Fibromyalgia: A Medical Mystery with Multiple Causes and Effects
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is chiefly a painful soft-tissue condition which can arise from a number of different underlying problems. Found mostly among older women, sometimes during the transition to menopause, it’s thought to affect 2% of the population.
This chronic, long-term condition is particularly difficult to diagnose, due to varied symptoms that are similar to those of other maladies.
What are those symptoms?
Fibromyalgia symptoms fall into two categories. The most prominent is musculoskeletal pain, which can range from a dull ache to an intense burning sensation. It’s most often felt in one or more of the following areas: back of the head, upper chest, back, legs, knees, elbows and hips.
Second, Fibromyalgia sufferers often report a problematic ‘brain fog’ that makes it difficult to focus on, process or remember information. Mood changes, anxiety, depression and sleep issues may also be present, as well as and headaches and general fatigue.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
It could a problem in areas of the spine known as facet joints. It could be a hormonal dysfunction such as low testosterone or hypothyroidism. It could be an accumulation of toxins, such as heavy metals, in the system. It could simply be a Vitamin-B deficiency.
Or, since doctors don’t have a complete understanding of the issue, it could be something else.
Often, Fibromyalgia becomes the diagnosis when all other possibilities, including arthritis, have been eliminated. Unfortunately, there is no one prescribed ‘cure.’ But a number of treatment options are available to manage the condition.
How do you treat Fibromyalgia?
Since it’s seen as an ‘effect’, the treatment focuses on whatever the physician identifies as its underlying ‘cause’ – which can be different for each person.
If the issue is painful joints, practitioners of Regenerative Medicine can inject stem cells and related ‘biological products’ to help heal the damage and even generate new tissue. This treatment is typically repeated over time for lasting relief.
If the problem is hormonal, a specific regimen of hormone therapy can be prescribed. If the body needs to rid itself of toxins, certain foods and over-the-counter detox products can help. If it’s a Vitamin B deficiency, well, that one’s easy.
What about the ‘brain fog’ issue?
Hopefully, by successfully treating physical symptoms through some of the practices just mentioned, the cognitive and emotional issues will ease as well.
Other suspected contributors to brain fog include treatable problems like chronic mold inhalation or fungal infections – and less treatable central nervous system issues such as Multiple Sclerosis or early dementia/Alzheimer’s.
Any other ideas for living with Fibromyalgia?
Yes – doctors recommend a balanced, healthy diet with less sugar and meat, as well as adequate hydration. Going to the next level, pain meds, sleep meds and antidepressants can help.
Exercise and physical therapy can serve to mitigate the pain. So can stress reduction practices like mediation, yoga and massage. Some suggest that acupuncture can offer relief.