A Guide To Fibromyalgia

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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a common musculoskeletal condition. It causes pervasive muscle pain and tenderness that can appear alongside fatigue and cognitive or mood changes. Pain and spasms may occur virtually anywhere in the body.

The origins of fibromyalgia are not fully understood. Experts believe fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by changing how the brain processes them. Once it develops, fibromyalgia generally persists for life, although symptoms may change.

What Conditions is Fibromyalgia Associated With?

Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although about 70%-90% of sufferers are women. It is often experienced in the wake of a physical trauma, surgery, infection, or substantial psychological stress. However, it does not always have a triggering event.

Mental health symptoms are commonly experienced alongside fibromyalgia pain. This includes characteristic “fibro fog” that makes it difficult to focus and pay attention. Many fibromyalgia patients also suffer anxiety and depression.

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Risk Factors Associated with Fibromyalgia

  • Exposure to psychological stress
  • Being female or post-menopausal (although men can also suffer)
  • Certain medical conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer
  • Genetic factors
  • Frequent use of pain medication, particularly opioids

How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia is diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Finding a particular set of symptoms and no other apparent explanation allows a diagnosis to be made.

The highest level of diagnostic accuracy is achieved by using an established set of criteria to evaluate a person’s symptoms. Criteria exists for adults and for children.

What Complications Can Arise from Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is often limited to the muscle pain and tenderness. However, systemic complications may arise over time that can potentially damage general health or reduce life expectancy, even among younger people with fibromyalgia. Common complications caused by fibromyalgia include:

  • Cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and heart problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Headaches
  • Digestive distress, including irritable bowel syndrome and constipation
  • Other inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematous
  • Tempromandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
  • Interstitial cystitis

How is Fibromyalgia Treated

There are an array of different treatment options for Fibromyalgia. Pain relievers such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) or aspirin are often the first step. Over-the-counter remedies, prescription pain medication, and other similar options may be used for long-term management.

Fibromyalgia symptoms can also be treated with complementary medicine methods that address the root cause of fibromyalgia rather than just the symptoms. Herbal supplements like kratom and CBD oil have been shown to provide all day relief without many of the adverse side effects seen in pharmaceutical medications. Kratom is also known for its mood boosting properties which make it easier to cope with daily life while dealing with a chronic illness.

What Natural Treatments Exist for Fibromyalgia?

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are always the first steps in treating fibromyalgia, regardless of what other treatments you pursue.

Dietary Changes: It is helpful for people with Fibromyalgia to eat foods that reduce inflammation, help maintain energy levels, and promote better sleep. Some suggestions include:

  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products (kefir, yogurt)
  • Cold water fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna)
  • Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa
  • Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach are especially high in iron and magnesium which are helpful for reducing pain from Fibromyalgia. These are also great sources of natural vitamin C, which helps with stress reduction and mood management.
  • Fish oil supplements may help reduce muscle aches and pain, improve sleep quality, and promote restorative REM sleep. However , be aware that fish oil can thin the blood so it is important to talk with your doctor before taking it in high doses.
  • CBD oil contains cannabidiol which have shown to relieve many symptoms of fibromyalgia including chronic pain, “fibro fog” mental cloudiness, anxiety or depression, insomnia (or sleeplessness), nausea or vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatments for cancer (chemotherapy-induced nausea) and headaches/migraines.

Fibromyalgia Lifestyle Changes and Recovery

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia treatment focuses on managing symptoms and maintaining quality of life. Fibromyalgia symptoms do not necessarily worsen with age, but they tend to be pervasive. Fibromyalgia flare-ups can be debilitating.

Fibromyalgia patients are generally treated with pain-relieving medication customized to their symptoms. Many patients will begin with an OTC pain reliever like Tylenol and then progress to a prescription pain medication when symptoms require. Some patients respond to anti-seizure drugs.

Exercise can be beneficial for fibromyalgia patients as it helps reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, promotes weight management, and can help with physical symptoms.

Fibromyalgia can lead to anxiety or depression. Proactive mental health care helps. Traditional talk therapy is one way of addressing a sense of mourning or other negative feelings that arise from fibromyalgia. Therapy can talk place in a group setting or one-on-one.

Many people with fibromyalgia also experience sleep disturbances such as insomnia – making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. This may make them vulnerable to other health complications. Fibromyalgia treatment often includes a number of measures intended to raise sleep quality. Many states allow the use of medical cannabis for fibromyalgia.

Recovery from fibromyalgia is unpredictable and follows no particular timeline. It may take time to find the right treatment plan that works for you. Fibromyalgia recovery begins by finding a doctor who will listen to your concerns and work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan.

What Research Currently Exists Around Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia research has not yet discovered why some people develop the disorder. However, fibromyalgia clinical studies have been launched to understand the connection between this disorder and several others that often occur at the same time.

Physicians believe that more effective fibromyalgia treatments may be possible if links between these disorders are studied in greater detail. Likewise, fibromyalgia clinical resources exploring genetic disease factors are still under development.

Why Are Further Fibromyalgia Clinical Trials Important?

The ultimate goal of fibromyalgia medical research is to understand the disease’s underlying causes and create fibromyalgia medication that can arrest or cure it. A fibromyalgia cure is still many years away, but it could improve quality of life for millions of Americans. At the same time, new fibromyalgia diagnosis tools could identify those in need of early treatment.

What Can I Expect in a Fibromyalgia Clinical Trial?

Currently, fibromyalgia clinical trials focus on the use of medication to relieve symptoms. It’s possible that additional fibromyalgia research will expand to address other treatment options, including alternative medicine and surgery.

In general, clinical trials follow three phases: pre-clinical studies, phase I studies, and phase II/III clinical studies. With each stage, more patients are included in the study and researchers gain a better understanding of the medication’s effects on fibromyalgia pain.

Phase I trials test an experimental medication for safety under controlled conditions. Phase II/III studies gather information about both safety and effectiveness by studying larger groups of people across different settings.

Much of the information available about clinical trials comes from phase III studies. Phase III studies are often divided into additional studies (phases) that focus on different age groups, genders, or medical conditions.

Current Fibromyalgia Clinical Trials

Fibromyalgia medical research is being actively performed throughout the U.S. and around the world. It is not unusual to see new fibromyalgia clinical trials every few months.

Fibromyalgia clinical trials are launched to test drugs and therapies for their safety, effectiveness, and ability to cure. Certain fibromyalgia clinical trials focus on new ways of using existing treatments. Many current fibromyalgia clinical experiments are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This is the current list of fibromyalgia clinical trials archived at ClinicalTrials.gov. To add a fibromyalgia clinical trial to our site, simply contact our team.

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