Fibromyalgia is a relatively common disorder which mainly affects your bodies’ muscles, but can also affect your brain. Unlike arthritis, which mainly affects your joints, Fibromyalgia creates pain in the connective tissues, including your ligaments, tendons and muscles.
Fibromyalgia Syndrome, often known as FMS, currently has no particular diagnosable cause, and some doctors dispute that it is in fact a singular problem. Nevertheless, in the US alone there is a cost of $20 billion attributable to Fibromyalgia and its symptoms. This excessive cost is understandably worrying considering there is no known reason for this disorder to occur.
The symptoms of Fibromyalgia vary greatly. They Fibromyalgia tender points range from an all over ache, with muscles constantly feeling as if they have been overexerted, to a burning sensation that can easily cause sleepless nights. FMS can also be an early warning for more serious problems, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and other muscular and neurological diseases. It is important to note however that while FMS may be misdiagnosed for both of these diseases, their treatment will have no affect on the Fibromyalgia symptoms themselves.
A patient suffering from Fibromyalgia will feel soreness or pain all over, however they will also tend to have specific Fibromyalgia tender points in the arms and legs, which will generally be more uncomfortable than the rest of the pain.
On top of the physical symptoms of Fibromyalgia there are several mental affects. Including fatigue, where people feel as if their extremities are leaden and their mind is ‘half dead’. This was discovered to be most likely caused by a sleep disorder known as an alpha-EEG anomaly. This is when a patient falls asleep easily, but their deep sleep is consistently interrupted by ‘awake like’ brain activity patterns. Both these symptoms are common with Fibromyalgia Syndrome.
Many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from some other, rather nasty symptoms, such as chronic headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. Both of these symptoms can be near debilitating in severity, with IBS found in around 55% of fibromyalgia patients, and chronic headaches in nearly 50%. The chronic headaches may also be accompanied by chest pain, memory impairments and problems with cognitive functions.
Currently the root cause of Fibromyalgia syndrome is still untreatable, especially since its root cause is still under much debate. Fortunately many of the symptoms consistent with fibromyalgia syndrome are controllable, even if the underlying problem cannot be treated itself
Treatment often involves medications to relieve muscular pain and increasing the quality of a patients sleep. The treatment for sleep disorders is particularly important, since many of the bodies’ most important repair functions are carried out while your body is in deep level sleep.
After medical treatment the most important thing to do is partake in regular gentle exercise. This can help reduce both the muscle problems and the sleep problems. Due to the pain suffered from FMS, many suffers find it hard to take on exercise, with practice however most patients soon find their health improving. The exercise regime should avoid impact loading techniques, such as jogging, tennis, sports, and aerobics. Instead start with swimming, walking, and stationary exercises and stretches!
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011