What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome of FMS in short is an incurable chronic pain condition. When you suffer from FMS, everything feels like it hurts, and for most, or all of the time. Everything about you can feel like its irritated and pain is amplified from your head to your feet and everything in between.
This makes understanding Fibromyalgia difficult. Not only for the sufferer but also their family and friends. You can’t tell just by looking at someone if they have FMS. Yet it is a syndrome that wreaks havoc internally and its debilitating affects can absolutely transform a person’s life and completely shut it down.
What Is The Source Of All Of This Pain?
What Is Fibromyalgia Exactly? The constant and widespread pain of FMS, is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system. It is believed to be a condition that changes your biochemistry, and disrupts the way the body perceives and communicates pain.
This disruption manifests into a large and varied range of symptoms that not only cause severe, body wide pain but also emotional distress.
Examples Of Fibromyalgia Signs And Symptoms:
- Chronic Widespread Pain, Often Accompanied By Numbness, Tingling & Burning
- Sleep Problems
- Hypersensitivity to Touch, Bright Lights &/or Sounds
- Fibro Fog
You can find more signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia with our Fibromyalgia symptom checklist.
Sensitivity To Touch
In addition to these, one of the most common and predominant symptoms of Fibromyalgia, is hypersensitivity to light touch. This acute pain can strike the body anywhere but is most commonly prevalent in specific areas of the body.
These areas are known as Fibromyalgia tender points. When touched, these extremely painful points can cause an intense, or sharp pain. Sometimes these tender points can be so severe, they can still be felt for days or even a week after being touched.
Fibromyalgia Understanding & The Musculoskeletal System
Another of the most common set of symptoms of FMS affects the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is made of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissue. It provides support, stability and movement of the body.
The musculoskeletal systems of people who have Fibromyalgia are usually not very healthy. Instead they are plagued with chronic muscular pain that includes twitching, spasming, or burning and tingling sensations in muscles, ligaments and connective tissue.
These unhealthy muscles produce extremely painful muscle knots that create trigger points that are not only painful at the source, but also create referred pain in other areas of the body.
What Is Fibromyalgia & A Fibro Flare?
For the most part, people with Fibromyalgia live with their symptoms on an ongoing basis. However, when their usual symptoms increase in severity, the sufferer then endures what is known as a Fibromyalgia flare.
A flare is an intense period of pain that well goes over a sufferer’s regular pain threshold. Even though an FM sufferer may feel pain on an everyday basis, a flare is when the level of pain goes up by more than one notch. A flare can last for 24 hours or even several months.
What make’s Fibromyalgia even more complex is the many conditions it can coexist with or have a common connection to. These can cause further complications of the body and can make diagnosing Fibromyalgia more difficult.
Some of these overlapping conditions can include:
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- MPS (Myofascial Pain Syndrome)
- CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
- Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Gulf War Syndrome
- Hypermobility Syndrome
- Lyme Disease
- Intestinal Cystitis
What Is Fibromyalgia Caused By?
Another reason that FMS is so complex is that there is no definitive root for it. There are actually quite a few theories behind what causes Fibromyalgia, however the two most common are believed to be:
Injury To The Musculoskeletal or Nervous systems:
Some believe this mysterious syndrome is can be caused if the sufferer has been involved in an accident, such as a car crash, or if they have experienced some other sort of physical trauma.
Severe Emotional Distress:
In contrast to this, there is also evidence that Fibromyalgia can be caused by severe emotional stress. This could be from a difficult past or as a result of physical or sexual abuse in childhood.
The theory behind this is that these profound emotional wounds can evolve into deep feelings of physical pain. As it is well known that negative thoughts and emotional distress can cause great strain on the physical body and lead to intense muscle tension and widespread pain.
Who Does It Affect?
Fibromyalgia affects a staggering 7% of the worlds population and 90% of those are women.
It is becoming more and more common, and while it may be new to you, as you learn more about this mysterious syndrome, you will likely soon discover more and more friends, family or acquaintance who suffer from it.
A reason for this is that Fibromyalgia was not also acknowledged as being ‘a real’ condition. With no absolute cause, and without physical or noticeable damage to the body or its tissues it was often disregarded.
Thankfully, this is not so anymore.
Some statistics and risk factors on Fibromyalgia include:
- Age – FMS most commonly occurs in women between the ages of 20-60 years old
- Some research has documented that it can peak around the age of 35
- Some cases are known to occur in children
- Family HIstory – It has been noted that having a relative with FMS can increase your chances of developing this syndrome
- Other Rheumatic Diseases – A person who has rheumatic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus may be more likely to develop FMS than those who do not have a rheumatic disease.
Is There A Cure?
At present there is no conclusive cure for Fibromyalgia. Medications prescribed by traditional doctors only include painkillers and anti depressants which merely dull or mask pain sensations.
Modifications to lifestyle and diet however, are proven ways to managed Fibro symptoms and help to get people’s lives back on track.
There are also many people with theories that claim have cured their Fibromyalgia. We look at them on this website to see if they could be a possibility to help others.
How Can Fibromyalgia Therapies Help?
Physical therapy, cognitive and psychological therapy, exercise therapy, and diet modifications are all proven ways to control those nasty Fibro symptoms. You can learn about them all and share your experiences right here on this website.