Definition and Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a condition distinguished by musculoskeletal pain happening throughout the body and is accompanied by loss of sleep, fatigue and moodiness. Doctors believe this condition intensifies painful sensations and affects how the brain processes signals of pain. Symptoms may begin after surgery or trauma, although in some cases symptoms occur on their own with no reason at all. For patients who develop this condition without cause, it is likely that it fibromyalgia runs in the family. It is more common for women to develop fibromyalgia than men. While there is not cure for fibromyalgia, certain medications can control symptoms and even exercise and relaxation can help reduce pain. Alternative medicine such as acupuncture and massage therapy are becoming a popular choice for pain relief. In some patients, the symptoms may come and go and widespread pain can last at least three months. Currently, there are no lab tests that can identify fibromyalgia, but physicians can rule out other conditions through a series of blood tests.
Treatment with Medication
Medications can reduce pain and help improve sleep. Some common choices are analgesics and antidepressants. Analgesics such as Tylenol help ease the pain but the effectiveness varies for each patient. Some doctors will recommend anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and relieve. Antidepressants can help improve sleep patterns and reduce fatigue.
Alternative therapies for stress and pain management are becoming more popular with people who have chronic illnesses. Treatments such as acupuncture and massage therapy may help relieve pain and stress and are becoming more popular in conventional medicine.
Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years and started in the Chinese culture. Acupuncturists believe balance can be restored in the body by placing fine needles through the skin in various places of the body. The needles are placed in the skin to help increase blood flow and improve the number of neurotransmitters in the spinal cord and brain. Studies show that this treatment is effective for some patients but not all.
Massage Therapy Massage therapy has been used as a healing technique for centuries in many cultures. For years, people have used the method of touch to induce the healing process for aching body parts and muscles. Not only does massage relax the body and mind, but it offers a drug-free and natural approach to improve physical and mental health. Some benefits include: decreased anxiety, enhanced sleep quality, greater energy, improved concentration, improved condition of the skin, and increased circulation of blood and lymph flow.