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Fibromyalgia - Overcome The Pain Naturally
By Lori Martin
For anyone who has suffered with Fibromyalgia, or knows anyone who does, you realize that it is an often debilitating and very misunderstood illness.
Once thought to be a collection of psychosomatic complaints, many sufferers spent years being ashamed and often depressed due lack of real medical help and understanding. It was not uncommon for those afflicted to begin to isolate themselves because it was easier than trying to explain their illness. It is often appropriately called "the invisible disease" due to the largely unseen nature of Fibromyalgia's symptoms. These include:
* Chronic, widespread pain, meaning pain in all four quadrants of the body
* Tenderness in at least 11 of the 18 specific tender-points used in diagnosis.
* Fatigue upon waking even after having 'slept' through the night
* Sleep disorder, non-restorative sleep
* Memory Impairment; difficulty concentrating (known as 'fibro fog')
* Morning Stiffness and muscle pain exacerbated by mild exercise
On top of the above primary symptoms there is a host of additional ailments which can be experienced, waxing and waning, either individually or in combination. These can include, but are not limited to:
* Irritable Bowel syndrome
* Frequent Headaches, both tension type and migraine
* Environmental sensitivities (smells, sounds, light, toxins)
* Sensitivity to medication
* Anxiety and Depression
* Restless Leg Syndrome
* Reynaud's Syndrome
* Dry Eyes and Mouth
Studies have shown that Fibromyalgia patients do not enter into the restorative
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Stage 4 sleep as others do. It is in this stage that we are rejuvenated and our body repairs itself from the previous day's activities. Failure to spend the necessary time in Stage 4 sleep results in waking up feeling as though you had not slept at all. It is often thought that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are just two faces of the same disease, with CFS patients experiencing more of symptoms associated with fatigue than with pain.
Other Studies have determined that Fibromyalgia patients, when compared to those who do not have the condition, have up to three times more of the chemical, substance P, found in the cerebral spinal fluid. This chemical transmits pain impulses to the brain and likely causes FMS patients to process pain differently.
Fibromyalgia is now becoming more widely understood and studied, which goes a long way toward helping sufferers accept and manage their illness. A positive mental attitude and a good understanding of the nature of the symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) are very important to overall wellness. In time, the patient learns to 'read' her/his body and be able to discern certain patterns, enabling them to effectively manage the symptoms.
Treatment options are also no longer limited to anti-depressants and muscle relaxants. While there are many pharmaceuticals being experimented with in combination with the above, such as anti-seizure medications, the benefits more often than not, do not outweigh the negative side effects.
Learning to balance lifestyle, with the right combination of diet, exercise, natural supplementation and alternative therapies is much more preferable. Education is a key factor in managing the illness and to find the treatment plan that works well for the individual. In the long run this will enable a person with Fibromyalgia to live a richer, fuller life.
For more information on Living Well With Fibromyalgia visit www.fibro.timeoflife.org
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