What Happens When Someone Has Fibromyalgia
Teens with fibromyalgia may:
- have pain throughout their bodies. Usually, its dull or burning, but it can be more of a shooting or throbbing pain.
- get many headaches
- feel very tired or have little energy. Because of this, fibromyalgia might be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes people can have both conditions.
Most teens with fibromyalgia also have trouble sleeping. They may wake up often during the night and feel exhausted in the morning. They also can have problems like restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea, which can add to their sleep problems.
After a while, people might notice that certain things make their pain and other symptoms worse. For some, it might be stress. For others, it could be cold, damp weather. Everyone’s different.
Ease Anxiety And Depression
When you have fibromyalgia, your experience with anxiety and depression can feel a bit like a vicious circle. Fibromyalgia has been shown to increase anxiety and depression, which can in turn cause sufferers to feel more anxious and depressed about their health. The more anxiety and depression you experience, the more difficult it is to pull yourself away from these feelings.
Using a weighted blanket may help ease troublesome symptoms and break the cycle of anxiety and depression in patients with fibromyalgia. A study published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that 63 percent of adults who used a 30-pound weighted blanket felt lower anxiety levels. Additionally, 78 percent of study participants preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality.
One of the ways weighted blankets work is by promoting gentle pressure through deep pressure stimulation . As the researchers noted, One of the qualities offered by the weighted blanket is DPS, which is generally referred to as a form of touch pressure applied to the body providing the feeling of a firm hug, holding, swaddling, or massage.
Heated Pool Treatment With Or Without Exercise
Heated pool treatment has been shown to improve symptoms in some cases. Some trials that looked into this included exercise in addition to heated pool treatment, and some looked at heated pool treatment alone. Each seemed to help in some cases.
One study of fibromyalgia patients, who received 20 minutes’ bathing, once a day, five times per week, for three weeks , suggested that, on average, the treatment resulted in significantly less tenderness and pain for as long as six months after the treatment had finished.
Your doctor or physiotherapist may recommend a locally based heated hydrotherapy pool. However, if none is available, a heated swimming pool, or jacuzzi may suffice, and simply lying in a warm bath for 20 minutes per day may also be of benefit.
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Make Your Day More Fibro
Take a fibromyalgia education program to learn healthy behaviors and how to tweak everyday activities for less stress.
If you work outside the home, talk to your employer about things that might help you do your job:
- Take breaks more often
- Change your work schedule
- Switch to a different position that better matches your abilities
A psychologist or neurologist may be able to suggest more adaptations, or use biofeedback or cognitive behavior therapy to boost your focus. An occupational therapist can show you how to make physical changes, from a better workstation to stretches you can do at your desk.
The Importance Of Sleep When You Have Fibromyalgia
The value of sleep goes beyond simply giving you a rest. It has significant psychological and biochemical importance. A few reasons your body needs a good night’s sleep include:
- Sleep allows the body to repair damaged tissues.
- Dreaming promotes good physical and mental health.
- Some essential hormonesgrowth hormone, for instanceare secreted during sleep or shortly before waking.
- You concentrate better and are less fatigued with a good night’s sleep. Lack of quality rest can induce what’s sometimes called the fibro fog .
Many researchers believe fibromyalgia sufferers don’t get enough deep sleep. Basically, sleep researchers have identified three types of sleeplight sleep , deep sleep , and rapid eye movement sleep.
If you don’t spend enough time in deep sleep, your body lessens the production of important hormones. Decreased production of such hormones may increase pain in people with fibromyalgia.
Similarly, if you don’t experience enough REM sleep, your body may produce less cortisol . People with fibromyalgia may have low levels of cortisol, which contributes to their excessive fatigue.
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Treatment For Fibromyalgia: The Big Picture
Theres not necessarily a straightforward or universal way to treat fibromyalgia, as the condition affects each patient differently and many fibro patients are also managing other co-occurring diseases at the same time, such as different kinds of arthritis. Many treatment options are available to address fibromyalgias various symptoms, so treatment for fibromyalgia should be multifactorial, individualized, and based on what specific issues and symptoms are affecting you most.
Not everyone gets the same fibromyalgia treatment, says Dr. Hackshaw. We figure it out based on the symptoms that are most concerning for that patient. He adds that doctors aim to use medications that treat multiple symptoms instead of prescribing multiple medications. The key is that you need to find your magic combination that works for you, says Stackelhouse.
Ways A Weighted Blanket May Help Ease Fibromyalgia Symptoms
One of the easiest ways to increase serotonin may be using a weighted blanket. However, thats not the only reason you should consider using one if you have fibromyalgia. Here are five ways a weighted blanket may provide much-needed relief to the millions of fibromyalgia patients looking for techniques to reduce the fatigue and pain that make this such a debilitating disease.
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Can A Weighted Blanket Help With Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia affects up to 10 million Americans. The symptoms, which include widespread chronic pain, can be debilitating. If you or a loved one suffers from fibromyalgia, a weighted blanket may help ease your symptoms, reduce anxiety and depression, and help you enjoy an active lifestyle again.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, there are ways to ease your symptoms and reclaim your health.
How Can I Treat Fibromyalgia At Home
Here are some ways to treat fibromyalgia at home:
- Try self-massage or have someone give you a massage.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications.
- Reduce stress by meditating, doing Tai Chi or yoga.
- Get better sleep by avoiding electronics before bed, darkening your room, or listening to calming music before bed.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- How do you know that fibromyalgia is causing my symptoms?
- What could have caused my fibromyalgia?
- Will I need to take medicines? Will they interact with other medicines I take?
- Will alternative therapies help relieve my symptoms?
- What should I do if my symptoms dont respond to treatment or get worse?
- How do I talk to people about my condition? How do I explain that my pain is real?
- Are there any local support groups for people who have fibromyalgia?
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are
- Pain and stiffness all over the body
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
- Headaches, including migraines
Other symptoms may include:
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as temporomandibular joint syndrome
- Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome
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Help Others See What You Feel
Because fibro fog and fatigue aren’t obvious, it can be hard for friends and loved ones to understand what you’re dealing with.
Let the people in your life know that you have a disease that affects your muscles and causes pain, fatigue, and thinking problems. It might help to say researchers are pretty sure that certain areas of the brain don’t process nerve signals correctly, leading to a wide range of symptoms.
When you ask for help — and it’s OK to do that — be specific about what you need.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
Chronic , widespread pain is the most common symptom of fibromyalgia. You may feel the pain all over your body. Or, you may feel it more in the muscles you use most often, like in your back or legs. The pain may feel like a deep muscle ache, or it may throb or burn. Your pain may also be worse in the morning.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:3,4,5
- Extreme tiredness, called fatigue, that does not get better with sleep or rest
- Cognitive and memory problems 3
Women with fibromyalgia often have more morning fatigue, pain all over the body, and IBS symptoms than men with fibromyalgia have.8
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Tens And Fibromyalgia Study: 3 Key Takeaways For Patients
For women with fibromyalgia struggling to manage their widespread nerve pain, Dr. Sluka said this research showed that TENS has several benefits for managing fibromyalgia pain.
- First, TENS works to reduce movement-evoked pain and could be particularly useful to use while doing activities to allow patients to do more activities they enjoy and participate in an exercise program, Dr. Sluka said.
- Second, she noted that TENS works best by applying it at a strong but comfortable intensity. Even at a strong intensity, TENS has minimal side effects. The researchers found that less than 5% of study participants reported pain with TENS or irritation with electrodes.
- Third, TENS may be a worthwhile treatment if you have fatigue-related fibromyalgia symptoms. TENS also has an effect in reducing fatigue in individuals with fibromyalgia, Dr. Sluka said. Few treatments have a direct effect on fatigue.
If you or a loved one struggles with managing fibromyalgia pain and symptoms, this study offers support for TENS as a safe, inexpensive, and effective treatment option to discuss with your doctor.
Dailey DL, Vance CGT, Rakel BA, et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial of TENS for Movement-Evoked Pain in Women with Fibromyalgia. Arthritis Rheum. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/art.41170. Accessed February 10, 2020.
What Are The Treatments For Fibromyalgia
Not all health care providers are familiar with fibromyalgia and its treatment. You should see a doctor or team of health care providers who specialize in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is treated with a combination of treatments, which may include medicines, lifestyle changes, talk therapy, and complementary therapies:
- Prescription medicines that were specifically approved to treat fibromyalgia
- Prescription pain medicines
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Central Nervous System Stimulants May Be Helpful
in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia because they increase alertness, concentration, motivation and energy and can assist with circulatory problems. One study suggests they may be able to help with fatigue and pain as well.
Plus, the disorder stimulants are most commonly used in attention hyperactivity deficit disorder appears to be common in fibromyalgia and probably ME/CFS. One study which employed an ADHD self-test found that almost 50% of FM patients tested positive for ADHD.
Distinguishing Between Fatigue And Daytime Sleepiness
CFS, like FM, has been linked to sleep disturbances.42-45 To explore the impact of sleep in CFS, the sleep patterns of 14 CFS patients were assessed using electroencephalograms to measure slow wave sleep and sleep efficiency.42 Guilleminault et al found that SWS percentage and sleep efficiency were lower and there was a significant increase in delta 1 relative power in the chronic fatigue group when compared to controls.42 Poor sleep was evaluated by monitoring non-rapid eye movement sleep and calculating cyclic alternating pattern rate. Patient complaints of chronic fatigue and unrefreshing sleep were associated with an abnormal CAP rate . These specific patterns were related to subtle, undiagnosed sleep-disordered breathing as related to an abnormal CAP rate.
Neu and another research team explored the relationship between fatigue and sleepiness in a second study in which the patients underwent polysonography and psychometric assessments to differentiate fatigue, mood disorders, sleepiness, and sleep quality.44 Patients with CFS appeared to have a compromised sleep disregulation, which suggests that their state of unresolved fatigue cannot be resolved with improved sleep, and offers clinicians more insight regarding the distinction between fatigue and sleepiness.
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What Is The Best Medication For Fibromyalgia
There isnt one single fibromyalgia medication that will work best for everyone. The type of medication youll need will depend on your age, medical history, symptoms, other medications youre taking, and your response to treatment. The following table lists commonly prescribed fibromyalgia medications.
- Sexual dysfunction
- Weight gain
Its possible for fibromyalgia medications to cause more serious side effects. If you start having severe mood changes, suicidal thoughts, trouble breathing, hives, or severe vomiting, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that you seek medical attention immediately.
This list of side effects is not comprehensive. Your healthcare provider can give you a complete list of side effects of any medication youre taking, and they can also warn you about any potential interactions with other drugs you might be taking.
Who Gets Fibromyalgia
About 1 in 25 people develop fibromyalgia at some stage in their lives. It is very much more common in women than in men. It usually begins between the ages of 25 and 55, and has typically been present for over a year by the time it is diagnosed . It is uncommon in children.
Some patients report fibromyalgia beginning after an illness like flu, which causes muscle inflammation and pain. For this reason some people have wondered whether a virus can ‘trigger’ fibromyalgia by upsetting the way the nerve fibres in muscles react to pressure and stretch. For many patients, though, fibromyalgia comes out of the blue.
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How Can You Meditate
- Simply focus on your breath for a few moments. How you breathe in, how the breath feels a little warmer on the way out. How your body feels when you exhale. How your breaths get a little longer as you relax. Dont push anything, just observe.
- Do your own body scan meditation by quietly thinking of each part of your body in turn, noticing the feeling in each, accepting it, willing that part to relax and moving to the next.
- Progressive relaxation by tensing and releasing each part of your body in turn, you can encourage it to relax deeply. As an example, you could start with your feet, tense and release, your lower legs, upper legs, glutes, abdomen, arms, face.
- Guided meditations there are body scan meditations, Yoga Nidra, mindfulness meditations, meditation specific to pain or fatigue etc.
Getting The Best Treatment For Your Fibromyalgia
Imagine being in pain and none of your doctors can find a clear reason for it. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon experience for many of the four million Americans living with fibromyalgia, a chronic, painful condition.
People with fibromyalgia experience widespread pain, aches, and stiffness in muscles and joints throughout the body, as well as unusual tiredness. No one knows what causes this condition, and no apparent physical cause has been identified thus far. A leading theory is that its due to a brain malfunction that amplifies normal nerve responses causing people with fibromyalgia to experience pain or other symptoms when nothing seemingly triggers them.
For those seeking relief, finding help can sometimes be a challenge. The best way to find a successful treatment strategy is to seek out a doctor who understands fibromyalgia, knows how to treat it, and can help you understand and cope with this condition. Rheumatologists and pain specialists are the experts for this condition, but many primary care doctors diagnose and treat it as well. There are ways that you can improve your chances of finding the right doctor to help you with this condition.
Understand your condition
The first step in this process is to arm yourself with the facts.
- Significant and widespread pain
- Severe symptoms present for at least three months
- No other clear explanation for these symptoms
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Fatigue Correlates: Insights Into Etiology
The key symptoms of fibromyalgia – pain, fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, dyscognition, and depressed mood – do not occur in isolation. Rather, they often present concurrently, in varying severity, and are intertwined with and influence each other . Indeed, studies demonstrate that chronic persistent pain , poor sleep quality , depressed mood, anxiety, or combinations of these are associated with fatigue . In addition to common fibromyalgia symptoms, clinical characteristics , health behaviors , and psychological variables , also demonstrate strong associations with fatigue . In addition to cross-sectional associations, diurnal rhythmicity and lag relationships have also been demonstrated between fatigue and other fibromyalgia symptoms , suggesting that one variable can influence or predict the others . Appreciating these associations is important in fatigue assessment because daily assessment of fatigue may uncover lag relationships with other symptoms, providing avenues for intervention. Collectively, these studies indicate that many symptoms feed into fatigue and the implication of this finding, for both clinical practice and research, is that fatigue assessment must consider this multi-dimensionality. This is not unlike pain in fibromyalgia, which is increasingly demonstrated to be multidimensional, with contributions from central pain, peripheral musculoskeletal pain generators, and neuropathic pain, among other pathways .