(This is a generalized summary from Government and other medical sources.
We have inserted some comments here and there in red italics.)
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), formerly known as fibrositis, is a widespread common chronic disorder. The word “fibromyalgia” comes from the:
The Latin term for fibrous tissue: ‘fibro’,
The Greek term for muscle: ‘myo’,
The Greek term for pain: ‘algia’.
Fibromyalgia commonly causes widespread pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. It can also cause:
Anxiety and depression,
Cognitive and memory problems (“fibro fog”),
Irritable bowel syndrome,
Numbness or tingling of the extremities,
Painful menstrual periods,
Restless legs syndrome,
Restless sleep, awakening feeling tired,
Sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights,
Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis or rheumatic-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues. However, like arthritis, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person’s ability to carry on daily activities.
Despite potentially disabling body pain, patients with fibromyalgia do not develop body damage or deformity. Fibromyalgia also does not cause damage to internal body organs. In this sense, fibromyalgia is different from many other rheumatic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and polymyositis). In those diseases, tissue inflammation is the major cause of pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the joints, tendons and muscles, and it can lead to joint deformity and damage to the internal organs or muscles.
A person may have two or more co-existing chronic pain conditions with fibromyalgia. Such conditions can include Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia.
Who Gets Fibromyalgia?
Scientists estimate that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans.(1) Fibromyalgia affects predominantly women (over 80% of those affected are women) between the ages of 35 and 55. Less commonly, fibromyalgia can also affect men, children, and the elderly. Most people are diagnosed during middle age, although the symptoms often become present earlier in life.
People with certain rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus or ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis), may be more likely to have fibromyalgia, too. Several studies indicate that women who have a family member with fibromyalgia are more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves, but the exact reason for this—whether it is heredity, shared environmental factors, or both—is unknown.
(We think it is related to the estrogen/inflammation fibrin buildup – that we address.)
Another theory states that fibromyalgia is caused by biochemical changes in the body and may be related to hormonal changes or menopause. In addition, some (but not all) people with fibromyalgia have low levels of human growth hormone, which may contribute to the muscle pain.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
That is the big question! The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but there are probably a number of factors involved. (See: “Our Approach” below.) Those affected do experience pain in response to stimuli that are not normally perceived as painful so it raises some possibilities:
Hormones? Since fibromyalgia affects women the most, some investigators are exploring hormonal disturbances and chemical imbalances that affect nerve signaling.
Stress? Some researchers theorize that stress – especially a physical, emotionally or traumatic event, such as an automobile accident. They connect it to the stress of repetitive injuries like an illness. The idea is that muscle “microtrauma” (very slight damage) leads to an ongoing cycle of pain and fatigue. This might be even more the case with sudden trauma to the brain and spinal cord.
Insomnia or Sleep Disorders? Most people with fibromyalgia experience insomnia – sleep that is light and not refreshing. This impaired non-rapid eye movement, or non-REM, sleep phase. This might explains the common feature of waking up fatigued and un-refreshed. This lack of good sleep can lead to lower levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) – which results in increased pain sensitivity! Some studies show that women have up to seven times less serotonin in the brain.
Depression? Today, mental health issues are no longer thought to cause fibromyalgia. However, chronic pain can cause feelings of anxiety and depression, which may worsen fibromyalgia symptoms.
Heredity? Some believe that a gene may cause a person to react more intensely to pain stimuli that most people would not perceive as painful. This change can result in a higher sensitivity to pain.
Substance “P”? Fibromyalgia patients often have elevated levels of a nerve chemical signal, called substance ‘P’ – amplifies pain signals! This, along with the reduced effectiveness of the body’s natural endorphin painkillers might cause the central nervous system to be supersensitive to pain.
The pain in fibromyalgia is not caused directly by tissue inflammation. (However, inflammation leads to the fibrin causing the pain!)
How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
Simple, it HURTS! The universal symptom of fibromyalgia is pain. Minor stimuli that ordinarily would not cause pain in individuals can cause disabling, sometimes severe pain in patients with fibromyalgia. The biggest problem in diagnosing fibromyalgia is that the main symptoms overlap with many other conditions. Therefore, doctors often have to rule out other potential causesof these symptoms before making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
Unfortunately, there are currently no diagnostic tests for fibromyalgia so tests are done to exclude other possible conditions. Unfortunately, many doctors simply conclude a patient’s is imagining their pain.
As a result, a fibromyalgia diagnosis is made based on the patient history and physical examination. In many patients this is done by identifying point tenderness areas. “Tender points” are areas of the body that are tender to light touch. If a patient has about 10-11 of the 18 classic fibromyalgia tender points, with no tissue swelling or inflammation, the fibromyalgia label can be applied.
How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Standard medicine cannot cure fibromyalgia. “Treatments” are limited to trying to reduce the symptoms. This can include education, exercise, diet, sleep, meditation and other stress reducers.
(We believe nature has a much better answer!)
Medications can help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia and improve sleep. Common choices include:
1. Analgesics. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may ease the pain and stiffness caused by fibromyalgia. However, its effectiveness varies. Tramadol (Ultram) is a prescription pain reliever that may be taken with or without acetaminophen.
2. Anti-seizure drugs. Medications designed to treat epilepsy are often useful in reducing certain types of pain. Gabapentin (Neurontin) is sometimes helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms.
3. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). As their name implies, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, are used to treat inflammation. The drugs work by inhibiting substances in the body called prostaglandins.
(Warning) – NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation and even affect kidney function. The longer a person uses NSAIDs, the more likely he or she is to have side effects, ranging from mild to serious. Also, NSAIDs sometimes are associated with serious gastrointestinal problems, including ulcers, bleeding, and perforation of the stomach or intestine.
Only three medications are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Duloxetine was originally developed for and is still used to treat depression.
Milnacipran is FDA approved only for fibromyalgia depression.
Pregaballin is a medication developed to treat nervous system pain.
(Your doctor may also prescribe amitriptyline or Prozac to help promote sleep.)
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Many people with fibromyalgia also report varying degrees of success with complementary and alternative therapies, including massage, exercise therapies, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, and various herbs and dietary supplements for different fibromyalgia symptoms.
Obviously, we believe we have the best natural protocol with our Bio-Fibrin to dissolve the scar tissue and fibrin caused pain, Chronic Inflammation Relief and Monolaurin if there are any co-infections. There are others that can provide the exercises, etc.
Will Fibromyalgia Get Better With Time?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time—possibly a lifetime. However, it may be comforting to know that fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease. It is never fatal, and it will not cause damage to the joints, muscles, or internal organs and some people do improve over time. (With our protocol, it gets better even quicker!)
How Do I Explain Fibromyalgia to my Family and Friends?
There is simply no single theory that explains the cause of fibromyalgia. Neither do we know all the things that can cause fibromyalgia to flare up.
Whatever the cause, the unending pain, tender points, and insomnia or sleep problems will increase the fatigue and depression you feel. This, in turn, leads to increased anxiety, reduced activity, and greater pain. Disordered sleep, even lack of REM sleep, can reduce your energy levels. If it continues over time, it can lead to a decrease in the body’s ability to repair damaged tissues.
(What we offer is the best natural explanation and remedy to the fibrin and scar tissue irritation to the nerve endings where ever the fibromyalgia is located.)
Much of standard medical researchers wrestle over the cause and, therefore, preventative‘cure’ for fibromyalgia. While they are pursuing their research, we are more concerned with bringing immediate relief to the pain and suffering! One might ask, “Aren’t they the same thing?” We don’t think so.
Many researchers are trying to find out what triggers the beginning of fibromyalgia in order to prevent it from happening in the first place. We do wish them well and hope they can find it – and they have far more resources than we do to accomplish it.
However, people are in misery now and we can help them greatly reduce the pain and suffering of the results of fibromyalgia. We see a strong pattern in what causes the different pain and other symptoms – and that is something we can do something about!
Regardless of the cause, inflammation is the result and it causes scar tissue buildup. This begins to block blood delivery which, in turn caused the distressed cells to send pain signals to the brain. Dissolving the scar tissue is the key to reducing the pain. We encourage you to see how we do that with our biofilm dissolving enzymes. there is more information in our Bio-Fibrin articles.
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