What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibro = Fibrous Tissue
Algia = pain
Fibromyalgia is a complex illness with numerous symptoms. The most common symptoms are widespread moderate to severe pain, intense fatigue, insomnia and difficulty thinking. Fibromyalgia is a progressive illness and it is quite common to have symptoms reappear and disappear for no apparent reason.
When you have fibromyalgia it takes away your sleep, it takes away your strength, it takes away your emotions so you don’t fight as well....it takes away your ability to fight.
Fibromyalgia sufferers describe their illness in one or both of the following statements:
- "I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck!"
- "I feel like I wake up every morning with the flu."
New research is showing possible causes of fibromyalgia:
Studies have suggested that people with fibromyalgia have abnormal levels of several of the different chemicals that help send and increase pain signals to and from the brain. Whether these abnormalities are a cause or a result of fibromyalgia is unknown.
Below are some other possible contributing factors:
- Physical trauma
- Stress - both physical and emotional
- Genetic Predispositions
- An Infectious illness
- Hormonal changes
Not only does pain appear, but there are also problems with hormones in the body as well as the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
People with Fibromyalgia tend to have very depressed sexual drives, if they have any sex drive at all.
What some signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary, depending on the weather, stress, physical activity or even the time of day. Common signs and symptoms include:
Widespread pain: Fibromyalgia sufferers usually have pain in specific areas of their body when pressure is applied, including the back of the head, upper back and neck, upper chest, elbows, hips and knees. The pain generally persists for months at a time and often comes with stiffness.
Fatigue and sleep disturbances: People with fibromyalgia often wake up tired and unrefreshed even though they seem to get plenty of sleep. Some studies suggest that this sleep problem is the result of a sleep disorder called alpha wave interrupted sleep pattern, a condition in which deep sleep is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness. So people with fibromyalgia miss the deep restorative stage of sleep. Nighttime muscle spasm in the legs and restless leg syndrome also may be associated with fibromyalgia.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): The constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating associated with IBS are common in people with fibromyalgia.
Headaches and facial pain: Many people who have fibromyalgia also have headaches and facial pain that may be related to tenderness or stiffness in their neck and shoulders. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, which affects the jaw joints and surrounding muscles, also is common in people with fibromyalgia.
Heightened sensitivity: It's common for people with fibromyalgia to report being sensitive to odors, noises, bright lights and touch.
Other common signs and symptoms include:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Mild to severe body pain
- Difficulty with breathing
- Panic attacks
- Trigeminal neuralgia - shooting pain in the face
- Calcium deposits under your skin
- Communication problems
- Rectal spasms
- Vaginal Pain
- Foggy Minded
- Interstitial cystitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
The problem with fibromyalgia is it mimics so many other diseases.
Fibromyalgia can hit at any age.
You may present with just a little bit of the symptoms, enough that you feel miserable, this makes you feel grumpy, fussy, irritable, tired etc. People don’t associate this as being "sick" but if left untreated you could begin to experience more and more discomfort and it may limit your everyday tasks. You may find yourself unable to work you may become physically unfit because you limit your activities including exercise because of the muscle pain. Don’t let this happen to you.