Tag Archives: Fibromyalgia

Foods That Chronic Pain Sufferers Should Avoid

is a pervasive issue and fibromyalgia is a very common form. It is a chronic condition whose symptoms include muscle and tissue pain, fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbances.
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Recent data suggests that central sensitization, in which neurons in your spinal cord become sensitized by inflammation or cell damage, may be involved in the way fibromyalgia sufferers process pain.

Certain chemicals in the foods you eat may trigger the release of neurotransmitters that heighten this sensitivity.

Although there have been only a handful of studies on diet and fibromyalgia, the following eating rules can’t hurt, and may help, when dealing with chronic pain.

Limit Sugar as Much as Possible. Increased insulin levels will typically dramatically worsen pain. So you will want to limit all sugars and this would typically include fresh fruit juices. Whole fresh fruit is the preferred method for consuming fruit products.

If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, you will also want to limit grains as much as possible as they are metabolized very similarly to sugars. This would also include organic unprocessed grains. Wheat and gluten grains are the top ones to avoid.

Eat fresh foods. Eating a diet of fresh foods, devoid of preservatives and additives, may ease symptoms triggered by coexisting conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

It’s also a good idea to buy organic food when possible, as it’s best to avoid pesticides and chemicals. However, fresh is best. So if you have to choose between local, fresh, non-organic and organic but wilting – go with fresh, and clean properly.

Avoid caffeine. Fibromyalgia is believed to be linked to an imbalance of brain chemicals that control mood, and it is often linked with inadequate sleep and fatigue. The temptation is to artificially and temporarily eliminate feelings of fatigue with stimulants like caffeine, but this approach does more harm than good in the long run. Though caffeine provides an initial boost of energy, it is no substitute for sleep, and is likely to keep you awake.

Try avoiding nightshade vegetables. Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant may trigger arthritis and pain conditions in some people.

Be Careful with Your Fats. Animal based omega-3 fats like DHA and EPA have been touted as a heart-healthy food, and they may help with pain, as well. They can help reduce inflammation and improve brain function. At the same time, you want to eliminate all trans fat and fried foods, as these will promote inflammation.

Use yeast sparingly. Consuming yeast may also contribute to the growth of yeast fungus, which can contribute to pain.

Avoid pasteurized dairy. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have trouble digesting milk and dairy products. However, many find that raw dairy products, especially from grass fed organic sources, are well tolerated.

Cut down on carbs. About 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients have low adrenal functioning, which affects metabolism of carbohydrates and may lead to hypoglycemia.

Avoid aspartame. The artificial sweetener found in some diet sodas and many sugar-free sweets is part of a chemical group called excitotoxins, which activate neurons that can increase your sensitivity to pain.

Avoid additives. Food additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) often cause trouble for pain patients. MSG is an excitatory neurotransmitter that may stimulate pain receptors; glutamate levels in spinal fluid have been shown to correlate with pain levels in fibromyalgia patients.

Stay away from junk food. Limit or eliminate fast food, candy, and vending-machine products. In addition to contributing to weight gain and the development of unhealthy eating habits, these diet-wreckers may also irritate your muscles, disrupt your sleep, and compromise your immune system.

Resources:
Health.com 2008
Health.com 2007
National Fibromyalgia Association

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Proof That Fibromyalgia is Real

fibromyalgia

Researchers have detected abnormalities in the brains of people with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition whose symptoms include muscle pain and fatigue.Some researchers have suggested that the pain of fibromyalgia is the result of depression, but the new study suggests otherwise. The abnormalities were independent of anxiety and depression levels.

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Researchers evaluated 20 women diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 10 healthy women without the condition who served as a control group. The researchers performed brain imaging called single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT.

The imaging showed that women with the syndrome had “brain perfusion” — blood flow abnormalities in their brains. The abnormalities were directly correlated with the severity of disease symptoms.

An increase in blood flow was found in the brain region known to discriminate pain intensity.

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Fibromyalgia

Definition:-

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points — places on body where slight pressure causes pain. Fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men. Previously, fibromyalgia was known by other names such as fibrositis, chronic muscle pain syndrome, psychogenic rheumatism and tension myalgias.

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It is a disorder classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile allodynia. While the criteria for such an entity have not yet been thoroughly developed, the recognition that fibromyalgia involves more than just pain has led to the frequent use of the term “fibromyalgia syndrome”. It is not contagious, and recent studies suggest that people with fibromyalgia may be genetically predisposed. The disorder is not directly life-threatening. The degree of symptoms may vary greatly from day to day with periods of flares (severe worsening of symptoms) or remission; however, the disorder is generally perceived as non-progressive.

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Although the intensity of symptoms may vary, they’ll probably never disappear completely. It may be reassuring to know, however, that fibromyalgia isn’t progressive or life-threatening. Treatments and self-care steps can improve fibromyalgia symptoms and general health.

Incidence: It affects more females than males, with a ratio of 9:1 by American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. Fibromyalgia is seen in about 2% of the general population. It is most commonly diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 20 and 50, though onset can occur in childhood.

Signs and symptoms:-
The defining symptoms of fibromyalgia are chronic, widespread pain and tenderness to light touch. There is also typically moderate to severe fatigue. Those affected may also experience heightened sensitivity of the skin (also called allodynia), tingling of the skin (often needle-like), achiness in the muscle tissues, prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, and nerve pain. Chronic sleep disturbances are also characteristic of fibromyalgia. Indeed, studies suggest that sleep disturbances are related to a phenomenon called alpha-delta sleep, a condition in which deep sleep (associated with delta EEG waves) is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness (i.e. alpha waves). Deeper stages of sleep (stages 3 & 4) are often dramatically reduced.

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Eighteen sites (nine pairs) or tender points seen in patients with fybromyalgia

.Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary, depending on the weather, stress, physical activity or even the time of day. Common signs and symptoms include:

* Widespread pain. Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain in specific areas of your body when pressure is applied, including the back of your head, upper back and neck, upper chest, elbows, hips and knees. The pain generally persists for months at a time and is often accompanied by stiffness.
* Fatigue and sleep disturbances. People with fibromyalgia often wake up tired and unrefreshed even though they seem to get plenty of sleep. Some studies suggest that this sleep problem is the result of a sleep disorder called alpha wave interrupted sleep pattern, a condition in which deep sleep is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness. So people with fibromyalgia miss the deep restorative stage of sleep. Nighttime muscle spasms in your legs and restless legs syndrome also may be associated with fibromyalgia.
* Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating associated with IBS are common in people with fibromyalgia.
* Headaches and facial pain. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have headaches and facial pain that may be related to tenderness or stiffness in their neck and shoulders. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, which affects the jaw joints and surrounding muscles, also is common in people with fibromyalgia.
* Heightened sensitivity. It’s common for people with fibromyalgia to report being sensitive to odors, noises, bright lights and touch.

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Other common signs and symptoms include:

* Depression
* Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet (paresthesia)
* Difficulty concentrating
* Mood changes
* Chest pain
* Dry eyes, skin and mouth
* Painful menstrual periods
* Dizziness
* Anxiety

Causes:

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. Fibromyalgia can, but does not always, start as a result of some trauma such as a traffic accident, major surgery, or disease. Some evidence shows that Lyme Disease may be a trigger of fibromyalgia symptoms.[21] Another study suggests that more than one clinical entity may be involved, ranging from a mild, idiopathic inflammatory process to clinical depression[22]

Genetics

By using self-reported “Chronic Widespread Pain” (CWP) as a surrogate marker for fibromyalgia, the Swedish Twin Registry found that a modest genetic contribution may exist:

* Monozygotic twins with CWP have a 15% chance that their twin sibling has CWP
* Dizygotic twins with CWP have a 7% chance that their twin sibling has CWP

Stress

Studies have shown that stress is a significant precipitating factor in the development of fibromyalgia, and that PTSD is linked with fibromyalgia.The Amital study found that 49% of PTSD patients fulfilled the criteria for FMS, compared with none of the controls.

A non-mainstream hypothesis that fibromyalgia may be a psychosomatic illness has been described by John E. Sarno’s “tension myositis syndrome”. He believes many cases of chronic pain result from changes in the body caused by the mind’s subconscious strategy of distracting painful or dangerous emotions. Education, attitude change, and, in some cases, psychotherapy are treatments proposed to stop the brain from using that strategy.

Dopamine abnormality

Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter perhaps best known for its role in the pathology of schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and addiction. There is also strong evidence for a role of dopamine in restless leg syndrome , which is a common co-morbid condition in patients with fibromyalgia. In addition, dopamine plays a critical role in pain perception and natural analgesia. Accordingly, musculoskeletal pain complaints are common among patients with Parkinson’s disease , which is characterized by drastic reductions in dopamine owing to neurodegeneration of dopamine-producing neurons, while patients with schizophrenia, which is thought to be due (in part) to hyperactivity of dopamine-producing neurons, have been shown to be relatively insensitive to pain. Interestingly, patients with restless legs syndrome have also been demonstrated to have hyperalgesia to static mechanical stimulation.

Fibromyalgia has been commonly referred to as a “stress-related disorder” due to its frequent onset and worsening of symptoms in the context of stressful events. It was therefore proposed that fibromyalgia may represent a condition characterized by low levels of central dopamine that likely results from a combination of genetic factors and exposure to environmental stressors, including psychosocial distress, physical trauma, systemic viral infections or inflammatory disorders (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus). This conclusion was based on three key observations: (1) fibromyalgia is associated with stress; (2) chronic exposure to stress results in a disruption of dopamine-related neurotransmission; and (3) dopamine plays a critical role in modulating pain perception and central analgesia in such areas as the basal ganglia including the nucleus accumbens, insular cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, thalamus, periaqueductal gray, and spinal cord.

In support of the ‘dopamine hypothesis of fibromyalgia’, a reduction in dopamine synthesis has been reported by a study that used positron emission tomography (PET) and demonstrated a reduction in dopamine synthesis among fibromyalgia patients in several brain regions in which dopamine plays a role in inhibiting pain perception, including the mesencephalon, thalamus, insular cortex and anterior cingulate cortex.A subsequent PET study demonstrated that, whereas healthy individuals release dopamine into the caudate nucleus and putamen during a tonic experimental pain stimulus (i.e. hypertonic saline infusion into a muscle bed), fibromyalgia patients fail to release dopamine in response to pain and, in some cases, actually have a reduction in dopamine levels during painful stimulation. Moreover, a substantial subset of fibromyalgia patients respond well in controlled trials to pramipexole, a dopamine agonist that selectively stimulates dopamine D2/D3 receptors and is used to treat both Parkinson’s disease and restless legs syndrome. Trials of other dopamine agonists are currently ongoing.

Serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is known to play a role in regulating sleep patterns, mood, feelings of well-being, concentration and descending inhibition of pain. Accordingly, it has been hypothesized that the pathophysiology underlying the symptoms of fibromyalgia may be a dysregulation of serotonin metabolism, which may explain (in part) many of the symptoms associated with the disorder. This hypothesis is derived in part by the observation of decreased serotonin metabolites in patient plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. However, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have met with limited success in alleviating the symptoms of the disorder, while drugs with activity as mixed serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) have been more successful. Accordingly, duloxetine (Cymbalta), a SNRI originally used to treat depression and painful diabetic neuropathy, has been demonstrated by controlled trials to relieve symptoms of some patients. Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of duloxetine has submitted a supplementary new drug application (sNDA) to the FDA for approval of it use in the treatment of FM. The relevance of dysregulated serotonin metabolism to the pathophysiology is a matter of debate.  Ironically, one of the more effective types of medication for the treatment of the disorder (i.e. serotonin 5-HT3 antagonists) actually block some of the effects of serotonin.

Sleep disturbance
Electroencephalography studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia lack slow-wave sleep and circumstances that interfere with stage four sleep (pain, depression, serotonin deficiency, certain medications or anxiety) may cause or worsen the condition.[59] According to the sleep disturbance hypothesis, an event such as a trauma or illness causes sleep disturbance and possibly initial chronic pain that may initiate the disorder. The hypothesis supposes that stage 4 sleep is critical to the function of the nervous system, as it is during that stage that certain neurochemical processes in the body ‘reset’. In particular, pain causes the release of the neuropeptide substance P in the spinal cord which has the effect of amplifying pain and causing nerves near the initiating ones to become more sensitive to pain. Under normal circumstances, areas around a wound to become more sensitive to pain but if pain becomes chronic and body-wide this process can run out of control. The sleep disturbance hypothesis holds that deep sleep is critical to reset the substance P mechanism and prevent this out-of-control effect.

The sleep disturbance/substance P hypothesis could explain “tender points” that are characteristic of fibromyalgia but which are otherwise enigmatic, since their positions don’t correspond to any particular set of nerve junctions or other obvious body structures.  The hypothesis proposes that these locations are more sensitive because the sensory nerves that serve them are positioned in the spinal cord to be most strongly affected by substance P. This hypothesis could also explain some of more general neurological features of fibromyalgia, since substance P is active in many other areas of the nervous system. The sleep disturbance hypothesis could also provide a possible connection between fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and post-polio syndrome through damage to the ascending reticular activating system of the reticular formation. This area of the brain, in addition to apparently controlling the sensation of fatigue, is known to control sleep behaviors and is also believed to produce some neuropeptides, and thus injury or imbalance in this area could cause both CFS and sleep-related fibromyalgia.

Critics of the hypothesis argue that it does not explain slow-onset fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia present without tender points, or patients without heightened pain symptoms, and a number of the non-pain symptoms present in the disorder.

Human growth hormone
An alternate hypothesis suggests that stress-induced problems in the hypothalamus may lead to reduced sleep and reduced production of human growth hormone (HGH) during slow-wave sleep. People with fibromyalgia tend to produce inadequate levels of HGH. Most patients with FM with low IGF-I levels failed to secrete HGH after stimulation with clonidine and l-dopa.

This view is supported by the fact that those hormones under the direct or indirect control of HGH, including IGF-1, cortisol, leptin and neuropeptide Y are abnormal in people with fibromyalgia, In addition, treatment with exogenous HGH or growth hormone secretagogue reduces fibromyalgia related pain and restores slow wave sleep though there is disagreement about the proposition.

Deposition disease

The ‘deposition hypothesis of fibromyaglia’ posits fibromyalgia is due to intracellular phosphate and calcium accumulations that eventually reaches levels sufficient to impede the ATP process, possibly caused by a kidney defect or missing enzyme that prevents the removal of excess phosphates from the blood stream. Accordingly, proponents of this hypothesis suggest that fibromyalgia may be an inherited disorder, and that phosphate build-up in cells is gradual but can be accelerated by trauma or illness. Calcium is required for the excess phosphate to enter the cells.[citation needed]The additional phosphate slows down the ATP process; however the excess calcium prods the cell to continue producing ATP.

Diagnosis is made with a specialized technique called mapping, a gentle palpitation of the muscles to detect lumps and areas of spasm thought to be caused by an excess of calcium in the cytosol of the cells. The mapping technique is notably different from the manual tenderpoint examination  upon which a diagnosis of fibromyalgia depends and is purportedly different from the detection of trigger points that characterize the myofascial pain syndrome.

While this hypothesis does not identify the causative mechanism in the kidneys, it proposes a treatment known as guaifenesin therapy. This treatment involves administering the drug guaifenesin to a patient’s individual dosage, avoiding salicylic acid in medications or on the skin. Often products for salicylate sensitivity are very helpful. If the patient is also hypoglycemic, a diet is designed to keep insulin levels low.

The phosphate build-up hypothesis explains many of the symptoms present in fibromyalgia  and proposes an underlying cause. The guaifenesin treatment, based on this hypothesis, has received mixed reviews, with some practitioners claiming many near-universal successes  and others reporting no success. Of note, guaifenesin is also a central acting muscle relaxant used in veterinary anaesthesia that is structurally related to methocarbamol, a property that might explain its utility in some fibromyalgia patients. A controlled trial of guaifenesin for the treatment of fibromyalgia demonstrated no evidence for efficacy of this medication.   However, this study has been criticized by the chief proponent of the deposition hypothesis for not limiting salicylic acid exposure in patients, and for studying the effectiveness of only guaifenesin, not the entire treatment method.As of 2005, further studies to test the protocol’s effectiveness are in the planning stages, with funding for independent studies largely collected from groups which advocate the hypothesis. It should be noted that nothing in the scientific literature supports the proposition that fibromyalgia patients have excessive levels of phosphate in their tissues.

Other hypotheses

Other hypotheses have been proposed related to various toxins from the patient’s environment, viral causes such as the Epstein-Barr Virus, growth hormone deficiencies possibly related to an underlying (maybe autoimmune) disease affecting the hypothalamus gland, an aberrant immune response to intestinal bacteria, neurotransmitter disruptions in the central nervous system, and erosion of the protective chemical coating around sensory nerves. A 2001 study suggested an increase in fibromyalgia among women with extracapsular silicone gel leakage, compared to women whose implants were not broken or leaking outside the capsule. This association has not repeated in a number of related studies, and the US-FDA concluded “the weight of the epidemiological evidence published in the literature does not support an association between fibromyalgia and breast implants.” Due to the multi-systemic nature of illnesses such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME), an emerging branch of medical science called psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is looking into how the various hypotheses fit together.

Another hypothesis on the cause of symptoms in fibromyalgia states that patients suffer from vasomotor dysregulation causing improper vascularflow and hypoperfusion (decreased blood flow to a given tissue or organ).

Always a comorbid disease?

Cutting across several of the above hypotheses is the proposition that fibromyalgia is almost always a comorbid disorder, occurring in combination with some other disorder that likely served to “trigger” the fibromyalgia in the first place. Two possible triggers are gluten sensitivity and/or irritable bowel. Irritable bowel is found at high frequency in fibromyalgia, and a large coeliac support group survey of adult celiacs revealed that 7% had fibromyalgia and also has a co-occurrence with chronic fatique.

According to this hypothesis, some other disorder (or trauma) occurs first, and fibromyalgia follows as a result. In some cases, the original disorder abates on its own or is separately treated and cured, but the fibromyalgia remains. This is especially apparent when fibromyalgia seems triggered by major surgery. In other cases the two disorders coexist.

Risk factors:-

Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:

* Your sex. Fibromyalgia occurs more often in women than in men.
* Age. Fibromyalgia tends to develop during early and middle adulthood. But it can also occur in children and older adults.
* Disturbed sleep patterns. It’s unclear whether sleeping difficulties are a cause or a result of fibromyalgia — but people with sleep disorders, such as nighttime muscle spasms in the legs, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea, can also develop fibromyalgia.
* Family history. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a relative also has the condition.
* Rheumatic disease. If you have a rheumatic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or ankylosing spondylitis, you may be more likely to have fibromyalgia.

Treatment:-

As with many other syndromes, there is no universally accepted cure for fibromyalgia, though some physicians claim to have found cures.However, a steady interest in the disorder on the part of academic researchers as well as pharmaceutical interests has led to improvements in its treatment, which ranges from symptomatic prescription medication to alternative and complementary medicine.

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) issued the first guidelines[82] for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and published them in the September 17th On-line First issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Medications

Many medications are used to treat specific symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as muscle pain and insomnia.

Pain relief

A number of pain relievers have been prescribed for fibromyalgia. This includes NSAID medications over the counter, COX-2 inhibitors, and tramadol in prescription form for more advanced cases. Recently, pregabalin (marketed as Lyrica) has been given FDA approval for the treatment of diagnosed Fibromyalgia.

Muscle relaxants

Muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) or tizanidine (Zanaflex), may be used to treat the muscle pain associated with the disorder.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

Traditionally, low doses of sedating antidepressants (e.g. amitriptyline and trazodone) have been used to reduce the sleep disturbances that are associated with fibromyalgia and are believed by some practitioners to alleviate the symptoms of the disorder. Because depression often accompanies chronic illness, these antidepressants may provide additional benefits to patients suffering from depression. Amitriptyline is often favoured as it can also have the effect of providing relief from neuralgenic or neuropathic pain.[citation needed] It is to be noted that Fibromyalgia is not considered a depressive disorder; antidepressants are used for their sedating effect to aid in sleep.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Research data consistently contradict the utility of agents with specificity as serotonin reuptake inhibitors for the treatment of core symptoms of fibromyalgia.  Moreover, SSRIs are known to aggravate many of the comorbidities that commonly affect patients with fibromyalgia including restless legs syndrome and sleep bruxism.

Anti-seizure drugs

Anti-seizure drugs are also sometimes used, such as gabapentin[93] and pregabalin (Lyrica). Pregabalin, originally used for the nerve pain suffered by diabetics, has been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration for treatment of fibromyalgia. A randomized controlled trial of pregabalin 450 mg/day found that a number needed to treat of 6 patients for one patient to have 50% reduction in pain.

Dopamine agonists

Dopamine agonists (e.g. pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole(ReQuip)) have been studied for use in the treatment of fibromyalgia with good results. A trial of transdermal rotigotine is currently on going .

Combination therapy

A controlled clinical trial of amitriptyline and fluoxetine demonstrated utility when used in combination.

Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants

Cognitive dysfunction in fibromyalgia, often referred to as “brain fog,” may be treated with low doses of central nervous system (CNS) stimulants such as Modafinil, Adderall, Provigil, Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Methylin, Methylin ER.) These non-amphetamine stimulants are also used to treat the chronic fatigue that is characteristic of fibromyalgia.

Stimulants may be habit forming and can have other serious side effects, so it is important to note that other treatments may be effective. Care should be taken with any prescription, as people with fibromyalgia are known to be sensitive to medications.

Cannabis and cannabinoids

Fibromyalgia patients frequently self-report using cannabis therapeutically to treat symptoms of the disorder. Writing in the July 2006 issue of the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion, investigators at Germany’s University of Heidelberg evaluated the analgesic effects of oral THC (?9-tetrahydrocannabinol) in nine patients with fibromyalgia over a 3-month period. Subjects in the trial were administered daily doses of 2.5 to 15 mg of THC, but received no other pain medication during the trial. Among those participants who completed the trial, all reported a significant reduction in daily recorded pain and electronically induced pain.Previous clinical and preclinical trials have shown that both naturally occurring and endogenous cannabinoids hold analgesic qualities,particularly in the treatment of cancer pain and neuropathic pain, both of which are poorly treated by conventional opioids. As a result, some experts have suggested that cannabinoid agonists would be applicable for the treatment of chronic pain conditions unresponsive to opioid analgesics such as fibromyalgia, and they propose that the disorder may be associated with an underlying clinical deficiency of the endocannabinoid system.

Topical remedies

Users of Epsom Salts in the gel form (Magnesium Sulfate), have reported significant and lasting relief from pain associated with fibromyalgia. Epsom Salts have long been touted for their ability to reduce pain and swelling.

Non-drug treatment

Physical treatments

Studies have found exercise improves fitness and sleep and may reduce pain and fatigue in some people with fibromyalgia. Many patients find temporary relief by applying heat to painful areas. Those with access to physical therapy, massage, or acupuncture may find them beneficial. Most patients find exercise, even low intensity exercise to be extremely helpful. Osteopathic manipulative therapy can also temporarily relieve pain due to fibromyalgia.

A holistic approach—including managing diet, sleep, stress, activity, and pain—is used by many patients. Dietary supplements, massage, chiropractic care, managing blood sugar levels, and avoiding known triggers when possible means living as well as it is in the patient’s power to do.[citation needed]

Psychological/behavioral therapies

As the nature of fibromyalgia is not well understood, some physicians believe that it may be psychosomatic or psychogenic.Although there is no universally accepted cure, some doctors have claimed to have successfully treated fibromyalgia when a psychological cause is accepted.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to improve quality of life and coping in fibromyalgia patients and other sufferers of chronic pain. Neurofeedback has also shown to provide temporary and long-term relief.

Biofeedback and self-management techniques such as pacing and stress management may be helpful for some patients. The use of medication to improve sleep helps some patients, as does supplementation with folic acid and ginkgo biloba.

Dietary treatment

In a 2001 review of four case studies, symptom alleviation was found by minimizing consumption of monosodium glutamate.

Investigational treatments

Milnacipran, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), is available in parts of Europe where it has been safely prescribed for other disorders. On May 22nd, 2007, a Phase III study demonstrated statistically significant therapeutic effects of Milnacipran as a treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome. At this time, only initial top-line results are available and further analyses will be completed in the coming weeks. If ultimately approved by the FDA, Milnacipran could be distributed in the United States as early as summer, 2008.

Among the more controversial therapies involves the use of guaifenesin; called St. Amand’s protocol or the guaifenesin protocol the efficacy of guaifenesin in treating fibromyalgia has not been proven in properly designed research studies. Indeed, a controlled study conducted by researchers at Oregon Health Science University in Portland failed to demonstrate any benefits from this treatment, and the lead researcher has suggested that the annecdotaly reported benefits where due to placebo suggestion. The results of the study have since been contested by Dr St. Amand, who was a co-author or the original research report.

Dextromethorphan is an over-the-counter cough medicine
with activity as an NMDA receptor antagonist. It has been used in the research setting to investigate the nature of fibromyalgia pain; however, there are no controlled trials of safety or efficacy in clinical use.

Living with fibromyalgia:-

Fibromyalgia can affect every aspect of a person’s life. While neither degenerative nor fatal, the chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia is pervasive and persistent. FMS can severely curtail social activity and recreation, and as many as 30% of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are unable to maintain full-time employment.[citation needed] Like others with disabilities, individuals with FMS often need accommodations to fully participate in their education or remain active in their careers.

In the United States, those who are unable to maintain a full-time job due to the condition may apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Although fibromyalgia has been recognized as a genuine, severe medical condition by the government, applicants are often denied benefits, since there are no formal diagnostic criteria or medically provable symptoms. Because of this, if an applicant does have a medically verifiable condition that would justify disability benefits in addition to fibromyalgia, it is recommended that they not list fibromyalgia in their claim. However, most are awarded benefits at the judicial level; the entire process often takes two to four years.

In the United Kingdom, the Department for Work and Pensions recognizes fibromyalgia as a condition for the purpose of claiming benefits and assistanc.

Fibromyalgia is often referred to as an “invisible” illness or disability due to the fact that generally there are no outward indications of the illness or its resulting disabilities. The invisible nature of the illness, as well as its relative rarity and the lack of understanding about its pathology, often has psychosocial complications for those that have the disorder. Individuals suffering from invisible illnesses in general often face disbelief or accusations of malingering or laziness from others that are unfamiliar with the disorder.

There are a variety of support groups on the Web that cater to fibromyalgia sufferers.

Controversies:-
The validity of fibromyalgia as a unique clinical entity is a matter of some contention among researchers in the field. For example, it has been proposed that the pathophysiology responsible for the symptoms that are collectively classified as representing “fibromyalgia” is poorly understood, thereby suggesting that the fibromyalgia phenotype which is the difference between an individual’s heredity and what that heredity produces, may result from several different disease processes that have global hyperalgesia – an increased sensitivity to pain – and allodynia in common, an observation that has led to the proposition that current diagnostic criteria are insufficient to differentiate patient groups from each other. Alternatively, there is evidence for the existence of differing pathophysiological – which is the study of the disturbance of normal mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of the body – within the greater fibromyalgia construct[, which may be interpreted to represent evidence for the existence of biologically distinct “sub-types” of the disorder akin to conditions such as epilepsy, schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. In a January 14, 2008 article in the New York Times, the controversy of the reality of the disease and its proposed cures are discussed, while citing that the American College of Rheumatology, the Food and Drug Administration and insurers recognize fibromyalgia as a diagnosable disease. Drug companies are aggressively pursuing fibromyalgia treatments, seeing the potential for a major new market.

You may click to learn more about Fibromyalgia

Yoga & meditation may be very helpful for all kind of  Fibromyalgia

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia
MayoClinic.com

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Exercise Can Ease Fibromyalgia Pain

Studies show that chronic pain sufferers can reduce the severity of symptoms by adding a moderate workout regimen to their treatment.

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For people living with chronic pain, exercise is often the last thing they want to do. But physical activity could be a key component of some treatment plans, new studies suggest, especially with conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.

“The pain doesn’t go away completely. It’s not a cure. But it’s a way to improve how you feel and your ability to function in daily life,” says Daniel S. Rooks, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a researcher for Novartis Pharmaceutical in Cambridge, Mass. He was the lead author of a study, published in the Nov. 12 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, suggesting that regular, moderately intense exercise can benefit many fibromyalgia sufferers.

The study of 135 women found that those participants who did a combination of walking, strength training and stretching three times a week for four months reported a significant easing of symptoms. (The workouts started at 30 minutes and gradually increased to 60 minutes per session.) In one group measurement, the degree of bodily pain was reduced by 45% after 16 weeks of exercise.

In fibromyalgia, the brain incorrectly processes sensations, resulting in widespread pain throughout the body. Other earmarks of the condition include depression and problems with sleep and concentration.

“This is a disorder that has good days and bad days. The bad days are really bad,” says Dr. Stuart Silverman, a UCLA clinical professor and medical director of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center‘s Fibromyalgia Rehabilitation Program.


FDA validation

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved pregabalin (brand name Lyrica) as the first drug to treat fibromyalgia. For many patients, the Pfizer drug is validation that they have a real medical condition, an acknowledgment they’ve long fought to obtain. But Lyrica can cause side effects — dizziness, drowsiness, weight gain and swelling — and experts do not consider it to be a panacea.

About 30% of people taking Lyrica will see a 50% reduction in pain, Silverman says. He cautions: “Even if you take Lyrica, you still need to combine it with non-pharmaceutical approaches, like exercise.”

But when even getting out of bed sometimes is a challenge, the thought of exercising can seem daunting.

“You must listen to the symptoms,” says Jessie Jones, director of the Fibromyalgia Research and Education Center at Cal State Fullerton.

Jones, who has had fibromyalgia for 10 years, describes herself as “drug-sensitive” and therefore does not take any medication; instead, she relies on a daily workout of dance movements, yoga, meditation and walking.

“My symptoms are under control, but I really, really work at it with a complete program,” says Jones, who is designing a Web-based guide for healthcare providers to help them diagnose and treat fibromyalgia.

Slow, steady progress

One goal of the online instruction, Jones says, is to show “there are more treatment options than just medication.” Some sufferers have found relief from bio-feedback training, nutrition strategies and stress management.

For many, exercise is the way to go.

A study published in the November-December Journal of Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology found that exercise therapy done three times a week for 16 weeks in a warm-water pool significantly reduced the severity of fibromyalgia pain, while also improving cognitive function. Experts in fibromyalgia and arthritis agree that anyone with a chronic pain condition should seek out exercise programs designed to meet their needs, such as ones offered by the Arthritis Foundation ([800] 954-2873) or some branches of the YMCA ([800] 872-9622). Gentle yoga, stretching, flexibility training and walking may be good choices. High-impact activities like jumping and running generally are not recommended.

“You have to start slowly and progress,” says Geri B. Neuberger, professor at the University of Kansas School of Nursing. She led a 12-week study that found low-impact aerobic exercise lessened pain, fatigue and depression among 220 men and women with rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease characterized by chronic inflammation, pain and joint deformity.

Similar results were found in research led by Leigh F. Callahan, an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina‘s Thurston Arthritis Research Center in Chapel Hill. In this study, published Jan. 15 in Arthritis Care & Research, 346 older adults with different types of arthritis and fibromyalgia participated in an eight-week exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation.

The twice-weekly, one-hour classes consisted of low-impact, moderate exercise, which could be done either sitting or standing. The participants (analyzed as a group) experienced a 23% decrease in pain, a 28% decrease in fatigue and a 19% decrease in stiffness. There was also improvement in upper and lower extremity strength.

One mystery not unlocked by researchers is why exercise helps those with chronic pain conditions. Experts theorize that chemical changes in the brain play a key role.

Sources: The Los Angle Times

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Fibromyalgia

Definition:Fibromyalgia (fye-bro-my-AL-gee-ah) is basically an arthritis-related condition that is characterized by generalized muscular pain and fatigue. The term “fibromyalgia” means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. This condition is referred to as a “syndrome” because it’s a set of signs and symptoms that occur together.
Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety.

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Fibromyalgia can develop on its own or along with other musculoskeletal conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Alternative Names:Fibromyositis; Fibrositis; Myofascial pain syndrome

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
The cause of this disorder is unknown. Physical or emotional trauma may play a role in development of the syndrome. Some evidence suggests that fibromyalgia patients have abnormal pain transmission responses.

It has been suggested that sleep disturbances, which are common in fibromyalgia patients, may actually cause the condition. Another theory suggests that the disorder may be associated with changes in skeletal muscle metabolism, possibly caused by decreased blood flow, which could cause chronic fatigue and weakness.

Others have suggested that an infectious microbe, such as a virus, triggers the illness. At this point, no such virus or microbe has been identified.

Pilot studies have shown a possible inherited tendency toward the disease, though evidence is very preliminary.

The disorder has an increased frequency among women 20 to 50 years old. The prevalence of the disease has been estimated between 0.7% and 13% for women, and between 0.2% and 3.9% for men.

Symptoms:
The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing, body-wide pain with defined tender points. Tender points are distinct from trigger points seen in other pain syndromes. Unlike tender points, trigger points can occur in isolation and represent a source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure.

Fibromyalgia pain can mimic the pain that occurs with various types of arthritis. However, the significant swelling, destruction, and deformity of joints seen in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis does not occur with fibromyalgia syndrome alone.

The soft-tissue pain of fibromyalgia is described as deep-aching, radiating, gnawing, shooting or burning, and ranges from mild to severe. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness.

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For some patients, pain improves during the day and increases again during the evening, though many patients with fibromyalgia have day-long, unrelenting pain. Pain can increase with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, and stress.

Specific symptoms:
*Multiple tender areas (muscle and joint pain) on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, knees.
*Fatigue
*Sleep disturbances
*Body aches
*Reduced exercise tolerance
*Chronic facial muscle pain or aching

Signs and tests:
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia requires a history of a least three months of widespread pain, and pain and tenderness in at least 11 of 18 tender-point sites. These tender-point sites include fibrous tissue or muscles of the:

*Neck
*Shoulders
*Chest
*Rib cage
*Lower back
*Thighs
*Knees
*Arms (elbows)
*Buttocks

Sometimes, laboratory and x-ray tests are done to help confirm the diagnosis. The tests will also rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. The following conditions have been associated with fibromyalgia or mimic its symptoms:

*Cancer
*Cervical and low-back degenerative disease
*Chronic fatigue syndrome
*Depression
*HIV infection
*Hypothyroidism
*Irritable bowel syndrome
*Lyme disease
*Rheumatoid arthritis
*Sleep disorders


Treatment:

In mild cases, symptoms may go away when stress is decreased or lifestyle changes are implemented. A combination of treatments including medications, patient education, physical therapy, and counseling are usually recommended. Many fibromyalgia sufferers have found support groups helpful.

In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approved Pregabalin (Lyrica) as the first drug for the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Certain classes of antidepressant medications are sometimes prescribed for the disorder. Studies show that antidepressants in low doses can decrease depression, relax craniofacial and skeletal muscles, improve sleep quality, and release pain-killing endorphins. Other medications that are used include anti-inflammatory pain medications and medications that work on pain transmission pathways, such as Gabapentin.

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Eating a well-balanced diet, and avoiding caffeine may help with problems sleeping, and may help reduce the severity of the symptoms. Lifestyle measures to improve the quality of sleep can be effective for fibromyalgia.

Some reports indicate that fish oil, magnesium/malic acid combinations, or vitamins may be effective. Reducing stress and improving coping skills may also help reduce painful symptoms.

Improved fitness through exercise is recommended. Studies have shown that fibromyalgia symptoms can be relieved by aerobic exercise. The best way to begin a fitness program is to start with low impact exercises, like walking and swimming.
.Fibromyalgia patient Mary Keyser had to consult 20 doctors before finding relief. Now, exercise is vital to her regimen.

.Starting slowly helps stretch and mobilize tight, sore muscles. High-impact aerobics and weight lifting could cause increased discomfort. Symptoms may be relieved by gentle stretching and light massage, as well as acupressure, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques.

Severe cases of fibromyalgia may require a referral to a pain clinic.

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Prognosis:
Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic problem. The symptoms sometimes improve. At other times, the symptoms may worsen and continue for months or years. The key is seeking professional help which includes a multi-faceted approach to the management and treatment of the disease. There is no proof that fibromyalgia syndrome results in an increased death rate.

When to call your health care provider:
Call your health-care provider if symptoms of fibromyalgia develop.

Prevention:
There is no proven prevention for this disorder. However, over the years, the treatment and management of the disease has improved.It is believed that if someone maintains a healthy life style,does proper exercise regularly,eats nutritious health food and keeps oneself stress free, one can prevent oneself not only from Fibromyalgia but from several other diseases.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/fibromyalgia
http://www.pe.com/sharedcontent/health/stories/