This post is for my dear friend Gülbin; I hope it will help her and other sufferers out, even though it cannot provide solid answers.
If you’re consistently feeling pain throughout your body along with fatigue, you may be suffering from fibromyalgia. According to the Mayo Clinic, this common and chronic disorder is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, as well as tiredness, sleep, memory and mood problems.
The term “fibromyalgia” actually comes from a combination of Greek words myosor “muscle” and algos “pain”, and a New Latin word fibro, which means fibrous tissue.
As many as 4 million adults in the U.S. suffer from fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent are female between 30 and 80 years old.
The specific cause is still not determined, yet experts believe it manifests after certain events, such as:
- Physical trauma
- Infection, or
- Significant psychological stress.
The primary telltale sign of fibromyalgia is pain in the form of stiffness, numbness or even burning pain. The exact pain locations, pictured above, are known as tender points.
Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease, and its exact cause is still unknown. In fact, experts hypothesize that it is NOT a disease– rather, ıt’s a chronic pain condition that is triggered by an abnormal response to stress.
Taka note, however, that it does occur in patients who suffer from autoimmune disease.
One of the potential causes of fibromyalgia is how your body processes pain.
- Substance P, a chemical found in the cerebrospinal fluid may be too high;
- Levels of the hormones noradrenalin, serotonin and dopamine may be too low;
- Levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, may be too high.
Genetic factors are also important; people who have close relatives who have this illness are at a higher risk.
Sleep problems can also trigger the onset of fibromyalgia.
Some physical conditions may exacerbate your risk of fibromyalgia. These include:
- Getting an injury (or repetitive injuries),
- A viral infection,
- Surgery or giving birth,
- Emotional or stressful events, like losing a loved one,
- Being in an accident,
- Being physically abused.
Painful rheumatic conditions that affect the muscles, joints or bones can also put you in danger of fibromyalgia. These include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis,
- Ankylosing spondylitis, and
- Temporomandibular disorder (TMD).
The bad news is that there is no known cure for fibromyalgia, and the only course of action is to treat the pain and relieve the symptoms.
The best way to alleviate fibromyalgia pain is through safe holistic methods, such as:
- Massage therapy
- Yoga and Tai chi
- Use essential oils such as lavender, lemongrass, ginger and black pepper
- Take supplements, such as magnesium, and melatonin
- Mild exercise
- Get enough Vitamin D
- Consume a well-balanced diet
- Take Omega-3
- Avoid artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame
- Don’t eat processed foods
- Minimize your yeast and gluten intake
- Be wary of nightshade plants such as eggplants, tomatoes, chili and bell peppers
- Avoid caffeine
As I said in my previous post, fibromyalgia is a depressing subject; no specific cause and no known cure. I hope I was able to shed some light on the subject and hope that some of the above suggestions help sufferers.
That’s it for now; see you all next time.