Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common yet complex chronic disorder which results in widespread pain and tenderness to touch. The pain and tenderness may occur in the whole body and varies in intensity over time. FM impacts individuals in multiple ways; physically, mentally and socially. Approximately ten million Americans, which comprise 2-4% of the US population, have FM with a ratio of about eight to two in females and males. It can affect people of all age groups including children. The literal meaning of the word Fibromyalgia is pain inside the muscle tissues, ligaments and tendons. However, FM does not only cause pain but creates a lot of other symptoms that differ from individual to individual.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
Science hasn’t yet been able to pinpoint the root cause of Fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, research has identified multiple factors that could be responsible for causing Fibromyalgia.
The intensity of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia can vary from person to person. Fatigue, sleep disturbances (sleep apnea and/or not waking up fresh), cognitive difficulties (memory difficulties or considering clearly), and stiffness are the most prevalent symptoms. Other symptoms may include depression or anxiety, migraines, tension, headaches, pelvic pain, problems with bladder, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), TMJD (which includes tinnitus), and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). Anxiety generally worsens the connected difficulties and symptoms. Let’s assess the symptoms in much more detail.
People with Fibromyalgia usually have muscle stiffness when they wake up and experience relative relief as the time passes. Nevertheless, in some situations, muscle stiffness can stay all day. A well-known description is, “It feels as if I have the flu.” The pain could be limited to specific areas, mostly the neck or shoulders, early in the course of the disease. Numerous muscle groups may eventually get involved, with most patients experiencing pain within the neck, middle and lower back, arms and legs, and chest wall. These areas can feel really painful with even slight stress and are named tender points. Many sufferers with Fibromyalgia feel that their joints are swollen, without any visible inflammation on the joints (arthritis).
Other pain symptoms – Patients with Fibromyalgia are typically affected by other pain symptoms. Many sufferers encounter migraines or muscular headaches.
Although the root cause of the disorder is yet to be determined, most researchers think that the widespread pain, the key symptom of FM, is a consequence of abnormalities in the function of central nervous system. Additionally, it has been hypothesized that aberrations in the tension response can play an important part in symptom expression. Due to the prevalence of emotional issues in sufferers of FM, it’s also believed that psycho-behavioral aspects may contribute to the pathogenesis and/or individual expression of FM.
With regard to nervous system function, it’s believed that persons with FM experience pain amplification resulting from abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system. This is supported by research showing a range of physiological aberrations in persons with FM including elevated levels of substance P in the spinal cord, low levels of blood flow for the thalamus area with the brain, and abnormalities in cytokine function.
It has also been suggested that FM could relate to an anomaly in deep sleep. That’s, abnormal brain waveforms have been discovered in deep sleep in many people with FM. Additionally, tender points could be developed in normal volunteers by depriving them of deep sleep for a few days. By the same token, satisfactory levels of human growth hormone, integral to maintaining muscle and other soft tissue health, are generated during deep sleep – they can become low in persons with FM.
Finally, recent studies show that genetic variables may possibly predispose men and women to a genetic susceptibility to FM. For some people, FM is triggered slowly; nevertheless, in a substantial percentage of persons, the disorder is generally started after an illness or injury that causes trauma to the body. These events may well elicit an undetected physiological dilemma that is already present.
Fibromyalgia is really a chronic condition, which means that it lasts for a long time period sometimes the whole life. However, the good part is that Fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease. It does not lead to death, and it doesn’t result in problems with the joints, muscles, or internal organs.
No blood test or X-ray can diagnose Fibromyalgia. The diagnosis is created solely by taking a history and carrying out a physical exam. Your medical professional might still desire to do blood tests or X-rays to rule out illnesses that are similar in nature.
As outlined by the American College of Rheumatology, prior to the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is usually made, the muscle pain need to be present for longer than 3 months. Also, pain must take place at distinct sites called tender points. There are 18 such spots, mostly on the neck and back.
Your physician makes the diagnosis by exerting mild pressure on the tender points. If discomfort occurs at 11 or more of these points, then the physical exam is constructive for Fibromyalgia.
With regard to treatment of Fibromyalgia, various treatment options are available including drugs, alternative remedies, and lifestyle changes that could help in pain reduction and boosting sleep. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication and/or antidepressants to ease the symptoms such as pain, fatigue, depression, and anxiousness that come with this disorder. Furthermore, your medical professional may advise physical therapy, moist heat, common aerobic workout, relaxation, and anxiety reduction to assist you in managing your symptoms.
There’s no single medicine that can cure Fibromyalgia. A multidisciplinary strategy that makes use of both medication and alternative therapies or lifestyle techniques seems to be ideal for treatment of Fibromyalgia symptoms.
There aren’t any identified ways to prevent Fibromyalgia because the triggers are not yet fully understood. A healthy lifestyle, getting sufficient sleep, and having a positive mindset are some of the ways that are generally helpful in being healthy and avoiding all diseases.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Ailments sponsors analysis to help understand Fibromyalgia and find better solutions to diagnose, treat, and avoid it. Researchers are studying the following subjects.
In case you have Fibromyalgia, you must have thought if you can find strategies to modify your diet to find relief from the symptoms such as fatigue and muscle pain.
Research hasn’t shown that there are certain foods that all Fibromyalgia patients must use or avoid. However, it may be worthwhile to study the connection between food and your mood.
An excellent method to get started identifying the foods that might worsen your symptoms is by maintaining a regular food journal. If a Fibromyalgia patient has a great deal of irritable bowel symptoms, they should try an elimination challenge diet plan. They should quit eating a particular meal they suspect they are sensitive to for six to eight weeks. Then they must add it back to their diet and notice the variation in how they feel.
Patients most frequently attempt eliminating dairy products or foods containing gluten. After you learn you are sensitive to a particular food and eliminate it from your diet program, it could make a huge difference. Some individuals get many benefits in terms of reduction of pain, but more often they notice a reduction in fatigue and an improvement in irritable bowel symptoms like bloating and constipation. It makes sense for individuals with Fibromyalgia -just like every person else -to attempt to eat a diet healthier diet.
A well-balanced diet can provide you with additional power to keep you physically active and can potentially improve your general well being. Keep in mind that individuals with Fibromyalgia have a tendency to benefit the most from simultaneously adopting various approaches for managing their symptoms and this includes diet modifications.
Apart from maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking any medications your doctor may prescribe for pain or other symptoms; there are actually quite a few other therapies worth exploring.
These therapies include yoga, massage, and deep-breathing exercises. Each person with Fibromyalgia has multiple symptoms and thus can choose from different options to get the best possible quality of life.
Many other medications have been utilized to handle the symptoms pertaining to Fibromyalgia. The medications which have been most effective in relieving symptoms of Fibromyalgia in clinical trials are drugs that target chemical substances within the brain and spinal cord which might be crucial in processing pain. In contrast, medications and tactics that reduce symptoms of pain locally, which include anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics, are significantly less powerful.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) – Taking TCAs prior to bedtime could promote deeper sleep and may sometimes alleviate muscle pain. Examples of TCAs are medicines that contain amitriptyline or cyclobenzaprine. Although cyclobenzaprine is commonly thought of as a muscle relaxant, its chemical structure and mode of action are similar to those of amitriptyline. Studies have shown that treatment with these TCAs results in considerable improvement in about 25 to 45 percent of individuals with Fibromyalgia, even though the effectiveness may lessen over time. TCAs are ordinarily started at an extremely low dose and are gradually increased towards the most efficient and tolerable dose. Even at low doses, side effects are common and might include dry mouth, fluid retention, weight gain, constipation, or difficulty in concentrating.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like fluoxetine and paroxetine might also be helpful in Fibromyalgia. SSRIs are a group of antidepressant drugs that enhance the concentration of serotonin within the brain. Serotonin is a naturally made chemical that regulates the delivery of messages between nerve cells.
Anti-inflammatory drugs – Fibromyalgia doesn’t trigger tissue inflammation. Neither nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) employed alone nor glucocorticoids (steroids) help people with Fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, when utilized in combination with other medications, NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen might offer some benefits.
Analgesics – Analgesics are pain medications; some are obtainable over-the-counter and others require a prescription. The prescription analgesic tramadol, whether it is taken alone or in combination with acetaminophen, was found to be beneficial in alleviating the pain connected with Fibromyalgia in clinical trials. Tramadol may lead to dizziness, diarrhea, or sleep disturbances in some people. Use of tramadol is less most likely to result in addiction as compared with other, much more powerful pain relievers that contain narcotics.
Narcotic or opioid pain medications have not been studied for the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Most doctors don’t suggest using narcotic pain medications in the long-term, though they might be suitable for some people for short-term relief of symptoms that do not improve with all other treatments.
Though there isn’t any remedy for Fibromyalgia, combining home remedies along with your doctor’s care can help ease your pain and manage the symptoms. The patients having this disorder can be hopeful as several companies are testing new medicines to fight this painful disease.