Fibromyalgia affects millions of people in the Unites States annually. Although it is a syndrome that is not very well known and its diagnosis can be very difficult to make, Fibromyalgia is as real and as painful as any other type of chronic pain out there.
Unfortunately, both the causes and the symptoms of this syndrome are not very clear and to most of the people out there (including medical professionals), there is no 100% certainty over what leads to its development and how are the symptoms related to the causes. Mysterious enough, Fibromyalgia continues to baffle researchers and up to the moment, there has not been a general agreement on most of the factors that influence the development of this particular chronic pain syndrome.
One thing is for sure though: Fibromyalgia’s main symptom is pain that is felt by the patient for extended periods of time and that does not appear to have a very clear reason. There is another thing on which most of the researchers will agree as well: the fact that Fibromyalgia is not a mental disorder and that it rather falls into the category of neurobiological disorders and/or that of the functional somatic syndromes.
This agreement is mainly due to the fact that Fibromyalgia is related to certain neuro-chemical imbalances that may appear in the brain and that may lead to the improper functioning of it when it comes to perceiving pain.
Although every patient is different, there is a series of symptoms and examinations that may lead to diagnosing Fibromyalgia properly. Common symptoms include fatigue, bad sleeping patterns, the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the Restless Leg Syndrome, very painful menstruation periods, headaches, the feeling of numbness in the extremities (such as the fingers), stress (which is sometimes considered to be a cause, and not an effect of this syndrome) and anxiety. Arthritis, joint stiffness (especially in the morning), and depression are also disorders and diseases that are commonly associated with Fibromyalgia.
In some cases, patients will also start being more sensitive to certain factors, such as bright lights, odors, certain temperatures, foods or noises. The sensation of feeling your legs and your hands swollen is also encountered in patients with Fibromyalgia (even if the extremities are not actually swollen).
In case someone is suspect to suffer from Fibromyalgia, the doctor will perform a series of examinations which may include blood examinations, examinations of the kidneys, testing whether or not the patient is suffering from Inflammatory Arthritis, and so on. Also, a series of questions will be posed to the patient, and they are all meant to discover whether or not he/she is suffering from depression, sleep disorders, fatigue, anxiety or stress.
Furthermore, the so-called “trigger points” will be examines and if the patients experiences pain in 11 out of 18 of them, as well as if the patient feels pain in all the four quadrants of the body for at least 3 months, then the chances of being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia increase.
So, how can the development of Fibromyalgia be prevented? Or, better yet, which are those habits that may influence this syndrome’s development? Here is the top 5 bad habits that influence how Fibromyalgia is developed in people:
1- The first “bad habit” that will influence the development of Fibromyalgia is stress. Living stressful lives is something that most of the people out there do (especially nowadays), but not so many of them know that stress can affect more than just their state of mind, but also their actual physical health.
Sooner or later, the repercussions of stress will be felt and developing Fibromyalgia is strictly connected to these effects. It is difficult to live a life that is protected from all kinds of stressful situations, but there are things one can do to improve it. Exercising, practicing relaxation methods and simply disconnecting from time to time from all sources of stress and anxiety will help.
2- Smoking is another bad habit that can influence Fibromyalgia. It is a well-known fact that smoking cigarettes seriously affects people’s health and that there is a long list of diseases and disorders to which it can lead and to which it can be a risk factor. Fibromyalgia is one of them because smoking affects the immune system and it can make the symptoms of pain feel much worse.
3- Surrendering is not a “proper” bad habit, but it is one of the factors that can make patients with Fibromyalgia feel worse about their symptoms. Basically, surrendering to the pain means that you stop trying to ameliorate it, which in its turn means that not only your physical condition will not improve, but also that your mental state of mind will get worse and feeling depressed will be much more likely to happen in much more occasions.
4- Indulging in dietary “sins” is also a bad thing you may feel tempted to do when pain is overwhelming. For many people out there, eating is a way of comforting themselves and of dealing with pain (both physical and psychological). However, high-saturated fats, sweets and, generally speaking, unhealthy food will only worsen your condition, especially if you also suffer from the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (but not only).
Certain foods can make your pain stronger (especially additives), while certain foods will make you feel better, more energized and healthier. Choose the latter over the first. Choose fatty fish, fruits, beef, vegetables, nuts and the foods that are usually recommended as “healthy” by most of the nutritionists.
5- Coffee and other caffeine-based products. Most of the people out there love a good, warm, cup of coffee or tea for breakfast. Some of them love it all day long. And patients with Fibromyalgia may feel that caffeine is a fast way of coping with the bad sleeping patterns.
The truth is though that caffeine will only lead to creating a bad cycle in which patients feel more energized on the surface, but they will not be able to sleep well at night (again). Thus, avoid coffee and tea as much as possible, and also avoid chocolate and alcohol (also considered to be “false” energizers).