I have seen a video on YouTube about this woman, Miss2 and she made a video blog about her chronic pain, talking about her condition and how she is getting through. She is but one in about 4 million Americans who suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), a majority of whom are women in their mid-30s to late 50s.
What is Fibromyalgia?
At the moment, there are still no medical explanations for the chronic pain brought on by fibromyalgia. It is often characterized by widespread pain and a very pronounced painful response to pressure on certain areas of the body. Some other symptoms may include tingling of the skin, prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, nerve pain, functional bowel disturbances, chronic disturbances and cognitive dysfunction usually called brain-fog or fibro-fog. Trouble with sleeping, morning stiffness and headaches are also among the discomfort of FMS.
It is best noted that people with FMS feel pain differently. A number of researchers believe that the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) called substance P is 3 times higher in people with fibromyalgia, causing them to experience excruciating pain. Other researches though postulate that the illness is caused by lack of deep sleep. They say that it is in stage 4 sleep that out body refreshes itself from all the activities it has gone through the day. In the case of FMS sufferers, they tend to sleep lightly during this phase, preventing the body from recuperating, thus giving rise to the chronic fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia.
Risk Factors and Diagnosis
Among those who are likely to be at risk of FMS aside from adults from early to middle adulthood are those that have chronically disturbed sleep patterns, individuals have who have relatives with FMS and those who have suffered from rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
If you think you have symptoms of FMS, call your doctor. Blood tests and x-rays cannot help in determining FMS but your physician may request for them to eliminate and rule out other illnesses that resemble fibromyalgia.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, a patient must have felt pain for longer than three months and that the pain must occur on specific areas in the body called "tender points". If the patient feels discomfort in 11 or more sites out of the 18 that are documented, then he or she tests positive.
Treatment and Pain Management
There is no cure for fibromyalgia syndrome but the symptoms can be relieved. There are home care remedies and medical treatments that can help you in managing your pain. Among the available home remedies is regular, low-impact exercise like walking and swimming, as well as stretching exercises like pilates. Taking time to do these exercises three times a week helps reduce the discomfort in your muscles. Heat compresses also help relieve the pain in sore muscles, and massage is said to help as well. If you need to, you can also take over-the-counter pain meds like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.
There are also some medical treatments available to patients. Among these are Lyrica (anti-seizure), Cymbalta and Savella (anti-depressants), Flerexil (muscle relaxant) and Mirapex (Parkinson's medication). These drugs help in reducing pain and, in the case of Flerexil, relax the muscles and helps in improving sleep for the patients.
Other treatments like acupuncture, biofeedback and relaxation techniques are said to decrease the intensity of pain in the tender points, and sometimes even the actual number of tender points are said to diminish. Steroid and lidocaine injections are also available for patients but these bring only temporary relief.
Prevention and Hope
As there is still so much unknown about this condition, there are no specific methods to prevent fibromyalgia other than living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. This will not only prevent FMS and a host of other chronic diseases and syndromes, but it will also give you the best quality of life you deserve. But if you do have FMS, there is still hope as several drug companies are currently testing new drugs to combat and even cure this disease.
Warren Tattersall has been a full time nutritional consultant for over a decade and works with people all over the world to help them improve their health, increase their personal energy levels and to use supplements to assist with diet related health issues.
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