Fibromyalgia – Treatments, Remedies, Alternative Therapy

February 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Fibromyalgia

Since the fibromyalgia pain is very similar to pain associated with arthritis, hypothyroidism and polymyalgia rheumatica, tests are performed to rule out the presence of these problems and confirm presence of fibromyalgia.

Pain should have lasted more than three months, experienced on all four quadrants of the body and palpable at eleven out of eighteen fibromyalgia trigger points in the body to qualify as fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia treatments are there to reduce the symptoms through prescription medication, exercises, education and psychotherapy. There is no fibromyalgia cure in sight which anyone would advocate.

Lyrica and Provigil for Fibromyalgia are two well known fibromyalgia medications. Alternative and complementary medications are analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, COS-2 inhibitors, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, dopamine agonists and serotonin supplements.

Analgesics help reduce pain and stiffness in the muscles. Anti depressants help reduce depression and improve sleep. Anti-seizure drugs help control muscle spasms.

Physiotherapy and stretching exercises are prescribed to help maintain muscle and also reduce pain. This is followed by counselling, which is done to help one deal with mental stress which also causes fibromyalgia.

Lifestyle and home remedies:

Mild exercises performed as a daily routine will actually reduce the muscle pain. Exercises enhance blood circulation and relieve muscle pain. Likewise they also give relief from mental stress, a cause of fibromyalgia.

Going to bed at regular time, avoiding day time naps, not consuming anything a few hours before bed, making the bed and bedroom as comfortable as possible and finally going to bed without worries can give one a good night’s sleep.

One needs to pace the workload of the day well with intermittent rest periods. Despite the rest intervals work will get done effectively and efficiently. Work throughput and rewards from work will increase. Happiness ensues, reducing stress and reducing fibromyalgia too.

Eating healthy with a 30:30:40 ratios of carbohydrate, fat and protein is advocated. There is no specific fibromyalgia diet. But some food constituents have been found to trigger muscle pain like caffeine, alcohol, fatty dairy products, acidic foods, citric foods, white flour and white sugar.

Alternative treatments:

Meditation helps relieving the mind of stress and calms it. It increases the pain bearing threshold of the body. It helps one perceive the pain less and becoming immune to pain.

Yogic exercises are very mild exercises ideal for those who are already having muscle pain. It is an exercise of both body and mind. So mind is also de-stressed along with the body.

Fine needles are used to prick the human body at specific locations up to varied depths to bring about relief for specific problems. The idea behind acupuncture is to draw blood to the site of prick and along with it the essential nutrients to heal the affliction.

Chiropractors manipulate the spine at different points at different angles and differing pressures to bring about a specific effect to treat the problem at hand. Some stretching and massage is also given.

Massages helps the body release its natural pain killers and subsidise the pain in the muscles. Massages help bring in nutrients to the site of pain through improved blood circulation. This heals the muscles faster and brings about fibromyalgia relief.

Fibromyalgia support groups provide a lot of information on the medical condition. One may keep oneself abreast of happenings in this domain and make use of the latest available treatments.

The afflicted may be encouraged to join a group of people with similar affliction. The sense of belonging and sharing of coping strategies with the peers brings a renewed sense of purpose, the purpose of overcoming fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia – Symptoms, Causes, Targets, Course

February 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

The Latin word ‘fibra’ meaning fiber, Greek word ‘myo’ meaning muscle and ‘algos’ meaning pain combine, to name the medical ailment, fibromyalgia.

Chronic pain in the muscle (lasting three months or more) is referred to as Fibromyalgia. It is often accompanied with tenderness of the muscle, fatigue, disturbed sleep and memory lapses. It is also referred to as Fibromyalgia syndrome because the pain is often associated with several other symptoms including dysfunction of the cognitive and motor abilities of the afflicted.

Some medical specialists do not recognise this as a disease because the medical condition is not amenable to lab tests and imaging tests to confirm diagnosis. Yet another school of thought believe it to be a central nervous system disorder which is amenable to research and manifestation as clinical symptoms.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

Chronic pain in the affected muscle apart there are a few other symptoms which typify the presence of Fibromyalgia. Muscle spasms, extreme fatigue, headaches, disturbed sleep ( restless leg syndrome, sleep apnoea, sleep but do not feel rested), stiffness in the joint close to the muscle, pelvic pain, discomfort while swallowing, bowel dysfunction, bladder dysfunction, temporomandibular joint disorder, eye pain, blurring of vision and fluctuation in vision clarity, sensitivity to light and temperature, discomfort in breathing, numbness ( not necessarily in the affected area), tingling, arthritis, lowering of cognitive abilities, lowering of motor abilities and anxiety related problems.

Not all the fibromyalgia symptoms appear in all the afflicted persons. Even the symptoms that do manifest, wax and wane, and do not remain forever.

Causes of Fibromyalgia:

The exact cause and effect of fibromyalgia are not known. The presumed causes are hereditary disposition, physical, mental or emotional stress, lack of sleep, low level of central dopamine (and norepinephrine), abnormal serotonin metabolism, deficiency in human growth hormone secretion, psychological factors, toxins making the nerves less/more sensitive, some infections, allergies, lack of emotional support, perfectionism, arduous work, inactivity, side effects of medications, change in weather conditions and chemical exposures.

Targets of Fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia affects 2-4% of the population, mostly in the age group of 20-50. Women are more likely afflicted compared to men with the women versus men ratio being 9:1. Those already afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and ankylosing spondylitis are more likely to suffer fibromyalgia pain in the initial stages before developing inflammation.

Fibromyalgia is more likely to attack certain locations in the body known as fibromyalgia tender points – back of head, between shoulder blades, top of shoulders, front sides of neck, upper chest, outer elbows, upper hips, sides of hips and inner knees.
There are about 18 fibromyalgia trigger points of which at least 11 should be painful to the afflicted when 39 Newton force is exerted on the location.

Course of Fibromyalgia:
The afflicted are known to produce more of a substance P in their spinal fluid which gives increased pain signals to the brain. They have a low threshold for pain due to highly sensitized brain signals of pain.

Stress leads to disturbance in the neurotransmission of dopamine which has a lead role to play in how a person perceives pain and how immune he is to pain. Nerve stimulation of certain cells in the brain could help control the release or otherwise of pain transmitters.

Fibromyalgia is not a degenerative or fatal problem. But the pain, disturbed sleep and accompanied anxiety interferes with the performance of domestic work and office work, and maintaining family or office relationships.

Fibromyalgia – The Pain Within

February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Fibromyalgia

Have you experienced a continuous amount of moderate to severe pain and fatigue at the same time? Have you tried consulting with the physician regarding this predicament and he hasn’t found anything that resembles what you’re experiencing to a specific disease or condition? If you’ve answered yes, then maybe you are experiencing Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by chronic pain in certain parts of your body. Widespread pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments are the main implications of the said disorder. This is usually partnered with moderate to severe fatigue, disturbance in sleeping patterns, and most of the time, joint stuffiness.

Besides the ones stated above, some persons experience other symptoms which are more likely related to other systemic functions. These include difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in breathing, numbness sensations, functional bowel abnormalities, abnormal motor activity and cognitive dysfunction. Presence of systemic dysfunctions and abnormalities, besides the concurrent pain, is often defined as the Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

Although some health experts find this disorder controversial and at times debatable in terms of diagnosis, fibromyalgia has been present in the society for a long time already. Others still consider this disorder as non-existent due to the lack of objective data from laboratory exams or even advanced medical imaging systems to confirm the presence of this condition.

At times, symptoms of this disorder would be the same as that of those with rheumatic conditions. Because of this, the American College of Rheumatology developed the “ACR 1990”. It was created to define specific categories with regards to fibromyalgia. According to this, a certain criteria were created and were as follows – There must be a history of pain that is widespread on the four quadrants of the body and must occur within 3 months duration. Second, there are astoundingly 18 trigger or tender points for this condition. According to this, when exerted with a certain level force at each of these fibromyalgia trigger points, the patient must feel pain in at least 11 or more trigger or tender points for it to be considered fibromyalgia. However, this criteria was made for research purposes only and not for clinical diagnosis.

Due to the unavailability of a certain standards on laboratory exams to diagnose fibromyalgia syndrome except for the outlines of ACR 1990, doctors and physicians must rely mainly on an extensive physical examination and subjective cues. Indeed, this disorder is difficult to rule out. Doctors may need to ask for certain laboratory tests such as complete blood count and some chemical tests just to rule out the possibilities. Doctors would also note the other symptoms such as headache, fatigue, mood swings and the like to link with the disorder. After confirming, it is then wherein health professionals can be able to begin the possible fibromyalgia treatment therapy.

Fibromyalgia might not be a very specific disorder which is aimed at a certain system function, but having an understanding on its signs and symptoms would help us narrow it down on what it is and what it can do to our body.