Am I Healthier than You?

Am I Healthier than You?

Christine Tender Points

A reader commented about my last column that dealt with attending parties. She alleged that if I were able to attend a party at all, then I was 100 percent healthier than she is. This reader obviously missed the second sentence in that column, which stated, “what a thrill it was for me to have been able to help on the day she needed me.” Am I able to help others on any given day? Hardly! Am I able to attend a party any time I wish? Unfortunately not.

I must say that I agree with the reader’s comment that “the first hurdle is getting dressed.” It is for me as well. You see, I have a trigger point in my back just below my left shoulder blade. It’s so sensitive that any repetitive motion or the slightest overuse can cause a muscle spasm and ignite pain in that spot that feels like being struck by lightning. And it doesn’t stop. It will continue to strike approximately every 10 seconds and will last anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks.

The pain is so strong and so vicious that it moves my body involuntarily. Strangers have mistakenly believed I was having a seizure during one of these attacks. If I feel the surrounding muscle tightening up and recognize what’s happening, I can sometimes prevent the torture by taking a narcotic medication immediately. If not, a trip to the emergency room may be necessary. The pain is that intolerable!

What I’m describing is a byproduct of fibromyalgia called myofascial pain syndrome. When it strikes, I become completely immobilized. My brain doesn’t function. I cannot drive a car. I can barely call for help if I need a ride getting home from wherever I happen to be. After the pain subsides, the affected muscle can remain tightened and vulnerable for nearly two weeks before it fully relaxes and I can consider resuming normal activity. In the meantime, I’m lying prone, glued to my heating pad, using anti-inflammatory medications, lidocaine patches, and a TENS unit, and desperately trying to distract myself. Forty years of experience has taught me that even the slightest irritation of an already aggravated trigger point can immediately reignite a painful spasm.

I actually look forward to the days when total body pain and fatigue are my only issues. Those days, I practice all the pain-modifying techniques I’ve spent decades learning. I do all the stretches my body needs to be able to function as well as possible. I make time to meditate, which gives my body time to heal itself while directing my mind elsewhere. But at least I can function — even if it’s on a modified level compared to healthy people. Above all, I try to do something to help someone else.

I was fortunate to be able to help that friend a few months back, which resulted in my party invitation last week. Unlike most people who consider helping a friend and attending a party to be just normal occasions of daily living, I consider it a blessing — one that doesn’t occur very often. It’s so unusual, in fact, that I considered it worthy of an entire column about the experience. So, am I 100 percent healthier than the reader who commented on my article last week? You decide.


Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Trish says:

    Great response to a selfish, self-centered, unsympathetic response to your article. I could relate to your words as there might be one day out of a hundred that I merely have fatigue and all over pain that might allow me a couple of hours to actually do something outside of my house.
    Apparently she has not gotten to the point yet where her sense of compassion for others is heightened due to what she goes through everyday.
    Good for you my friend!

    • Frances Allan says:

      I agree with what Trish says . Christine , your response to that person was perfect. People are so eager to judge, and there are those who want to make sure that their pain is worse than yours. I wish people would stop judging and be more compassionate and kind. People with chronic pain get tired of quantifying how much pain they are in. For us who are suffering fatigue and pain everyday and trying to make the best of the good days, we should be applauded . Some people need to practice kindness and compassion . I know, having been fighting fibromyalgia for over 15 years , I am way more compassionate and empathetic to people and their pain .

  2. Maribel says:

    You do not have to explain anyone how do you feel. I understand, and million of people as well. I wish to help my friends(I do not have that much any more)! I’m so glad that you were able to do it… and yes, you were fortunate!!!

  3. Michele Levin says:

    Sometimes, I actually feel tired of having to explain why I can’t do something or how Fibromyalgia affects me again and again. I even have to remind my family at times and that’s the kicker. I would never ever wish this condition on anyone, but there are days that I wish that they could just experience my pain for 5 minutes and then the explanations will no longer be needed. I know, a pipe dream.

  4. Cindy H. says:

    It is sad when one has to defend their actions, especially to a fellow fibromyalgia sufferer who should know better. You would think that such understanding would be automatic. Human nature is what is sometimes. Nevertheless, both articles let other fibromites understand their limitations that much better when a fellow fibromite such as yourself shares her experience. Fibromyalgia can be a lonely enough place and finding out you aren’t the only one suffering in a certain way is a huge gift. Thought I don’t comment as much as I’d like, the experiences you share with with us has helped me to get off my own case about what I can’t do like I used to (like having a clean orderly house). I am glad you were able to both assist with and attend a party. I know how rare those the days are when limitation eases up. Keep up the great articles Christine:)

  5. L says:

    You shouldnt have to legitimize yourself in any way at all. So often with fibro and other unseen illnesses, it seems like it’s a competition of who feels the worst or has it the worst. *bleh*

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