What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a mysterious chronic disease that produces severe pain throughout the body along with exhaustion, sleep problems, depression and anxiety. Not much is known about Fibromyalgia even today. It is estimated 2 to 4 percent of the population suffer from Fibromyalgia. For reasons not yet established it affects women at an alarmingly higher rate then it does men. It is estimated that between 80 and 90 percent of people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia are women.
Fibromyalgia spreads throughout the body causing enormous pain and exhaustion and is known to develop alone or along with other debilitating conditions of the musculoskeletal system such arthritis or lupus.
People suffering from Fibromyalgia often feel isolated and misunderstood due to the fact that the ability to perform daily tasks varies depending on the severity of symptoms which fluctuate greatly from day to day.
In order for fibromyalgia to be diagnosed, your health care provider will ask you specific questions about your overall health.
Pain and stiffness that spreads throughout the body coupled with muscle and joint pain and tender spots along fibrous tissue for more than three months are typical signs doctors look for accompanied by sleep disturbances, headaches, and imbalances in cortisol and neurotransmitter levels.
Certain muscle areas located in the neck, shoulders, buttocks, knees, and arms are the most affected and pain is typically more intense upon awakening and at night before bed time.
Many times symptoms of Fibromyalgia are confused with those of arthritis however arthritis causes severe disfigurement of joints along with swelling which cannot be caused by Fibromyalgia alone.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
- Muscle pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Sleep Disturbances
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
Exactly what causes fibromyalgia remains unknown. Those with musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis or lupus are considered at a higher risk of developing Fibromyalgia.
Some studies suggest that it may have a genetic link. Other studies show a connection between physical and emotional trauma and the development of Fibromyalgia. There is also evidence of abnormal levels of pain transmitters causing nerve receptors to communicate to the brain that there is pain when there is no apparent reason for it.
Some researches are inclined to believe that Fibromyalgia is viral in origin such as chronic fatigue and Epstein barr. Others feel that it is directly related to high levels of toxins in the body’s delicate system which can lead to chemical changes.
Recently a connection between sleep disorders and Fibromyalgia has been established since people suffering from Fibromyalgia lack delta way sleep which is the deepest and most relaxing sleep of all. When deprived from this fundamentally restorative sleep, disturbances in the delicate biological rhythms severely compromise systemic health.
Food allergies have also been linked to Fibromyalgia. Specific foods that are known to cause sensitivities that can aggravate symptoms include shellfish, milk, citrus fruits, wheat, corn, and tomatoes among others.
Help for Fibromyalgia
strong>Researchers have discovered that certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which controls mood, sleep patterns, and pain, are very low in fibromyalgia patients. Apparently disturbances in brain chemistry are to blame for the changes that occur in muscle structure and metabolism in those suffering from Fibromyalgia.
Currently there are no drugs approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration to treat Fibromyalgia although there are a few currently being developed.
Doctors mainly aim to treat symptoms of Fibromyalgia with the following types of medications:
- Analgesics: Used to relieve pain
- Antidepressants: Used to regulate brain chemistry imbalances many times responsible for pain and exhaustion.
- Benzodiazepines: Used to help relax tense and painful muscles
More Information on Fibromyalgia
A lot can be done to naturally improve the quality of life of those suffering from Fibromyalgia. Helpful foods as long as no allergies are present include:
- Canola oil
- Olive oil
- All types of fish
- Fruit (except citrus)
- Fresh vegetables