Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition that manifests in widespread pain throughout the body and tenderness when touched. It can accompany other symptoms such as genetics, emotional stress, and chemical sensitivities. While fibromyalgia symptoms vary from person to person, individuals commonly experience a heightened sensitivity to pain caused by pressure on the muscular-skeletal system, including muscles, joints, and fibrous tissue.
Treatment plans may include medication prescribed by a doctor, relaxation techniques, and diet changes. Pain relief medications are one of the main ways fibromyalgia can be managed daily. Diagnosing fibromyalgia is often tricky as it is based on symptoms rather than tests. To properly diagnose this condition, your doctor will consider your health history, physical exam results, and lifestyle factors such as diet.
It is estimated that genetics may be responsible for up to 70 percent of a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Those from families with a history of fibromyalgia may also be predisposed to developing it. Still, environmental stressors should also be considered if you believe you or someone you know may have the illness.
Research has found that infectious agents trigger the body's innate immune system, which can then lead to changes in the peripheral nervous system, potentially resulting in rising levels of pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Infectious agents that trigger fibromyalgia vary, from viruses like Epstein-Barr or parvovirus to bacteria such as Lyme disease or mycoplasma pneumonia.
Those who experience emotional trauma can be at a risk of developing fibromyalgia due to physical or emotional changes in their bodies and minds. Evidence suggests emotional stress may contribute to the condition's development by changing how nerves transmit pain signals around the body and altering how people manage pain related to emotional distress.
People who have chemical sensitivities often react differently to common chemicals than the average person. Exposure to chemical irritants such as those found in cleaning products, gasoline vehicles, artificial fragrances, and food additives can trigger fibromyalgia symptoms.
There are several symptoms which can be a sure sign of fibromyalgia. A doctor will use the symptoms to make an informed call on diagnosis. Some symptoms to look out for include:
Depending on your personal health needs and goals, a prescription medication plan may be developed to ensure you receive the best care and treatment.
Relaxation techniques help promote relaxation, reduce stress and tension, and aid in calming the mind and body. Standard relaxation techniques include guided meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation – each allowing you to control your physical state with conscious effort. The methods help to reduce inflammation, activate natural pain relief endorphins, prevent stress from escalating into pain flares, and help improve sleep quality in those with fibromyalgia.
Diet modifications have been associated with improved physical function, decreased severity of pain, and reduced fatigue, which can be experienced in fibromyalgia cases. A balanced nutritional intake is essential in achieving positive outcomes through dietary changes such as increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat meats, and dairy products while avoiding processed foods high in sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Dietary adjustments allow individuals to take more control over their health by providing their bodies with the vitamins and nutrients they need to energize and heal.