‘Fibromyalgia’, ‘Fibrositis’ or ‘Fibromyalgia Syndrome’ refers to a disease that causes pain in the soft tissues and muscles of the body. The word “Fibromyalgia” is derived from three Latin words i.e. ‘fibro’ which means fibrous tissues, ‘myo’ means muscle and ‘algos’ means pain. It was first introduced by a researcher Mohammed Yunus in 1981 in his publication naming the disease. Fibromyalgia is often defined as a pain that is musculoskeletal or muscular in nature. Although it is a common disease, most of patients are still unaware of fibromyalgia symptoms and treatment options.
Research suggests that fibromyalgia pain can be triggered by many factors such as:
- stressful event (emotional or physical)
- any recurrent injuries
- genetic changes (heredity)
The main cause of fibromyalgia is still unclear. The factors that can trigger fibromyalgia can be environmental, psychological, emotional, genetic as well as central nervous system issues.
Doctors and physicians often suggest fibromyalgia patients can get effective relief just by improving their diet and physical fitness. There are many different symptoms of fibromyalgia and people report benefit from a wide variety of treatment.
Fibromyalgia is more commonly found in women as compared to men. The symptoms often relate to pain which usually results in other problems such as mental stress. It is usually caused due to a combination of multiple stressful events that trigger the condition over time. The pain that is experienced in fibromyalgia is both related to physical and mental health. A few of the main symptoms of this disease are listed as follows:
Overall body pain:
Fibromyalgia patients often complain that they have been suffering from upper and lower body aches for more than three months.
Difficulty in sleeping:
Due to the annoying pain, fibromyalgia patients often suffer from various sleep disorders. The patient may complain of being tired even after sleeping for too many hours.
Pain in the muscles:
Regular muscular pain usually around the head, neck, shoulders, waist, and hips is a common symptom of this disease.
Tired face and pain in facial muscles:
Muscular pain in the facial muscles often results in a tired facial expression.
Patients may experience mild to severe headaches such as migraines that may also interfere with rest and sleep.
Difficulty with memory:
Fibromyalgia patients may also experience difficulty focusing or concentrating on mental and logical tasks. They may complain about the inability to pay proper attention.
Some fibromyalgia patients experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affecting the large intestine which might result in problems such as constipation, gas, bloating, etc.
Researchers suggests a some other symptoms of fibromyalgia may include:
- Pain in hands and feet
- Vision or eyesight problems
- Pain while the menstrual cycles
- Feeling nausea
- Skin related problems
- Difficulty in breathing
- Facing Depression
- Emotional distress
- Flu or cold
Fibromyalgia is usually observed in patients 45 years old or above, which may vary from person to person.
Tender points are the specific points where the patients of fibromyalgia usually feel the most of their pain. These points usually include the back of the head, around neck, shoulders, inside knees and over the elbow. The severity of pain and the location of tender points are considered variable. Tender points help diagnose fibromyalgia.
So, what are some of the fibromyalgia treatment options. Please note that a complete cure for Fibromyalgia has not been found. However, it can be treated to reduce its painful effects in many ways. A few of the ways to treat fibromyalgia are listed below:
Be it any disease, exercise has always been found to be a helpful tool and obviously great for improving overall health. Patients who suffer from fibromyalgia are advised by the doctors to add exercise into their daily routine. Based on the improvement in the patient’s health, it is then suggested to increase or decrease the amount and intensity of workouts. This may help in reducing body pain and stiffness. Also, it helps to improve sleeping patterns. The type of exercise suggested to a fibromyalgia patient can vary from cardio to aerobic depending upon the quality of improvement in a patient’s health.
More research is showing that massage can provide excellent benefits patients with fibromyalgia. A 2011 study showed that massage reduced sensitivity to pain at tender points in patients with fibromyalgia. It also lowered anxiety levels and increased their quality of sleep.
Acupuncture can be a great tool, causing a reduction in fibromyalgia symptoms. Acupuncture is a Chinese therapy in which very fine needles are inserted into a person’s body with different depths. Many patients feel relief in their pain quickly after the acupuncture session.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
To deal with emotional distress, anxiety, and depression, patients with fibromyalgia are often provided Cognitive Behavioural therapy, a well-known therapy that educates the patient on their behaviour patterns and there influence on their health. This provides stress relief and brings improvement in patients’ positive behaviour.
Prescribed Medical Drugs:
Doctors usually prescribe a variety of drugs to patients with fibromyalgia. These might include anti-depressants, anti-seizure drugs and pain relievers. Reviews suggest that according to patients with fibromyalgia, these drugs usually have more side effects than benefits. recently, researchers have been working on alternative approaches such as laser therapy.
A good diet also plays a vital role in improving fibromyalgia. This includes:
- low sugar food that contains a high level of energy such as oatmeal, beans, avocado, and almonds, greatly reduces tiredness
- foods that have a high quantity of gluten should be avoided such as pasta, cereals, baked products
- removing packaged and processed foods
- reducing food with many additives such as ice-cream, chocolates, artificial sweeteners, etc. from regular diet reduces pain
- adding seeds and nuts
A reduction in weight has also been found to have an immense effect on improving fibromyalgia in patients; this requires regular exercise as well as maintained diet as mentioned above.We hope this explains any questions regarding fibromyalgia symptoms and treatment options.