What is Fibromyalgia Disease and what causes Fibromyalgia or Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)? The answer is the cause is not completely understood. What we do know is Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain that can be in up to 18 tender points located throughout the body. These pain points are similar in almost all patients. Doctors rely on a grouping of at least 11 of these tender points along with a discussion about other symptoms, including genetic factors, sleep patterns, IBS, headaches, jaw pain, anxiety or depression and frequent or painful urination before making a diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia affects about 4% of the population worldwide. It is most often diagnosed in middle age but most likely begins much earlier in life. The exact cause is unknown but appears to be genetic and linked with how the brain and spinal cord process pain signals. Symptoms include: fatigue, waking unrefreshed, cognitive symptoms, lower abdominal pain or cramps, depression, insomnia and a general hypersensitivity.
Many people with fibromyalgia have bouts of nervous energy followed by bouts of lethargy. What causes the pain appears to result from processes in the central nervous system that may affect the myelin sheath on the nerves. When the myelin sheath pits it exposes more of the nerve, similar to what happens with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Unlike MS the nerves do not scar nor stay permanently exposed and seems to heal between flare-ups. Fibromyalgia does not cause permanent tissue damage nor death.
Other diseases with similar symptoms are: Polymyalgia rheumatica, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and thyroid disease. Fibromyalgia can many times be in combination with other health issues. My fibromyalgia diagnosis came as a result of years of chronic symptoms, combined with a gene mutation called MTHFR, found when my family did DNA testing. Arthritis is another disease many times in combination with Fibromyalgia.
Medications and Supplements
The medications most often prescribed are: Duloxetine, milnacipran, pregabalin, gabapentin. The use of these medications are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) although their effectiveness is highly debated by physicians. Other medications include anti-depressants in the form of serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol and Aspirin, and muscle relaxants.
Supplements known to improve pain are: Q10 coenzyme, vitamin D, Optimized Folate (Vit B9), Turmeric, Ashwagandha & L-Phenylalanine.All of these supplements support your nervous system and contribute to mood enhancement.
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CoQ10 is an antioxidant and helps reduce the frequency of headaches &migraines, relieves muscle pain, and support cardiovascular health.
Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and has neuroprotective properties, supports immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity. High Dose Vitamin D any brand you prefer.
Optimized Folate (Vit B9)
Helps your body form RNA and DNA that tell your cells what to do, helps the gene MTHFR enzyme to do its job and is an essential supplement for those with a MTHFR gene mutation, reduces risk of certain types of cancers, helps breakdown homocysteine a protein that increases risk of cardiovascular disease. Optimized Folate any brand you prefer.
Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family. Turmeric can be consumed fresh, boiled or dried. Benefits include joint support, brain health, has anti-inflammatory properties and supports heart health. Turmeric any brand you prefer.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety, Reduces Inflammation, Helps Improve Memory and Focus, Can help regulate the Menstrual Cycle, Acts as a Sexual Stimulant, Contributes to Heart Health, Helps to Combat Vaginal Infections. Ashwagandha on Amazon or any brand you prefer.
Is a component in the production of the neurotransmitters’ norepinephrine and dopamine, which are essential for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system. It’s my version of the happy pill Prozac. L Phenylalanine or any brand you prefer.
Along with a recommendation for sufficient sleep and light exercise. It is important to note that many people who suffer from Fibromyalgia find exercise exhausting instead of invigorating. Strengthening exercises, walking, swimming, yoga and other meditative exercise is preferable to high impact and cardio style exercise. I personally use a Vibration Platform 3x a week as my form of exercise. Fibromyalgia does not affect life expectancy but it definitely affects quality of life in those who suffer. Environmental factors seem to include psychological stress, trauma, certain infections, and can be aggravated by allergies.
Additional Resources for Relief
Fibromyalgia affects the muscle and fibrous connective tissue of the body, therapeutic treatments such as acupuncture, deep tissue massage, and fascia massage can offer relief. Hot water soaks in a bath, drinking calming tea like Chamomile & Green Tea, eating Dark Chocolate, Ginger, Yogurt, and adding Turmeric to your diet, will benefit your nerves and help with symptoms and reduce pain & anxiety.
Many people find a huge reduction in symptoms when they adapt their lifestyle and diet to nurture their nervous system. I highly recommend Allergy testing and incorporating the AI (Anti-Inflammatory) diet as a method for finding the foods and environmental toxins that exasperate your symptoms. Fibromyalgia symptoms are best tackled with a multi-discipline approach, it may take a combination of approaches. However with the right protocol you can minimize flare-ups and reduce your chromic pain to much lower levels.
In conclusion, light exercise, massage, taking key supplements and maintaining a diet free of the foods you have sensitivity/allergies to does work. Although there is no cure, you can keep your flare-ups under control. I was able to limit my flare-ups and chronic pain down to about 2 minor bouts a year vs chronic with monthly flare-ups and weekly migraine headaches. More information is available in the post Fibromyalgia – My story
Anti Inflammatory Diet Cookbook – The Anti Inflammatory Diet Cookbook: No Hassle 30-Minute Recipes to Reduce Inflammation
Complete Anti Inflammatory Diet for Beginners – The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners: A No-Stress Meal Plan with Easy Recipes to Heal the Immune System
There is now a lot of information available to help you on your journey. A few tools that can help you determine your unique needs are:
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Although, I still get the occasional flare up of symptoms. I have managed through diet, supplements, and reading my body to keep the flareups short-lived and under control. My mind set of “I’m too busy living to be sick” has also helped me on my journey.
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