Fibromyalgia is truly a devastating disease and it is essential to be equipped with the basics and be aware what may really be going on with your body. Read on to find out more and take actions to counter fibromyalgia effectively.
Formerly known as fibrositis, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that has affected nearly 10 million people in the United States and approximately six percent of the whole world population – the majority being women of all ethnic groups mainly between 35 and 55. The effects on men, children and the elderly are to a much less degree.
Fibromyalgia can cause you pain and lead to stiffness to the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints, often leading to disability. These pain sensations can be aggravated by noise and stress. Although these areas are affected, no inflammations are noted. You may also feel bouts of anxiety, depression, and extreme tiredness as well as restless sleep.
The areas that are affected by fibromyalgia tend to spread out to the both sides of your body. Usually fibromyalgia affects the neck, shoulders, arms, upper back, and chest. A localized area called ‘tender points’ or pressure points are the place on your body where it would feel tender to touch. These points can be elbows, knees, back of your head, and hips.
The causes of fibromyalgia are still unknown and it’s unusual that although it has the potential to cause permanent disability; fibromyalgia does not damage internal organs nor causes any deformity to the bones, a significant characteristic that makes this disease different from rheumatoid arthritis. Another fact which makes it more bizarre is that, the sensation of pain is a response to stimuli that are not supposed to be painful. Apart from these, fibromyalgia patients tend to have their non rapid-eye-movement (REM) affected, which explains the symptoms of waking up tired in spite of adequate sleep.
Due to the lack of knowledge on its true causes, it seems that there are no exact preventative measures although there are certain ways to minimize the occurrence of fibromyalgia. The odds can be in your favor by having enough sleep, managing stress in a healthy way, and perform regular exercise.
Conventionally, tricyclic antidepressants, when taken less than the doses required for treating depression can be effective in treating fibromyalgia while they still can give you an optimal amount of sleep. This medication has been noted to reduce fatigue, relieve muscle pain and spasms. It is believed that tricyclic antidepressants work by interfering with the nerve transmitter called serotonin, as noted by the scientists. While such anti-depressants like Elavil and Sinequan are found to be most successful in treating such cases, they are closely followed by Prozac, which has been shown to be effective when taken alone.
Apart from the standard medication, natural remedies also come with promising results. Acupuncture, a treatment with needles inserted into specific spots in your body, is thought to manipulate the neurotransmitters related to pain, thus increasing the patient’s tolerance to such feeling. Herbal teas such as St. John’s Wort, valerian, and white willow can also be beneficial to reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia. These herbal remedies can act as analgesic, antidepressants and stress relievers.
Medical diagnosis will determine if what you’re suffering from is fibromyalgia which will then lead to the many ways which will help you to cope with it as well as the proper treatment.
By Liya Das