FIBROMYALGIA: THE INVISIBLE CONDITION YOU MAY BE CONFUSING FOR SOMETHING ELSE

BY : LAURA CASELEY

We all get aches and pains sometimes. It’s kind of just one of those things that comes along with being a human. It’s normal to feel achey if you’re sick, if you haven’t gotten enough sleep, or if you’ve been sitting in a certain position, or repeating a certain motion.

Normally, this pain goes away with gentle stretching or rubbing, or just in time as your body heals itself. But for some people, aches, pains, and fatigue never quite seem to go away, and they seem to be brought on by even the smallest of strains.

If you notice that you’re often in physical pain, and that you’re more sensitive to pressure than other people, you might be experiencing fibromyalgia.

This invisible, hard-to-detect condition still baffles medical experts today, and because people with fibromyalgia don’t appear to be “disabled,” many even doubt its existence or say that people complaining of it are simply being “too sensitive.” It also often appears in conjunction with other health issues and is often overlooked.

But for the people experiencing it, which is believed to be up to 8 percent of the population, with almost all patients being women, it’s all too real. And dismissing it is like saying a condition like endometriosis is just a case of bad cramps.

Aches in joints and bones, allover muscle pain, headaches, and a plethora of other issues can interfere with everyday life and comfort.

The good news, though, is that there are steps you can take to manage fibromyalgia pains, and many of them can be done right at home. Read on to learn more about this mysterious ailment.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

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Fibromyalgia (or “fibro”) is a condition characterized by generalized aches and pains, and sensitivity to pressure, as well as a collection of other physical and emotional symptoms.

The condition is also commonly found in people experiencing anxiety, depression, and/or PTSD.

It’s believed to be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, genetics, and psychological issues in combination.

Because of its elusive nature and the various combinations of symptoms that can appear, fibromyalgia often goes undiagnosed, and some people even doubt that it’s a real disorder, saying instead that it’s simply the physical manifestation of psychological issues.

Signs & Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Symptom #1: Chronic, Widespread Aches And Pains

 

Achiness, stiffness, pain, and sensitivity to touch and pressure are the most common traits of fibromyalgia. Common places to feel pains are the neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips.

People with fibro will feel this physical pain even if they haven’t done anything strenuous, and it can prevent them from daily activities if it’s severe enough.

Symptom #2: Insomnia And Sleep Problems

The real kicker of this symptom is that sleep interference is considered one of the causes of fibromyalgia, and at the same time, fibromyalgia causes sleep interference, so it’s a pretty vicious cycle.

Trouble sleeping or waking in the night can be caused by physical discomfort, as well as anxiety, and lack of sleep impairs both physical and mental function during the rest of the day.

Symptom #3: Nausea And Digestive Issues

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People with fibromyalgia often report abdominal pains, nausea, and slowed digestion. Irritable bowel syndrome is also commonly found in people with fibro.

Others find that certain foods cause flare-ups of symptoms, or that there’s a sudden change in foods that cause digestive issues.

Some believe that fibromyalgia is related to or even caused by a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but more research needs to be done to draw any conclusion.

Symptom #4: “Fibro Fog”

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Known as “fibro fog,” this symptom is characterized by confusion, exhaustion, loss of concentration or short-term memory, lack of attention or focus, or the feeling of being overwhelmed by everything that’s going on.

The “fogs” can be intensified with the additional symptoms of headaches or even migraines, and can make doing even simple day-to-day tasks seem impossible.

Symptom #5: Tender, Achy Joints

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Joint paint and stiffness is a very common symptom and can range from a little twinge to debilitating pain. In fact, fibromyalgia is commonly found in people with TMJ and rheumatoid arthritis.

Like muscle aches and pains, joint pain can make moving around or even just sitting comfortably difficult and painful.

Symptom #6: Anxiety And Depression

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Like with sleep interference, anxiety and depression are considered both causes and symptoms of fibromyalgia, and catch people in repetitive, unpleasant cycles.

One study found that people with major depressive disorder and people with fibromyalgia shared similar physical symptoms, emotional issues, and neuroendocrine issues, but there’s still not much evidence on this connection.

What is certain, though, is that the constant pain and fatigue is psychologically wearing and can cause anxiety and depression.

Ways To Soothe Fibromyalgia

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Remedy #1: Take Note Of Your Diet

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Diet is a key component of fibro management. If you’re experiencing symptoms you think might be fibromyalgia, keep a log of everything you eat and drink for at least two weeks, as well as any time you get a symptom.

If you see a pattern emerging, for example feeling nausea after eating a certain food, try cutting that food out of your diet and see if things improve.

The most common foods to trigger symptoms are dairy, gluten, and artificial sweeteners.

Remedy #2: Get Enough Exercise

The aches and pains of fibro mean that seriously strenuous activity is not your best bet, but keeping your body limber and moving is important for your muscles and joints. This isn’t about losing weight or building muscle.

Try gentle stretching, yoga, or walking. If something hurts, don’t do it, and know your limits. Discuss an exercise program with a doctor or specialist to determine the best course of action for you.

Remedy #3: Get Enough Sleep

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Sleep is important for your body’s healing and regeneration, and if it’s interrupted too much, you’ll certainly feel it in the morning.

Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Don’t skimp on hours and work with a doctor or therapist to find sleep habits that work best for you. You may find that you need a sleep aid, or you might find that meditation or a similar mental exercise helps.

Remedy #4: Talk To Professionals

Because fibromyalgia encompasses both mental and physical symptoms, it’s possible that you’ll need to talk to both a medical doctor and a therapist to get manage your symptoms, as well as the possible causes of the condition.

By tackling both sides of fibromyalgia, you’ll get a better understanding of how your mind affects your body and vice versa, and the professionals can help you create a customized plan of action for your whole self.

Remedy #5: Be Gentle And Forgiving To Yourself

For many, fibromyalgia feeds into guilt. They feel guilty for not doing as much as they feel they should, and question whether something is really even wrong. This, as you might imagine, only makes things worse.

When you’re having a bad day, recognize that it’s not your fault, and remind yourself that you’re doing your best, but that you simply have limits. Let go of guilt and take things one day at a time.

Do you or someone you know have fibromyalgia? What was the thing that most helped you or them out on a bad day? Let us know in the comments, and SHARE this information with everyone you know!

 

Via- Little Things

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