Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 22 November 2015





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 Health Byte

Outwitting the pain of fibromyalgia

The root cause of fibromyalgia is still a mystery. And since it is a term applied to non-specific chronic pain at different locations on the body, it is hard to pin down.

Theories of links to viruses and infections, emotional disorders associated with decreased opioid receptor activity, and physical trauma are in abundance. Some suggest fibromyalgia to be the body's reaction to stress or its abnormal response to it.

The pain of fibromyalgia

And like classic migraine sufferers, those with fibromyalgia are sensitive to sounds, an indication of a possible abnormality in sensory processing by the central nervous system.

Research by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) in the USA has shown that people with fibromyalgia have reduced blood flow to parts of the brain that normally help the body deal with pain.The symptoms of fibromyalgia include painful tender points at nearly a dozen places on the body, generalized body and joint aches and fatigue. The pain of these symptoms can be in various places spread over the body, including the legs, hips, shoulders, neck and back. Sufferers often describe their aches and pains like a deep fatigue after a tough workout. Twitching, burning and throbbing muscles and stabbing pain are familiar descriptions. And while sleep and exercise are good for easing and reducing symptoms, the symptoms themselves make it difficult to sleep and exercise. It's a catch-22.

Tips for outwitting symptoms

While there are a handful of fibromyalgia symptoms, none of them are unique to this disease. This is good news, because you can address prevention of these symptoms and reduction of symptomatic severity by addressing each one in terms of their common triggers. And most of the symptoms lead to pain. Let's look at some of the best ways to outwit symptoms.

Reduce stress - Stress is a slow killer. It seizes the body, constricts blood flow, tenses muscles, causes foggy memory, irritable bowel and poor digestion, insomnia and poor eating and drinking habits. Stress causes pain and exasperates the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Reducing stress can in turn reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and this can be accomplished with methods like, Mindfulness Meditation, self-hypnosis, exercise, sleep and relaxation.

Reduce inflammation - Inflammation is a silent killer, responsible for many diseases including stroke, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, migraines, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

There are many causes of inflammation, including diet (packaged foods, omega-6 fatty acids, sugar, caffeine and alcohol), lack of sleep, stress, injury and environmental factors. You can reduce inflammation by getting ample sleep, eating organic, whole foods, consuming thermogenic spices (e.g., ginger, turmeric and garlic), meditating and exercising.

Engage in low-impact exercise - While it seems counter-intuitive, because with fibromyalgia the body is already inflamed and in pain, exercising every day is an important method for symptomatic relief. Low-intensity exercises like walking, biking, water aerobics, tai chi and yoga can be the perfect way to increase blood flow, reduce muscle contraction and stiffness, reduce stress and increase those feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin.

Get regular sound sleep - Sleep is essential to everyone, no matter if they are healthy or ill. And if you suffer from a pain disease like fibromyalgia, sleep is even more important, yet hard to get. When your body is in pain, it hurts to sleep on it and the pain wakes you up. But without sleep your body can't efficiently repair itself, produce more serotonin and metabolize stress hormones. Lack of sleep also causes pain.

Take supplements - Fibromyalgia decreases mood, causes stress, and can lead to depression and a sense of despair. There are several supplements that naturally help reduce inflammation and pain while also elevating mood. These include omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), curcumin (active ingredient in turmeric), feverfew, St. John's wort, Sam-e and drinking chamomile tea can relax.

- Easy Health Options



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