Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder marked by widespread, unexplained pain in the muscles and joints.
It’s not a disease. It’s a syndrome, which is a collection of symptoms that occur together. Although many people think of it as an arthritic condition due to the symptoms, it’s not a type of arthritis.
The condition is often associated with tender points, which are termed “trigger points.” These are places on the body where even light pressure causes pain. According to standards published by the American College of Rheumatology in 1990, a person can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia if they have widespread pain and tenderness in at least 11 of the known 18 trigger points. Affecting roughly 4 percent of the American population (80 percent of whom are women), fibromyalgia most often is a danger to those between the ages of 35 and 55.
What Are The Symptoms?
Symptoms of fibromyalgia can act up during various time of the day. Symptoms are also noted to be the worst during mornings, and early in the evening.
Aside from dull, widespread pains and aches throughout the body, other notable symptoms include, but are not limited to:
– Extreme fatigue and lowered energy levels
– Stiffness when sitting or standing
– Difficulty remembering and concentrating on tasks
– Sensitivity to sharp smells and noises
– Anxiety and depression
– Cramping in the lower abdomen, bloating, and nausea
– Frequent urination
What Are The Tender Spots?
There are certain “Fibromyalgia tender points” on the body that are especially painful to the touch.
These pressure points are generally located around the shoulders, elbows, knees, the breastbone, the back of the head, and the hips.
These tender points don’t necessarily have to be touched in order for pain to be triggered. Instead, these areas are constantly a focus of pain and tenderness.
Fibromyalgia can be tricky to treat. Not all doctors are familiar with the condition, so it’s crucial to consult with a physician who is well-versed.
Below, we go through some simple lifestyle changes you can make to help with pain relief
Treatments For Pain Relief
Treatment #1: Movement Therapies
There are several alternative therapy methods that can reduce pain and stress in the body.
Consider giving yoga and meditation a try, as they have been proven to help people with chronic illnesses.
Tai chi is another great alternative movement therapy: it combines meditation with deep breathing and slow, gentle movements to help control fibromyalgia symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Massage therapy is known to help ease muscle pain and tension in patients suffering from rheumatic conditions.
Massages can help improve circulation and promote the production of serotonin, a “natural painkiller” in the body.
Treatment #3: Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been used as a trusted alternative treatment for centuries.
The ancient Chinese method uses thin needles to ease pain and tension in certain pressure points, and to balance blood flow and prevent stiffness, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Treatment #4: Improve Sleeping Habits
Fibromyalgia has been linked to sleep problems and intense daytime fatigue, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Getting enough sleep is essential to reducing the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia, so make sure to practice good sleeping habits.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and do your best to limit naps during the day, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Treatment #5: 5-HTP Amino Acids
5-HTP is a natural amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that also acts as the body’s “natural painkiller.”
The supplement has been proven to improve symptoms in fibromyalgia patients, and has helped reduce their pain, fatigue, and body stiffness.
Treatment #6: Keep A Daily Food Journal
As with most other medical conditions, diet plays a significant role in managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Though research hasn’t indicated any foods that patients should either avoid or add to their diets, it would definitely be helpful if patients were to monitor their food intake carefully, to see if there are specific foods that seem to aggravate their pain.
It is good to keep a daily food journal, to keep track of everything you eat.
Also, try not to drink alcohol or coffee right before bed, so that you can have a more rested sleep.