What is Fibromyalgia?
If you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, you know how debilitating it can be, affecting your ability to function at work and at home. Individuals who have fibromyalgia frequently live with widespread chronic pain that prevents them from doing simple tasks a lot of people take for granted, like driving to work, going for a walk, or sweeping the floor.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by many symptoms that don't have any identifiable cause. Its hallmark symptoms are numerous tender-to-the-touch spots (called tender points); persistent fatigue; and pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These signs are often accompanied by sleep disturbances or disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic anxiety disorder, or memory and concentration problems --that may all contribute to poor quality of life.
Additionally, it is often misunderstood or disregarded, including more problems with the physical symptoms. Fibromyalgia is among the most frequent chronic pain conditions, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. Approximately 10 million people are affected in the U.S. and 4-6% of the global population. It affects mostly women but does occur in a small population of men and kids.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia produces an assortment of symptoms, pain being the most frequent. Patients experience pain throughout the entire body, which changes from a dull ache to sharp, throbbing pain. It can also feel like knots in the belly of muscles, often causing limited movement and radiating pain. Some people report that their muscles feel like they've been pulled or overworked, and the skin may feel badly sunburned. These signs can be unpredictable, and many patients are frustrated with their physical constraints.
The inability to carry out even ordinary tasks, perform at work, participate in their children's actions result from suffering from fibromyalgia.
Getting exercise can be difficult, if not impossible, and exacerbates the symptoms, causing the body to become weaker and more vulnerable to injury.
Additionally, chronic pain, which causes poor sleep and physical restriction, often contributes to depression and anxiety.
Fibromyalgia symptoms may include the following:
Ligament and tendon pain
Brain fog or Fibro fog
Tender points all over the body
Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The causes of fibromyalgia can vary based on each person. A thorough evaluation is done to help to ascertain the cause(s). The causes of fibromyalgia can include:
Heavy metal toxicity
Lack of quality sleep
Poor nutrition, including ingestion of sugar and processed foods
Misalignment of the backbone
Mold, pesticides, and environmental toxins
Epstein Barr Virus
Leaky gut syndrome
Physical or psychological trauma
Oversensitized pain receptors in the brain
Oversensitized central nervous system
How to Treat Fibromyalgia
Finding and treating the underlying cause of the problem is the perfect solution. Frequently the pain of fibromyalgia is because of an illness or toxin affecting the energy generating areas of the cells. These tiny energy manufacturing plants are known as mitochondria. We also commonly realize that the thyroid gland isn't functioning up to par and that by merely supporting the gland, we could get people feeling better very quickly.
However, fibromyalgia is often a multifactorial problem instead of one issue and may differ from person to person. Because of this, all individual programs are individualized based on what's needed. We have successfully treated many patients by detecting the unique, underlying causes associated with their problems.
Fibromyalgia calls for a flexible treatment approach directed at managing symptoms, learning coping methods, and enhancing life quality. Treatment is tailored to each person's needs and considers the severity of symptoms and if associated conditions are found. A group of specialists could be assembled to handle overlapping ailments. An integrative treatment often involves a combination of the following approaches:
- Exercise. Exercise is a cornerstone of fibromyalgia therapy. A Cochrane review in 2017 reported that regular moderate exercise improves physical function and reduces fatigue, pain, and stiffness. Pain may temporarily worsen when beginning an exercise program. Patients should aim to gradually build up to three or more 30-minute sessions per week of low-impact exercises, such as swimming, cycling, or brisk walking. Even those who can not attain the recommended exercise level often find some improvement. Some people with fibromyalgia find that tai chi--which combines meditation with slow, graceful martial-arts motions --or alternative mind-body practices, such as yoga and qigong, are simpler to perform than conventional aerobic exercise. Water-based treatment and resistance training can decrease pain and fatigue, also. Make sure to clear any exercise program with your physician first.
- Education. Patients who are more educated about their disease have better outcomes than those that are not. Instruction should focus on the significance of self-care, the ramifications of co-conditions on symptoms, available treatment approaches, realistic treatment expectations, and consciousness that symptoms can wax and wane and some fatigue and pain can persist despite treatment.
- Physical therapy. A physical therapist or physiatrist (a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) can work with people who have difficulty exercising by supplying a one-on-one approach to improving overall function and reducing pain.
- Sleep hygiene. Trouble sleeping is a hallmark of fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia are more prone to sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome. Sleep is vital to many facets of physical, psychological, and cognitive function, and thus treating sleep disorders and improving sleep habits are crucial to managing fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Psychological therapy. The most researched psychological intervention for fibromyalgia is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which concentrates on how patterns of thinking affect feelings and behavior. CBT teaches patients coping strategies to manage the frustrations of living with fibromyalgia. CBT has been shown in clinical trials to help improve physical function, mood, and pain.
- Complementary and alternative medicine. Some patients report short-term symptom development after partaking in chiropractic treatments, yoga, biofeedback, acupuncture, hypnosis, special diets, meditation, or various herbs and dietary supplements. Still, there is insufficient evidence to establish the efficacy of such therapies.
- Medication. If exercise alone does not adequately manage fibromyalgia, prescription medications might help. According to some estimates, only 30 to 50 percent of individuals will get some symptom relief with drugs. A physician's choice of medication and dose is primarily based on a person's symptoms and general health, in addition to the cost. These medications have potential side effects--such as sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, headaches, fluid retention, and weight gain--and some patients can not tolerate them. Some medications are not suggested for older adults due to their increased exposure to the medication's side effects, some of which can boost fracture and fall risk. Pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), opioids, and steroids, have restricted short-term results and work in just about one-third of patients. Opioids might even heighten pain sensitivity and cause dependence and should be prevented. When a single medication together with action fails to help satisfactorily, doctors may recommend numerous medications. Other medications may be prescribed to target specific symptoms, such as sleep disturbances or depression.