The world has come very far when it comes to a lot of things. We can now communicate with people at the other end of the world in a matter of seconds.
We can have access to markets that are found across the oceans. We can hold one small device in our pockets and connect to the world with its help.
However, there are still so many things we don’t know! Especially when it comes to the medical field, it seems that every new answer we get comes with even more questions. And this is especially true in the case of medical conditions for which we have yet to find the cause: arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia and many others.
Fibromyalgia: What Is It, Really?
Giving a definition to fibromyalgia seems very difficult to do. In general, this medical condition can be described as a type of syndrome whose most poignant symptom is widespread pain. However, pain is not the only symptom patients experience and there are a lot of other signs too. They may (or may not) include the following:
- Chronic pain
- Prolonged muscle spasms
- Limb weakness
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Irritable bladder
- Muscle twitching
- Short term memory problems
- Impaired attention span
- Restless leg syndrome
Furthermore, there are other symptoms frequently encountered in the case of those with fibromyalgia, but these ones may actually be due to a co-morbid condition rather than to fibromyalgia itself. For example, some patients experience mandibular joint dysfunctions, dermatological issues and so on.
Some of the most commonly fibromyalgia-associated conditions include chronic depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus. All of these conditions have symptoms that are somewhat common to fibromyalgia, but they are very frequently treated differently than it.
What Leads to Fibromyalgia?
Nobody knows for sure what the cause of this syndrome is. There are some theories, but they are not confirmed properly. For instance, some scientists believe that fibromyalgia develops largely due to a dysfunction at the level of the central nervous system which cannot perceive pain as it is any longer (case in which the pain experienced by the patients is actually lower than they perceive it).
Stress and poor sleeping appear to have important roles too. Since lack of sleep can have a harsh effect on the human body (especially when experienced on the long-term), it is plausible that pain could be sensed differently by those who are not rested enough.
Furthermore, the fact that fibromyalgia very frequently appears to run in the family has pushed several medical specialists to research into this issue. They put the “blame” for this syndrome on polymorph genes which can be responsible with the way in which we seize pain (however, the same genes can be responsible for the chronic fatigue syndrome and several other mysterious conditions too).
Fibromyalgia Pain: How Does It Feel?
Fibromyalgia pain is, in most of the cases, widespread. It can appear in very specific areas too, but most of the patients experience it in the entire body. Hip pain, headaches, joint pain, neck pain – these are all common to people suffering from this condition, but it is important that you can distinguish between the pain in these areas when it is caused by fibromyalgia and the pain in these areas when it is caused by other conditions (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, for example).
For example, hip pain caused by fibromyalgia is diffuse and it does not feel as localized as the hip pain caused by arthritis. Although both of the conditions are different and although both of their causes remain unknown, the treatments applied may differ slightly.
Fibromyalgia pain can affect one’s life drastically. There are people who have been bedridden for years and people for who even the most basic daily activities are a chore. Some have left work, some have tried to cope with the pain, but for everyone diagnosed with this syndrome, life changes once their pain takes over.
There are many celebrities suffering from fibromyalgia as well and the fact that they have been outspoken about their condition has helped with raising awareness over the fact that fibromyalgia is as real as it can get. For example, Morgan Freeman is probably one of the celebrities that have been diagnosed with this condition and who have spoken very openly about what living with it can be like.
Fibromyalgia Will Change Your Life
Life with fibromyalgia is not like life before it. In addition to several types of medication that can be administered, there are also many things about your lifestyle you will most likely have to change. For example, your doctor will probably recommend you to attend physical therapy sessions and doing this can be extremely important when it comes to keeping pain under control.
Furthermore, you will have to be even more attentive about what you eat. Eating the right things can help you ease off the pain and the other symptoms, while eating junk food, food with additives and foods that are high in “bad” fats can make everything worse. Stick to lean meats, healthy fats and complex carbs and you will definitely feel the difference.
Exercising can be extremely helpful and Yoga is one of those types of work outs that can really ease off the pain. However, keep in mind that you should be doing everything under the close supervision of an instructor specialized in working with people who suffer from chronic pain conditions.
Relax, don’t strain yourself and, if needed, learn meditation. There are a lot of patients who claim that it has helped them alleviate the pain symptoms, depression, sleeping issues and many of the other things that come along with fibromyalgia.
Open your mind and live a healthy life and you will stand a better chance at not having to be bedridden simply because pain is too much to handle. Even more than that, keep yourself optimistic and smiling because pain really does feel (and like) your fear and sadness!