I had never known too much about Fibromyalgia until some one I knew was suddenly struck down by it at the age of 50. When I say struck down I mean just that. Although the lady in question had been having some symptoms, or what we now know were symptoms, it all seemed to happened very suddenly. In April there were some problems but she was still working and going out for the odd celebratory or social drink, but by May she was not making it into work and by June she was officially leaving work as she could no long function enough to get to work and she was signed off work sick or disabled!!
I have started to look into Fibromyalgia and I have foud that it is certainly more common than I knew. On one website it claims that Fibromyalgia (FM) carries an annual direct cost of care of over £20 billion!!! Not too much is known about FM and orthodox medicine has no cure but offer various drugs that may help improve quality of life.
So what is Fibromyalgia?
In one line – Fibromyalgia typically causes persistent pains and tenderness in many areas of the body as well as tiredness. A longer description is below.
FMS (fibromyalgia (fi-bro-my-Al-juh) syndrome) is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the fibrous tissues in the body.
The pain comes from the connective tissues, such as the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. FMS does not involve the joints, as does rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Most patients with fibromyalgia say that they ache all over. Their muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and at other times they burn. More women than men are afflicted with fibromyalgia, but it shows up in people of all ages.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
In simple terms we don’t yet know but we do know that there are some common denominators that occur and we have an idea of why it appears. Below is a description of FM from this site http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Fibromyalgia.htm
The cause of fibromyalgia is not known. However, research has shown that people with fibromyalgia have certain subtle changes in some chemicals in the brain and nervous system. For example, there seems to be a minor change in the level of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These are the chemicals responsible for transmitting messages between nerves and between brain cells. Research studies have also shown that people with fibromyalgia tend to have an increased amount of a chemical called substance P in the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord (the cerebrospinal fluid – CSF). This substance may be involved in the way pain messages are transmitted.
A current main theory is that people with fibromyalgia have an oversensitivity to pain signals in the brain. This is called ‘central sensitisation’. This may be due to various minor changes in brain chemicals. What triggers or causes these changes is not known. Note: the term fibromyalgia has been used for a long time. However, because the cause is now thought to be due to the processes described above in the brain and spinal cord, the term ‘fibromyalgia’ does not accurately describe the condition. That is, there is little evidence that the disease is due to a problem with peripheral tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments (although the pain is often felt in these tissues).
How bad is it?
Fortunately, FM does not seem to shorten life expectancy and it tends not to be completely crippling. FM symptoms can come and go with varying severity so if it is a ‘severe’ case it will be bad at times and not so bad at others. For some people it goes after a few months.
The way to reduce symptoms and / or get rid of FM all together, you need to basically live a healthy lifestyle. I am not going to make out I can cure it, or say that it will be easy, but there are plenty of people that have had severe cases of FM but today they are pain free.
So what do I do?
Firstly you should be talking to your GP or specialist or both. Secondly I cannot give medical advice but I can tell you what I would do. There are lots of supplements you can make sure your getting enough of, and there are foods, amino acids, herbs, vitamins and minerals that you can take to optimize the cellular function of your body, but FM is about more than what you put into your body.
- Mental attitude – is important. You need to be determined to get over it and you need to give up on stress. That’s not easy I know, none of us choose to stress about things but from now on you have a get out of stress free card. Your mind needs to be stress and worry free, so remind yourself of this next time you feel that your getting worked up.
- Laugh – you deserve it, what ever makes you laugh, do it. The mind is a very powerful thing and it has been proven that just by laughing more, your body creates a multitude of chemicals that have a positive effect on the body. You can boost your levels of B cells adn T cells and enhance your immune system simply by watching your favourite funny film that makes you laugh, and that’s just the start. Don’t forget either that your automic nervous system that controls all the smooth muscles that work without you having to think about it, rely heavily on emotions. So there you have it, an excuse to laugh next time you see some one fall over in the street!
- Exercise – We all know that exercise is good for us, but if you suffer from FM, exercising is some thing you need to do, but you need to find out what works and what don’t. Unlike most people who go to the gym and exert themselves until they can’t do any more, only to go home and do the same the next day or the day after, FM sufferers need to take it slower. Studies have proven that even 6 minutes of exercise a day can help reduce the feeling of pain and tiredness in FM sufferers. When taking on a new exercise routine, take it slow. FM suffers take longer to recover from physical exertion. Suggested exercise’s are Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, walking, bicycling, and then once you know your level and have built up at least some strength and fitness, Swimming and step aerobics. The important thing is to start slow and take breaks or back off when you need to, but don’t give up and don’t stop! You WILL have set backs until you find your level, this is normal so don’t worry just stick with the plan and from there you can work on increasing what you do, little by little.
- Diet – This is very important. You need to eat the right foods to help your body get back to functioning correctly again or as good as you can get it. Firstly you should concentrate on what not to eat as the wrong foods can make you feel worse rapidly, and stop you from ever feeling better. The first things you should cut from your diet right away are – Alcohol, Refined sugars, fried foods or those with trans fats or too high in saturated fats, foods with MSG, aspartame, sweets like chocolate, crisps etc. So you see basically all the things we should not eat any way, or not too much of. You should eat a high protein diet. Some experts say that some of the tissue abnormalities that go along with FM can get worse or may even be caused by not getting enough protein. They say eating enough protein can help relieve stiffness and pain. I would think extra L GLutamine and BCAA’s may help as they are the building blocks of protein and they help recovery.
You should also Be eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruit to provide your body with all the basic nutrients, vitamins and minerals that it needs to function properly. Foods like Flax seeds, Walnuts, chia seeds and oily fish are great sources of anti inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids which are an important aid in fighting inflammation and pain.
- Juicing – Fresh Organic fruit and veg juiced can help FM sufferers. We are talking about juicing yourself not buy the pasteurized sugar water that is sold in shops. Juicing fruit and veg does several great things. Firstly you get a large hit of all the good stuff, vitamins,minerals amino acids antioxidants etc right into the blood stream. This also means that there is less stress on the digestive system. Many people with FM suffer with IBS or other digestive problems, juicing alleviates this. You also get a good dose of Magnesium, Potassium, Absorbable Calcium and natural sodium to help your cells stay in good shape. Certain vegetables and fruits help to build and clean the blood, rejuvenate the lymph system, help remove toxins and can provide anti inflammatory benefits. Dark green vegetables are full of energy, Chlorophyll will provide you with so many benefits. I truly believe that as part of a larger plan, juicing can really help get your body clear of toxins and remove waste and this will get you functioning properly on a cellular level and from there you have the opportunity rebuild your body and have all the energy you need.
- Herbs – There are many herbs that can help energise, detox, nourish and more. You should look to enhance your bodies immune system and fight inflammation for sure with herbs. There are many individual and combinations of herbs that can help. The following list of herbs can be useful if you would like more information on how they help you can email me or you can go to this web site – http://www.fibromyalgiahope.com/fibromyalgia-herbs.html and you will find more information there.
Herbs that can be useful for FM: Chamomile, Echinacea, Lavender, Goldenseal, Licorice, Pine Bark, Milk Thistle, Don Quai, St John’s Wort, Reshi Mushroom, Dandelion, Burdock, Yellow Dock, Kitchen herbs – Rosemary, Sage, Cayenne, Ginger, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Ginseng, Rhodiola.
- Other Supplements – Multi B Vitamin, Plus Vit B6 & B12, Fish oils, Cod Liver Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, DIgestive Enzymes, Serrapeptase, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin D3, Co Q10, Selenium, Beta carotene. Some vitamins are best taken together, Vitamin C, E, B (A good multi) , and Beta carotene is a good combination to help rid toxic waste from your cells and then out of the bloodstream and then the body via the kidneys. Plenty of protein is needed for a good production of enzymes in the body and is the basic buildinng blocks we need for a healthy body so a good quality whey protein isolate may help you allot. Amino acids like the BCAA’s, L Glutamine may help recovery and may help reduce symptoms of pain. You should also look into usign creatine. There are many people raving about how creatine has helped their FM symptons massively.
NOTE: Please Remember I am not a Doctor and information here is only for entertainment purposes, ALWAYS consult your GP before you make ay changes to your diet, exercise or supplement routine!