What Is Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder of the nervous system that commonly causes sensitivity to pressure. Even a little pressure can cause pain to the person with this condition. Other symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia are fatigue, tingling sensation, numbness, memory loss, renal failure, abnormality in the bowel movement, disturbance in sleeping pattern, stiffness of the joint muscles and swallowing difficulties. Studies also show that the brain structure and behavioral movement of a person suffering from Fibromyalgia differs from that of a person who is medically well.
Fibromyalgia (also known as Fibromyalgia Syndrome or FMS) is a musculoskeletal disorder that causes pain in the fibrous tissues of the body and also leads to tiredness. It is believed to affect around 5% of the world’s population and currently no one knows what causes it. In this article I’ll be taking a deeper look at fibromyalgia and its symptoms, discussing the main risk factors and outlining how to treat it.
Between males and females, the probability of getting affected by the disorder is much higher in females. In fact, the ratio of women to men who suffer Fibromyalgia is 9:1. The condition is also much more likely to affect people from the ages of twenty to fifty years old. Children and the elderly are less likely to be afflicted with Fibromyalgia, although it is not impossible for them to get it.
Before medical experts were able to ascertain the nature of Fibromyalgia, it was thought that the condition was either a disorder in the musculoskeletal system or a neuropsychiatric anomaly. Diagnosis of the Fibromyalgia syndrome is made through a process of eliminating the possible diseases that causes the existing indicators. What makes it hard to identify the disorder is the fact that physical tests done on the patient usually come back with a normal result. Since there are no single tests that can detect Fibromyalgia, it is believed that the condition is co-existent with psychiatric health problems like anxiety and post-traumatic stress.
The origin of Fibromyalgia is still unknown presently, although there are suspected causes. Stress is a big suspect, whether it affected the person during childhood or they constantly undergo severe stress in their daily activities. Another theory is that Fibromyalgia patients simply have a low tolerance to pain. There is also the strong possibility that Fibromyalgia is hereditary. Disruption of the transmission between the nerves that produce dopamine in the brain is also considered as a root cause of the condition. Severe depression is likewise said to bring about the signs of having Fibromyalgia. Trauma causing an injury to the neck can increase the risk of developing the Fibromyalgia syndrome. There are also some who believe that a certain strain of stomach bacteria can cause the unexplained condition. These are all hypothetical causes, and the true cause of Fibromyalgia is still a mystery and is being studied.
Because of its mysterious existence, there is no recognized treatment for Fibromyalgia. Only medications and procedures that reduce or eliminate the symptoms experienced in connection with the syndrome are available for patients to avoid the inconvenience of having this condition. The drugs used to manage the symptoms are mostly muscle relaxants, antidepressants and pain relievers. Physical, psychological and behavioral therapies also prove to improve the condition of patients. Exercise can help reduce the discomfort brought about by Fibromyalgia since proper amount of exercise improves the blood flow, giving the patient a renewed energy to fight fatigue, stress, depression and even pain.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes chronic pain of the joints and tissues, as well as fatigue and tenderness at some specific sites of the body. The name of this disease comes from a combination of both Latin and Greek words which mean muscle and pain. Tender points are commonly experienced on the back, hips, shoulders, neck, and other extremities. Even the slightest pressure can cause pain and discomfort on these areas.
When looking at the causes of this syndrome, it is first necessary to understand the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
The major symptoms of this disease in addition to fatigue and pain are:
- Sleep disorders
- Morning stiffness
- Having pain with the menstrual period
- Tingling and numbness of extremities
- Temperature sensitivity
- Memory problems
- Restless legs disorder
One of the most frustrating things about Fibromyalgia is that a sufferer will have one or more of painful symptoms, but doctors are thus far unable to pinpoint a specific cause. Some causes that have been identified as contributors are genetics, infection in the body, and emotional as well as physical trauma. It is also believed that some people experience Fibromyalgia due to sensitivity in the brain.
Many doctors are of the view that sensitivity of the brain is one of the biggest contributors to Fibromyalgia. This happens because of repeated stimulation of the nerves. Neurotransmitters of the brain such as serotonin play a vital role in sending signals of pain from the brain to various parts of the body. The brain records the signals as a memory of pain. Overstimulation of these pain signals results in the body feeling pain much more frequently and is a sign of Fibromyalgia. Trauma to the nervous system is also thought to be responsible for Fibromyalgia because it affects the performance of natural painkillers of the body. When the body doesn’t respond to pain as it should, the resulting symptoms of increased sensitivity and various ailments point to Fibromyalgia. One school of thought advocates that Fibromyalgia results when the human body is suffering from chemical imbalance or hormonal disorders, because both of these things are associated with the signaling system of brain.
Most people in the medical field are agreed that this syndrome stems from both physical and emotional imbalances in the body. Men as well as women can be afflicted by this disease, but women are more apt to be affected by it. It generally occurs in people of middle age, but at times affects children as well as older people. Because Fibromyalgia often interferes with a person’s ability to work and function effectively, researchers are continuing to study in the hopes of finding the true cause of this debilitating disorder.
Risk Factors For Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can affect anyone of age. However, the following risk factors make you much more likely to develop this disorder:
1) Age: Fibromyalgia is very rare in people under 25 and is most likely to develop between the ages of 25 and 55.
2) Gender: Women are seven times more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia.
3) Family History: The children of women with fibromyalgia are much more likely to develop the disorder with studies suggesting that around one in three of these children develop fibromyalgia at some point in their lives.
4) Rheumatic Disorders: People who suffer from rheumatic disorders such as arthritis and tendinitis are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than people who do not suffer from these rheumatic disorders.
5) Stress: People who experience high levels of stress are believed to be at a higher risk of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia affects all your muscles and joints. You hurt all over. It seems like the best remedy is heat. Take a hot water bottle or heating pad to bed and that might provide enough relief for you to get some sleep. With all that pain, waking up and muscles twitching, you never get adequate sleep. You wake up as tired as you were when you went to bed. You will no doubt feel depressed and anxious. You are supposed to have specific tender spots that hurt when your doctor pushes on them.
The pain you feel is real and it can be intense. The fatigue you feel is real, too, but it may be worse on some days than others. Fatigue and the ensuing irritability can interfere with your work, raising a family and your social life.
Cold and humid weather makes you feel as though you just want to stay in bed and sleep. You need to balance your exercise with rest and not get too much of either. Walking, gentle yoga, stretching and exercising in water will help.
Fibromyalgia is a condition whose main symptom is chronic pain. With this disorder, the sufferer experiences stiffness and pain in the joints and tendons. This pain and sensitivity is often inexplicable, since it does not come with detectable inflammation like arthritis. While the pain won’t lead to any deformity or damage to the body, the patient will also often feel intense fatigue and decreased energy. Fibromyalgia is very different from other medical conditions in that there is no real test for identifying it. Doctors can only go by the patient’s symptoms, and a diagnosis is often reached only when all other illnesses have been ruled out…read more
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia are pain and tiredness, although these are not the only symptoms. The severity and type of symptoms varies greatly between sufferers, with some fibromyalgia sufferers experiencing persistent symptoms and others experiencing more sporadic symptoms. The list below highlights some of the most common fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Disturbed Sleep
- Fluctuating Body Temperature
- Irritable Bladder
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Painful Periods
- Pins and Needles
- Restless Leg Syndrome
Treatment For Fibromyalgia
An effective Fibromyalgia treatment is composed of the combination of medications, self-care techniques, and non-drug solutions. It is very important that before taking any medication, self-care techniques, and therapies that all three must be approved by the attending doctor. If any one of the three is improperly administered then it may not have its desired effect or sometimes, may worsen the pain the patient feels.
There are three medications that have been approved and accepted for Fibromyalgia treatment:
- Anti-Seizure medicines
Analgesics, like Tylenol, can help in easing away the stiffness and pain that the patient feels, however, different analgesics have different levels of effectiveness. There are times that the doctor will prescribe NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), like Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium together with the Analgesic.
Anti-Depressants can also relieve the pain caused by Fibromyalgia. Examples of anti-depressants that are normally prescribed for Fibromyalgia are Milnacipran and Duloxitine. Anti-Depressants can also ease the fatigue of the patient, which is caused by Fibromyalgia.
Lastly, Anti-Seizure medications are also used for Fibromyalgia treatment. While they are intended to treat people with epilepsy, they are also accepted as Fibromyalgia treatment as they can reduce certain kinds of pain. Examples of anti-depressants that are normally used for Fibromyalgia are Pregabalin and Gabapentin…read more
Other Treatment Options For Firomyalgia
While there are many painkillers that can be used to treat fibromyalgia, natural treatments are often much more effective. If you’re currently suffering from fibromyalgia, the list below outlines some simple lifestyle changes that you can make to relieve the painful symptoms associated with this disorder:
1) Exercise Regularly: Regular cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to treat fibromyalgia, as it increases blood flow, enhances flexibility and stimulates the release of pain reducing hormones (such as serotonin). Since the main symptoms of fibromyalgia are pain and tiredness, low impact cardiovascular exercises (such as cycling, swimming, walking and yoga) are often the best solutions.
2) Fill Up On Vitamins, Minerals & Phytonutrients: Studies have shown that a range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (including capsaicin, magnesium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D) can help treat fibromyalgia. By eating a diet that’s rich in healthy, natural, unprocessed foods (such as eggs, fruits, meats, nuts and vegetables), you can ensure that you’re eating plenty of these nutrients and relieve the painful symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
3) Chiropractic & Massage Therapy: Although there is very little clinical evidence to support chiropractic and massage therapy as a treatment for fibromyalgia, many sufferers have reported impressive pain relief as a result of these therapies. These types of therapies are believed to be most effective for relieving back and neck pain.
Although it’s not clear what causes fibromyalgia, natural treatments are one of the best way to relieve the painful symptoms and overcome this disorder. So if you’re currently suffering from fibromyalgia and want the pain to stop, start making some positive lifestyle changes today.