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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 process pain signals.
Symptoms sometimes began after physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are much 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.
Chronic widespread body pain is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Most people with fibromyalgia also experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to touch, light, and sound, and cognitive difficulties. Many individuals also experience a number of other symptoms and overlapping conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, lupus and arthritis.
The pain of fibromyalgia is profound, chronic and widespread. It can migrate to all parts of the body can vary intensity. FM pain has been described as having an shooting pain and deep muscular aching, throbbing, and twitching. Neurological complaints such as numbness, tingling, and burning are often present in and to the discomfort of the patient. The severity of the pain and stiffness is often worse in the morning. Aggravating factors that affect pain include cold and humid weather, non--restorative sleep, physical and mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety and stress.
In today's world many people complain of fatigue; however, the fatigue of FM is much more than being tired after critically busy day or after a sleepless night. The fatigue of FM is an all encompassing exhaustion that can interfere with occupational, personal, social or educational activities. Symptoms include profound exhaustion and poor stamina.
Many fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder that prevents them from getting deep, restful, restorative. Medical researchers have documented specific and distinctive abnormalities in the stage 4 deep sleep of FM patients. During sleep, individuals with FM are constantly interrupted by bursts of the week-like brain activity, limiting the amount of time they spend in deep sleep.
Other Symptoms and Overlapping Conditions
Brain Fog, and Irritability- lack of mental focus, extreme lack of energy (chronic fatigue), headaches and dizziness.
Insomnia-Disturbed sleep (never getting a good night's sleep), and and waking up at night.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Diarrhea, gas pains, and bloating.
Genitourinary Problems-Vulvar pain, vaginal cramps, vulvitis, painful intercourse and burning discharge.
Skin and Nail Problems-rashes, itchiness, inflamed skin and brittle nails.
Hypoglycemia-After eating of the carbohydrate meal, the symptoms are panic attacks, a rapid heartbeat and fainting.
Depression-A sense of hopelessness because of the pure misery and loss of not getting better. But
Additional symptoms may include: headaches and migraines, restless leg syndrome (periodic limb movement disorder), impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, dry eyes and mouth, anxiety, ringing in the years, dizziness, vision problems, neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. The disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in US and an estimated 3 to 6% of the world population. While it is most prevalent in women, 75 to 90% of the people who have FM are women, it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings and mothers and their children. The diagnosis is usually made between the ages of 20 to 50 years, but the incidence rises with age so that by age 80, approximately 8% of adults meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia.
While the underlying cause or causes of FM still remain a mystery, new research findings continue to bring us closer to understanding the basic mechanisms of fibromyalgia. Most researchers agree that FM is a disorder of central processing with neuroendocrine/neurotransmitter dysregulation. The FM patient experiences pain amplification due to abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system. An increasing number of scientific studies now show national multiple physiological abnormalities in the FM patient, including: increased levels of substance P in the spinal cord, low levels of blood flow to the thalamus region of the brain, HPA axis hypofunction, low levels of serotonin in tryptophan and abnormalities in cytokine function.
Recent studies show that genetic factors may predispose individuals to a genetic susceptibility to FM. For some, the onset of FM is slow; however, in a large percentage of patients the onset is triggered by an illness or injury that causes trauma and stress to the body these events may act to incite an undetected physiological problem already present.
Increasing attention is being devoted to the central nervous system as the underlying mechanism of FM. Recent studies have suggested that FM patients have generalized disturbances in pain processing and an amplified response to stimuli that would not ordinarily be painful in healthy individuals.
New research has also begun in the areas of brain imaging and neurosurgery. Ongoing research will test the hypothesis that FM is caused by an interpretive defect in the central nervous system that brings about abnormal pain perception. Medical researchers have just begun to untangle the truth about this life altering disease.
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
There are no blood test or x-ray test that specifically point the doctor to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. These tests are done to exclude other possible diagnoses. Therefore, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made purely on clinical grounds based on the doctor's history and physical examination in patients with chronic widespread body pain, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be made by identifying point tenderness areas(typically, but not always, patients will have at least 11 of the 18 classic fibromyalgia tender points), but finding no accompanying tissue swelling or inflammation, and by excluding other medical conditions that can mimic fibromyalgia.
Chiropractic-chiropractic adjustments helps improve the central and peripheral nervous system. With chiropractic care and wellness lifestyle, fibromyalgia patients have experienced decreased symptoms, increase energy and clearer thinking.
Diet-Fibromyalgia will affect different people in different ways. A good diet for fibromyalgia is very specific for the individual. Some people can be bothered by eating certain foods while other people with the syndrome is effected in a positive and healthy way.
Herbs and Supplements-specific supplements can be used to combat the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Medications-Fibromyalgia medications treat symptoms, such as fatigue muscle pain, sleep problems, anxiety, and depression. Fibromyalgia medications have serious side effects.
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My initial fear of Chiropractic was that it was a big scam. But the only real fear I had was that of the unknown. Once I went beyond my ignorance and gave it a shot I was delighted. I came to the clinic not able to work or play basketball. But following a complete chiropractic program I was back on the court and playing to full force within six weeks. I owe Dr. Schreyer alot and thankful for patience and caring. That is my success story.