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.
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
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
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.
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