Fibromyalgia is tricky business. As much as we’d like to know precisely what’s causing our pain, or believe it to be one thing, that’s rarely the case. Most of the signs and symptoms of this disorder can easily be linked to other health problems, which is why it’s important to always visit a physician for closer examination. For now, let’s learn more about what Fibromyalgia looks like and how you can manage its pain.
What Exactly is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder linking to widespread pains and aches, fatigue and stiffness. Common everyday activities like peeling tomatoes, lifting a gallon of milk, washing dishes, are painful or difficult at best. The body tends to be restless from the pain. This is why those who have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea and sleep deprivation as well. Fibromyalgia affects mainly women of all ethnic groups; however, children and men are not exceptions to this disorder.
The causes of fibromyalgia are not known. There are several factors that may be involved in this disorder. Several individuals link the disorder to an emotionally or physically traumatic, stressful event. For example a car accident. Some link to recurring injuries, from sports or repetitive motions. Others connect it to a disease. For others, the condition appears to occur spontaneously.
Scientists are researching other causes. One of the key focuses of their research is on how the spinal cord and brain (central nervous system) process pain. Researchers theorize that an individual’s genes might regulate the way her body deals with painful stimuli or traumatic situations. It’s suggest that fibromyalgia patients might have genes which cause them to respond to pain stimuli more accentuation than the average individual.
5 Common Fibromyalgia Symptoms
1. Recurring migraines and headaches
Recurrent migraines and tension headaches are present in 50-70% of fibromyalgia patients. Headache symptoms are typically rated severe, happening no less than twice a week, with symptoms very similar to that of a migraine. The headache is partly caused by trigger points within the neck, head muscles and shoulder
2. Pain and soreness all over
Fibromyalgia is pain syndrome. Patients describe the pain as deep muscular throbbing, stabbing, shooting, or intense pain. Main muscle groups (used often like the arms, legs, and back) hurt more than anywhere else. The severity of localized pains can worsen your symptoms
3. Disturbed sleep, lack of sleep
Difficulty falling asleep and waking up with tiredness and soreness is common. Pain is exacerbated because of lack of sleep as well. Studies reveal that REM phase of the sleep is reduced. REM is the part where your body and mind get the actual rest it needs. REM deprivation has its own consequences and symptoms.
4. Fatigue, tired all the time
Exhaustion is the most debilitating symptom. You feel your arms and legs weighed down by concrete blocks, your body sapped of energy, and it takes much more effort to do something you believe should only take a minute to finish.
5. Brain fog
It’s difficult to retain new information, find words, and concentrate on work. The pain, the lack of sleep, and inability to focus seriously interfere and distract from everyday activities. This brain fog symptom seems to correspond to the severity of the pain, as if your brain is eaten up by the pain and preventing you from carrying out cognitive functions.
How Fibromyalgia is Managed
It’s a difficult disorder to diagnose because of the vast number of common symptoms with other health-related problems. For the same reason, it’s difficult to treat because there’s no one best way to do so. I’m not a physician, but I can share with you how others treat and manage Fibromyalgia on their own. Here’s a few ways others manage this ongoing pain:
1. Exercise regularly
Despite fatigue and pain taking its toll on your mentality, on your physical self, regular exercise and an active lifestyle helps manage these pains. Research also indicates engaging in regular exercise as an effective means of treating this disorder. If you have high fatigue or pain to even think about exercise, start with something gentle and make it your life goal to slowly improve on your exercise intensity and improve your endurance. It will feel next to impossible, I understand. Strive for something more.
2. Change to your work schedule
You’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. What has changed besides pain always being there? Most individuals continue to follow the same routine and do their everyday work. However, this might not be the best fit because of the onset of this disorder. You might find yourself reducing the amount of time you work, adapt to a present job, or change to a less intensive and demanding job. If you want to try and continue to do the same thing, please speak to your physician and talk about what you have to keep in mind when working. Maybe aid from an occupational therapist will help with finding less painful and more efficient ways of getting the work done. Speak with your employer.
3. Getting sufficient sleep each night
We sleep a third of our lives. Studies have shown the body makes up for your sleep whenever you are deprived. Something in the brain counts the hours you lose and makes up for it in any way it can. Getting the right sleep for yourself helps with alleviating the fatigue and pain. If you find it difficult to sleep at night, be sure to discuss this with your physician, who can recommend or prescribe treatment to support your sleep. Also, cut off from caffeine, alcohol and smoking if you haven’t already. Get your sleep on track, first, naturally as possible.
4. Eating a balanced and healthy diet
As if you didn’t have to before, it’s more important now than ever. Consider this as a means of attacking your pain from a different angle. Reports from fibromyalgia patients say that they feel so much better whenever they avoid or consume certain foods. Although there’s no particular set diet perfect for anyone and to directly influence fibromyalgia pains, it’s part of the process of taking care of yourself and treating your body as it deserves. Aside from good, clean energy and making you feel better generally, proper nutrition will also combat many potential health problems.
5. Massage daily
Part the process of managing pain. Daily massage releases built up tension and any stress placed on yourself from your work physically or on your psychological well-being. Trigger point therapy has helped those diagnosed with the disorder in managing pain. If you’re looking for a reference guide on where trigger points are, I highly recommend this guide click here.
To conclude, if you have fibromyalgia, do everything within the scope of your life and lifestyle to reduce the effects of the disorder may have on who you are and what you do. There’s no single treatment method that works. There are, however, ways to take care of yourself to continue pushing for a lifestyle you deserve. As you continue forward with your day after reading this, remember the great quote from Haruki Murakami:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.