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ashleighraew

Crocheting The Way Out of Chronic Pain

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Okay, so I'm not sure if this is in the correct forum, but figured this was the best place for this particular topic.

 

Crocheting is a wonderful hobbie, art, job, whatever you want to call it. And it's especially important to me.

 

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with severe Fibromyalgia(for those who don't know what it is, Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain/chronic fatigue syndrome which symptoms mimic non-erosive arthritis, although it is not an inflammatory disease). I was told that my lifestyle had to be extremely modified if I wanted to keep it at nothing more than chronic pain. This meant dropping out of school to avoid the walk to the bus stop, quitting my job to get away from severe physical requirements, and quitting all of my favorite sports.

I felt completely helpless and alone. My fondest memories are of my mother and I sitting and knitting/crocheting together, and at that moment, it couldn't have meant more. My mom took me to our local grocery store and picked me up a crochet hook, yarn, and a pattern book.

I can't tell you how much sweet relief that was. I finally had found something that would relieve the pain, tension, and stiffness in my hands, as well as distracting me from how much pain the rest of me was in.

Since then, how much I crochet has dwindled down. Finally finding jobs that have no physical requirements means less time for me to be at home and crochet(however, my work now does not require you have all of your attention on work). Also, with my previous apartment, our swamp cooler didn't work, and crocheting during the summer was NOT an option(now I am living in a nicely cooled apartment with a REAL air conditioner.).

 

I just figured I would share my story about why I started crocheting again, and hope that there were other chronic pain sufferers I could collaborate with and talk to.

 

:yarn:manyheart:yarn

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Hey! I'm also a fibromyalgia sufferer. I know the pain you're in as well as the mental anguish. It took about 5 years to get a diagnosis, and that was 7 years ago. Last month, my doctor suggested a drug typically used to treat seizure patients that they've discovered works wonders on fibro patients. The drug is Lyrica. I've been on it a month, and there's a GIGANTIC difference in how i feel. I'm about 200% better! The other day I was out raking pine needles...for close to an hour and a half!!!! I'm serious as a heart attack about this stuff. I'd ask my doctor to let me try it for a month if I were you. It's simply amazing stuff!

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Actually, reecie, my rheumatologist has me on Celebrex for the pain. It's an absolute huge difference. I have had a lot of success with non-traditional treatment, including accupuncture and meditation. They work great! Also, keeping your hands busy seems to somehow make everything better. I always have one or two WIPs with me. As of right now, I've just got an afghan, a hat, and a couple of dishclothes going. The relief is great. And the very welcome distraction, especially when at work. I sit for five hours. That much sitting eventually starts to grate on your nerves.

 

I'm glad to find another person in this small world that suffers with Fibro. My fam actually figures I've suffered since I was very young, but never complained. So, by that date, it took 10 years to diagnose. My mom is also a sufferer, and we're quite the sight, sitting around crocheting and knitting all day.

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hey! count me in! i hav had pain for years and have been taking mobic for it on a daily basis. i asked my doctor about fibromyalgia and he check the points and said i have more than enough to be diagnosed. he put me on a medicine that was initially for mental health patients, it is called elevil (not sure of the spelling) and it has made a world of difference. i am able to do more and for a longer period of time. it helps make you sleep soundly at night but it is not a sleep agent!

 

i had a hard time using my hands to do things lilke holding the hook for a long period of time, but now i am great!

 

hope you feel better soon!

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I've heard wonderful things about Elevil(and I think that's how it's spelled). Unfortunately, though, my doctor is treating me in a conservative fashion. I've been jerked around by several doctors that seem to think I'm just a hypochondriac/junkie. :eek The last doctor I saw told me that there was no point in treating me for fibro because it was just a garbage can diagnosis. My general med doctor was throwing antidepressants at me. I was on Amytripteline for a while. It worked to get rid of the edge on my pain, and was great for my sleep, but it stopped working after a while, and I was told there was a cumulative effect with tricyclic antidepressants. They then put me on disypremine, and it was the same as the amytripteline, but it started to make me extremely anxious, and my heart was doing funny things. The latest thing they've tried before settling on Celebrex was Voltarin. THAT was AWFUL! I felt like a gigantic chocolate mess. I was constantly nervous and anxious, my heart was getting slight palpatations, and I had horrid heartburn. I've tried nearly all possible NSAIDS(naproxen sodium, aspirin, ibuprofen), and Celebrex has been the first effective thing for me. I hate narcotics, so those are WAY out of the question.

If I may ask, what are your main issues with Fibro?

 

For example, with me, I have trouble with Fibro just because I feel so stupid all the time. I feel like I'm constantly in a fog. It's like walking around in this constant haze. I can't have decent friendships because when my friends want to hang out, I'm in pain and can't move. I can't have a regular job because of my restrictions. I've had to force myself to concede to telemarketing. I just can't enjoy things I wish I could. And don't get me started on the weight gain. :blush

 

I can't reiterate enough how much keeping my hands busy helps me. On top of the Fibro, I was diagnosed with ADD, and the double edged sword hits there. I HAVE to have something in front of me. I usually bring my iPod with me wherever I go so that I have my mind distracted from what's going through my head. :ipod Also, :blush , I've started smoking. Bad habit to have, but it really helps when I'm super stressed out.

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Amytripteline is the generic for elevil and my dr. started me at 10mg and upped it to 20mg. i have a friend who as arthritis and is on 75mg. i was told we may need to increase it. have you tried a rheumatologist? that is the type of dr. i am going to and he is great.

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please keep me posted on how you are doing. you can email me or pm me if you would like.

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Actually I know it sounds funny to some but I have talked to alot of people irl who use crochet the same as I do...to relax.

Ever since I was little I would crochet when I could not sleep, and still to this day it puts me to sleep...NOT because its boring...

ITS because its so relaxing, and that was actually just what I needed.

So I hear you clearly about why youc rochet and have a bit of empathy for you.

Hook on sister ;):hook

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i can totally relate to how crochet has made my life better, i was in a car accident 6 1/2 years ago which has led me to be in terrible chronic pain. my back has had 2 surgerys on it. both fusions and while they did stablize the spine they didn't stop the every growing pain. i have severe nerve damage from having my spine collapse and having the nerve being trapped for almost a year before the docs did anything. after the 1st surgery i had minimal relief and thought well maybe i will be alright,. just to find that when i stopped taking the muscle relaxers and anti inflamatorys that it became MUCH MUCH worse.then it was another 2 years before they figured out the fusion had failed.and the nerve was damaged beyond repair while i don't have fibromyalgia(i don't think, my doc says its possible but i don't know) i do have chronic pain with very little relief. i tried all those medicines you all have talked about and all they did was turn me into walking zombie where i was confused and disorinated. i now am taking pain medication that while it don't totally help it does help somewhat. i crochet to relax too and have been known to actually crochet in my sleep, i laughed when my son told me this but then he showed me video he took of it . thank you for telling everyone how much crochet has helped you. i use it for a relaxing way to calm down and focus on something other than the severe pain i have. people who don't live with chronic pain don't understand often. it effects not just those of us who suffer from it, but also our families and our friendships. i know exactly what you mean about how it effected friendships. before i got hurt we use to go just about every weekend either hiking or sking in the winter, swimming running all kinds of things, now i can;t barely walk with out getting severe pains running through my spine and down my legs, its a vicious circle as it is for those of you who ave fibromyalga, i pray that some day they find a cure for that and you may all be healed from that awful disease that no one understands. god bless you, anytime ya need to talk, pm me, i am on most every night and will respond as soon as possible. take care my friends and god bless and keep you, and may he grant you a pain free christmas, wouldn't even one day be such a joy? some day i hope that science makes things possible, yes even just for one day. that we may live pain free and without the clhronic pain that we all have to deal with. god bless and keep you , may the new year bring relief in the form of understanding by doctors and better medicines. and yes i am hoping that some day for total healing:manyheart :manyheart :manyheart :manyheart

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:hug thunder!

 

It is very hard for my friends to understand what I go through. They watch me suffer and walk away from my friendship because they don't know what to do. I've considered starting a support group in my area for Chronic Pain sufferers. I mean, I have my mom, and my best friend, who both suffer(My mom also has lupus, which makes it extremely hard for me to relate to her, but she and I still sit around have have pity parties), and having that support makes a HUGE difference.

 

I've watched all of my romantic relationships fall apart just simply because there are some days I can't make an appearance for anybody.

 

Chronic pain is a very lonely experience. There are many people who suffer with it, but each person's experience in unique to them. And unfortunately, chronic pain very rarely ever goes completely away, but you just have to relish those days when you can survive without having to break down.

 

Thunder, one thing I recommend you do is just take some time out for yourself. I know that being in pain all the time has made me extremely depressed, and it's very hard to live my life without crying. But, take time for yourself. I.E.:

1. Take a cup of coffee/tea/hot cocoa out when it's misty or raining and just enjoy the steam blowing in your face and how brisk the wind is.

2. While crocheting, stop after each row and admire the work you've done. Pats on the back are great to bring yourself out of a slump.

3. Look in the mirror when you wake up and reaffirm every morning why it's going to be a good day, even if you feel like you were in the accident all over again. Cheer for yourself. :cheer You are your best support.

 

Oh, that reminds me, I haven't done my happy dance yet this morning.

 

*looks around to make sure no one's looking*

*bounces around the room*

I'm not in as much pain as I normally am today!!! :clap Perhaps my christmas will be enjoyable! YAY!:clap

 

i love celebrex......:c9

 

I wish everybody a Merry, Merry Christmas, and wish everybody luck in their upcoming projects.

:ty everyone for responding to this thread!

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I'm in the same boat with the back problems and am waiting to consult with a neurosurgeon. I know a lot of people with fibro dealing with the exact same things you described ashleigh. As a massage therapist, I really have to recommend massage (no bias here). I've seen so many get relief. Deeper massage is best, but you have to work up to it. Even a gentle massage will make a huge difference. Relaxation is a wonderful way to handle pain. I'll keep you in my prayers and am glad to know I have one more reason to love crochet so much! :manyheart

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Actually, duck, I do go in fairly regularly for a deep tissue massage. It's definitely painful, and I wake up the next morning feeling like I was hit by a train, but after I've relaxed my muscles, it's great relief!

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Have to agree on the deep tissue massage. My chiro and my pain management specialist also want to do an 'adjustment under anestehsia' for me, since sedation is the only way to get my muscles relaxed enough to get some things (like my spine) back in place. I've just held off because I can't afford to miss school but we're changing schedules in Feb and I will have Fridays off, so maybe we can get one set up.

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thank you so much ashleighraew, its so nice to have someone understand. today was a good day because i made it a good day. was a very hard day for me, my first christmas without my mom and its been sooooooooo hard, i didn't break down and cry until my mil and fil left with hubby and son to take them home, then i cried my eyes out, it seemed that everything today was stressed. i think more than anything i would like to just have a day without stress. i do try and make some time for myself, but its not often as i should. what gave me great joy today was seeing how my daughter loved her sweater i made her, she was jumping up and down in excitment, which made me the happiest mom on this earth. my son loved his gifts too , but nothing was hand made as i already have made him pretty much everything he could want. is not so much a hand made clothes person. anyways back to the subject at hand. lol i hope all goes well for all of you who suffer from chronic pain. kathy i will be praying for you that your doctors can help you sweetie, you have so much on your plate right now and so need relief. thanks for posting this subject and letting me talk, i agree chronic pain is one of the most lonely things ever. i too lost so many friends or people i thought were friends, but in reality they were not friends. i have tried the massage too and have to agree, it helps somewhat for a while. someday my friends we will not have to suffer like this we will not have to deal with this pain on a daily basis. unfortenetly for me, my back is getting worse,i need to ask about changing meds as the one i take is not working as well, only problem is the meds i take are so strong now there isn't much stuff thats stronger. i am so glad that celebrex helps you, i used it for a while but it didn't really help much with the pain so my doc took me off and i have not found a replacement that does not tear my stomach up. god bless you all and i will pray for all of you that you are pain free very soon:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug

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I too am a fibro person. My sister has it also. I have been using Cymbalta for the depression and chronic pain. My sister has gone to injections because she now has arthritis on top of it. I find that any weather changes just make the stiffness and pain worse. Cold or hot it doesn't matter. Massage helps me alot and I use magnets in my shoes for the legs and back. Now don't laugh, it works for me. I use crochet to keep my sanity. The only think that gets to me with it, are the days when the fibro fog sets in. You know those days when you can't get your thoughts together and concentration just eludes you. I also take MSM supplement. The Magnesium in it seems to help with the cramping I get. Some days it feels like there is a vise around my ribs. I really feel like I have accomplished something when I do crochet, I may not be running the vaccum, but I am a contributing human being, and the carpet gets dirty again, crochet last forever!

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I can relate to all that is being said here. I have tried Cymblata, Elavil, Celebrex and several others in the past five years for chronic pain. I had to have my DH drive me everywhere for years because I could drive due to the pain. I also have migraines 24/7 ...for the past almost six years...my migriane specialist has given me injectables for the pain along with a Norflex which has helped with both the migraines and the pain.

I alos use crochet as a way to forget about the pain and to concentrate on the postive feelings that I receive from doing something for others...I have yet to make something for myself.

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Hang in there, I can also feel all your pain. I too have fibro and all the pain that goes along with it. I was diagnose about a year ago after all kinds of tests and made to feel like I was crazy because they could never find anything wrong. I was in and out of the ER with chest pains, dizziness, foggy, lack of concentration and pain. Also my one leg, my knee constantly gives out on me and I fall all the time. My blood pressure gets very low, and I will come real close to passing out. My dr. finally sent me to a reumatologist and they thought that I had Lupus, I have all the symptoms of it, they found that my circulation is bad and I most times have the red mask on my face but again everything come back negative. It can be very depressing, and you start believing that your losing it. I have five children and am married and was becoming very depressed because I hurt all the time and couldn't concentrate to take care of them. I also had to quit my job which did turn out to be a good thing I am enjoying being a stay at home mom. They did finally diagnose me with Fibro. But sent me to a Psychiatrist, boy did that make me feel real good. But he is really nice to me and doesn't treat me other than the fact that I have fibro not like it's all in my head. I'm currently on Cymbalta, Lunesta (so I can sleep or I will go 4-5 days in a row w/o sleeping at times), and Naproxen for the pain. I also have the severe Migraines as well. I'm on Topamax to control them and Imitrex when I get them, these have worked wonders. I still have my days where I have overdone it and feel it the next day, but with mild excercise, like short walks with my dogs and children it really makes a difference. And just love to sit and relax with my crocheting it is very relaxing and really helps alot with the depression. And yes I definitely agree you are your biggest support, make sure you give yourself a big pat on the back for each thing you do accomplish. It really helps keep you going, step back and really see what you do, no matter how small it is ;)

 

Kim

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Fibro is definitely a lonely experience, but it's fairly common. Also, Lupus is a relatively undiagnosed disease because doctors don't bother to consider that less than 20% of Lupus patients actually have the positive blood tests.

 

My mom is one of those few. She has a 1:80 positive anti-nuclear antibody. She also has a tendency to get mitochondrial antibodies, as well as lean muscle antibodies. I've watched her suffer for such a long time and it breaks my heart.

 

Our rheumotologist (it's a family affair when my mom and I have doctor appointments. We schedule them about 15 minutes apart so we can see the doc at the same time) is in the process of looking at the symptoms I've presented. I also get the rashes on my face, and it's fairly common that I am sick. I get lesions on my skin from being out in the sun, and I have three or four constantly inflamed joints.

 

The biggest struggle I've had the past two or three weeks is getting myself out of the fog I feel like I'm constantly in. I hate that feeling. It's like you know what you're supposed to be doing and saying, but it doesn't happen the way it's supposed to. It's an awful feeling to lose complete track of your mind. There are so many days when I just have to call in, rest, and break down and cry.

 

I'm having my first hard day in a week. I'm about ready to cry, and I feel like I got hit by a bus. I woke up this morning and had to fight from crying on my way to work. I think it was obvious when I got to work, because I had several people ask me if I was okay. It's hard having to lie to my work about what's going on, but I've already gotten fired from two jobs for it, and I don't want to lose another one. But, I have to pat myself on the back, because I finally learned how not to hurt my hands doing a basketweave pattern! It LOOKS GREAT!!!!! Well, the part I got finished anyway! My mommy's birthday present is getting closer and closer to being finished and I hope she'll like it!

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thats soooo awwesome . she will love it. especially since she must know how hard it is for you to make. i am keeping all of you in my prayers. thanks for posting this, i think its helped alot of people deal with the awfulness of chronic pain, and while i don't have fibro what i have is just as painful as it effects my whole body. i hope in 2007 that we all get relief that we sooo deserve and need. hugs for ya all, gentle hugs that is:lol :lol

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ashleighraew, thank you for the info on Lupus. I thought there was something about the testing and that could happen and that's what had us worried. A friend that works with my MIL told her that she knew someone that for three years they told her she didn't have Lupus then she tested positive for it.

 

I'm glad that you and your mom have a good relationship and can go to your appt. together to support each other, that's great that you can do that.

 

I know what you mean about the fog, sometimes it's just horrible. I get so frustrated when I have those spells and just want to sit down and cry. And just seems like no one understands and gets frustrated with me when I can't remember things or picks on me when I go to say something and something completely different comes out of my mouth.

 

It's great to hear that you found a way to work on your basketweave, and you'll be able to finish your mom's gift, I'm sure she will love it. I think we all need to make adjustments sometimes and try to find those little things to make ourselves comfortable to continue crocheting, I don't know what I would do if I couldn't crochet. I had to buy the new hooks that came out about a year ago that have the wide handles on them so my hands don't hurt. They're for people with arthritis and I just love them. And definitely give yourself a pat on the back for finding a way to continue your crochet and finishing your mom's gift ;)

 

Kim

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I know what you mean about the fog, sometimes it's just horrible. I get so frustrated when I have those spells and just want to sit down and cry. And just seems like no one understands and gets frustrated with me when I can't remember things or picks on me when I go to say something and something completely different comes out of my mouth.

 

It's great to hear that you found a way to work on your basketweave, and you'll be able to finish your mom's gift, I'm sure she will love it. I think we all need to make adjustments sometimes and try to find those little things to make ourselves comfortable to continue crocheting, I don't know what I would do if I couldn't crochet. I had to buy the new hooks that came out about a year ago that have the wide handles on them so my hands don't hurt. They're for people with arthritis and I just love them. And definitely give yourself a pat on the back for finding a way to continue your crochet and finishing your mom's gift ;)

 

Kim

amen to that. i too am thrilled you found a way

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I also have FM and only recently have been put on Cymbalta. The doc's tried me twice on Elavil, but I have severe reactions to that. I am EXTREMELY sensitive to all medications, even over the counter meds. The Cymbalta makes me pretty jittery and makes it difficult to crochet at times, but it has lessened my pain.

I struggled to get my diagnosis for over 10 years and just got it 6 years ago, mine is progressive and I have a walker because it mainly affects my back, hips and legs, but I get symtoms all over my body. I also suffer from severe migraines.

 

I also have Periphal Neuropothy, my nerve endings are damaged and my feet get numb and I get periodic muscle twitching and my balance is off, I am being tested for MS right now though, along with a few other things that can cause nerve damage.

 

Crochet keeps me sane and I wouldn't know what I would do if I couldn't crochet.

 

Fibromyalgia is alot more common than people think and it is also the most misunderstood disorder and not too much is known about it. Luckily the University of Michigan has been doing some major comprehensive studies and finding out that it is a Neurological disorder based in the brain.

 

This is a short artical from The Detroit News paper:

 

"Fibromyalgia is real-and Painful"

 

Many people with Fibromyalgia, a debilitating pain syndrome that affects 2-4% of the population, have faced the question of whether the condition is real. Fibromyalgia often has been misdiagnosed as arthritis or even a psychological issue. a new paper from the U of M Health System says there are "overwhelming data" that the condition is real, characterized by a lower pain threshold and is associated with genetic factors that can make some people more likely to develop fibromyalgia. Patients with the disorder may have abnormalities within their central brain structure, the researchers say. The paper is published in the journal "Current Pain and Headache reports".

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Okay, so I really do have to rant. Today couldn't have gone any worse. I am MISERABLE!!! It started raining last night and tapered off before I woke up, so when I woke up, I felt like Frankenstein because my joints were stiff. I am extremely sensitive to the weather changes. I had nothing but clients calling in angry about their orders not being on time. I'm sorry, but I'm just the donation monkey, I don't handle their order requests. I had a pounding headache by the end of the day. I brought some yarn with me to work to work on the afghan I'm making and another hat, and I couldn't even pick it up because I was so swamped. *crosses arms* I am having a TEMPER TANTRUM!

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:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug:hug
Okay, so I really do have to rant. Today couldn't have gone any worse. I am MISERABLE!!! It started raining last night and tapered off before I woke up, so when I woke up, I felt like Frankenstein because my joints were stiff. I am extremely sensitive to the weather changes. I had nothing but clients calling in angry about their orders not being on time. I'm sorry, but I'm just the donation monkey, I don't handle their order requests. I had a pounding headache by the end of the day. I brought some yarn with me to work to work on the afghan I'm making and another hat, and I couldn't even pick it up because I was so swamped. *crosses arms* I am having a TEMPER TANTRUM!

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I dont have chronic pain, but I've been having a LOT of anxiety lately. I'm currently going thru a health scare and having to see a lot of doctors and I'm getting shoved into all sorts of scanning machines that make loud scary noises.

 

I've been trying to crochet the anxiety away, but havent really touched a crochet hook for about 2 weeks or so. (I have been cheating on the crochet hooks with the knitting needles tho for some strange reason)

 

Hopefully they'll figure out what's wrong with me soon and maybe some of the anxiety will recede for a bit. I'm pretty sure I'm about to get diagnosed with a life-altering disease tho...but at least it's one that can be managed with medication. I'm hoping for something else, but I'm not getting my hopes up on it.

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