“I only get one life, and I will not let fibromyalgia take the joy from living it.” —Morgan Freeman.
Following in the brave steps of Mr. Freeman are many other celebrities like Lady Gaga, Mary McDonough, Kyle Richards, Rosie Hamlin, and Michael James Hastings, to only name a few who suffer from Fibromyalgia and refuse to give into it.
As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts it, Fibromyalgia is a chronic health condition characterized by pain all over the body resulting in insomnia, trouble sleeping, constant tiredness, and fatigue— finally leading to a significant decrease in the quality of life of its patients.1
While the reason behind Fibromyalgia remains unknown, it is believed to have started due to the involvement of the nervous system.2
Back in 1990, when Fibromyalgia was first diagnosed, they tested patients for specific tender points which are:3
If the doctor presses on these tender points and the patient feels pain, then a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is made.
Generally, it’s not known why exactly these points will cause pain in patients, but it’s hypothesized that it goes back to the main cause of the disease, which is nerves and muscle spasms.
This is best quoted by Dr. John Dombrowski, an anesthesiologist at The Washington Pain Center.
“When muscles get spasms [involuntary contractions], they tend to have a lack of oxygen and blood. That lack of oxygen and buildup of acid and carbon dioxide causes more pain in the muscles, which causes greater spasms, and it’s a vicious cycle.” Why do muscles have spasms in the first place? “We still don’t know the reason for these spasms and increased sensitivities,” he says. “But what’s causing the pain is a cyclical event.”4
Nevertheless, these diagnostic criteria should be flexible enough to include patients who suffer from multifocal pain despite the strict specificities of these 11 points, as it might differ from one patient to another.5
According to the German Fibromyalgia Association, there are a set of signs and symptoms to typically consider, these are summarized as the following:
They also considered that the high frequency of general and extra-musculoskeletal symptoms proves that Fibromyalgia is not just a pain disorder; it’s much more severe than that.6
The CDC lists the following additional symptoms that may encounter by someone with Fibromyalgia:7
To study the causes of a Fibromyalgia flare-up, a study was conducted on 44 patients of different sexes and racial backgrounds. They described flare-ups and fibromyalgia triggers as being more painful and debilitating than the disease itself.8
This study revealed several causes with its frequencies to determine the exact cause of these flare-ups, here’s what the scientists found out:
So, with this scientific explanation, we can advise Fibromyalgia patients to do the following in order to avoid Fibromyalgia flare-ups:
The risk factors that cause Fibromyalgia can be divided into both genetic and environmental factors; these are:7
Since scientists haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of Fibromyalgia, treatment efforts usually revolve around management techniques and pain relief medications, these include:9
These are all fancy names for medications your doctor will prescribe for you that will help manage and treat the pain associated with Fibromyalgia.
Additionally, there are several alternative medical methods to deal with Fibromyalgia like:10
Fibromyalgia is often called the ‘invisible disease’ owing to its fairly common symptoms with many other health conditions. It often goes unnoticed, making its patients depressed and unable to deal with the symptoms.
The good news is, with the recent findings in the literature and advancing treatments, there’s great hope in one day treating and eradicating all the taxing symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
The most important thing to focus on is having a positive attitude and never getting bored of trying all the possible options for managing the symptoms until you reach the best method that makes you good and well. Remember, it’s a process.
Morgan Freeman had it right from the start, it’s just a disease, and it doesn’t control you.
Change your perspective to be able to change your outcome!
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