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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that involves widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia is also commonly referred to as "fibro" or "FMS" for short. This condition is more common in women and is accompanied by a set of symptoms and tender points and can occur in conjunction with other syndromes, conditions, or disorders. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly dismiss fibromyalgia as purely psychological, which may negatively affect the treatment options that sufferers seek. On the bright side, many people have reported successfully treating their symptoms.

The Free Fibromyalgia Pain Management Plan

The Fibromyalgia Pain Management Plan was designed and written with the overall health and well-being of a person suffering from fibromyalgia. The plan includes:

  • Diet and meal plan suggestions
  • Aerobic and strength training exercises
  • Sleep better guide
  • De-stress and mental well-being tips
  • Pain management tips
  • And more!



Common Symptoms of FMS

Individuals who experience this disorder commonly ache all over, have symptoms of intense fatigue, and have specific tender points that can be painful to the touch. Fibromyalgia can negatively affect an individual's mood, level of restful sleep, and mental health. Other fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  • Aching joints and muscles
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Hypersensitivity to cold and/or hot stimuli
  • Inability to concentrate ("fibro fog")
  • Numbness in fingers and feet
  • Stiffness
  • Abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome 1

Where Does it Hurt: Common Tender Points

Doctors often check for specific fibromyalgia tender points on the body when diagnosing fibro. These areas ache just under the surface of the skin and hurt when pressed. Although fibro is usually categorized as "pain all over" there are several areas that are known consistently as common "tender points" 2, a few of these include:

  • Back of the neck
  • Front of the neck
  • Lower back
  • Upper back
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Chest
  • Hips
  • Knees 3

Where Does it Come From: Causes of Fibromyalgia

The cause of this condition is not yet known by doctors and researchers. There are a few factors that can work to increase the likelihood that someone has this disorder, some potential fibromyalgia causes include:

  • Genetics
  • Infections
  • Physical injury
  • Emotional Trauma 4

How Professionals Diagnose

If you are looking to prepare for your doctor's appointment it is important to bring a detailed list of your symptoms, information about medical problems you have had in the past, hereditary medical history, a list of medications and dietary supplements you take, and questions for the doctor.

If you experience widespread pain for more than three month with no underlying condition that could cause this pain it could result in a fibro diagnosis. A doctor may also check common tender points. There is no lab test that can confirm a diagnosis but a doctor may aim to rule out other conditions with a blood test. 1

Medications Used for Treatment

Medications can be used to reduce the pain or to help promote a better and more restful sleep. These medications include:

Pain relievers: Over-the-counter medication such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), and prescription medication such as tramadol (Ultram, Conzip) can help dim the pain caused by fibro. Narcotics are not recommended for fibro since they can worsen pain over time or result in dependence.

Antidepressants: Antidepressants can help ease pain, curb fatigue, and help with mood disorders associated with this condition.

Anti-seizure drugs: Medications that treat epilepsy have been proven to help alleviate symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Drugs such as Nerotin, Gralise, or Lyrica have been approved and can be prescribed for treatment. 5

Other Common Treatments

Self-care and natural treatments are often recommended for individuals suffering from fibromyalgia. Management is critical for alleviating symptoms of fibro. This management includes:

Alternative Drug-Free Treatments

Alternative medicine is a highly recognized and healthy alternative to prescription medicine and a positive addition to regular management. A few of these treatments include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage Therapy
  • Yoga and tai chi
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) Therapy

Pain-Relieving Exercises

Although the pain may discourage motivation to participation in physical activity, it has been proven that physical activity can help reduce symptoms and being inactive can worsen symptoms. The most effective fibromyalgia exercises include:

  • Walking frequently
  • Exercise in a pool
  • Regular stretching
  • Strength training (light-weight)
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi 6

The Pain-Relieving Fibro Diet

The symptoms of fibromyalgia that include pain, fatigue, and tender points can be eased by means of lifestyle changes and regular management, including daily diet. No foods or combination of foods has been proven to completely alleviate symptoms, yet studies have shown that individuals feel better when they eat certain types of foods. Keeping a food diary can help you identify which foods ease your symptoms. 7

Diet Considerations for FMS Sufferers

Fibromyalgia sufferers should make several considerations when choosing foods for their diet. A few considerations for a fibromyalgia diet include:

  • Consume 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Reduce caffeine consumption
  • Increase Omega-3 fatty acid intake
  • Avoid food additives
  • Take a Vitamin D supplement 8

Support Systems for Sufferers

Sufferers of fibro and other syndromes, conditions, and chronic diseases can benefit from cultivating support systems or interacting with individuals who have similar conditions. Organizations such as the National Fibromyalgia Association 9 or the Chronic Pain Association of Canada exist in order to provide people with support and resources to deal with their painful condition day to day.

Comprehensive Summary

Fibro is a condition that is characterized by widespread pain that manifests in smaller, localized tender areas. The cause is not known but a diagnosis can be determined based on symptoms which can include: widespread pain, tender spots, chronic fatigue, stiffness, headaches, lack of concentration, and numbness or tingling.

The most effective treatment involves both daily management and natural solutions such as daily exercise, a balanced diet, and massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, and TENS therapy. Finally, being educated, having access to resources, and maintaining a support system can further help individuals face their symptoms and live a healthy and happy life.

The Free Fibromyalgia Pain Management Plan

The Fibromyalgia Pain Management Plan was designed and written with the overall health and well-being of a person suffering from fibromyalgia. The plan includes:

  • Diet and meal plan suggestions
  • Aerobic and strength training exercises
  • Sleep better guide
  • De-stress and mental well-being tips
  • Pain management tips
  • And more!



More Fibromyalgia Content:

Fibromyalgia Causes: Where Did This Pain Come From?

Fibromyalgia Causes: Evidence That It’s Not Just In Your Head

Fibromyalgia Symptoms: How Do I Know If I Have Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia Diet: What to Eat & What to Avoid as a Fibromyalgia Sufferer

Fibromyalgia Exercises: Work Out Chronic Pain

The Fibromyalgia Exercise Plan

Fibromyalgia Tender Points: Where Does It Hurt?

Why is Fibromyalgia More Common In Women?

 

Sources:

  1. WebMD. "Fibromyalgia Health Center." Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/
  2. WebMD. "Fibromyalgia Tender Points." Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/guide/fibromyalgia-tender-points-trigger-points#1
  3. Health.com. "18 Points Used to Diagnose Fibromyalgia." Health. Retrieved from http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20345635,00.html
  4. Mayo Clinic. "Fibromyalgia Causes." Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/causes/con-20019243
  5. Mayo Clinic. "Treatments and drugs." Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/treatment/con-20019243
  6. Healthline. "Best Exercises for Fibromyalgia." Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-exercises-for-fibromyalgia-pain
  7. Watson, Stephanie (2013). "Fibromyalgia Diet: Eating to Ease Symptoms." Healthline. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/fibromyalgia-diet
  8. Prevention (2011). "5 Ways To Control Fibromyalgia With Diet." Retrieved from http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/diet-tips-fibromyalgia
  9. NFA. Retrieved from http://www.fmaware.org/
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