Fibromyalgia has been a topic of many articles in the past 30 years, but few people have ever heard of the condition. While it seems like a recent trend in diagnosis, fibromyalgia is a very old disease or condition. Maybe the condition has not been recognized in the past because it has gone by a variety of names, as reported:
“It was a Scottish surgeon, William Balfour, who discovered that fibromyalgia was a connective tissue disease when he saw nodules on connective tissues during surgeries. He was the first doctor to describe what is now universally excepted as the pressure points used to diagnose the disease back in 1815.”
“Over the decades the term used for fibromyalgia has changed intermittently with terms such as neurasthenia, myelasthenia, myogeloses, and fibrositis before it became known as fibromyalgia in 1976.”WebMD
Dr. Balfour’s discovery was a huge leap in establishing fibromyalgia as a condition. However, since then the condition still remains a mystery many individuals. An important first step to remedy this is to ask: What exactly is fibromyalgia?
According to WebMD:
“Fibromyalgia is the second most common condition affecting your bones and muscles. Yet it’s often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Its classic symptoms are widespread muscle and joint pain and fatigue…”“Doctors aren’t sure what causes it, but some think it’s a problem with how your brain and spinal cord process pain signals from your nerves.”WebMD
According to the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pail Association:
“Fibromyalgia (fy-bro-my-AL-ja) is a common and complex chronic pain disorder that causes widespread pain and tenderness to touch that may occur body wide or migrate over the body. Along with other symptoms, pain and tenderness wax and wane over time. Fibromyalgia (FM) affects people physically, mentally and socially. Approximately 10 million Americans (2-4%) have FM with a ratio of about 8 – 2 women over men. It occurs in people of all ages, including children. The literal translation of the word fibromyalgia is pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. But, FM is much more than pain and presents with man other symptoms that vary from person to person.”NFCPA
Common symptoms include, but limited to:
- Muscle pain, burning, twitching, or tightness
- Low pain threshold or tender points
- Draining fatigue
- Trouble concentrating and remembering, called “fibro fog”
- Insomnia or not sleeping well
- Feeling nervous, worried, or depressed
- Healthy Diet:
The healthier the diet, the less the pain of fibromyalgia. A diet high in veggies and low in processed foods in ideal. Lean meat and healthy fats (like omega-3 fatty acids) from Salmon and Tuna are perfect choices that support a nutritious diet.
Physical activity and movement play an important role in managing fibromyalgia pain and managing limitations of the condition. The NFCPA says “gentle exercise and stretching” will help reduce the pain and stiffness of joints and maintain necessary muscle tone. Hydration is also key to keeping joints moving. Water is also a natural way to flush toxins and unwanted waste from our system.
- Supplemental/Natural Alternatives:
Acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy and yoga are additional options for managing pain. The added benefit of these treatments is a reduction in stress, which is also contributes to fibromyalgia pain.
- Attitude &Mental Health:
Individuals deal with chronic pain differently. Regardless of an individual’s experience, a positive attitude is key to managing fibromyalgia pain. It is important to not let the pain get the best of you and rule your life. Sometime that may require reaching out for help from a mental health professional.