By Melissa Miller, Master Bodysculpting Specialist
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals. Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event. Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.
While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.
The primary symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Widespread pain. The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache that has lasted for at least three months. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
- Fatigue. People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties. A symptom commonly referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.
Many researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation causes the brain and spinal cord of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain. In addition, the brain’s pain receptors seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become sensitized, meaning they can overreact to painful and nonpainful signals.
There are likely many factors that lead to these changes, including:
- Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
- Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
- Physical or emotional events. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical event, such as a car accident. Prolonged psychological stress may also trigger the condition.
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Stress management. Develop a plan to avoid or limit overexertion and emotional stress. Allow yourself time each day to relax. That may mean learning how to say no without guilt. But try not to change your routine completely. People who quit work or drop all activity tend to do worse than those who remain active. Try stress management techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation.
- Sleep hygiene. Because fatigue is one of the main components of fibromyalgia, getting good quality sleep is essential. In addition to allotting enough time for sleep, practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day and limiting daytime napping.
- Exercise regularly. At first, exercise may increase your pain. But doing it gradually and regularly often decreases symptoms. Appropriate exercises may include walking, swimming, biking and water aerobics. A physical therapist can help you develop a home exercise program. Stretching, good posture and relaxation exercises also are helpful.
Treatments in office
- IV drip therapy. At L Aesthetics and Longevity there are a few treatments that could help relieve some of the symptoms that you might experience due to Fibromyalgia. IV drips made to order by our medical staff are a good way to boost your system. Vitamin C, hydrating fluids, and others can be used all in an effort to ease your symptoms.
- Infrared Cocoon. Our infrared cocoon located at L Aesthetics and Longevity in Leander can be very helpful in relieving some pain and inflammation in the body. Infrared light heats your body up from the inside—so infrared sauna pods are basically like typical saunas except minus the heat that gets intolerable so quickly. The infrared sauna pod heats you, not the air. By doing so, they enhance metabolic function, stimulate the production of collagen, de-stress, detoxify, and assist in the recovery of pain, injury, and illness by dilating blood vessels to increase circulation and deliver oxygen throughout your body. If you are interested in coming in for a complimentary treatment, Call L Aesthetics and Longevity at 512-505-8645 to get started.