Why Fibromyalgia Affects 5 Million Americans

July 21st, 2016

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects about 5 million Americans. Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on a patient’s symptoms and physical exam. Patients experience pain and stiffness in the muscles, but there are no measurable findings on X-rays or most lab tests. While fibromyalgia does not damage the joints or organs, the constant aches and fatigue can have a significant impact on daily life.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

The hallmark of fibromyalgia is muscle pain throughout the body, typically accompanied by:
Sleep problems
Anxiety or depression
Specific tender points

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

One of the unique aspects of fibromyalgia is the presence of tender points in specific locations on the body. When these points are pressed, people with fibromyalgia feel pain, while people without the condition only feel pressure. This illustration shows 18 possible tender points.

Fibromyalgia: The Pain Is Real

The pain of fibromyalgia can be intense. Because traditionally no lab tests or X-rays could confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, some patients were once led to believe this pain was “all in their heads.” But the medical community now accepts that the pain of fibromyalgia is real. Research suggests it’s caused by a glitch in the way the body perceives pain.

Fibromyalgia: Who’s at Risk?

Women between the ages of 25 and 60 have the highest risk of developing fibromyalgia. Doctors aren’t sure why, but women are 10 times more likely to have the condition than men. Some researchers believe genetics may play a role, but no specific genes have been identified.

Fibromyalgia and Fatigue

After pain, the most common and debilitating symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue. This is not the normal tiredness that follows a busy day, but a lingering feeling of exhaustion. People with fibromyalgia may feel tired first thing in the morning, even after hours spent in bed. The fatigue may be worse on some days than others and can interfere with work, physical activity, and household chores.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

There are many theories about the causes of fibromyalgia, but research has yet to pinpoint a clear culprit. Some doctors believe hormonal or chemical imbalances disrupt the way nerves signal pain. Others suggest a traumatic event or chronic stress may increase a person’s susceptibility. Most experts agree that fibromyalgia probably results from a combination of factors, rather than a single cause.

Fibromyalgia: Impact on Daily Life

Constantly fighting pain and fatigue can make people irritable, anxious, and depressed. You may have trouble staying on task at work, taking care of children, or keeping up with household chores. Exercise or hobbies such as gardening may seem daunting. Exhaustion and irritability can also lead to missing out on visits with friends.
Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Your doctor may diagnose fibromyalgia after hearing your symptoms and doing a physical exam. There’s one lab test that can check for fibromyalgia. It measures the levels of proteins in the bloodstream and can help confirm a fibro diagnosis. However, your doctor may also do some testing to rule out other conditions. Be sure to describe your pain in detail, including where and how often it occurs. Also bring up any other symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep problems, or anxiety.

Fibromyalgia: Getting Treatment

Fibromyalgia was once the exclusive domain of rheumatologists. Today, the condition has captured the attention of a wide range of health care providers. Many people receive treatment through their primary care providers. Check with local support groups and hospitals for a list of fibromyalgia experts in your area.

Fibromyalgia Triggers

An important first step is identifying what makes your symptoms worse. Common triggers include:
Cold or humid weather
Too much or too little physical activity
Poor sleep

Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Many people with fibromyalgia have sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep or frequent awakenings during the night. Studies suggest some patients remain in a shallow state of sleep and never experience restful, deep sleep. This deprives the body of a chance to repair and replenish itself, creating a vicious cycle. Poor sleep may make pain seem worse, and pain can lead to poor sleep.

Fibromyalgia and Depression

Nearly a third of people with fibromyalgia also have major depression when they are diagnosed. The relationship between the two is unclear. Some researchers believe depression may be a result of the chronic pain and fatigue. Others suggest that abnormalities in brain chemistry may lead to both depression and an unusual sensitivity to pain. Symptoms of depression may include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, and loss of interest in favorite activities.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Medication

The goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to minimize pain, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders. Doctors may recommend medications that help ease your symptoms — ranging from familiar over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription drugs. There are also prescription drugs specifically approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia, which include Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Exercise

Exercise can relieve several fibromyalgia symptoms. Physical activity can reduce pain and improve fitness. Exercising just three times a week has also been shown to relieve fatigue and depression. But it’s important not to overdo it. Walking, stretching, and water aerobics are good forms of exercise to start with for people with fibromyalgia.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Diet

Some experts say diet may play a role in fibromyalgia — just not the same role in all patients. Certain foods, including aspartame, MSG, caffeine, and tomatoes, seem to worsen symptoms in some people. But avoiding these foods won’t help everyone. To find out what works for you, try eliminating foods one at a time and recording whether your symptoms improve.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Massage

Some research suggests massage may help relieve fibromyalgia pain, though its value is not fully proven. Practitioners say that applying moderate pressure is key, while the technique is less important. Rubbing, kneading, or stroking all seem to help. A significant other can learn to provide regular massages — and a 20-minute session may be long enough to get results.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Acupuncture

Formal studies have produced mixed results on the use of acupuncture for fibromyalgia, but some patients say it eases their symptoms. This traditional Chinese practice involves inserting thin needles at key points on the body. Acupressure stimulates the same pressure points and may be a good alternative for people who want to avoid needles.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Fibro Fog

Many people with fibromyalgia have trouble concentrating, a phenomenon known as fibro fog. While getting treatment for pain and insomnia may help, there are other steps you can take to improve your focus.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Stress

Stress appears to be one of the most common triggers of fibromyalgia flare-ups. While it’s impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, you can try to reduce unnecessary stress. Determine which situations make you anxious — at home and at work — and find ways to make those situations less stressful. Experiment with yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. And allow yourself to skip nonessential activities that cause stress.

Does Fibromyalgia Get Better?

Many people with fibromyalgia find that their symptoms and quality of life improve substantially as they identify the most effective treatments and make lifestyle changes. While fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, it does not damage the joints, muscles, or internal organs.

Fibromyalgia Myths and The Facts to Debunk Them

June 24th, 2016

Fibromyalgia belief are about as all-over as fibromyalgia affection themselves. There are so abounding unknowns in fibromyalgia, how can one acquaint “fibromyalgia facts” from fiction? Here’s a simple account of fibromyalgia myths, with the facts to analyze amid what is true, and what’s false.

1. Fibromyalgia is a affected action that doesn’t absolutely exist.

This is a accepted angle that stems from the actual roots of fibromyalgia. Abounding individuals were originally told that their affliction was “in their head.” It wasn’t until the backward 1980’s that the appellation fibromyalgia was coined. In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology developed a analysis archetypal for Fibromyalgia that acclimated the appellation to call affliction in the bendable beef tissue. Even today, humans are told that abundant of the affliction from fibromyalgia is “mental” however, the action has appear a continued way in the faculty that it is clearly accustomed as a abiding disease.

Fibromyalgia is included in the Apple Bloom Organization Tenth Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Bloom Problems appear in 1992.

The accuracy is that fibromyalgia has existed anytime back man has been walking upright. As continued as there are adulterated bottom bio-mechanics, connected from people’s analysis or lifestyle, there will consistently be a susceptibility to fibromyalgia.

2. Fibromyalgia patients can’t accept a accustomed relationship.

Fibromyalgia affliction has the ability to be so devastating, it can makes animal alternation about impossible. You lose absorption in your surroundings, including the humans who are abutting to you. However, it abandoned makes it added acute that the accommodating admit the accent of their cogent other. Once a accomplice or ancestors affiliate begins to accept what is accident to his/her admired one, he/she is bigger able to abetment with their treatment. As in any illness, ancestors abutment is actual important. This is appropriately accurate for fibromyalgia patients. Oftentimes, it can in actuality accompany humans afterpiece calm as they face this abnormality calm and the accommodating starts to feel better. It is a charge but the aftereffect can be actual rewarding.

3. Fibromyalgia patients should not accept sex.

As with relationships, fibromyalgia patients may not be “in the mood” if their affliction is so severe. If you accept a loving, compassionate accomplice who is accommodating to accept to you and amusement you respectfully and gently, there is no acumen why you cannot appoint in a animal relationship. Once you alpha action better, you may apprehension your absorption in sex increases, as well. Partners who participate in the analysis of this ache calm do actual able-bodied in the sex department. And that is all I am adage on that subject!

4. Fibromyalgia patients charge to be actual accurate about their diet.

This couldn’t be any added true. Simple carbohydrates and additives are abnormally baneful to humans who ache from fibromyalgia. There are admirable amoroso substitutes, including stevia, xylitol and, even better, whey low. Read labels on all foods. It has been said that we should all abstain the average aisles in the grocery store. This is abnormally accurate for fibromyalgia sufferers. Processed foods, including foods with MSG, can bandy you into a backsliding just as bound as simple amoroso and aesthetic wheat.

5. Fibromyalgia patients affected their pain.

Back to the belief again, this one is actual arresting but is ably the better allegory of them all (I don’t accept to acquaint anyone who is a fibromyalgia accommodating this…)

The resultant blockage of action fields that causes fibromyalgia makes it around absurd to see the affliction in the individual. The accommodating will accept affliction that would usually entail a concrete impairment; ie, soreness, aches, or cutting pain, but doctors do not acquisition concrete abnormalities in the aching area.

Doctors become abashed because the accommodating has so abounding symptoms. They don’t apperceive area to about-face so they just alpha targeting the symptoms, aggravating to get those to go away. The focus on acclimation a advanced ambit of affection has led abounding to accept that the affection may be absolute and that fibromyalgia as an all-embracing action doesn’t exist.

Fibromyalgia patients go through a activate point analysis analytical 18 locations on the body. Eleven of these credibility accept to be aching aloft the simple blow of a finger. If a accommodating letters abiding affliction for best than three months in affiliation with affection of beddy-bye disorder, fatigue, and/or annoyed bowel syndrome, this activate point analysis is administered in adjustment to aphorism out fibromyalgia.

6. Fibromyalgia can could could could could could cause Lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune ache with affection agnate to fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia and Lupus are generally abashed with one addition because of their agnate symptoms, but they are abstracted conditions. Lupus is abundant added rare, and can be absolute application a claret test. Lupus is generally a forerunner to fibromyalgia-it’s estimated that 30 percent of lupus patients advance fibromyalgia.

It is acutely attenuate for fibromyalgia to advance to Lupus, however. Fibromyalgia has a circuitous set of affection that ambit from allowed dysfunction to depression-due to the complexities of the symptoms, it becomes actual simple to accept that fibromyalgia leads to addition action with a agnate accumulation of symptoms. Abundant is still alien about the affiliation amid the conditions, but it is about assertive that fibromyalgia is not a absolute could could could could could cause of lupus.

7. Don’t exercise if you accept fibromyalgia

With fibromyalgia pain, it ability be difficult to get out of bed some days, let abandoned exercise. Still, one of the best medicines for fibromyalgia is a circadian exercise routine. No, you don’t accept to go to the gym and do squats for 5 hours or run on the treadmill backwards, but something as simple as walking 20 to 30 account a day can be acutely beneficial. If that’s too much, alpha boring at 5 account and plan your way up. Swimming, jogging, and low attrition weight training are added options to accumulate your physique active.

The affliction ability get so bad that the abandoned doesn’t wish to get out of bed. In this case, try a beneath bulky activity, even if it’s as simple as walking to the end of the driveway and accepting the mail.

Staying alive will accumulate your claret burden low and will access cardiovascular health. Do not feel the charge to over-do it, abnormally on canicule if the affliction is beneath severe. Try and body appear a connected routine.

8. Fibromyalgia can be fatal.

While fibromyalgia doesn’t could could could could could cause absolute concrete harm, it can could could could could could cause insurmountable accident to a patient’s lifestyle. The affection can blaze up sporadically or can could could could could could cause constant, astringent discomfort. Abundant of the accident brought on by fibromyalgia is due to abasement and abiding fatigue. Fibromyalgia can accomplish your activity actual difficult, but there isn’t a absolute hotlink to fibromyalgia getting fatal.

We are seeing abutment groups advancing calm beyond the apple to deflate the myths; cogent their belief of actuality and abstinent the fiction getting spewed out by humans defective to see “scientific evidence.” To them, fibromyalgia may be a myth. But, ask the millions of individuals in the fibromyalgia association about what they think, and they’ll accommodate for you a abundant altered answer.