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A woman whose fibromyalgia symptoms got worse with the natural, unmedicated birth of her second chil

22 Dec
A woman whose fibromyalgia symptoms got worse with the natural, unmedicated birth of her second child, wonders if the exercise of ‘going into the pain’ is what made her FMS worse..
My first full blown Fibromyalgia episode came on after the birth of my second child. His birth was my first experience with ''natural'' birthing techniques. You know, ''go into the pain'', so labor will progress more quickly.

I am without a doubt a PTSD person many times over since early childhood. I was what you would call a star pupil at having babies ''naturally''.

Could this ability to go ''into the pain'' have affected the onset of my FMS symptoms? It seemed to have become worse after the next child, born 12 yrs later. Did I turn something on in my brain by allowing myself to fully feel all of that labor pain?

Dana



Dear Dana,

No, I don’t believe feeling pain will produce more fibromyalgia symptoms. But the biochemical cascade of childbirth could. Those massive surges in adrenergized neurohormones and endogenous opioids (your body’s own natural alarm chemicals and sedatives) flooding your system, are part of the natural process of childbirth (with or without anesthesia) and they could add to the load of biochemical waste in your already traumatized muscle tissue (from the way the body pendulates back and forth between alarm biochemicals and sedating biochemicals, in a perpetual loop, with the experience of PTSD), increasing the amount of pain-generating kinins (proteins) in your system. And that could increase your FMS symptoms. I explain this in my last book, Invisible Heroes. The research shows us there’s a strong connection between PTSD and FMS, and it sounds like this could be relevant to your situation. But don’t blame natural childbirth - that’s not the culprit!

But because you have PTSD, you probably are a champ at dissociating - disconnecting from the sensations in your body and your emotions - and so you probably do tolerate discomfort and pain pretty well - a star pupil indeed!

If you go to our PTSD page, you’ll find a list of recommended therapies that are known to help. And many of them are good for fibromyalgia too. Gentle exercise, breathwork, guided imagery, body work, sleep aids.. all of these can help your symptoms.

I hope this helps.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award