What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects about 10 million Americans. Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on a patient’s symptoms and physical exam. Patients experience stiffness and pain in the muscles, but there aren’t any quantifiable findings on X-rays or most laboratory tests. While fibromyalgia doesn’t damage the organs or joints, the constant aches and fatigue may have a significant influence on daily life.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The hallmark of fibromyalgia is muscle strain throughout the body, usually accompanied by:
- Sleep conditions
- Anxiety or depression
- Specific tender points
Fibromyalgia Tender Points
One of the unique aspects of fibromyalgia is the presence of tender points in specific locations on the body. When these points are pressed, people with fibromyalgia feel pain, while people without the condition only feel pressure. This illustration shows 18 possible tender points.
The pain of fibromyalgia could be extreme. Because traditionally no laboratory tests or X-rays might confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a few patients were once led to think that this pain was “all in their minds” Nevertheless, the medical community now accepts that the pain of fibromyalgia is real. Research suggests it’s caused by a glitch in how the body perceives pain.
Fibromyalgia: Who is at Risk?
Doctors are not certain why, but girls are 10x more likely to have the condition than men. Some researchers believe genetics might play a role, but no specific genes have been identified.
Fibromyalgia and Fatigue
This isn’t the normal tiredness that follows a busy day, but a lingering feeling of fatigue. People with fibromyalgia might feel drowsy first thing in the morning, even after hours in bed. The fatigue might be worse on some days than others and may interfere with work, physical activity, and household chores.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
There are a number of theories concerning the causes of fibromyalgia, however, research has yet to pinpoint a clear offender. Some doctors believe hormonal or chemical imbalances interrupt the way nerves indicate pain. Other people indicate a traumatic event or chronic stress may increase a person’s susceptibility. Most experts concur that fibromyalgia probably results from a combination of factors, instead of one cause.
Fibromyalgia: Impact on Your Life
Constantly fighting pain and fatigue can make people irritable, anxious, and depressed. You may have trouble staying on task at work, caring for children, or keeping up with family chores. Exercise or hobbies like gardening may seem daunting. The exhaustion and irritability may also result in missing out on visits with friends.
Your doctor may diagnose fibromyalgia after hearing your symptoms and performing a physical exam. There is 1 laboratory test that can check for fibromyalgia. It measures the levels of proteins in the bloodstream and will help support that a fibro diagnosis. However, your physician can also do some testing to rule out other problems. Make sure you describe your pain in detail, including where and how often it happens. Also bring up any other symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep problems, or stress.
Fibromyalgia: Obtaining Treatment
Today, the state has captured the interest of a vast range of healthcare providers. A lot of men and women receive treatment through their primary care providers. Check with local support groups and hospitals for a list of fibromyalgia treatment center in your town.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Some common causes are due to:
- Cold or humid weather
- Too much or too little physical activity
- Getting stressed
- Lack of sleep
Fibromyalgia and Sleep
Studies suggest some patients remain in a shallow state of sleep and never experience restful, deep sleep. This deprives the body of a chance to repair and replenish itself, creating a vicious cycle. Poor sleep can make pain seem worse, and pain may lead to poor sleep.
Depression and Fibromyalgia
Almost a third of people with fibromyalgia also have significant depression when they’re diagnosed. The association between the two is unclear. Some researchers consider depression might be a result of the chronic pain and fatigue. Others suggest that abnormalities in brain chemistry may lead to both depression and an unusual sensitivity to pain. Signs of depression may include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, and loss of interest in favorite activities.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia: Medicine
The objective of fibromyalgia treatment would be to lessen pain, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders. Doctors can recommend medications that help alleviate your symptoms — ranging from familiar over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription drugs. Additionally, there are prescription drugs specifically approved for fibromyalgia recovery, including Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Stella.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia: Exercise
Exercise can relieve several fibromyalgia symptoms. Physical activity can reduce pain and enhance fitness. Exercising just three times each week has also been demonstrated to ease fatigue and melancholy. Walking, stretching, and water aerobics are good forms of exercise to start with for individuals with fibromyalgia.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia: Your Diet
Some experts say diet can play a role in fibromyalgia — not the same part in all patients. Certain foods, such as aspartame, MSG, caffeine, and berries, look to worsen symptoms in some people. But avoiding these foods won’t help everybody. To find out what works for you, consider removing foods one at a time and recording whether your symptoms improve.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia: Massage Therapy
Some research indicates massage may help relieve fibromyalgia pain, even though its value is not entirely proven. Practitioners say that applying moderate pressure is key, while the technique is less important. Rubbing, kneading, or stroking all seem to help. A significant other can learn how to provide normal massages — and a 20-minute session may be long enough to get results.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia: Acupuncture
Formal studies have produced mixed results on the use of acupuncture for fibromyalgia, but a few patients say it alleviates their symptoms. This traditional Chinese practice involves inserting thin needles at key points within the body. Acupressure stimulates the same pressure points and might be a good alternative for people that want to avoid needles.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia: Fibro Fog
A lot of people with fibromyalgia have trouble concentrating, a phenomenon called fibro fog. While getting best treatment for fibromyalgia pain and sleeplessness might assist, there are different actions you can take to enhance your focus.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia: Stress
Stress is apparently one of the most common causes of fibromyalgia flare-ups. While it’s impossible to remove stress from your life, you can try to reduce unnecessary stress. Ascertain which situations make you anxious — in the home and in the work — and figure out ways to make those situations more stressful. Experiment with yoga, meditation, or other relaxation methods. And let yourself skip nonessential activities that cause stress.
Can You Get Fibromyalgia Relief?
Many people with fibromyalgia find that their symptoms and quality of life grow substantially since they identify the most effective remedies and make lifestyle changes. While fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, it doesn’t damage the joints, muscles, or internal organs.
About The Bridge
The Bridge Recovery Center program has helped many to handle Fibromyalgia with little or no medication and several have even eliminated their symptoms entirely. Individual outcomes can vary, but addressing the effects fibromyalgia has had on every guest’s mental and emotional well-being is essential for recovery. Additionally, proper diet, movement, massage, acupuncture, conventional medicine, nutritional supplements, and herbs are all utilized suitably in the comprehensive program.