Fibromyalgia is also referred to as myofascial pain syndrome which can cause extensive musculoskeletal pain, a sense of fatigue and exhaustion and numerous tender points on the body. These tender points are specific areas on the body like back, neck, shoulders, hips, arms and legs and hurt when pressure is exerted on them. Although 4 million Americans are affected by this syndrome, the majority of the affected individuals are women in their mid 30s to late 50s.
Contributory factors for fibromyalgia
The contributory cause of fibromyalgia is still a mystery that the researchers have been unable to unravel. Most researchers hold the belief that fibromyalgia is caused by a combination of triggering factors and its inception cannot be linked to a single event. Some of the possible causes of fibromyalgia are:
- Depression and anxiety
- Heredity and family history
- Sleep disorders
- Physical trauma
- Emotionally stressful event
- Sustaining injuries or infections
- Nerve cells become too sensitive
- Imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
The symptoms of fibromyalgia differ from one individual to other and they are mild or intense influencing different body parts at various times. But chronic pain is a universal symptom that is common to all individuals. The nature of the pain is:
- The pain may initiate in one particular area but then travel to other places.
- It is either a dull deep aching feeling or the pain may be experienced as sharp, shooting, stabbing accompanied by tingling, numbing or burning feeling.
Apart from chronic pain some of the other common fibro symptoms are
- Profound fatigue which causes a person to feel completely drained of energy at all times
- Disturbed sleep which results in the individual waking up tired and lackluster even after the night’s slumber
- Migraine headaches
- Muscle spasms and stiffness
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Depression, anxiety, stress
- Painful menstrual periods accompanied by extreme cramps
- Extreme sensitivity to touch, temperature and pain
- Fibro fog which means problems encountered in focusing, concentrating, recalling and thinking
Treatment of fibromyalgia
Symptoms of fibromyalgia simulate other diseases’ symptoms which is why fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed. Fibromyalgia has no known cure and although the symptoms are incapacitating and debilitating, fibromyalgia is not life threatening. There is no single or specific treatment plan that will treat all the symptoms of fibromyalgia which is why a combination of different approaches is prerequisite for alleviating the pain and discomfort which is associated with fibromyalgia. Here are some of the medical and alternative treatment options for fibromyalgia patient:
- Lyrica (anti-seizure medication), Cymbalta and Savella (both antidepressants) are the only three medications which have been approved by the FDA for fibromyalgia treatment. All three have shown their efficacy in diminishing the intensity of chronic pain. But sometimes, one medication which proves to be effective for one individual may be unsuccessful in treating the fibro pain of other individuals. This is why the doctor may prescribe a combination of antidepressants to relive pain, muscle stiffness and depression.
- Flexiril is a muscle relaxant which can effectively reduce the pain in the muscles and help improve sleep quality.
- Neurontin (gabapentin) has also shown to be effective in treatinf fibro symptoms.
- Apart from medications, adopting healthy lifestyle changes can also have a positive impact on a person’s overall health and well-being. Exercise has been touted to be overloaded with health benefits for all individuals and especially for those who suffer from as crippling a disease as fibromyalgia. Exercise not only helps to keep the muscles toned, conditioned and functioning but it also alleviates fatigue, uplifts the mood, allays depression, improves mental clarity and help the fibro patient sleep better.
- Complementary treatment methods like acupuncture, myofascial release, massage therapy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, reiki and supplementing the diet with vitamins and essential nutrients are also some of the ways by which a fibro patient can find relief from the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Making healthy food choices and limiting the intake of unhealthful food choices can also bring some improvement in the symptoms because ingesting proper nutrition bolsters immunity and strengthens the capability of the body to fight better with the symptoms.
The role of D-ribose (Corvalen) in treating fibromyalgia
D-ribose has become the contemporary fibro treating nutrient and has garnered a lot of popularity recently. D-ribose is a naturally occurring sugar which is involved in the production of ATP-the principal energy fuel that is utilized by every single cell in the body for producing energy. Advocates of D-ribose assert that it can lower the intensity of pain, enhance mental clarity and power, improve the overall sense of well-being and bolster the performance of heart. Supplementing with D-ribose can restore the energy balance of the cells and boost muscle energy. D-ribose is employed by folks who are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia and is also taken by athletes to improve their performance and exercise endurance. The recommended dosage is 5 grams 2-3 times daily between meals.