Do you experience morning stiffness, trouble sleeping, headaches, poor memory and concentration? Check with your doctor because you may have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia affects as many as 6 million people in the United States. Most cases occur in women of childbearing age, but children, the elderly, and men can also be affected. It is known as a syndrome because it is a collection of symptoms rather than a specific disease process that is well understood.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. “Tender points” mean places in the neck, spine, shoulders, and hips that hurt when touched. Most people who have this syndrome may also experience sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel, and anxiety.
Experts don’t know what causes fibromyalgia but there are several theories. Inadequate sleep is a possible trigger. Another is an injury or physical or emotional trauma that affects the brain, spine and nerves. Some experts believe that a viral or bacterial infection plays a part. People with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases will most likely develop fibromyalgia.
Exercise may help reduce pain and will keep muscles from becoming weak. If you have fibromyalgia, you should start exercising slowly. Endurance exercises can strengthen your body and give you energy. These exercises include walking, water exercises, and cycling.
Aerobic exercise, such as swimming and walking, improve muscle fitness and reduces pain and tenderness in the muscles as well as the joints.
Heat and massage therapy may also give short term relief. Antidepressant medications may help elevate mood, improve quality of sleep, and relax the muscles.
Nutrition is very important with this condition as with any other serious physical condition. Avoid caffeine products, sugar, processed foods and fried foods.
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is often a factor in causing people with fibromyalgia to feel tired. That is why a good nutrition program is very important. Eating frequent small meals with some protein is very important in keeping the blood levels even.