Ask them what they recommend and then volunteer some of the information that you have picked up about the best way to accommodate fibromyalgia patients during surgery.
It’s often very tempting to take an adversarial attitude with your doctors when you have fibromyalgia. Many fibromyalgia patients spend a lot of time being shuffled between doctors and pain experts who either don’t seem to know much about fibro or just don’t care. And it often feels like they’re even dismissing your pain completely.
So it’s only natural that people with fibromyalgia might begin to distrust doctors or assume they won’t be cared for. But most doctors get into the field because they want to help people. And if you genuinely express your concerns, they will likely listen.
So let us know, how do you handle surgery when you have fibromyalgia? Do you have a surgery coming up you’re concerned about? Tell us in the comments.
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