Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Causes, & Natural Treatments
There's no known cure for fibromyalgia. The objective of therapy hence is powerful symptom management. Natural treatments generally require a combination of holistic therapies, exercise, and lifestyle modifications.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, memory, sleep, and mood difficulties.
Fibromyalgia is described as the inflammation of the fibrous or connective tissue of the body. Lots of people with fibromyalgia describe the symptoms as like the aches and pains of a serious case of the flu. Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, and fibromyositis are titles given to some symptoms believed to be brought on by the same general issue. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by changing the way your brain processes pain signals.
Fibromyalgia is more prevalent than previously believed, with as many as 3-6% of the population affected by the disease. Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in adults than children, with more women affected than men, particularly women of childbearing age.
What are Fibromyalgia symptoms?
Symptoms sometimes start after a physical injury, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms slowly accumulate over time without a single triggering event.
Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Lots of men and women who have fibromyalgia have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and anxiety.
While there's no cure for fibromyalgia, an assortment of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation, and stress-reduction measures can also help.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Widespread pain. The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a continuous dull ache that has lasted for at least three months. To be considered prevalent, the pain should occur on each side of your body and above and below your waist.
- Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, despite the fact that they report sleeping for extended intervals. Sleep can be disrupted by pain, and lots of patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly called "fibro fog" impairs the ability to concentrate, pay attention, and focus on mental tasks.
Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other debilitating conditions, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Migraine and other types of headaches
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
What causes Fibromyalgia?
Researchers do not know what causes fibromyalgia, but it probably involves various factors working together.
These factors may include:
- Genetics. Since fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there can be certain genetic mutations that may make you more vulnerable to developing the disease.
- Infections. Some illnesses seem to activate or aggravate fibromyalgia.
- Physical or psychological trauma. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical injury, like a car accident. Emotional stress can also trigger the problem.
The specific cause of fibromyalgia isn't known. Sometimes it occurs in many members of a household, suggesting that it may be an inherited disorder. Individuals with fibromyalgia are most likely to complain of three main symptoms: joint and muscle pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Pain is the primary symptom of aches, tenderness, and stiffness of numerous joints, muscles, and soft tissues. The pain also tends to go from one part of the body to another. It's most common in the neck, chest, shoulders, arms, thighs, buttocks, and back. Even though the pain is present most of the time and might last for decades, the intensity of the pain may fluctuate.
Signs of fatigue may result in the individual's chronic pain combined with anxiety about the problem and how to find relief. The inflammatory process also produces chemicals that are known to cause fatigue. Other common symptoms are tension headaches, difficulty swallowing, recurrent abdominal pain, diarrhea, and numbness or tingling of the extremities. Stress, anxiety, depression, or lack of sleep may increase symptoms. The intensity of symptoms is variable which ranges from slow improvement to episodes of recurrent symptoms.
Diagnosis is difficult and often missed due to symptoms of fibromyalgia are vague and generalized. Coexisting muscle and nerve disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, spinal arthritis, or Lyme disease may further complicate the diagnostic procedure. Presently, there are no tests available to diagnose fibromyalgia. The diagnosis is usually made after ruling out other medical conditions with similar symptoms.
Due to the psychological distress experienced by people with this condition and the effect of anxiety on the symptoms, fibromyalgia has even been labeled a psychological issue. Recognition of the underlying inflammatory process involved in fibromyalgia has helped encourage the validity of the disease.
The American College of Rheumatology has developed criteria for fibromyalgia that healthcare practitioners can use to diagnose this condition. According to these criteria, a man or woman is believed to have fibromyalgia if he or she has widespread pain in combination with tenderness in at least 11 of the 18 sites called trigger points. Trigger point sites include the bottom of the neck, along the backbone, facing the hip and elbow, and in the back of the knee and shoulder.
Fibdromyalgia Natural Treatments
There's no known cure for fibromyalgia. Therefore, the objective of therapy is a powerful symptom management. Treatment generally requires a combination of therapies, exercise, and lifestyle adjustments. Adequate rest is essential in treating fibromyalgia. The diet should include a huge assortment of vegetables and fruits, which provide the body with trace minerals and elements that are essential for healthy muscles. Avoidance of stimulating foods or beverages (such as coffee) and medications such as decongestants before bedtime is advised. A patient's clear comprehension of his or her part in the recovery procedure is crucial for the successful management of the condition.
Remedies found to be useful include heat and occasionally cold compress program. A normal stretching program can be helpful.
- Aerobic activities focusing on raising the heart rate would be the preferred types of exercise over most other types of exertion.
- Exercise programs will need to include decent warm-up and cool-down sessions, with particular attention given to preventing exercises causing joint pain.
- Hydrotherapy exercises (exercises in a pool or bathtub ) may be useful in giving minimal impact exercise surroundings while soothing joint and muscle pain.
- Massage therapy can be helpful, especially when a relative is educated on specific massage methods to manage episodes of increased symptoms.
- Short sessions are helpful as repetitious movement can aggravate the problem. Particular focus on emotional health, including psychological consultation, is also significant, because depression may precede or accompany fibromyalgia.
- Relaxation exercises, yoga, aromatherapy, guided imagery, and other relaxation therapies can be useful in easing tension and boosting overall well-being.
- Acupuncture can be quite helpful for symptom relief and in relieving the general condition.
- Herbalists and aromatherapists may recommend tub soaks or compresses with lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), chamomile (Chamaemelum nobilis), or juniper (Juniperus communis) to soothe muscle and joint pain.
See: Ayurvedic Massage
Allopathic treatment for fibromyalgia
People with fibromyalgia often require a rheumatology consultation (a meeting with a physician who specializes in diseases of the joints, muscles, and soft tissue) to determine the origin of various rheumatic symptoms, to be educated about fibromyalgia and its treatment, and to exclude other rheumatic diseases. A treatment plan must be individualized to meet the patient's requirements. The rheumatologist, as the team leader, enlists and coordinates the experience of other caregivers in the care of the individual.
If diet, exercise, and adequate rest don't alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, drugs may be prescribed. Drugs prescribed and found to have some benefit include antidepressant medications, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Risk factors & complications for fibromyalgia
Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:
- Your sex. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed more frequently in women than in men.
- Family history. You might be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a relative also has the illness.
- Other ailments. If you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, you may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
The pain and lack of sleep-related to fibromyalgia can interfere with your ability to work at home or at work. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also may lead to depression and medical anxiety.
See: Migraine diet
Why does fibromyalgia hurt?
Researchers consider repeated nerve stimulation leads to the brains of individuals with fibromyalgia to change. This change entails an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that indicate pain (neurotransmitters). Additionally, the brain's pain receptors appear to develop a type of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning that they could overreact to pain signals.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic health issue. The symptoms sometimes improve and sometimes worsen, but they frequently persist for months to years.
Prevention of Fibromyalgia
There's no known or special prevention for fibromyalgia. However, like many other health conditions, staying as healthy as possible with a great diet, safe exercise, and adequate rest is the best prevention.
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