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Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Treatment, and Current Research and The Pathology of Multiple Sclerosis

Updated on December 6, 2014

In a journal entry, discuss what fibromyalgia is and what symptoms sufferers have. Explain possible causes of fibromyalgia, and discuss currently available treatment options (including an explanation of how these treatment options work to help alleviate symptoms).

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that causes aches and pain all over the body (Fibromyalgia - MedicineNet, 2014). Of the more than six million Americans that suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms 90% of them are females between 20-55 years of age; however children do sometimes develop symptoms (National Fibromyalgia Research Association, 2014). The symptoms of fibromyalgia differ between patients, but the most common symptoms are: chronic pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, muscle pain, depression, and overall stiffness.

The causes of fibromyalgia are currently unproven however researchers believe that it can be caused by: family history of fibromyalgia, stressful or traumatic events, repetitive injuries, infections or illnesses, and/or it can occur on its own (Fibromyalgia - MedicineNet, 2014). Researchers have discovered the causes of fibromyalgia flares; a fibromyalgia flares is a “temporary increase in the number and/or intensity of symptoms” (Richards, 2012). The cause of flares differs from person to person, but some common causes are: over- exertion, stress, extreme temperature changes, lack of sleep, and/or illness or injury (Richards, 2012).

While there is not cure for fibromyalgia there are many different ways to treat it ranging from medication to lifestyle changes. Fibromyalgia medication is given to control the symptoms of the condition, for instance doctors prescribe pain relievers like Ultram and Ultracet to control flares and reduce muscle spasms, anti-depressants like Savella and Prozac to elevate mood and ease fatigue, and anti-seizure drugs like Gabapentin and Lyrica to reduce fibromyalgia pain, insomnia, and fatigue (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). Making lifestyle changes can sometimes lessen fibromyalgia symptoms. For instance increasing the amount of daily exercise will boost the body's natural production of serotonin and improve blood flow to muscles. An increase in exercise can also cause a release of stress, improves sleep, and a relief of muscle tightness all of which can help with fibromyalgia pain (Davis, 2014). The addition of a stress relieving activity such as: yoga, visual imagery, prayer, and/or other relaxation techniques can assist in the alleviation of the symptoms and flares brought on by stress (Davis, 2014).

Researchers are currently conducting clinical trials and research studies in an attempt to discover the cause of fibromyalgia as well as more efficient ways to treat fibromyalgia. Currently research is being done to determine if there is any correlation between low vitamin D levels and fibromyalgia as well as the pain reduction effect that vitamin D has on some fibromyalgia patients (Elsevier, 2014). The University of Michigan researchers are experimenting with using brain imaging technology in an attempt to develop new pain medications and personalized chronic pain treatment plans (American Society of Anesthesiologists, 2013). The Indiana University researchers are trialing whole-body vibration as a way to loosen tight muscles and reduce fibromyalgia pain by having the patient sit, stand, or lay down on a vibrating platform that causes muscles to contract and relax as the machine vibrates (Indiana University, 2014).

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes more than six million American’s daily pain, fatigue, and discomfort. Currently there is no set way for doctors to treat this condition; all that can be done is to treat the symptoms of the condition. As researchers continue to study fibromyalgia there is a good chance that new and better treatments for this condition will be discovered and implemented.

References

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). (2013, November 19). Brain imaging reveals dynamic changes caused by pain meds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131119082642.htm

Davis, J. (2014). Treating Fibromyalgia Pain: Medication Options (B. Nazario, Ed.). Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/features/treating-fibromyalgia-pain-medication-options

Elsevier. (2014, January 17). Vitamin D supplements reduce pain in fibromyalgia sufferers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140117090504.htm

Fibromyalgia - MedicineNet. (2014). Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=89309

Indiana University. (2014, May 29). Vibration exercise study finds some relief for fibromyalgia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140529154009.htm

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Fibromyalgia. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/treatment/con-20019243

National Fibromyalgia Research Association. (2014, November 3). Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.nfra.net/

Richards, K. (2012, March 21). 10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Flares. Retrieved November 15, 2014, from http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/c/5949/151398/fibromyalgia/

Multiple sclerosis (M.S.) is a condition that affects the nervous system. In a journal entry, outline information about M.S., such as what happens in the bodies of patients with this disease and what signs and symptoms occur. Then research and report on what treatments are available now, and what scientists are working on that might be an option for M.S. patients in the near future.

“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body”( National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2014). Patients with multiple sclerosis suffer from a multitude of symptoms that fluctuate depending on the location of affected nerve fibers for each patient (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis are: numbness and weakness of limbs, blurred vision, tingling pain, lack of coordination, fatigue, slurred speech, dizziness, and electric-shock sensations (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014).

Multiple sclerosis is a disease wherein the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers the nerves (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). The myelin damage disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). Eventually the nerves deteriorate and the damage may become irreversible. There is no known cause of multiple sclerosis, but scientists believe it is linked to immunologic, genetics, environment, and infection (Magnifico, 2013). The scientists who theorize there are immunologic causes to multiple sclerosis believe that multiple sclerosis is caused by an immune system malfunction, where unknown immune cells are responsible for the attack (Magnifico, 2013). The scientists who agree with a genetic cause to multiple sclerosis believe that multiple sclerosis is passed from parent to child. The scientists who agree with an environment cause to multiple sclerosis believe that vitamin D and sunlight exposure are linked to the cause of multiple sclerosis (Magnifico, 2013). The scientists who research infection as a cause of multiple sclerosis theorize that viruses and bacteria may cause inflammation and a breakdown of myelin which triggers multiple sclerosis (Magnifico, 2013).

There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis nor is there a set treatment that works perfectly for every patient. Treatment normally focuses on speeding up the recovery from attacks and slowing the progression of the disease while attempting to manage the symptoms (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). The attacks are treated with corticosteroids to reduce nerve inflammation and a plasma exchange in cases where the patient has severe symptoms and is not responding to steroids (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). There are many different types of medication that can modify progression by slowing the rate of formation of new lesions and lowering the rate of relapse they are: beta interferons, glatiramer acetate, teriflunomide, natalizuma, and many others (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). Symptoms can be treated using muscle relaxants, medication to reduce fatigue, physical therapy, and prescriptions for depression and pain (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014).

Scientists and researchers are currently conducting new research on multiple sclerosis in an attempt to create better treatment options and eventually a cure. One major topic of research is the possibility of using human embryonic stem cells to generate myelin-producing cells in order to replace the cells that make myelin, which are lost in multiple sclerosis patients (Doheny, 2014). There is also research being done on the effects of vitamin D on multiple sclerosis as well as possible genetic factors that may lead to multiple sclerosis (Doheny, 2014). Research into multiple sclerosis is continuous and ongoing while researchers and scientists attempt to discover the cause and cure of multiple sclerosis.

References

Magnifico, L. (2013, November 25). 4 Possible Causes of MS. Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/possible-causes#WhatCausesMS?2

Doheny, K. (2014). Multiple Sclerosis: Advances in Research and Treatment. Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/features/advances-ms-research-treatment

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Multiple sclerosis. Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/basics/definition/con-20026689

National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (2014). What Is MS? Retrieved November 21, 2014, from http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS

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