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What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. "Tender points" refers to tenderness that occurs in precise, localized areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips. People with this syndrome may also experience sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and other symptoms.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Although the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, researchers have several theories about causes or triggers of the disorder. Some scientists believe that the syndrome may be caused by an injury or trauma. This injury may affect the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia may be associated with changes in muscle metabolism, such as decreased blood flow, causing fatigue and decreased strength. Others believe the syndrome may be triggered by an infectious agent such as a virus in susceptible people, but no such agent has been identified.

What are the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary, depending on weather, stress, physical activity or even just the time of day. Different people experience different signs and symptoms, but common signs and symptoms include:

  • Widespread pain. Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain in specific areas of your body when pressure is applied. These areas include the back of your head, upper back and neck, upper chest, elbows, hips and knees. The pain generally persists for months at a time and is often accompanied by stiffness.

  • Fatigue and sleep disturbances. People with fibromyalgia often wake up tired and unrefreshed even though they seem to get plenty of sleep. Some studies suggest that this problem is the result of a sleep disorder called alpha wave interrupted sleep pattern, a condition in which deep sleep is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness. So people with fibromyalgia miss the deep restorative stage of sleep (stage 4). Nighttime muscle spasms in your legs (periodic limb movement disorder or nocturnal myoclonus) and restless legs syndrome also may be associated with fibromyalgia.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating associated with IBS are common in people with fibromyalgia.

  • Chronic headaches and facial pain. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have recurrent tension-type headaches that may be related to tenderness in the neck and shoulders. Facial pain is common, and as many as one-third experience jaw pain temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.

  • Heightened sensitivity. It's common for people with fibromyalgia to report being sensitive to odours, noises, bright lights, touch and changes in weather.

  • Depression. As many as one-third of people with fibromyalgia also experience depression.

  • Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet (paresthesia).

  • Difficulty concentrating and mood changes.

  • Chest pain or pelvic pain.

  • Irritable bladder.

  • Dry eyes, skin and mouth.

  • Painful menstrual periods.

  • Dizziness.

  • Sensation of swollen hands and feet.

How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms mimic those of other disorders. The physician reviews the patient's medical history and makes a diagnosis of fibromyalgia based on a history of chronic widespread pain that persists for more than 3 months. Diagnosing fibromyalgia is difficult because there isn't a single, specific diagnostic laboratory test. In fact, before receiving a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you may go through several medical tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, only to have the results come back normal. Although these tests may rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis, they can't confirm fibromyalgia.

How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?

Treatment of fibromyalgia requires a comprehensive approach. The physician, physical therapist, and patient may all play an active role in the management of fibromyalgia. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise, such as swimming and walking, improves muscle fitness and reduces muscle pain and tenderness. Heat and massage may also give short-term relief. Antidepressant medications may help elevate mood, improve quality of sleep, and relax muscles. Patients with fibromyalgia may benefit from a combination of exercise, medication, physical therapy, and alternative therapies.

Which Alternative Therapy?

Complementary and alternative therapies for pain and stress management aren't new. Some, such as meditation and yoga, have been practiced for thousands of years. But their use has become more popular in recent years, especially with people who have chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia.

Several of these treatments do appear to safely relieve stress and reduce pain, and some are gaining acceptance in mainstream medicine. But many practices remain unproved because they haven't been adequately studied.

Some of the more common complementary and alternative treatments promoted for pain management, and the current thinking about their effectiveness and safety, include:

  • Magnet therapy. The application of high strength rare earth magnets at the point of pain. The magnets should be applied continuously over a period of at least 3 weeks. Magnets can be applied in the form of straps, wraps,  insoles, jewellery, pillows, mattress covers.A magnetic mattress cover is recommended for treating pain associated with fibromyalgia 

  • Chiropractic care:This treatment is based on the philosophy that restricted movement in the spine may lead to reduced function and pain. Spinal adjustment (manipulation) is one form of therapy chiropractors use to treat restricted spinal mobility. The goal is to restore spinal movement and, as a result, improve function and decrease pain. Chiropractors manipulate the spine from different positions using varying degrees of force. Manipulation doesn't need to be forceful to be effective. Chiropractors may also use massage and stretching to relax muscles that are shortened or in spasm. Because manipulation has risks, always use properly trained and licensed practitioners.

  • Massage therapy. This is one of the oldest methods of health care still in practice. It involves use of different manipulative techniques to move your body's muscles and soft tissues. The therapy aims to improve circulation in the muscle, increasing the flow of nutrients and eliminating waste products. Massage can reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles, improve range of motion in your joints and increase production of your body's natural painkillers. It often helps relieve stress and anxiety. Although massage is almost always safe, avoid it if you have open sores, acute inflammation or circulatory problems.

  • Osteopathy. Doctors of osteopathy go through rigorous and lengthy training in academic and clinical settings. They're licensed to perform many of the same therapies and procedures as traditional doctors. One area where osteopathy differs from conventional medicine but is similar to chiropractic medicine is in the use of manipulation to address joint and spinal problems. Again, this is an area of controversy, but many studies support osteopathic techniques for many joint and muscle conditions.

  • Acupressure and acupuncture. Both acupressure and acupuncture stem from the Chinese belief that 14 invisible pathways, called meridians, lie beneath your skin. In this belief, when the life force that runs through these meridians is interrupted, you become ill. Practitioners restore the flow of the energy by applying pressure with their fingers (acupressure) or by inserting very fine needles (acupuncture) into the skin. Research on the benefits of acupressure is inconclusive. But according to the National Institutes of Health, acupuncture to help control pain associated with fibromyalgia may be effective.

Don't Waste Another Minute Of Your Life Suffering With Pain. You Don't Have To. Act Now! Discover how these Back, Hip, Sciatica, Neck & Shoulder, Wrist & Hand, Knees & Thigh, Feet & Lower Leg, Insomnia and Depression and All Over Body Pain Treatments Can Get Rid Of All Your Pain And Improve Your Well Being...



Don't Waste Another Minute Of Your Life Suffering With Pain. You Don't Have To. Act Now! Discover how these Back, Hip, Sciatica, Neck & Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist & Hand, Knees & Thigh, Feet & Lower Leg, Insomnia and Depression and All Over Body Pain Treatments Can Get Rid Of All Your Pain And Improve Your Well Being...


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