What is Fibromyalgia and How Do I Remedy It?
Fibromyalgia affects millions of people, second only to osteoarthritis. It is a musculoskeletal condition that is characterized by chronic, widespread pain in the muscles and joints and fatigue due to the lack of sleep because of the pain. Fibromyalgia tends to center around the legs and lower back, but can affect the whole body. The constant pain and lack of sleep can lead to depression and anxiety.
First, you must understand what a syndrome is. A syndrome is a set of particular symptoms that, when occurring together, indicates a specific disease or illness. Fibromyalgia syndrome is indicated by these symptoms:
- All-over pain
- Decreased pain tolerance
- Debilitating fatigue or insomnia
- Tender areas across the body
What Does Fibromyalgia Feel Like?
Fibromyalgia causes tenderness and achiness in muscles and joints all over the body. Even upon awakening in the morning, you may experience painful joints and sore muscles. The muscle pain caused by fibromyalgia has been described as burning or stabbing pains. The joint pain is commonly in the neck, shoulder, back and hip areas.
You may experience feelings of incapacitating fatigue. This is caused by the constant lack of sleep due to severe pain. Fibromyalgia patients tend to toss and turn all night, never falling into the deep REM stage of sleep needed to be fully rested.
This never-ending pain and constant fatigue often leads to depression, mood disorders and anxiety in sufferers.
Some other, less common, symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Pain or bloating in the abdomen
- Dry mouth
- Irritated nose and eyes
- “Fibro fog” or the inability to concentrate
- Extreme sensitivity to heat, cold or both
Fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed as its symptoms tend to mimic other ailments such as tendonitis, osteoarthritis and bursitis. In fact, the only difference is that while the pain of these other ailments is localized, fibromyalgia pain is widespread. For a proper diagnosis, all the patient’s symptoms must be taken into account.
There are many options for treatment available today, including drug therapy and lifestyle changes. Often, using both together will bring relief to Fibromyalgia sufferers.
Drug therapy-There are 3 drugs that have been approved to treat fibromyalgia pain:
Lyrica is a popular drug that is used to treat pain caused by nerve damage due to diabetes or shingles. Cymbalta and Savella are SNRI’s or Serotonin and Norepinepherine Reuptake Inhibitors, which can also help alleviate some of the depression and anxiety brought on by fibromyalgia. Even medical marijuana has been known to greatly help with the discomfort and pain.
Certain alternative solutions might help you manage fibromyalgia symptoms. These include:
Therapeutic Massage- This can help with the pain and discomfort of the muscles, even helping deep muscle pain.
- Yoga-Yoga will help strengthen the muscles and connective tissue which will better support the joints and may ease muscle and joint pain to a degree.
- Stretching- This will help rid the muscles of a lot of the tightness many sufferers feel.
- Myofascial Release Therapy- a form of stretching that manipulates the muscles, loosening and lengthening them to help relieve pain.