What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome that affects five millions of people (18 and over) in the United States. As awareness of fibromyalgia spreads, so do the questions. The purpose of this blog article is to answer basic and fundamental questions about the syndrome, with the overarching goal of spreading awareness and wellness. Information about fibromyalgia presented in this blog are derived from two sources: an article published on the U.S. Library of National Medicine (NCBI) website and an article published on the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by long-term pain exists throughout the body. Frequently, the pain is linked to anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep problems, and/or fatigue.  In addition to pain, there is often tenderness in the joints, tendons, muscles and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia is sometimes thought of as arthritis-related condition, although it is not a true form of arthritis because fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to muscles, joints, or other tissues. Fibromyalgia can be very painful and cause severe fatigue. Enough to interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities.
What causes fibromyalgia?
Research has been inconclusive, and the exact cause is unknown. The following are believed to be triggers of fibromyalgia:
  • Abnormal pain response (A  different neurological responses to pain than the general population)
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Infection (although, as of yet, none has been identified)
  • Illness
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Emotional or physical trauma
Who is at risk of having fibromyalgia?
It is most common among 20-50-year-old women, although it can effect anyone. Researchers are currently investigating the role of genetics.
According to NCBI, the following conditions “may be seen with fibromyalgia or have similar symptoms:
  • Chronic neck or back pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Lyme disease
  • Sleep disorders”
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The underlying symptoms of fibromyalgia is mild to severe chronic pain across the body. Additionally, there be by tender points, such as the soft tissue on the back of the neck, shoulders, or chest (among other areas) Pain spreads out from tender points. Pain can feel like shooting pain, aburning sensationpain, or a deep ache. Unlike Arthritis, the joints are not affected or harmed by fibromyalgia. Those afflicted with fibromyalgia often wake up sore and stiff. For some the pain alleviates during the day and returns at night, for some the pain remains consistent. Activity, cold weather, stress and anxiety may exacerbate the pain. Fatigue, sleep difficulties, and depressed emotions are a consistent among most people with fibromyalgia.
NCIB lists the following as additional symptoms of fibromyalgia:
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Tension or migraine headaches
In order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, one must have a minimum of widespread pain for three months, as well as at least one of the following:
  • Problems with sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking or remembering
How is fibromyalgia treated?
Treatment is designed to alleviate pain and other symptoms and assist individuals with coping with the symptoms, as there is currently no cure. Treatment may consist of physical therapy, exercise program, and stress-relief methods such as relaxation techniques and massage. Doctors may prescribe drugs, such as  antidepressants, sleep aids, muscle relaxants, Duloxetine (Cymbalta), pregabalin (Lyrica), or milnacipran (Savella) (the last three are drugs approved specifically for treating fibromyalgia). In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapy is significant part of treatment. According to NCBI, it will help individuals learn how to:
  • “Deal with negative thoughts
  • Keep a diary of pain and symptoms
  • Recognize what makes your symptoms worse
  • Seek out enjoyable activities
  • Set limits”
Individuals can also help to treat their fibromyalgia by doing the following
  • Sustaining from caffeine
  • Establishing a good sleep routine.
  • Regular exercise
  • Acupressure or acupuncture treatments
  • Consume a healthy and well-balanced diet.
For more information about fibromyalgia continue reading at www.niams.nih.gov. Kay’s Naturals can help you eat a well-balanced diet. All of our snacks are all-natural, gluten free, very low-sugar, and  are high in protein! To learn more, visit out website!

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