Fibromyalgia is chronic pain originating mainly in the muscle, but not caused by tissue damage. This is different from the pain of a bruise or overuse injury. Because of the nerves involved, there is increased pain with movement and fibromyalgia is aggravated when muscles are strenuously used.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
- Chronic, widespread pain
- Moderate to extreme fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Sensitivity to touch, light, and sound
- Decreased memory/thinking skills
“This isn’t an exhaustive list,” noted Susan Julian, NP and certified functional medicine practitioner. “Many people also find that digestive issues, lupus, and arthritis overlap with fibromyalgia symptoms.”
What is the pain of fibromyalgia like?
According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, the pain of fibromyalgia is profound, chronic and widespread. It can affect all parts of the body and vary in intensity, often described as stabbing and shooting pain and deep muscular aching, throbbing, and twitching. Those who have fibromyalgia often notice neurological symptoms like numbness, tingling, and burning. The severity of the pain and stiffness is often worse in the morning. Aggravating factors that affect pain include cold/humid weather, non-restorative sleep, physical and mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress.
What about sleep patterns?
While the pain leads to fatigue, the condition is worsened by an associated sleep disorder that many people with fibromyalgia face. The National Fibromyalgia Association details that medical researchers have documented specific and distinctive abnormalities in the Stage 4 deep sleep of people who have fibromyalgia. During sleep, they are constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity, robbing them of restful, restorative sleep.
What causes fibromyalgia?
While the cause of fibromyalgia isn’t known, new research is helping to uncover the basic mechanisms of the condition. Most researchers consider fibromyalgia to be central processing disorder, and scientific studies are showing that fibromyalgia patients have multiple physiological abnormalities in common. Genetic factors may play a role in one’s predisposition to fibromyalgia. The onset of fibromyalgia can be slow, but for many people the condition is triggered by an illness or injury that caused trauma to the body.
How is fibromyalgia treated?
Treatment for fibromyalgia must be multifocal. In traditional medicine, treatment might involve medications for pain, sleep, and moods, as well as therapy of some type. Lifestyle modifications may also be addressed so the person can manage this condition for life.
In the functional medicine realm, the whole person is evaluated with a systems biology approach. At Julian Healthcare this begins with an hour-long appointment of listening to the story. From there we might discuss testing adrenal/thyroid/reproductive hormones, as well as testing for nutrient and metabolic levels. We would discuss gut microbiota (the good and bad bacteria, parasites, candida) and the role diet plays. Toxins and damaged mitochondria will also be considered.
In addition to these factors, we would address sleep. We also discuss referral for craniosacral therapy, massage, acupuncture, medical Reiki treatments, meditation and yoga practices. When we determine what the root causes of the fibromyalgia are, a personalized treatment plan can be devised with the goal to restore the person to wholeness.
“We want to bring hope to people who have fibromyalgia,” shared Susan. “Through a comprehensive approach, we have helped many people lessen the impact this condition has on their lives or eliminate it altogether.”
If you or someone you know suffers from fibromyalgia, please call 765-530-8008 to set up an initial consultation.
Source: National Fibromyalgia Association- http://www.fmaware.org/new-home-page/