Fibromylagia is a long term and chronic, systemwide breakdown. Between the words “long term”. “chronic” and “systemwide”, you can guess how people who have this disorder feel. Literally, the word fibromylagia means a pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons – all simultaneously and accompanied by an entourage of secondary issues. These include fatigue, sleep issues, memory problems and mood changes.
Basically, this means it affects us physically, mentally, physiologically, emotionally and of course socially.
Let’s just say that fibromylagia affects every aspect of our lives often taking its toll on our work performance, relationships, self worth and appearance.
I think it is important to say that there are many articles, theories and self help guides for those suffering from fibromylagia because there is no test to confirm that someone has this disorder, nor currently any cure!
There are however, researchers who have done case studies and patients themselves who share the ways and means we have found to cope with fibromyalgia. Basically we all use a combination of medication, exercise, relaxation techniques, counselling and fibro-friendly food.
Having said that fibromyalgia has a variety of symptoms, it is also important to note that this varies from person to person. There is no consistency of symptoms in this disorder but a diagnosis can be based on widespread pain and tenderness, chronic fatigue and a general sense of feeling unwell.
The most frequently used test is the elimination test. If it not anything else, then it might just be Fibromyalgia.
In the earlier years, tenderness was used as a test for fibromylagia. The pain had to be distributed in all four quadrants of the body – front and back, without any need for symmetry. However, more recently this has been discarded and the diagnosis is now based as mentioned above, on
- excessive pain messages based on changes in the central nervous system
- an extreme sensitivity to pain which can be described as hyperalgesia and allodynia
- poor sleep quality
- fibro fog or cognitive and memory problems
- Irritable Bowel and other digestive issues
To make this enigma of a disorder even more difficult to pin-point, there is also no actual known cause of fibromyalgia. Some of the main factors known to cause, contribute and trigger off fibromyalgia can be
- an injury
- child birth / pregnancy
- breakdown of a relationship
- death of a loved on
- being or having been in an abusive relationship
- viral infection
So, what are the different ways to deal with this dreaded disorder?
- you first rule out other possibilities such as lupus, clinical depression, rheumatism and thyroid problems – this does not mean that fibromyalgia does not or cannot co-exist with these diseases, it just makes it even more difficult to diagnose.
- medication – usually comprising of pain killers, anti depressants and other symptom related drugs.
- therapy – physical therapy to strengthen the muscles, meditation to help with stress, counselling for what might have caused the fibromyalgia and on keeping yourself positive and also going through life style changes with the help of a coach or counsellor.
- alternative medicine – since there is neither a test nor a cure, this seems to be a very popular choice among patients. Accupuncture, accupressure and massage therapy, yoga, tai chi and meditation seem to give positive results in managing the symptoms and minimizing the flares.
- lifestyle and food changes – on this point, I can go on and on and frankly, a lot of this blog is about this!
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