Fibromyalgia is a widespread ailment among Americans and it’s characterized as pain throughout the entire body, along with a slew of other irritating side effects that often last the entire day. Although there are many theories as to why people get fibromyalgia, it seems to be caused mainly due to stresses in life, whether that be the physical or mental type. Post traumatic stress disorder has been linked to fibromyalgia as well, and some doctors have connected it to genetics reporting that it has been known to be passed down through genetic mutations.
Fibromyalgia affects over 3 million people in United States, which is definitely upsetting since to date the ailment has no cure. As far as treatments are concerned, many use dietary changes, some track their sleep schedules, and others have great success with prescription medications. Always start with the least invasive treatments or actions first to treat your fibromyalgia symptoms. Holistic remedies have really started to gain followers by healing the body with a more natural approach.
Here are the 10 most common symptoms of fibromyalgia:
Muscle spams seem to be one of the more irritating symptoms of the condition as you experience not only pain but sudden and intense spasms throughout your muscles.
It can often be worse at night as the spasms will happen without warning. Taking a warm bath and using any muscle relaxers that your doctor can prescribe can often provide excellent relief for those suffering with fibromyalgia related muscle spasms.
Headaches that happen with fibromyalgia are often similar to migraines as they are intense and very painful.
Due to the chronic pain in your body and joints it can lead to constant headaches. Patients that commonly suffer from headaches related to fibro report that they can often spot one developing a mile away as they have triggers that bring them on. If this is the case for you, such as eating cheese, or too much chocolate, then try to avoid those foods or actions that often force a headache to develop.
If you continue to get the headaches still avoiding the triggers, then speak with your physician about the possible use of migraine prescription medications. Botox injections have recently been very successful for many headache stricken patients as well.
The single most obvious sign of fibromyalgia is pain.
It can happen all over the body and will come and go randomly. Many experience pain that is related to weather changes. Some report they experience pain for months at a time. As you can imagine, this can be a debilitating ailment if you have to somehow manage your pain for weeks at a time through going to work and outside engagements.
Pain may be decreased by using over the counter medications, or by using heated patches that often have menthol in them that attach right to the skin on the affected area. They are a relatively cheap price to pay for a few hours of pain relief.
The pain that is often associated with fibromyalgia sometimes leaves tenderness in the areas, especially within the joints.
This tenderness can be sore to the touch, and be a challenge to do things such as shower, or even wear clothing over the sore areas.
Taking a warm bath with some Epsom salt can usually start to make the tenderness subside. Pairing it up with some anti-inflammatory medications can provide additional help to tender spots. If you do find bruises developing in the tender areas, this may be as a result of something else not related to fibromyalgia.
Many people who experience fibromyalgia also suffer from depression. It’s no surprise that it happens as many people become depressed due to the chronic pain and fatigue associated with this condition.
It can be challenging to combat fibro related depression, as it runs concurrent with how severe the patient’s pain and other symptoms may be during a particular time. If you are having lots of pain that doesn’t seem to easily decrease, it can certainly be understandable why someone would feel saddened.
Try to focus on what makes you feel positive and secure during your fibro flare ups. Support groups, or online pages that connect patients living with the same illnesses can often be a great place to start. Medications and therapy are the go-to next steps if the traditional self-help methods are not successfully helping your depression at home.
Fibromyalgia commonly causes patients to be unable to sleep regularly and when they do, it is a light sleep that can be easily ended by the slightest pain sensation.
Fibro patients all over the world generally have some form of pain induced insomnia. After so many days in a row of not getting ample rest you can definitely start to feel like your living in slow motion. Lack of sleep only worsens symptoms of pain and joint aching, so this can be a real dilemma for fibro men and women.
Track your sleep patterns by writing them down in a journal, or by using a device that has the ability to track rest such as a Fitbit. Once you’ve identified a sleep deficiency, definitely review your tracking homework with either your family doctor, or with a sleep specialist.
Memory loss and brain fog often accompany pain and other symptoms for those suffering from fibromyalgia.
Not surprising since patients typically experience a great loss of sleep with the condition. You can often feel like you are in a fog as you go about day to day activities, many actually describe it to be similar to a child living with some form of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Doctors often ask of their fibro patients to make sleep and their diets a huge priority in order to help better manage these challenges with their mental clarity.
There is a connection to irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia as the pain and stiffness is common in both.
If you have one, typically you have both. This can cause diarrhea, pain in the abdominal area as well as painful constipation. It’s a troublesome symptom as it makes it hard for you to have regular bowel movements.
Many found success through dietary adjustments such as adding more fiber, or going on a raw, or plant based diet. Others increased their water consumption, or started taking Yoga or Pilates to help lower stress from having fibromyalgia, which leads often to these common bowel issues.
Stiffness and pain in joints are very common with fibromyalgia. It can definitely worsen if you are sitting/standing for extended periods of time, or when you first get up in the morning.
Doing some basic stretches in the morning just as you wake up can be relieving for this symptom. It gets the blood flowing to the aching joints, and tells your brain to wake up and get started with your day! Throughout the day you can try to manage the stiffness with hot baths, over the counter pain medications, or by treating yourself to a massage. Others use nontraditional methods such as swapping out their chair at their office desk for a huge inflated exercise ball. This forces the body to take actions such as correcting your posture, and flexing those muscles all day long that can often succumb to a very sedentary day job resulting in joint pain at night.
Women with fibromyalgia commonly report they have terrible periods that are extremely painful due to constant cramping.
Many women also advise that they experience pain during intercourse with their partners. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and with the menstrual pain- to time off of work as well. Using a hot water bottle, or heating pad over your abdominal area when fighting off painful cramps can definitely help. Drink lots of water, and ensure that you are getting in plenty of iron during this time if you tend to lose a high amount of blood to avoid fainting, or energy loss.
Fibromyaglia is something that can cause a lifestyle change for the patient in order to decrease their symptoms. Always tell your doctor what works, and what just wasn’t that successful so that you work together to find a routine that makes your life livable with fibromyalgia.