Fibromyalgia

FIBROMYALGIA pain

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview

Fibromyalgia is a disorder primarily characterized by chronic muscle soreness and aches throughout the body. Patients experience extreme fatigue and weakness because of which they may be unable to participate in everyday activities or exercise. They may find it difficult to get undisturbed sleep and, over time, the sleep deficit can lead to anxiety and depression. The quality of pain experienced can differ. Patients complain variously of ‘throbbing’, ‘sharp’, ‘tingling’ or ‘roving’ pains.

Unlike conditions such as arthritis, there is no actual inflammation or swelling giving rise to these pains. Further, fibromyalgia pain is not specific to any one part of the body and it may even ‘travel’. Patients typically report a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as chafing from clothing, bright lights or loud noises.

Hence, it is believed that this disorder has more to do with an abnormality in the body’s ability to perceive and process pain. Based on the lack of objective indications, patients may be told that they are ‘making-up’ or imagining the symptoms and this might discourage them from seeking medical help.

 

Definition

FIBROMYALGIA painFibromyalgia is a chronic condition wherein the patient experiences a range of pains and tenderness throughout the body.

This results in severe fatigue and interferes with normal sleep and behavior patterns. Hence, certain cognitive and mood disturbances can also manifest.

Fibromyalgia is treated by some sources as a ‘functional somatic syndrome’ meaning that it produces somatic symptoms like pain and fatigue without any direct underlying cause like inflammation or injury. However, it is generally believed that fibromyalgia has a biological rather than a psychological basis. It is frequently accompanied by conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome although it is not clear which causes which.

 

Causes

Research indicates that fibromyalgia is brought on by changes in the way that stimuli are perceived and processed by the nervous system. Those suffering from fibromyalgia experience pain in response to stimuli that are not considered painful by others. Even a slight touch can be painful. This is believed to be triggered by certain changes in neurochemistry and may be attributed to an underlying genetic cause. Onset can be spontaneous or else it may be triggered by traumatic events or certain illnesses. The following are potential risk factors:

  • Psychological stress.
  • Physical trauma, particularly repetitive injury.
  • Having rheumatic or inflammatory disorders such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus increases the likelihood of having fibromyalgia.
  • Having a family history of fibromyalgia.

 

Symptoms

Fibromyalgia fatigueThe most common indication is a chronic muscular ache throughout the body and a resultant fatigue. Symptoms can wax and wane and sometimes subside for weeks or months at a time before reappearing. They may even fluctuate through the course of a day or in response to changes in weather and hormonal activity. On average, female patients reportedly experience these symptoms with greater intensity than males. The following is a more extensive list of possible indications:

  • Widespread dull aches and chronic muscle pain throughout the body.
  • Tenderness and sensitivity to touch and pressure.
  • Tingling or crawling sensations.
  • Difficulty in sleeping, or insomnia.
  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle twitching.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • A sensation of bloating.
  • Nausea.
  • Painful menstrual cramps.
  • Migraine headaches.
  • Numbness in the face or limbs.
  • Tenderness in the region of the jaw.
  • Sensitivity to smells, sounds and lights.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Inability to concentrate or think clearly.
  • A difficulty with memory.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.

 

Clinical Complications

Being constantly in pain adversely affects one’s quality of life and mental state. Patients may be unable to undertake recreational or occupational activities. Such withdrawal can leave them socially isolated. Typically, sleep deprivation makes it difficult for the person to remain mentally alert and function normally. Over the long term, this can lead to depression and cognitive dysfunction. A statistical association has been shown between fibromyalgia and a range of other disorders such as endometriosis, lupus, and osteoarthritis. However, it is not clear whether this link is one of causation.

 

Diagnosis

There is no specific test for diagnosing this condition because of the absence of objective pathological causes. There are no laboratory tests or imaging techniques that can offer a positive diagnosis of fibromyalgia. However, these can certainly help in ruling out other disorders that could conceivably be responsible for the symptoms. For instance, having an underactive thyroid gland can also produce fatigue and weakness. A simple blood test easily detects such thyroid insufficiency. If the patient is, in fact, suffering from fibromyalgia, his/her blood sample will test negative for thyroid disorder.

X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasounds may also be performed in order to determine whether there is any physiological basis for the patient’s pain and fatigue.

The American College of Rheumatology has established a guideline for diagnosing fibromyalgia. The first indicator is the persistence of widespread pain over a period of at least three months. By ‘widespread’ it is meant that pain is experienced on both sides of the body, both above and below the waist. Diagnosis may also take into account the number of tender points in the body although this is not strictly followed because of the inherently variable nature of the pain.

 

Treatment & Prevention

fibromyalgia malaiseTreatment – Medication and therapy can help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia.

  • Pain relievers – Over-the-counter medications to help ease the pain can be taken. The doctor may suggest prescription pain relievers. Narcotics are not advised as they could become addictive and worsen the pain over time.
  • Antidepressants – Can help relieve the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia.
  • Anti-seizure drugs – Medications prescribed to treat epilepsy are often used to relieve certain types of pain.
  • Physiotherapy – A physical therapist can help teach you strengthening, flexibility, and stamina based exercises. Water-based exercises can be particularly helpful.
  • Occupational therapy – A therapist will help you make the necessary adjustments to your workspace and the way you perform your tasks to help you reduce the stress you put on your body.

Counseling is advised to patients suffering from fibromyalgia to help them cope with the pain.

Low FODMAP diet for fibromyalgia

FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are difficult for the gut to digest as they are fermented by the gut bacteria. Due to this fermentation, symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea occur.

FODMAP in the daily diet include

Fructose – Fruits and honey.

Lactose – Dairy.

Fructans (insulin) – Wheat, onion, and garlic.

Galactans – Beans, lentils, and legumes.

Polyols – Avocado, apricot, cherries, peaches, and plums.

FODMAP stands for

  • F – Fermentable.
  • O – Oligosaccharides.
  • D – Disaccharides.
  • M – Monosaccharides.
    A – and
  • P – Polysaccharides.

Foods such as pasta, noodles, bread, pastries etc, may increase the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Foods such as salmon, trout etc, broccoli, oatmeal, almonds, hazelnut etc. can help in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia. Consuming a low FODMAP diet can help in reducing the flare-up of fibromyalgia.

Preventions – Fibromyalgia cannot be prevented. Proper treatment and lifestyle changes can help in reducing the frequency and severity of the symptoms.

  • Get adequate sleep – Lack of sleep is both a cause and symptom of fibromyalgia flair-ups. Poor sleep creates a cycle of more pain, making it harder to sleep, which causes more pain and so on.
  • Reduce emotional and mental stress – The symptoms of fibromyalgia get worse with stress. You could try meditation, relaxing, acupuncture etc. to help reduce your stress levels.
  • Get regular exercise – Exercise on a regular and moderate level can help keep the muscles and joints healthy. Do not exert yourself as this can worsen the symptoms.
  • Eating a balanced diet – Certain patients of fibromyalgia have stated that certain food items worsen their symptoms. Having a balanced and healthy diet provides all the nutrients that are required by the body. Reducing caffeine, junk and processed food intake help in making you healthier and controlling your weight. Therefore, reducing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

 

Facts

  • About 5 million people in the US who are 18 years or older have fibromyalgia.
  • Between 75-90% of people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women. Men get diagnosed with this disease as well, but their symptoms are different altogether.

Facts

  • Many people with fibromyalgia have memory and concentration loss. This is called “brain fog” or “fibro fog.”
  • There is nothing that can be done to treat fibromyalgia.

Facts

  • Digestive disorders can be a symptom of fibromyalgia.
  • Fibromyalgia can cause heightened senses.
  • Though it is a primary health condition, it is often a secondary condition to ailments like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Pay attention to what you eat. Make sure that you have clean, healthy and nutritious food.
  • Reduce stress levels, as stress levels increase the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
  • Exercise
Don'ts
  • Over medicate.
  • Expect an immediate recovery. It will take time for the pain to subside.
  • Overdo thing on a good day. As it could lead to intense pain later.

 

 

 

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Anti-CCP Test – Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Anti-ccp or ACCP test is a blood test that is primarily employed to diagnose the onset of rheumatoid…
cardioliin antibody iga
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) – IgA test Cardiolipins are phospholipids that are constituents of the platelets and the cell membranes. The IgA test detects the…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
pilonidal sinus
Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Bone marrow aspiration Bone marrow aspiration is a process where a sample of the bone marrow is withdrawn from the bone…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Sushi: health benefits and recipes Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish prepared with vinegared rice served with fish (often raw), vegetables, and other…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…