Can Menstruation Cause A Lack Of Blood Flow In Extremities Fibromyalgia, Tools for Survival

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Fibromyalgia, Tools for Survival

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that is classified as a form of arthritis. Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, headaches, painful periods, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, morning stiffness, multiple tender points on the body, and trouble sleeping. Common sites of pain are the back, shoulders, neck, pelvic girdle and arms, but any part of the body can be affected.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. However, many factors can contribute to fibromyalgia. Researchers believe that sleep pattern disturbances may be the cause of fibromyalgia rather than a symptom. Viral or bacterial infections can also be the trigger. Injury or trauma affecting the central nervous system can be the cause of fibromyalgia. The cause of fibromyalgia can also be an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter that researchers believe is linked to causing fibromyalgia along with depression, migraines and gastrointestinal problems. Abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system may be the cause of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can also be caused by changes in muscle metabolism, such as deconditioning and reduced blood flow.

Fibromyalgia affects people in early and middle adulthood, but it can also affect children. Those affected by rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or ankylosing spondylitis are more likely to develop fibromyalgia. A family history of fibromyalgia also increases the chance of developing this disorder. Those with sleep disorders such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea have an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is not a progressive or life-threatening disease. Fibromyalgia symptoms vary in intensity. There are many medications that can improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Certain medications can treat the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Some analgesics used to treat fibromyalgia include: acetaminophen, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), and Ultram (tramadol). These drugs can be used together for better pain relief. However, Ultram must be prescribed by a doctor, while NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are available over the counter.

Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to treat fibromyalgia. Such antidepressant medications that may be prescribed include: Pamelor, Elavil, Doxepin, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. These drugs can be prescribed together. These drugs treat serotonin levels in the brain and can also promote sleep.

Those who experience muscle pain and spasms may need to take a muscle relaxant such as Flexeril at bedtime. Your doctor may also prescribe a benzodiazepine to help you sleep and help relax your muscles. Some sleep medications, such as Ambien, are classified as benzodiazepines. However, these drugs are not recommended for long-term use due to the increased risk of addiction.

Your doctor can help you create a unique treatment program that includes cognitive behavioral therapy and an interdisciplinary program. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves teaching patients how to cope with stressful situations. Interdisciplinary treatment programs may include relaxation techniques, biofeedback, and chronic pain education.

Self-care is also very important when treating fibromyalgia. Self-care includes reducing stress, getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet. There are also alternative therapies that can help alleviate the stress and pain associated with fibromyalgia. These therapies include chiropractic, massage therapy, meditation, yoga, acupressure, physical therapy, light aerobics, aromatherapy, herbs, nutritional supplements, myofascial relaxation therapy, heat/cold application, and acupuncture.

A visit to a doctor of osteopathy can be beneficial for treating fibromyalgia. Doctors of osteopathy are licensed to perform the same therapies and procedures as medical doctors, but are also trained in the use of manipulation to address joint and spine problems. A doctor of osteopathy may be better suited to spot the subtle signs of fibromyalgia.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia yet, but hope is on the horizon. Fibromyalgia patients have many resources to help manage the disorder, such as support groups, organizations, and health professionals to help you improve your quality of life. Fibromyalgia is not life-threatening, and treatment improves the severity of symptoms over time. There are many tools that a fibromyalgia sufferer can use to become a fibromyalgia survivor!

Copyright 2006 Kristy Haugen

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