Being in pain can destroy the life that you have. You begin to have to rearrange your plans around your pain. It can keep you from getting out of bed. If can keep you from being able to think clearly. Fibromyalgia is a condition that can completely change your life. Which is why we are here to talk to you about fibromyalgia, what it is and what it can do to your body. First, let’s learn more about the condition before we discuss the symptoms and possible treatments.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is characterized by all over body pain. It affects the joints. It can also cause fatigue. Fibromyalgia is the second most common condition. Up until just a few years ago, there was no name for the constant joint pain that also causes fatigue. Being diagnosed with it often meant a life of pain medication. Today, there are other treatment options that mean you can have your life back. You are no longer given a life sentence of brain fog and pain.
Who is most likely at risk?
There several risk factors that can cause you to be more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia. If you have arthritis you are most likely to suffer from fibromyalgia. Anxiety and depression, PTSD, and other emotional disorders can make you more susceptible to fibromyalgia. While men can suffer from fibromyalgia, it is most common among women.
This does not mean that you cannot get fibromyalgia if you don’t have any of these other conditions. It just may mean that you aren’t as likely to get it. It may mean that you are going to have a harder time getting a diagnosis. You should keep a diary of the pain, symptoms, and what relieves the symptoms so that you can share your experience with your doctor.
The 10 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
1. Widespread Pain
The pain in your joints may start off as a dull ache. Then it radiates from there. This can make your whole body feel like you ache. The pain can range from a mild ache to a stabbing, throbbing pain all over your body. It can feel like you can’t get any relief no matter how hard you try. Often, this can lead to migraines. It is not uncommon for this pain to cause sensitivity to both light and sound. Pain medication may be the only way to feel that you can control the pain.
2. Jaw Pain
Jaw pain may seem like it is out of place on this list. Your jaw in a joint. It works like a hinge. It is not out of the question for fibromyalgia to cause your jaw to ache. This can make it hard to take in food. You may not feel like chewing or it may hurt to chew. When you have a flare of this type, it is best to eat soft foods.
3. Sleeping Problems
While fatigue is definitely an issue, insomnia is also a symptom. Often times, fibromyalgia suffers will go back and forth between not being able to sleep and not being able to stay awake. It is hard to establish a sleep pattern. This can cause you to feel irritable, irrational, or even a giddy feeling. Mood swings are also a side effect of an irregular sleep pattern. The best thing you can do is try to eat a balanced meal and make sure you keep an eye on your iron levels. Magnesium could also help to regulate your sleep patterns.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a side effect of fibromyalgia. Bloating, gas, and swinging back and forth between constipation and diarrhea is common. The ability to eat certain foods may be hampered. The best thing to do is to keep a food diary so that you can learn which foods to avoid and which ones help. A prebiotic like in live active culture yogurt can help the symptoms. Staying away from greasy foods may help as well. Everyone will have different food triggers. That is why a food diary is so important. Seeing a nutritionist may help as well.
5. Heavy Menstruation
Some women say that one of there most noticeable symptoms is how heavy their periods are. They tend to experience longer periods. PMS tends to set in days before their period is expected. Heavy menstruation is determined by the length of the period and the number of menstrual pads you soak in a day. If you soak more than one menstrual pad in an hour, you should see a gynecologist. It may be suggested that you explore birth control options to help with the symptoms of PMS and with the menstruation itself.
The inability to think clearly or feeling like you are in fog is sometimes called Fibro-Fog. You may often forget what you are working on, or talking about. You may lose track of simple things like your car keys or wallet more than you would like. Fibromyalgia can make it feel like you are struggling to find the right word. You may forget about the things you should be doing. The best thing to do is to write everything down. Set reminders for things you know you have to do. Place sticky notes in places you are likely to notice. If you have trouble remembering if you took your medications, or to take your medication, try using a day divider to keep track.
7. Tingling in your limbs
Numbness or tingling in your fingers, hands, toes, and feet is not uncommon. It can make it hard to stand on your feet, hold a pen, or do daily tasks. Your balance may be off or you may feel a little unsteady. These sensations can be mildly annoying to a burning or stinging sensation. The best thing you can do is to move around and keep circulation going. Try to sit or lay in one position too long. Get up and move around every 15 minutes if possible.
Restless Leg Syndrome is one of the more common symptoms. Your body and mind may be ready to lay down but your legs seem to have a mind of their own. You feel like you must move them. Avoid lying flat on your back. Potassium is known to help this symptom. If you get muscle cramps along with the RLS, you can try a muscle cream to relive it. Make sure you are getting plenty of water every day. Your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxer for an extreme case that is causing you to lose sleep.
9. Difficulty in the bathroom
You already know that IBS is a symptom. Constipation goes along with that. However, the inability to urinate or pain when urinating is another symptom. You may feel an urgent need to go but are unable to go. You may have to go often. Get plenty of water. Being dehydrated can make this symptom worse. Make sure you let your doctor know because they will need to do a urine test to rule out a bladder infection. Your doctor may want to test for kidney stones as well. Remember to try to empty your bladder often. Cranberry juice can help the urinary tract, just make sure you are not getting too much sugar.
10. Weight Gain
Unfortunately, weight gain and fibromyalgia go hand in hand. Not feeling well can make it hard to get up and exercise. The pain in your joints may make some exercises impossible. Your body may be doing all it can to cope with the pain. As always, the best way to control your weight is to eat a balanced diet, be as active as you can, and to drink plenty of water. If you know you can’t be active as you should, try to cut out the sugary, fatty foods. Reach for veggies when you can. Cook your meals rather than reach for convenience foods.
Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia
There are not any blood tests that can diagnose fibromyalgia, but your doctor will run tests to rule out other conditions that could cause your symptoms. The doctor will also take 18 points on your body. He will poke these specific points. He may even stimulate them. Your doctor is looking for pain points, or sensitivity points, that are often related to fibromyalgia.
The way it is treated is basically to treat the symptoms. This is because there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Pain management, depression medications, and physical therapy are the most common suggestions to deal with it. With that being said, there are some things you can do on your own. Exercise and get active, reduce stress, and eat a well-balanced meal. This can lessen your symptoms. All-natural supplements that help to balance blood chemistry are said to help, but there is no actual scientific proof. Mostly because there isn’t enough know about fibromyalgia.
We hope that this knowledge will empower you. After all, once you learn all you can, you are able to make an informed choice on your treatment options.