Fibromyalgia (FM) is a form of muscular rheumatism characterized by tenderness, soreness, pain, and muscle spasm. Fibro- means fibre; my- means muscle; algia - means pain. Since the 1800’s physicians have called it muscular rheumatism, neurasthenia or fibrositis.
No two people experience fibromyalgia in exactly the same way. Mostly women are affected by this condition, but it is a common condition and can affect men, children and adolescents.
People with fibromyalgia have a sore or painfully tender feeling in some or all of the eighteen identified locations on the body. Most tender points are near the place where a muscle attaches to a bone. The American College of Rheumatology says that if you hurt when eleven of eighteen tender points on the body are pressed, and you ache all over, then you have FM.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain, and often accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Generalized fatigue
- Chronic aching tender muscles
- Disordered sleep
- Memory impairment
Some of the other symptoms that may accompany fibromyalgia are: joint swelling, mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and painful menstruation, migrane or tension type headaches, , chest pain and pressure beneath the breast bone, chronic fatigue – like symptoms.
All of these symptoms can be triggered or made worse by weather changes, hormonal changes, stress, depression, anxiety, obesity and physical overexertion.
*It is important to remember that having one or even a few of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that the diagnosis is fibromyalgia.
Too little is known so far about fibromyalgia to allow researchers to identify a single cause. Some experts believe that fibromyalgia may be related to chronic fatigue syndrome. One or more of the following might cause FM.
- Metabolic dysfunction: caused by a problem in making use of some substances in the body. One of these substances is thought to be serotonin.
- Immune system disorder: There is a suspicion that allergies, yeast infection, and viral or bacterial infections may play a role in the onset of FM.
- Illness or injury.
- Prolonged Stress. This could result from physical, or psychological stress.
SOME RECOMMENDED TREATMENTS
A healthy diet, a light exercise program, stress alleviation and an interest in personal health are known to provide significant long-term help.
- As few refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour, alcohol) as possible.
- Plenty of complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, and fruits).
- Enough protein, whether from meat or nonmeat sources to provide amino acids needed for muscle growth and repair.
- Omega-3 fatty acids contained in cabbage, broccoli, berries, flax seed, walnuts, trout, cod, halibut, mackerel and salmon.
- Calcium / magnesium. (2:1) Calcium is good for muscle tone. Magnesium is necessary to metabolize calcium.
- Vitamin E. (400 IU and up daily). Vitamin E may help with muscle cramps and spasms.
- Amino acids. 500mg each of the amino acid supplements L-arginine and l-lysine.
Some people feel relief from muscle stiffness by taking the amino acid supplements.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C is said to be essential for nerve and muscle functioning.
- 5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan) is converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is instrumental in alleviation of pain, and appears to improve sleep quality.
- Valerian and Hops have sedating and muscle relaxant properties.
- St. John’s wort is a natural antidepressant and may relieve nerve pain. *(DO NOT TAKE IF ALREADY ON A PRESCRIBED ANTIDEPRESSANT).
OTHER THERAPIES OFFERED TO TREAT FIBROMYALGIA:
Homeopathy, Tissue Salts, Acupressure, Reflexology
- Williamson, Miryam E. “Fibromyalgia: a comprehensive approach”. Thomas Allen&Son Canada, Limited, Markham, Ontario (1996)
- Balch, James F.,M.D.; Balch, Phyllis A.,C.N.C.; “ Prescription for Nutritional Healing” Second Edition. Avery Publishing Group, New York. 1997
- Gursche, Siegfried,MH; Rona, Zoltan, MD, MSSc; “Fibromyalgia”, Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. Natural. Alive Publishing, Inc., Canada. (1998).726-731.
- Murrray, Michael, ND; Pizzorno, Joseph, ND; “Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine”