Although some might consider fibromyalgia a form of arthritis, it’s in fact not an arthritis disease due to the fact that it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, and tissue.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disease that affects the tissues and muscles.
In fact, the word “Fibromyalgia” comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek words for muscle “mayo” and pain “algia.”
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include but are not limited to deep muscle pain, stiff and painful joints, fatigue, sleep disorder, and anxiety.
What arthritis and fibromyalgia share in common is that they both cause significant pain and fatigue, and in most cases interferes with the person’s ability to carry on daily activities.
Fibromyalgia, as well as arthritis, however, are both considered a rheumatic condition, which causes chronic pain and impairs the soft tissue and joints.
In addition to the chronic fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, people who suffer from fibromyalgia may experience a variety of other symptoms such as:
- Sleep disturbances
- Morning stiffness
- Memory and cognitive problems
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Painful menstruation periods
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sensitivity to bright lights
Unlike other complications, a person with fibromyalgia can have two or more chronic pain conditions. These conditions can include:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Interstitial cystitis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Unfortunately, a person might suffer from two or more of these complications, which can have coexisting pain conditions.
Can fibromyalgia run in the family?
Studies and research have shown that fibromyalgia affects over 5 million Americans, and for unknown reasons 80% to 90% of those affected are women.
This doesn’t mean that men and children don’t get affected, rather shows the despairing numbers of women who become affected.
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The majority of symptoms become apparent earlier in life, but statistics show that majority of diagnosis takes place with middle-aged individuals.
People with certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, spinal arthritis, and lupus are more likely to have or develop fibromyalgia.
Although hereditary cases are hard to understand, women who have a family member with fibromyalgia are more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves.
Researchers, however, could not pinpoint whether shared hereditary or same environment factors were the cause of fibromyalgia.
In fact, some scientist are still researching whether or not different variations in certain genes causes more people to be more sensitive to stimuli, which has shown that it can lead to pain symptoms.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
Unfortunately the causes of fibromyalgia are still unknown, however, scientists have indicated that there are a number of factors that lead to fibromyalgia.
A lot of people who suffered an emotional, physical, and traumatic events, have associated the development of fibromyalgia with these events. As others have connected fibromyalgia with repetitive injuries and illnesses.
Other scientists and researchers are looking at the factors of the central nervous system, such as the brain and spinal cord. Researchers are looking into how the nervous system processes pain.
Researchers are also speculating on how different genes within different people allows the body to process painful stimuli.
This means that researchers believe those who have fibromyalgia may have genes that react strongly to stimuli, were other individuals would not perceive them as painful.
Current researchers have in fact found several genes that occur more commonly in people with fibromyalgia.
How does Fibromyalgia get diagnosed?
Since a lot of the symptoms and conditions of Fibromyalgia get associated with and overlap with other conditions, the first-time diagnosis of fibromyalgia is very uncommon.
In fact, in most cases, people with fibromyalgia tend not to get diagnosed with fibromyalgia until they see a few different doctors.
The main reason for the lack of on spot diagnosis is that main symptom of fibromyalgia like pain and fatigue can be associated with a plethora of other complications.
Most cases doctors have too often rule out other potential causes of the symptoms before diagnosing someone with fibromyalgia.
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Other reasons for complicated diagnosis of fibromyalgia can stem from the lack of no diagnostic laboratory tests for fibromyalgia. In fact, most standard laboratory tests fail to reveal any physiological reason for the pain.
What’s worse about fibromyalgia diagnosis is that since there is not any general test for fibromyalgia, some doctors may conclude that the pain of the patient is not real.
Some doctors will even tell patients that there is little they can do for them, and unfortunately, these problems usually stem from the lack of available tests for fibromyalgia.
For those doctors who have experience dealing with fibromyalgia, they usually base their diagnosis on criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology.
This criterion of fibromyalgia diagnosis is associated with a history of widespread pain, lasting more than 3 months, as well as fatigue, restlessness, cognitive memory and thought process.
Doctors also consider areas of the body where the patient has felt pain in the past week in making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
What helps Fibromyalgia naturally?
When it comes to treatment of fibromyalgia finding a doctor who has experience dealing with fibromyalgia is crucial. Fibromyalgia can be very difficult to treat, and not all doctors are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment.
Certain doctors such as family physicians, rheumatologists, and general internists can treat and have more impact on fibromyalgia.
When it comes to the treatment of fibromyalgia it often requires a team effort including, your doctor, physical therapist, other health professionals, and most importantly yourself.
Finding a set team of these professionals can be hard and daunting, but when you do find them your quality of life will dramatically improve.
In fact, there are pain clinics that specialize in dealing with pain, as well as rheumatology clinics that specialize in arthritis and other rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia.
What supplements are good for fibromyalgia?
In the case of medicine, there are only three approved medications by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
- Duloxetine. Although duloxetine was first and still is used for depression, it has shown to impact fibromyalgia.
- Milnacipran. Milnacipran was also developed for depression but has been approved by the FDA for fibromyalgia.
- Pregabalin. Pregabalin was developed in order to treat neuropathic pain, chronic pain caused by damage to the nervous system.
Doctors also treat fibromyalgia with other set variety of medications that have been developed and approved for its purpose.
It should be noted that all medicines can have side effects, some side effects may be more severe than others. For the best application you should review the package that comes with your medication, as well as ask your health care provider and pharmacists about possible side effects that you might experience.
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Other Fibromyalgia Treatments
Complementary and Alternative Therapies might be useful and effective for those who consider different health approaches to their problems.
Many people with fibromyalgia also report varying degrees of success with complementary and alternative therapies.
These different approaches and therapies can include but are not limited to:
- Movement therapies (such as Pilates)
- Chiropractic treatments
- Herbs and dietary supplements for different fibromyalgia symptoms.
So does Fibromyalgia last forever?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time, possibly a lifetime.
However, it may be comforting to know that fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease, meaning that it won’t become fatal.
It is never fatal, and it will not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.
What can you do to feel better with fibromyalgia?
Besides taking the medication prescribed by your doctor, there are a variety of different things you can do to minimize the impact of fibromyalgia on your life, as well as those around you.
These improvements can have a tremendous impact on your overall well being, as well as its considered, individual application of these helpful tips consistently is what improves overall wellness.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep and most importantly the right kind of sleep can have a tremendous impact in easing the pain and fatigue caused by fibromyalgia.
Many people with fibromyalgia have problems such as chronic pain, restless legs syndrome, or cognitive brain irregularities that can and will interfere with restful night sleep.
Fibromyalgia can also through off your natural rhythmic sleeping cycle, so making sure to sleep early will help develop deeper sleep.
Since sleeping is a vital and important issue to our overall health, it’s imperative to speak with your health care providers if you’re suffering from any sleeping conditions that is running a full nights rest.
Make sure to Exercise
Physical activity is crucial, and although the pain and fatigue make it very hard, it’s vital to consistently work out and plan consistently to staying active.
Researchers have repeatedly proven to show that regular and consistent exercise is one of the most effective treatments and treatment plans for fibromyalgia.
People who suffer from too much pain or fatigue that can’t do vigorous exercise should begin with swimming, walking or other gentle exercise and build their endurance and intensity slowly.
Staying consistent with your daily workouts will drastically improve the dynamics of fibromyalgia in the years and decades to come.
In fact, those who stay stagnant and don’t develop strength and body endurance, suffer more pain and discomfort in the long run, compared to those who consistently work out or stay active.
Even brisk is light hiking can have a tremendous impact on the conditions and symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Make changes at work
Although most people with fibromyalgia continue to work, they usually make changes to accommodate the symptoms and problems caused by fibromyalgia.
For example, people who have fibromyalgia tend to cut down on the number of hours they work. People with this condition have also tried switching to a less demanding job, if the job requires a lot of physical activity.
Adapting to your current job is also possible, as well as accommodations that your employer or yourself can make.
In such cases that you face obstacles at work, such as an uncomfortable desk chair that leaves your back aching or difficulty lifting heavy boxes or files, your employer can hopefully make adaptations that will enable you to keep your job.
An occupational therapist can help you design a more comfortable workstation as well as find more efficient and less painful ways to lift if your job requirements cause a need for that.
Although no specific fibromyalgia diet has been recommended or proven to influence or affect fibromyalgia, keeping a healthy diet and nutrition can cause an impact on other conditions and variations of the disease that you might not be aware of.
This can be taken to account for the impact certain foods such as leafy greens have on inflammation and as well as digestive issues.
A proper fibromyalgia diet is, in fact, a diet that can ward off any impending health problems you might develop.
If you are properly eating nutritional and wholesome food it will have an overall healthier impact on your health, which can help decrease and influence fibromyalgia symptoms and conditions.
Not only does proper nutrition impact your overall health, proper nutrition will also give you more energy, which can play vital in sleeping, working out, as well as working conditions.
Proper nutrition will also help avoid other health problem and conditions that your body might be susceptible too.
Better sleep with Fibromyalgia
Proper sleeping cycles can have a tremendous impact on fibromyalgia symptoms.
In order to keep regular sleep habits, try to get to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and vacations.
This will build up your sleeping cycle so fibromyalgia symptoms that disturb sleep won’t be impactful to you
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening can also impact your sleeping cycle.
If you, unfortunately, consume too close to your bedtime, the caffeine in coffee, can keep you from sleeping or having a fully restful sleep.
Even though it can make you feel sleepy, drinking alcohol around bedtime also can disturb sleep as well as deep sleep.
The main purpose of sleeping healthy is to gain enough deep sleep throughout the night to fully restore energy and vitality to your health.
Timing your exercise can also helpfully impact your nighttime sleep. In fact, regular daytime exercise can improve nighttime sleep as well as provide vital rest.
On the opposite side exercising within 3 hours of bedtime can produce an oversupply stimuli that can and will disrupt your sleep, as well as decrease chances of restful sleep.
Avoiding daytime naps can also impact a more restful nights sleep. In fact sleeping in the afternoon can interfere with nighttime sleep, as your body feels more rested and alert.
If you do happen to take a nap in the afternoon, make sure to set an alarm clock that wakes you up within an hour of napping. Sleeping for 2 or more hours will cause you to enter different rem cycles that can ultimately disrupt normal sleep cycles and rhythms.
The problem fibromyalgia causes for sleep can range from restless leg syndrome to cognitive disturbances, so finding and maintaining a healthy sleeping cycle can have a tremendous impact on your overall health. Healthy sleeping cycles will also decrease the impact of the symptoms caused by fibromyalgia.
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It’s vitally better to go throughout the day with fibromyalgia from a restful nights sleep, rather than going throughout the day with being tired from lack of restful nights sleep.
Another helpful tip for sleeping is to reserve your bed specifically for sleeping. This will cause your brain to strongly associate sleep and restful sleep whenever you lay and your bed.
If you’re anything like me who watches shows or catches up on the latest news in bed, it can be completely detrimental to a full nights sleep.
Make sure to reserve your bed for sleeping. Watching the late news, reading a suspense novel or magazines, or even working on your laptop or phone in bed can over stimulate your mind. This will ultimately make it hard to sleep or find restful sleep throughout the night, as your brain is already over stimulated.
Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool can also have a huge impact on your quality of sleep, as well as the speed in which you fall asleep.
Making sure to avoid liquids and spicy meals before bed can also make way for a great full nights rest. Liquids and spicy foods will have your digestive system working hard throughout the night, which has shown not only to impact sleep, but also the restfulness of sleep as well.
Late night liquids and eating can cause heartburn as well as late night trips to the bathroom, which can cause disturbances, as well as impact a full nights rest.
Normally these problems will cause problems for most individuals, but with fibromyalgia, the symptoms can conditions of lack of sleep can be horrible.
The last added advantage in helping a full nights sleep is to wind down before bed.
Avoiding working right up to bedtime, as well as doing relaxing activities, such as taking a warm bath will get you ready to sleep, as well as help provides the basics for a more restful night.
Understanding what causes fibromyalgia pain will hopefully eventually lead to a cure. In fact, research suggests that that the problem with fibromyalgia is caused by how the body processes pain.
More precisely researchers are looking into the hypersensitivity to stimuli, which normally are not painful stimuli. The hypersensitivity research on fibromyalgia can hopefully impact future research, diagnosis, as well as treatment for fibromyalgia.