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Post subject: Widespread Pain Caused by Fibromyalgia  PostPosted: Feb 27, 2009 - 08:00 AM

Widespread Pain Caused by Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is characterized by a number of different symptoms. However, one of the most dominant fibromyalgia symptoms is definitely pain. More than 3.5 million men and women suffer from fibromyalgia and must endure widespread pain throughout their muscles. This pain has long been unexplainable, though recent advances in research have now pinpointed why fibromyalgia causes such incredible pain in some sufferers. As a result, effective treatments including prescription medications and drug-free supplements may be used to help combat the discomfort caused by fibromyalgia pain.

What kind of Pain is Caused by Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia syndrome is generally accepted as a type of arthritis, but, unlike most forms of arthritis, it typically affects the muscles in your body instead of the joints. This muscle pain caused by the syndrome is usually widespread and can occur anywhere at any time.

Fibromyalgia pain affects the skeletal muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body. Pain can also be felt in the bursa, the sacs that surround your joints providing nutrition and lubrication needed for movement. Sometimes, pain can be localized in particular areas, although most fibromyalgia sufferers will experience pain in all four quadrants of the body.

Fibromyalgia Tender Points

All fibromyalgia sufferers also feel pain in various tender points around their bodies. In fact, in order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you must experience pain in at least 11 of 18 specific tender points. Tender points tend to be located at areas in the body where muscles and tendons join together. In particular, fibromyalgia sufferers are apt to feel neck pain, shoulder pain, lower back pack and pain in the waist, ribs, buttocks, and knees.

What does Fibromyalgia Pain Feel Like?

The muscle pains of fibromyalgia can be quite excruciating for some people, however, the pain will vary depending upon the severity of your illness. Some people may only suffer from mild pain and will still be able to continue on with a normal lifestyle. Others will experience much more severe pain. Fibromyalgia disability is common.

Fibromyalgia pain is described as a deep and persistent ache although many sufferers also get stabbing, throbbing, and shooting pains in their muscles. Additionally, pains caused by the syndrome can leave a tingling or burning feeling just under the skin. Often, pains will increase in severity over the course of the day, and can migrate to other places on the body.

What Causes Fibromyalgia Pain?

Even physicians have had trouble truly understanding fibromyalgia. The causes of fibromyalgia pain have long been debated. Many see fibromyalgia as a psychological illness, not one caused by a physical problem. Recently though, fibromyalgia research has shown that pain may be caused by a biological problem in the brain.

It seems that those people with fibromyalgia actually have a much lower threshold for pain than those who don't have the syndrome. This means that even a gentle touch could cause excruciating pain in someone with fibromyalgia. Recent studies show that it only takes half of the stimulus normally necessary to produce pain signals in the brains of fibromyalgia sufferers. Those suffering from the disease tend to "remember" this pain longer too; they will continue feeling pain even after the event that caused it in the first place is no longer present.

This lowered pain threshold is probably caused by a miscommunication somewhere in the brain. For instance, when you touch something that is hot, nerves in your hands and arms send off pulses that travel to your brain. It seems that those people with fibromyalgia actually experience a change in this signal once it reaches the base of the spinal cord. Here, the pain signals are actually magnified, causing extreme and chronic pain.

Factors that Affect Pain

The pain associated with fibromyalgia can come and go and it will change in intensity. There are a variety of factors that may make your pain worse:

Poor nutrition
Hormone fluctuations
Changing weather

Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MFP) and Fibromyalgia

Some fibromyalgia sufferers also experience an additional syndrome, called myofascial pain syndrome. Your body is held together by fascia, a connective tissue that surrounds everything inside of you, including your bones, muscles, and blood vessels. Those with myofascial pain syndrome experience chronic pain in their fascia, particularly at certain trigger points in their bodies. These trigger points tend to be located at points where the fascia connects directly with a muscle. Myofascial pain can be stabbing, throbbing, or aching, and, at its most severe, debilitating.

Temperomandibular Joint Pain

Those suffering from fibromyalgia sometimes experience severe pain in their temporomandibular joint. This joint, which is commonly referred to as the jawbone, can cause severe pain and discomfort including:

Severe and persistent headaches
Jaw clicking
A locked jaw
Difficulty opening and closing the mouth

More than 75% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from some type of TMJD, and this often exacerbates existing fibromyalgia pain.

Learning About Fibromyalgia

Although many people suffer from it, numerous people have never heard of fibromyalgia. To help you get a better idea of just what the symptoms of fibromyalgia are, take a look at What is Fibromyalgia?. For answers to some of the most common questions, check out our FAQs. And be sure to check out our Common Fibromyalgia Myths and Misconceptions page for the real facts on fibro. While a specific cause of fibromyalgia has yet to be determined, Causes of Fibromyalgia outlines some of the potential reasons people may develop this illness. This reasons are further broken down in Autonomic Nervous System Dysfunction; Sleep Disturbances a Cause of Fibromyalgia?; All in the Family and Injury and Muscle Trauma, as well as Food Allergies.

If you have just been diagnosed with this chronic illness, you will likely have many questions as to how fibromyalgia will affect you. What You Can Expect can help answer many of your questions about fibromyalgia symptoms as well as provide you with information on your fibromyalgia treatment options. Learn about the effects of fibromyalgia on women's health, particularly how fibromyalgia can impact your reproductive health. If you are pregnant or are considering getting pregnant, then take a look at Fibromyalgia & Pregnancy, which provides tips on dealing with your fibromyalgia symptoms safely during pregnancy.

Although 80% of fibromyalgia sufferers are women, men are not immune from the disorder. Yet, because men are not in the majority of fibromyalgia patients, they have their own issues and problems to deal with when it comes to fibromyalgia. Men with Fibromyalgia outlines some of these issues and offers helpful tips for all male fibromyalgia patients.

If your child has fibromyalgia, it can be a frustrating experience. Our fibromyalgia in children section provides information on the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia in children, as well as helpful tips for parents of children with fibromyalgia syndrome.

Seniors with fibromyalgia face unique challenges when it comes to the diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. Find out more about fibromyalgia symptoms as well as fibromyalgia treatment options in elderly individuals.

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

It's not always easy to diagnosis fibromyalgia. Doctors can often mistake fibryomalgia symptoms for the symptoms of other disorders and illnesses. But getting a proper diagnosis is important so that you can begin to take care of yourself and your discomfort.

Although there is no one specific diagnositic test for fibromyalgia, there are a variety of procedures your doctor can try. Diagnosing Fibromyalgia outlines how your doctor can determine whether or not you have fibromyalgia. Doctor Relations can also offer you some helpful tips on how to get the most out of your doctor.

When you have fibromyalgia, it is likely that you will require care from a variety of doctors. Aside from your family doctor or gynecologist, rheumatologists can be extremely helpful in treating various FMS symptoms because they specilize in joints and muscles. A neurlogist is often credited as being one of the most useful types of doctors for fibromyalgia sufferers.

Perhaps one of the most helpful types of doctors an FMS sufferer can have is a pain specialist, who focuses solely on pain management in chronic pain patients. Another very valueable type of doctor for those with fibromyalgia is a physiatrist.

Other medical professionals a fibromyalgia sufferer may want to visit include an osteopath, a naturopath, and a dentist, who can help with issues like TMJD.

Hair analysis is a new form of fibromyalgia testing that is becoming increasingly popular. Find out how hair analysis works and whether it's really accurate in diagnosing fibromyalgia.

Another new tool that is being tested for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is a blood pressure test. A recent study found that blood pressure tests were highly accurate in diagnosing FMS and might indicate a breakthrough method of diagnosis.

Associate Conditions of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia has often been called the "great imitator" because so many of its symptoms mimic those of other disorders. As a result, it can often be difficult to receive a proper diagnosis of fibromyalgia. However, there are subtle differences between many of the illnesses and FMS. Learning more about each of these disorders can help you figure out just how fibromyalgia is distinct from them.

Common disorders that fibromyalgia is often mistaken for include:

Lyme disease
Rheumatoid arthritis
Cushing's syndrome
Polymyalgia Rheumatica
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome
Cervical spinal stenosis

People with fibromyalgia are also at greater risk of developing a number of other disorders, many of which can exacerbate your current fibromyalgia symptoms, or are linked to certain conditions, which may lead to fertility problems. Illnesses, diseases and conditions that fall into this category include:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Sjogren's syndrome
Crohn's disease
Multiple Sclerosis
Raynaud's Phenomenon
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Morton's Neuroma
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Interstitial Cystitis
Yeast Infections
Low Cytokine Levels

Fibromyalgia can also affect the way your body functions. FMS impacts the following systems:

Cardiovascular System

Nervous System

FMS can also impact your libido, which in turn affects sexual intimacy. Find out why FMS affects your sexual desire and learn about tips to improve sexual intimacy in your relationship in the following section:


Fibromyalgia Treatment

Just as fibromyalgia symptoms are very multifaceted, and incorporate different body tissues, so should the treatments. Treatment for fibromyalgia are very comprehensive and usually involve more than one health care provider including: physicians, chiropractors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychiatrists.

With all types of treatment, the emphasis is on minimizing symptoms and improving general health. Brain mapping is one diagnostic procedure that can help you better identify certain discomforts, which can help you receive appropriate treatment sooner. Furthermore, since the symptoms of fibromyalgia wax and wane, treatment is an ongoing process rather than management of a single episode.

With the assistance of your health care provider, you should collaborate to construct a unique treatment plan that addresses your particular circumstances. The treatment plan will necessarily evolve as you progress and change. Since individual manifestations of fibromyalgia vary from patient to patient, so do must successful forms of treatment. As such, finding a health care provider that provides you with proper treatment is essential to receiving the best fibromyalgia treatment; our fibromyalgia medical tips helps you build a healthy relationship with your fibromyalgia specialist and provides helpful advice on how to overcome fibromyalgia misdiagnosis, while our Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor is an important tool for helping you become an active participant in your fibromyalgia treatment.

What works for one patient may not work for another. While one person may prefer a new type of treatment, like hyperbaric oxygen therapy or frequency specific microcurrent, another may find trigger point injections, guaifenesin therapy or nerve blocks to be more beneficial. By working with your health care team, you can find the appropriate type of treatment for you.

If you have a sleep disorder, seeking treatment may help you reduce your other fibromyalgia symptoms.In addition, progesterone therapy can also provide solutions for such symptoms of fibromyalgia such as widespread pain and chronic fatigue.

Fibromyalgia Medications

Medications may help you become more functional and reduce your level of distress. If all other forms of therapies fail, a trial of medications can be tried. There are many different types of medications that have been shown to help reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia. This includes: muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines, and growth hormone therapy.

If you suffer from depression, which is estimated to affect as much as a third of all fibromyalgia sufferers, you may be prescribed antidepressants. Surprisingly, this type of fibromyalgia treatment can work to help ease your fibromyalgia symptoms.

Many fibromyalgia patients suffer from disordered sleeping. While there are natural ways to help improve your sleep, sometimes you need a bit of extra help. Although they are not recommended for regular use, sleeping pills can help you catch some shut eye once in awhile. A controversial drug that is sometimes prescribed for sleep problems in fibromyalgia suffers is GHB.

Although affective, the use of opiods is often met with disapproval by certain doctors. While controversial, it is a course of treatment that those with fibromyalgia may want to investigate to ease their fibromyalgia symptoms.

Over-the-counter medications have also been shown to be beneficial for some fibromyalgia patients. However, there are always new medicines being made available to help ease fibromylagia symptoms, so make it a habit to ask your health care provider about new medication developments every time you meet. Some medications you may want to keep your eye open for are Mirapex, Dextromethorphan, Kadian, Modafinil and Milnacipran, which are showing promising results in clinical trials. Other new fibromyalgia medications which are demonstrating a lot of promise in the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome are Ramelton (Rozerem) and Paroxetine, as is Gabapentin (Neurotonin) and Pregabalin.

No matter what type of medication you are taking, it is important to inform all of your prescribing doctors of all of your medications. Some medications can interact negatively and put you at risk for serious complications. One such complication is serotonin syndrome, an illness that fibromyalgia sufferers may be at an increased risk of developing.

Alternative Fibromyalgia Therapies

Complementary medicine, or alternative medicine, uses techniques different from traditional medicine to treat illnesses. The benefit of complementary medicine is that it does not include pharmaceutical drugs or surgery and thus has significantly fewer side effects. It is for this reason that complementary medicine has become so popular and is many people’s first choice when dealing with chronic illnesses, such as fibromyalgia.

Herbal medications are often preferred over prescription drugs and may be helpful for some fibromylagia sufferers. There are also some supplements fibromyalgia patients can take, such as glucosamine and chondroitin. Other popular alternative treatments include massage therapy, aromatherapy, biofeedback, neurofeedback, cupping, reflexology, chelation therapy, acupuncture and acupressure.

People who are looking for a more complex form of complimentary medicine may want to make an appointment with an osteopathy. This type of medicine incorporates physical, medicinal and surgical forms of diagnosis and therapy to naturally treat the body. Those who want to take a pro-active approach to their condition may be interested in the Rehab Approach, which requires a patient to self-manage their treatment.

Some other lesser known types of therapy include trigger point therapy, which is similar to acupressure, hypnosis, light therapy, low frequency sound therapy, and craniosacral therapy and environmental therapy. Reiki therapy is another alternate form of therapy that can be helpful in alleviating fibromyalgia symptoms, as is Watsu therapy and magnet therapy. A digestive system cleanse can bring fibromyalgia relief by eliminating toxins in your body which can causing and aggravating your fibromyalgia symptoms.

Many fibromyalgia patients feel over stressed due to their debilitating symptoms and the regular demands of daily life. To help combat this stress, it is important to pick up some useful relaxation techniques.

In addition, flower essences is another alternative fibromyalgia treatment that is becoming increasingly popular and which can help to improve fibromyalgia symptoms such as chronic pain and fatigue, as well as to improve your overall physical and mental health. Hyrdotherapy, which is based on the therapeutic use of hot and cold water, can also bring you the relief you need from your fibromyalgia symptoms while dance therapy uses therapeutic movements in order to relieve widespread pain, anxiety and fibrofog.

Humor therapy uses the power of laughter to alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you're an animal lover, pet therapy is a good option for easing fibromyalgia pain. Emu oil is another alnternative threatment for fibromyalgia that can help to bring fibromyalgia relief and can supplement medicinal therapy.

Self Care for Fibromyalgia

Effectively dealing with chronic fibromyalgia requires numerous different coping strategies and self-care to properly deal with all aspects of the syndrome. The following are all lifestyle changes that you can do to help yourself live healthier while minimizing the effects of your symptoms.

At-Home Treatment
Treat Associated Conditions
Meditation Techniques
Support GroupsGet the Best Care Possible
Meditation Tips
Eat Healthier
Aerobics for Fibromyalgia
Develop Your Coping Skills
Eliminate Perpetuating Factors
Sleep Tips
Improve Sleep
Heat Therapy
Strength Training
Party Time?
Back Pain Treatment
Omega-3s & Pain
Helping Friends and Family
Keeping a Journal
Coping with FMS Guide
Daily Supplements
Memory Tips
Tai Chi
Organic Foods
Stress Management
Humor and Laughter
Fight Fear
Tips To Overcome FibroFear
Self-Care Tips


Medical Information
It is not the intention of Raptor-Pack to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and Raptor-Pack urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions and specific medical advice




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