lifestyle

Health: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments of Fibromyalgia

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Health—Most of you have probably heard of fibromyalgia or know someone who suffers from this condition. My mom suffered from this for years and my daughter’s teacher had to leave her job halfway through the year because of complications caused from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a painful muscle disorder that affects millions of people who can spend years suffering from fibromyalgia before getting properly diagnosed.

Anyone who suffers from this condition can tell you how debilitating the pain can be. It is believed that the pain is caused by the tightening and thickening of the myofascia, which is the thin film or tissue that holds the muscles together. Fibromyalgia, also called fibrositis, shares many of the same symptoms as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), including debilitating fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleep disorders, and digestive problems. (Source: Alternative Medicine – The Definitive Guide). Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a specialist in the two syndromes, states it best. He calls CFS the “drop-dead flu” and fibromyalgia the “aching-all-over-disease.”

An estimated 3-6 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia with the majority (86%) of which are women, usually between the ages of 34 and 56. Other symptoms include general fatigue and stiffness, insomnia and sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, mood swings, allergies, carpet tunnel syndrome, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, dizziness, and exercise intolerance (Source: Alternative Medicine – The Definitive Guide).

Due to the misconception in the medical community that fibromyalgia is caused by deconditioning – muscles becoming weak due to inactivity – this can cause an extra burden on the patient who understands the pain is not caused from “weak” muscles. In fact, most fibromyalgia sufferers were highly active individuals and tend to be overachievers, when the condition struck.

There are many possible trigger events or causes that have been found in the onset of FMS, which includes viral and bacterial infections, trauma such as an assault or auto accident, chemical and food sensitivities, chronic stress, hormonal imbalances, mercury toxicity from dental amalgam fillings, breast implants, and irregularities in muscle metabolism. (Source: Alternative Medicine – The Definitive Guide).

Conventional medicine tends to treat FMS with painkillers, whereas alternative medical practitioners tend to treat it with a variety of approaches. A fellow writer I met through a writer’s group, Susan Ingebretson, wrote a book, FibroWHYalgia, about her years of suffering from fibromyalgia and how she basically healed herself of this condition. Dr. Joseph Mercola, Founder of Mercola.com, which is the world’s most visited natural health website says the book is “A practical resource guide…valuable principles.”

I read the book and recommended it to my mom and my daughter’s former teacher. Ms. Ingebretson talks about her journey of suffering and outlines the steps she took to healing her body. She talks about the ten root causes of chronic illness and how you can restore and heal your body. You can read more about Ms. Ingebretson at www.rebuildingwellness.com.

Another book I would recommend is Alternative Medicine – The Defintive Guide by Burton Goldberg. It is filled with hundreds of self-help tips and over 400 leading physicians explain their treatments. There is a whole chapter on fibromyalgia and ways to treat it with diet and nutritional medicine. This whole-body approach worked for Ms. Ingebretson, I hope it can work for you! Always speak to your physician or health professional before making any changes to your diet or exercise regime. They should be working with you on your journey to health!

Do you know anyone who has had fibromyalgia? What were the symptoms? How was the pain treated? How did you help this person overcome the pain?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

References:

  • Goldburg, Burton., Alternative Medicine – The Definitive Guide.  Second Edition. Celestial Arts.
  • Ingebretson, Susan., FibroWHYalgia. NorseHorse Press 2010.

Melissa Northway is a mom, writer and has her Masters in Human Nutrition. Her storybook app Penelope the Purple Pirate has been chosen as a Top 10 Must-Have eBook by lilsugar of Popsugar.com and was in the Top 25 iTunes books. Please check out Penelope the Purple Pirate Facebook Page to see how you can enter to win some pirate booty in honor of September 19th Talk Like a Pirate Day!  You can read more about Melissa and Penelope’s TLAP Giveaway at: www.melissanorthway.com

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Jen Tilley

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