Fibromyalgia is a common term used to indicate the pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. Fibromyalgia is a group of symptoms which calls for medications. It usually involves pain in fibers and muscles of our body and hence majority of people says of joint pain and stiffness associated with fatigue, sleep disturbance. Some people have cognitive dysfunction to minimal amount which is also included in the fibromyalgia. It is common disorder found in about female population and makes them to suffer due to pain. Now many researches are running to find the exact causing factors of the fibromyalgia and the treatment for it.
It has been estimated about 2 to 3 % of population is suffering from fibromyalgia in US and UK populations. Females are suffering more than males in the ration of female to male are 10:1. It has been reported some other psycho social factors are responsible for the occurrence and predominance of fibromyalgia among the community. They include martial disharmony, alcoholism in the family, some sorts of traumatic injury or assault, childhood abuse, etc.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibro means fibrous tissue, myos means muscles, algia means pain. In common the pain in the fibrous and muscles in our body with or without stiffness is named as fibromyalgia. But there are some exceptions symptoms groups are named under fibromyalgia namely fatigue, sleep disturbance, bowel and bladder abnormalities, difficulty in swallowing, etc. Some women have cognitive disorders associated with other symptoms. These symptoms have no pathological explanation of causative factor and the pathogenesis.
What are the causes for fibromyalgia?
The exact cause for the fibromyalgia is not noted till today. Even after thorough investigation, it is not possible to find the cause of fibromyalgia in the term of structural, inflammatory, metabolic abnormality. Numerous hypotheses are formulated to find the exact mechanism of fibromyalgia. Two important abnormalities are reported most times. They are:
1. Abnormal sleep pattern.
2. Abnormal pain processing.
People who have abnormality in sleep pattern due to other causes like disease illness, anxiety or any psychological trauma, leads to reduced physical activity which is the cause for poor aerobic activity. Due to less aerobic activity, functions in the body are affected from normal which eventually leads to fatigue and functional disturbance in all the parts of the body.
The abnormal pain processing is explained in the ‘dopamine hypothesis of fibromyalgia’. For pain perception and analgesia naturally dopamine is essential. Due to its abnormal secretion usually decreased secretion of dopamine, it leads to abnormal pain perception in the body.
In some researches done, it is also formulated that the Serotonin, a neurotransmitter is also acts a role in causing fibromyalgia. It has been found that women with fibromyalgia have less serotonin secretion in their Cerbro Spinal Fluid.
Some researchers are stating that there is some genetic predisposition responsible for the people suffering from fibromyalgia and it would be due to some polygenic expressions.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia:
The usual symptoms of fibromyalgia are multi regional pain throughout body, fatigue present along with all the complaints. They do have the complaint of increased sensitivity and hence they feel pain in the touch of other persons. Muscle spasm, joint stiffness which have no clinical evidence and nerve pain are other major symptoms found in fibromyalgia. In addition to it, the people suffering from fibromyalgia have bowel, bladder and sleep disturbances.
Some cognitive dysfunctions are found in people suffering from fibromyalgia like impaired memory either short term or long term, brain tiredness easily on any mental exertion, impaired concentration in work or in studies etc. These complaints are often associated with anxiety or any depressive symptoms which will be the cause for the fibromyalgia in initial periods.
Some people have fibromyalgia as the secondary syndrome to some other musclo-skeletal disorders like rheumatic arthritis, systemic lupus erthematous, irritable bowel syndrome and other auto immune diseases too.
Shortness of breath is another important symptom in major people suffering from fibromyalgia.
No lab investigations are marker to diagnose the fibromyalgia. The clinical symptoms are the guiding points to rule fibromyalgia from other musclo skeletal diseases and other joint diseases. People who complain of general body pain for more than 3 months with tender points in the joints or in other muscles or fibrous tissue is the leading symptom to diagnose as fibromyalgia.
Some cognitive dysfunctions and fatigue with sleep disorders helps in diagnosing the person suffering from fibromyalgia.
Treatment for fibromyalgia:
As fibromyalgia cannot be explained with the clinical changes, the treatment is relieving the symptoms which makes the people worse and restrict them from doing the daily activities. Pregabalin, Duloxetine, Milnacipran are the three medicines approved by FDA for treating the general pain and regional pain in people suffering from fibromyalgia.
Anti- depressants are taken for the fatigue, general body pain and sleep disturbances. Analgesics like Tramadol helps in relieving pain in particular region. It relieves stiffness to some extent. Low dose amitriptyline with or without fluoxetine also helps.
Along with the medications, people need to undergo aerobic exercises which stretch the body and muscle fibers to relieve the pain in body. People suffering from Psychological problem need Psychotherapy.
Exercises for fibromyalgia:
Exercises are helpful in relieving general body pain in fibromyalgia. Some important as well as easy exercises for doing fibromyalgia are
1. Cat exercise- It is just simple exercise. It helps in relieving pain in the body muscles and to strengthen the weakness in the back region. The method of doing the exercise is just keep the knees and hands in the floor in the shape of cat standing with four legs and gently raising the back towards up in slow pace. Later on doing the same in the reverse ie towards downwards. It should be done in slow pace as there may be risk of wrong doing and lead to other sorts of problem. Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Move, Breathe, and Relax to Improve Your Quality of Life (Rodmell Press Yoga Shorts)
2. Raising hands above the head so that both the hands clasp each other above head. The arms should be straight from the shoulder to the hands. You should have to take the hands near the ear which is the indicator to keep your hands in the middle. Just relax in this position for about 30 seconds and lower down the arms and relax. Just doing this exercise repeatedly, the arm muscles get relaxed and get enough blood supply.
3. Swimming is the best and simple exercise for any kind of body pain either due to fibromyalgia or other conditions like osteoarthritis.
4. Sit in the plane floor and try to raise both legs up in the air slowly without bending knees. Try to rise till you can do. Don’t stress yourself to reach height. Height of reaching is not our aim, it is to strengthen the leg muscles and to increase the muscle movements to relieve the fibromyalgia pain.
5. In the middle of the work just relax yourself by stretching both limbs and to increase blood supply to the extremities which are slow for the people who involve in sedentary works.
These are just simple exercises to relieve you. But there are many exercises and yoga which you have to learn from the professional teachers to maintain the body will get your exercise to relieve from fibromyalgia.
Diet for fibromyalgia:
On constant research it is found that vegetable rich foods are helpful in people suffering from fibromyalgia and in arthritis. The vegetable rich foods prevent in blood clot formation due to increased fibers in them. As there is more blood supply in the arteries there is increased supply of oxygen to the tissues and helps them to rejuvenate during the diseased state.
Carbohydrates are found to increase serotonin levels in blood and hence help in relieving the pain in fibromyalgia patients. But the balance of intake of carbohydrates should be low carbohydrate: high protein or low fat: high carbohydrate. Both seem to be equal but the primary diet is effective in fighting for fibromyalgia pain. Food that Helps Win the Battle Against Fibromyalgia: Ease Everyday Pain and Fight Fatigue
Magnesium is highly recommended for the patients having fibromyalgia. It is rich in beans, peanuts, broccoli, rockfish, tofu, whole grain cereal, whole grain bread.
The food rich in alkaline content such as lemon, watermelon, dates, figs, beets, bell pepper, sea foods, sweet corn, strawberry, raspberry, sea salt, etc reduces the body pH. The body cells find difficult to absorb energy from the blood when pH of the body is less and in the acidic medium.
It is found that people suffering from most rheumatic complaints and also in fibromyalgia Vitamin-D is less than normal. Hence the daily food should include the little quantity of Vitamin D for meeting the deficiency.
The processed foods are the biggest enemy for our body. Avoid all the processed and stored foods which have only preservatives and artificial flavors which increase the fibromyalgia condition.
Alternative medicines for fibromyalgia:
The fibromyalgia is well treated by alternative system of medicines and with herbal remedies. Acupuncture is found to be a good treatment in relieving the pain without intake of any medicines for the pain and stiffness due to the pain.
In homeopathic system of medicine for treating fibromyalgia, many remedies acts well in the whole person. Some specific medicines for fibromyalgia are Arnica, Rhus toxicodendron, Bryonia, Hypericum, etc. Though there are specific remedies for fibromyalgia it is good to treat the whole person and hence it is a best system of medicine to get cure from fibromyalgia.
In Herbal medicines, the herbs which are effective for curing fibromyalgia are:
Vitex Negundo – It is effective medicine for any kind of arthritic problems said in Ayurvedic system of medicines.
Zingiber officinale: It is common ginger. It is effective anti inflammatory medicine. It is also helpful in relieving complaints related to gastric and intestine. Thus it acts well for the conditions related to irritable bowel syndrome.
Withania somnifera: Commonly called as Indian ginseng. It is a good anti inflammatory, anti stress medicine. It helps in relieving the physical symptoms and the depressive symptoms when they act as reason for causing fibromyalgia.