While fibromyalgia may appear mysterious to some, this intimately painful condition embeds itself in the framework of one’s life, sleep, work, and emotional state.
This condition inflicts an incessant flurry of horrible symptoms after horrible symptom on its sufferers, and currently, there is no known cure.
Fibromyalgia is a life-altering condition that requires concerted efforts at management and treatment. The cause of this condition is unknown.
This condition afflicts women at a greater frequency than that of men, for a few distinguishable reasons. Biological sexes are characterized by biochemical, hormonal and structural brain differences which shape how the disease progresses in each individual.
One proposed theory notes that women possess far more serotonin neurotransmitter receptors than males, which means that the process of serotonin reuptake, or the recycling and reuse of this neurotransmitter is inefficient.
Some believe that severe deficiency in serotonin is what causes the painful symptoms associated with this condition.
The most prominent symptom this condition is bodily pain, especially in the muscles, which manifests as sore points or, in some cases, cramps.
This pain can give rise to a host of other problematic symptoms, disturbing one’s sleep cycle and inducing depression, anxiety, stress, memory lapses, and metabolic problems.
Because this condition induces a course of chronic pain for its sufferers, it has, in the past, been incorrectly classified as a condition loosely related to arthritis. But while arthritis is an inflammatory condition, fibromyalgia pain is not triggered by inflammatory factors.
Selecting the proper course and combination of treatments is crucial for fibromyalgia sufferers. But although medications, healthy food, acupressure, massage therapy and exercise can alleviate many symptoms of fibromyalgia, they can not cure the disease.
A cure has yet to emerge in the landscape of medicine to effectively address this highly unique and complex disorder. While ongoing studies have targeted the mechanisms residing within the pain pathways of the nervous system, more research is still required.
The effectiveness of a treatment will vary considerably in patients possessing different profiles. The genetic, gender, psychological and physical makeup of an individual determines the general effectiveness of the treatments. The treatments that have been deemed the most helpful in terms of curbing the effects of these symptoms, are antidepressants, exercise and localized pain injections and treatments.
The following list was compiled in an effort to harness the collective power of Western medicine, Eastern medicine, fitness and health in the context of addressing the symptoms of fibromyalgia:
One of the most frequently under use but effective means of contending with fibromyalgia is cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise. While the relative impact of resistance training on this disease has not been established, aerobic exercise has an undeniable impact on the progression and intensity of this illness. Aerobics functions powerfully for a number of reasons.
For example, aerobic exercise has been known to release endorphins and augment serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that is fundamentally deficient in fibromyalgia sufferers. Aerobic exercises also harbor the potential to increase both muscular fluidity and movement. And of course, the increased blood flow during cardiovascular exercise can stimulate the muscles and promote recovery and healing.
Another commonly-pursued avenue in the world of fibromyalgia is that of physical therapy. Physical therapy is designed to facilitate the motion, fluidness, flexibility and recovery of the body’s musculo-skeletal system. Many physical therapists who specialize in the field of fibromyalgia can suggest exercises to aid in the reduction of muscular tension and stiffness, and they provide meaningful instruction and guidance in the area of proper muscle movement and stretching, as well. Routine visits to a physical therapist can drastically improve one’s symptoms.
Antidepressants are an indispensable medium of relief for fibromyalgia sufferers everywhere, they can lower the severity of pain, increase emotional regulation and positive mood states, and normalize the course of one’s sleep cycles.
Anticonvulsants fulfill their respective role in the context of fibromyalgia treatments. While they are not a systematic replacement for antidepressant therapies, they can induce a notable decrease in painful symptoms for some sufferers.
Sleeping pills are not advised during course of treatment, as they do not increase the depth or frequency of one’s sleep. Instead, medications that specifically cater to the proper regulation of sleep cycles should be introduced into one’s lifestyle in a healthy fashion. In some cases, an antidepressant can be utilized for this sake.
Medical professionals have strictly contended against the use of anti-inflammatory drugs as a viable treatment method for this disease. As noted previously, fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory condition, and therefore, would not benefit from the introduction of an anti-inflammatory medication such as an NSAID.
Accordingly, many medications that are designed to relax the muscles actually have a counteractive effect on the painful symptoms of this condition. Hence, muscle relaxants have been known to appease the presence of aches and stiffness.
A localized treatment for muscle pain entails the injection of steroids.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychological method in which one restructures one’s thought processes to reduce stress, curb anxiety and think positively. This has been shown to induce marked improvements in the mental and emotional states of fibromyalgia sufferers.
Both acupuncture and chiropractic treatments have been shown to reduce pain in distinct ways. While acupuncture modifies the brain’s pain pathways, chiropractic methods increase muscle movement and decrease pain.
The consumption of a healthy, balanced diet is imperative in the framework of managing this condition. Essentially, foods that make one susceptible to mood disturbances and depression (e.g. fat, sugar) should be minimized over the course of one’s treatment. Some dietary supplements are highly effective, as well.
Many fibromyalgia patients enjoy the intensity and cathartic nature of deep tissue massage, which exerts a tremendous amount of pressure on the muscles. This practice has been known to both uproot toxins in the muscles, decrease tension points, and increase healing.
Biofeedback is a process that forges a stronger relationship between body and mind and ameliorates pain.