Muscle 'Armoring' 

 

 

I read in Pete Walkers book on complex trauma and he describes constant muscle tightness, which I have suffered all my life, as ‘armoring’. I have not heard it described this way by anyone else and it makes perfect sense.

 

This could also be related to trauma-induced Fibromyalgia Syndrome, which approx 50% diagnosed, are child abuse survivors.

 

My massage therapist once described by body as being continually ‘braced for something’, which she was correct in describing, and is a symptom of my hypervigilant state, that always assumes subconsciously, that I need to be prepared for trauma. In the case of my body, I always have my ‘armor on’.

 

It is no doubt why I have always required alcohol to actually try to relax.

 

I know my muscles are continually tense and this ongoing wear and tear, causes considerable pain, that worsens in cold weather. 

 

So, having many of the symptoms - it is what I personally consider to be a form of complex trauma induced fibromyalgia. I think many fibro sufferers who have had prolonged child abuse or prolonged domestic violence, will relate to this.

 

This constant muscle tightness, is not something chosen by the sufferer, it is a subconscious need due to prolonged trauma abuse, for the body to be ready for abuse, regardless of any actual, or real threat of abuse being present.

 

I have to make myself relax, and at any given time that I stop and think about it, I will feel all the muscles in my neck and shoulders tensed and have to tell myself to relax. And this is constant and I suffer pain continually.

 

Regular guided muscle relaxation exercises help, to manage this. You can find a video of this HERE

 

My body protects itself in this way, the same subconscious way, we all breathe.

 

I know from feedback on my Facebook page, Blog and Twitter, many prolonged abuse survivors relate to this.

 

As the symptoms caused by this muscle armoring, are similar or exactly the same as Fibromyalgia Syndrome...here is some further info and ways to help manage it.

 

 

Souce: Better Health Channel

 

Symptoms of fibromyalgia

 

The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from mild to severe. The most common symptoms are:

  • increased sensitivity to pain due to a decreased pain threshold

  • increased responsiveness to sensory stimuli such as heat, cold, light and numbness or tingling

  • extreme fatigue (tiredness)

  • problems with cognition (impacting on memory and concentration)

  • problems with sleep.

 

It is important to remember that each person with fibromyalgia will have their own unique set of symptoms.The symptoms of fibromyalgia are variable. They can be mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms may disappear for extended periods of time, perhaps even years. Other people have pain every day, or experience variations between these two extremes.Some people with fibromyalgia have other symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome, irritable or overactive bladder, headaches, and swelling and numbness or tingling in the arms and legs. Living with ongoing pain and fatigue often leads to secondary problems such as anxiety and depression.

 

Causes of fibromyalgia

 

The cause or causes of fibromyalgia are not known. It is more common in people with:

  • lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

  • an illness such as a virus (or a recent illness or infection)

  • pain from an injury or trauma

  • emotional stress and depression

  • family history

  • previous pain syndromes

  • mood disorders

  • substance abuse.

 

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but treatment can help some symptoms.

 

Triggers for fibromyalgia symptoms

 

Fibromyalgia symptoms can be triggered or made worse by several factors, including:

  • weather changes

  • hard physical labour

  • mental stress

  • infections

  • allergies

  • overexertion

  • other musculoskeletal disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

 

Diagnosis of fibromyalgia

 

Fibromyalgia can be very difficult to diagnose as it does not cause any inflammation or damage. There are no blood tests, x-rays or scans that can test for fibromyalgia, but these tests may be used to exclude other conditions. Signs that suggest a diagnosis of fibromyalgia are:

 

  • widespread pain for three months or longer

  • abnormal tenderness at particular points around the neck, shoulder, chest, hip, knee and elbow

  • disturbed sleep patterns

  • that a multimodal assessment and diagnosis is required.

 

Treatment for fibromyalgia

 

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Effective management starts with a correct diagnosis. A management program should then be designed to meet each person’s needs.Generally, management of fibromyalgia will involve a combination of:

 

  • Education – people with fibromyalgia need to understand the condition in order to decide which management approach will help them.

  • Medication – combined with other strategies, medication may be used to manage pain, reduce stress or promote sleep.

  • Exercise – a gentle aerobic exercise program, such as walking, tai chi or water-based exercise, can help to manage symptoms such as pain, fatigue and sleep disturbance.

  • Stress management and relaxation – stress may aggravate symptoms. Skills that can help manage stress include planning, relaxation, assertiveness and emotional management.

  • Balancing rest and activity – plan your activities to make the most of your energy by alternating periods of activity with rest. Break large jobs down into small achievable tasks so that you do not overdo things.

  • Massage – this can aid muscle relaxation and stress management.

  • Nutrition – eating a balanced diet can help provide you with better energy levels, help to maintain your weight, and give you a greater sense of wellbeing.

  • Support from others – contact Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria for information about support group locations and contact details.

 

Where to get help

 

  • Your doctor

  • Rheumatologist

 

Things to remember

  • Fibromyalgia is a condition in which people describe widespread pain and tenderness in ‘the body.

  • Each person with fibromyalgia will have their own set of symptoms.

  • There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but symptoms can be managed.

 

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Author Lilly Hope Lucario   All rights reserved.

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