Fibromyalgia is a very common chronic pain medical condition that causes lots of pain, stiffness and tenderness in the muscles and different fibrous tissues in the human body. Note that poorly treated or severe cases of fibromyalgia could be a serious health condition as it is known to be disabling to a point of being bed ridden. While the causes of fibromyalgia are still very vague, it is believed, thanks to extensive medical research, that it could be caused by abnormalities in the central nervous’ system sensory processing unit, which ensues in an abnormal perception or amplification of pain.
Note also that genetic factors could be responsible for causing this condition, and there is also enough evidence to believe that some cases could have been triggered by illness or injury, reason enough to be very careful on your day-to-day activities. While fibromyalgia affects both men and women of all ages and races, it tends to be very prevalent among women. Having said that, fibromyalgia falls into the category of diseases that are very hard to diagnose seeing as it is that there is no specific test that can be able to clearly diagnose it. Thus, to be able to make a clear diagnosis of the condition could call for performing a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical history, doing a thorough physical examination and studying the signs and symptoms carefully.
Signs and Symptoms
People who suffer from fibromyalgia can get a wide gamut of signs and symptoms, with the types and severity varying from one patient to another.
1. Chronic pain – people suffering from fibromyalgia experience extensive pain, which is described in a number of ways, including but not limited to throbbing, stabbing, and aching. This pain tends to worsen during the morning, and some people report a burning sensation and numbness in the process.
2. Fatigue – having experienced unbearable pain, naturally one is expected to feel exhausted regardless of the amount of rest and relaxation they have taken. People suffering from this condition would even wake up feeling tired after an extended period of resting.
3. Chronic sleep disorders – those suffering from fibromyalgia have also reported experiencing sleeping problems such as insomnia, which is even made worse by the severe fatigue. As is expected, when going through moments of pain or stiffness, one would lack the restorative attributes that only sleep can provide
4. Other symptoms associated with this debilitating medical condition include anxiety, headaches, depression, cognitive dysfunction i.e. poor memory, lack of concentration, poor coordination etc, problems with digestion, which is normally associated with irritable bowel syndrome. It is to be noted that some school of thought believe fibromyalgia could be a by-product of some diseases and illnesses that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, lupus, or osteoarthritis.
With that said, conventional medications to treat this condition include over-the-counter medications such as painkillers acetaminophen, low doses of antidepressants or tricyclic drugs to at least help sleep problems. Severe cases of the condition can be treated by taking an all-natural approach to the disease such as using calendula, cayenne, St. John’s Wort, goldenseal, achinacea, and astralagus to mention but a few herbal remedies that help boost the body’s immunity so that blood circulation especially around the tender delicate points in increased.
Other analgesic measures that help alleviate the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and which ought to be used with utmost care include SAM-e, a very strong natural antidepressant that comes in form of a nutritional supplement. The other one is DHEA (Dihydroendoendosterone); this is a steroid hormone that is made by the adrenal glands in the body. This medication is never recommended for long-term use as it could cause adverse effects. If however you don’t want to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, or even the main pain-relief drugs available in the market, you can opt for alternative treatment options. Common alternative treatment options include combining aromatherapy with gentle massages using essential soothing oils. You could even supplement this treatment option with some cognitive behavioral therapy and capitalize on your innate ability to tackle stressful situations.
Another alternative medication for fibromyalgia is doing some low-impact aerobic exercises. These exercises have proven very effective in treating this condition, and making it bearable. Example of low-impact aerobic workouts that you can do include swimming, riding a stationary bike, and engaging in water aerobics among many others. Acupuncture, acupressure and trigger point injections are also effective alternatives.
As is with any other medical condition, your diet also plays a very integral part in worsening and easing the pain and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. You need to watch what you eat and drink and start by limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake. In place, you should focus on foods that boost your immune system and those that strengthen your bones. Foods rich in calcium, vitamins, etc are great alternatives to help make this condition bearable.