Fibromyalgia is a long term, chronic condition that can cause pain all over the body, fatigue, and cognitive problems. People with fibromyalgia syndrom (FMS) tend to have a heightened sense of pain. This feeling is sometimes described as a constant muscle ache. A person having FMS tends to have pain in specific areas of the body, known as tender points, that are extremely sensitive and painful. Even the slightest pressure on the tender points can cause pain.
Anyone can develop FMS, although it affects around 7 times as many women as men. The condition typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50, but can occur in people of any age. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system processes pain messages carried around the body.
FMS – symptoms and diagnosis
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread pain throughout the body and a heightened painful response to pressure at many tender points on the body. Individuals with FMS may also experience moderate to severe fatigue; difficulty sleeping; joint stiffness; headaches; tingling, numbness, or a burning or prickling sensation in hands and feet; painful menstrual periods; irritable bowel; problems with thinking and memory.
Pain and fatigue are symptoms of many conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. As the symptoms of fibromyalgia overlap with those of many other conditions, diagnosing FMS can be difficult. There is no blood test, other lab or diagnostic test, or imaging study that can identify FMS. That’s why doctors must rule out other possible causes of symptoms like pain and fatigue before making a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia – treatment
There’s no cure for fibromyalgia, but treatments are available that may help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment tends to be a combination of drugs prescription and alternative and complimentary therapies.
- Pain management – standard treatments for the symptoms of FMS include pain killers, antidepressants, and antiseizure drugs. There’s no cure-all pill for your FMS, some drugs ease the aches and pains, while others may boost your energy or improve your sleep. As evident, these methods are palliative and mask the symptoms instead of addressing the root of the problem. Long-term use of these drugs can cause severe side-effects. Each fibromyalgia drug has its own side effects, ranging from mild to serious. You and your doctor will work together to figure out the right medicine to keep your symptoms under control.
Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of treatment for chronic pain and is based on ancient Chinese medical practices. There have been several studies on the usefulness of acupuncture as a therapy for fibromyalgia symptoms. A 2018 trial suggested that acupuncture causes changes in the levels of two neurotransmitters, brain chemicals, that are key to fibromyalgia. Serotonin that is involved in pain processing, the sleep/wake cycle, alertness, appetite, sex drive, mood, and digestion. Its activity is believed to be low in fibromyalgia. And the substance P, released when nerve cells detect painful stimuli and is related to the pain threshold – how sensitive you are to pain. Levels are believed to be elevated in fibromyalgia.
- Lifestyle changes – plays a huge role in managing the FMS. Keep in mind, that the best approach to being physically active when you have fibromyalgia is to start low and go slow. Gentle stretching and aerobic exercise can relieve pain and prevent deconditioning or getting weaker from lack of exercise. It can also improve sleep.
Yoga – during yoga, your body goes through a full range and variety of motion that can counteract aches and pains, usually associated with tension or poor postural habits. Another key benefit of yoga is that it helps with stress. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and the impact of symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Diet. There is no one “fibromyalgia diet” that works for everyone with fibromyalgia. Foods that trigger fibromyalgia pain vary from person to person, and what may worsen your symptoms may not have the same effect on someone else. To figure out what foods to avoid, you may want to try an elimination diet and keep a detailed food diary to track your symptoms. Avoiding foods that can trigger fibromyalgia pain may help you feel better. Eating more whole, anti-inflammatory foods, may help improve your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Making dietary changes can ease fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly when is provided a good sources of vitamin D and include foods high in magnesium. Eat more plant-based diet. Boost your Omega-3 intake including fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseed in your diet. Foods such as almonds, beans, oatmeal and avocado can help boost your energy throughout the day, helping with tiredness that occurs as a result of the condition. Foods to avoid if you suffer from fibromyalgia are processed foods, refined carbohydrates, oily fired foods, alcohol, caffeine, red meat, nightshade fruits and vegetables.
- Homeopathy and acupuncture. Homeopathy and Acupuncture are brunches of holistic medicine. The word holistic means “dealing with the whole.” From this definition, we understand holistic medicine involves the wellness of the whole person. By treating the person as a whole and not just “treat the symptom”, homeopathy and acupuncture allow us to really target the root issue and allow the patient to return to optimal health.
Homeopathy offers a natural treatment for fibromyalgia and help alleviate the symptoms and treat the problem for long-term relief. Homeopathic remedies don’t have side effects and are made of natural substances that are safe for use. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person’s constitutional type, includes your physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual.
Acupuncture works by stimulating and activating several mechanisms in the body such as peripheral and central nervous systems; immune system’s inflammatory response, endogenous opioid system – a natural pain-relieving mechanism in the nervous system, pain inhibition system in the central nervous system, which is believed to be dysfunctional in fibromyalgia. Acupuncture is believed to correct neuroendocrine dysfunctions by stimulating endorphins in the midbrain. Endorphins have multiple homeostatic effects on the neuroendocrine system and are known to reduce pain, improve mood, and increase the patient’s sense of well-being. The number of sessions a person may require will depend on the symptoms and their severity.
Acupuncture has many potential health benefits for fibromyalgia, including: lower pain levels, better sleep, immune system regulatory effect, enhanced relaxation, better overall health. Acupuncture therapy has several advantages over conventional fibromyalgia treatments, such as: low risk and no negative interactions with drugs or supplements.
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat, and a combination of treatments may be necessary to control your symptoms. If you’re having trouble finding relief for your fibromyalgia pain, it may be worth trying acupuncture and homeopathy.
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