The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defines Fibromyalgia as a “chronic disorder that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body, as well as fatigue and trouble sleeping”.
Fibromyalgia syndrome changes how the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) processes both painful and non-painful signals, intensifying painful sensations.
Some common Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread pain, exhaustion, sleep disorders, memory loss, and mood swings.
Pain associated with fibromyalgia makes you feel achy all over. There could be “tender points” on your body that hurt regardless of your medication. Even if you haven’t exercised, your muscles may feel as if they have been overused. Your muscles might jerk sometimes. Other times, they may ache or burn with sharp discomfort.
Some fibromyalgia patients tend to experience chronic pain and stiffness in and around the joints of their neck, shoulders, backs, and hips. It is challenging to sleep or work out when experiencing this kind of pain.
Fibromyalgia pain, sometimes, seems never-ending. Patients experience chronic headaches, neck pain, achy joints, and sore areas that make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Fibromyalgia’s persistent sleep disturbance causes daily weariness, morning stiffness, and increasing aches.
Managing pain is difficult for Fibromyalgia patients who also have to care for family members and work full-time. More irritability and difficulties relating to others, including family, friends, and coworkers, are brought on by the ongoing discomfort.
The overwhelming emotions that come from all of these can result in anger, tiredness, anxiety, social isolation, and depression which can affect the overall quality of life of patients.
Effective treatments for Fibromyalgia pain
Healthcare providers frequently struggle to treat and diagnose fibromyalgia since the symptoms are similar to those of other illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
While there isn’t a single cure that addresses all symptoms, using a number of approaches can help in the long run.
Treating Fibromyalgia pain typically involves combining medicine with self-care techniques. The focus is majorly on providing pain relief in order to enhance overall health.
Sometimes, over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, which are available at pharmacies, can help lessen the pain fibromyalgia causes.
However, before using these types of medication are not suitable for everyone, so it is always advisable to read the manufacturer’s instructions before using.
Using narcotic pain relievers such as Opioids can also help reduce pain. These kinds of drugs are known for having components that are capable of changing the way the brain responds to pain.
Although Opioids help reduce pain severity, it is typically not advisable to use them to alleviate fibromyalgia pain.
This is due to the fact that opioid use can have some negative side effects that can cause other symptoms such as sleep issues, memory issues, and mood swings, which can exacerbate symptoms.
Antidepressant medications can help ease pain and other fibromyalgia symptoms even if you are not depressed. They do this by increasing some of the chemicals that help regulate pain in the body.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are some of the common forms of antidepressants that are commonly used to treat fibromyalgia.
Epilepsy medications may also help relieve Fibromyalgia pain. These drugs work by stopping the brain from receiving too many pain messages from sensitive nerves.
However, it should be noted that these drugs could have negative side effects such as dizziness, weight gain, and drowsiness.
Techniques used in physical therapy are designed to increase your range of motion and fortify your muscles. Additionally, this can lessen FM pain.
In order to assist patients to manage the pain and exhaustion on their own, therapists educate on self-care strategies. According to research, having knowledge on pain management can help improve exercise performance.
Dietary changes are usually not included in typical Fibromyalgia treatments, but favoring some foods over others, nevertheless, may help with managing symptoms.
Fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, foods that contain Vitamin D, are examples of food products people with fibromyalgia can incorporate in their diet to help alleviate pain.
Avoiding food that contains components like gluten, refined starch, and dairy products can also help to an extent.
Using alternative therapies and complementary medicine is another method that can be used to help patients with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia cope with pain through the use of stress management techniques.
Some of these treatments are becoming accepted by the majority of doctors and do seem to safely relieve pain and reduce stress. But because they haven’t been sufficiently researched, many techniques continue to be unproven.
Some examples include:
Acupuncture is a Chinese medical practice based on the insertion of extremely thin needles into the skin to varying depths in order to restore the proper balance of life energies. The needles are said to alter the flow of blood and neurotransmitter levels in the brain and spinal cord.
Some research suggests that acupuncture relieves the symptoms of fibromyalgia, while others find no benefit.
This involves moving the muscles and soft tissues in your body using various manipulative techniques. Massage can help reduce muscle tension, improve joint movement, and help increase the rate at which the body produces its natural painkillers.
Your heart rate can be lowered, your muscles can be relaxed, your joints can move more freely, and your body can produce more natural painkillers thanks to massage. It frequently relieves anxiety and stress.
YOGA AND TAI CHI
Practices like Yoga and Tai chi have been shown to help ease pain and reduce stress in fibromyalgia patients. They can also help develop muscle strength, and stamina.
These practices usually involve meditation, deep breathing exercises, and controlled movements.