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Fibromyalgia Health.org Quick tip:
Lower body exercises such as brisk walking can increase cardiovascular output, without usually irritating tender muscle points.  The result of this type of exercise can be an increase in endorphins (your bodies natural "feel good" hormones) and an increase in the circulation of the lactic acid build up in the musculature.

 


Dr. Rick Swartzburg,D.C.
Author of
1backpain.com, tendonitis.net and memoryfoammattress.org

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Fibromyalgia Health.org

Fibromyalgia Health information, Research, and
 treatment options

 

How Fibromyalgia Occurs

Fibromyalgia has only recently been used as a term to diagnose patients that suffer from a particular series of abnormalities revolving around chronic muscular irritation.  The name Fibromyalgia alludes to painful fibrotic changes in the muscle tissue, but has come to mean much more to the patients who suffer with the syndrome.  While no pathological changes in the muscle tissue have been demonstrated on any type of imaging procedure, Fibromyalgia patients have very tender muscular points which cause a great deal of pain.  People who suffer with Fibromyalgia may have a whole host of other symptoms including but not limited to extreme fatigue, irritable bowl, headaches, insomnia, and depression.  Even through Fibromyalgia in itself is not life threatening, it can be very life altering if not dealt with properly.  While presently no one cure exists to completely resolve Fibromyalgia, understanding the disease can go a long way to helping cope and live a normal lifestyle with it. 

Some physicians have speculated that Fibromyalgia begins with the Mononucleosis virus, and followed by the lingering Epstein's bar virus. It has also been noted that many Fibromyalgia patients have had a recent heavy emotional or physical trauma prior to the onset of the disease.  Fibromyalgia patients have also been known to not get into the deepest phase of sleep, known as the delta stage, and therefore do not let their muscles shut down and rest properly.  It is also possible that a combination of these explanations may combine to cause a person to acquire Fibromyalgia.  Either way, it is important to address any possible causes, as well as help get your muscles on the right healing track through therapeutic procedures covered in this section.

 

Common Areas of Fibromyalgia Tender Points

Although Fibromyalgia sufferers can experience tender points all throughout the body, In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) established criteria for classifying patients with Fibromyalgia.  It takes only 11 of the 18 known tender points to diagnose a person with Fibromyalgia, but it is important to distinguish the location of these points.  With Fibromyalgia, tender points seem to be found equally on both sides of the body.  These tender points are located at the lower portion of the back of the where the skull meets the neck in an area called the sub-occipital musculature, along the Trapezius muscles in the middle of the upper back, the upper chest areas (upper lateral to the second costochondral junction), in the lower front musculature of the neck (intertransverse spaces at C5-C7), the front and slightly to the outside of the arms at the elbow joints (Lateral epicondyle), just above and outside of both knees, the back of the upper thighs (Greater trochanter area), and above the buttocks at the outside of the Gluteal region. 

 

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

When a person has Fibromyalgia, they are more susceptible to a variety of other types of muscle problems such as tendonitis, Fibromyalgia, muscle strain, muscle cramping and spasm, thoracic outlet syndrome and many other nerve compression syndromes.  As well as external muscle, joint and nerve problems, a whole host of other health related issues such as chronic fatigue, insomnia, depression, poor digestion, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as headaches and even impairment in cognitive abilities that include memory loss, confusion, and poor concentration. 

Fibromyalgia Treatment

The approach to treating Fibromyalgia therapeutically will be similar to other muscle problems by emphasizing procedures to support and protect the muscles, help them to loosen up and lessen the pain and minimize any inflammation.  Due to the extreme sensitivity of a Fibromyalgia patient, extreme care should be taken to not over irritate the musculature from any procedure, as this may set their condition back temporarily.

Reducing inflammation and soothing the pain of the fibrotic tender points can be done topically if a pain reliever has the ability to penetrate the skin barrier and contains anti-inflammatory agents. A topical formula that contains natural menthol will not only relieve pain, but dilate the blood vessels. This allows for relief of the tender points, without causing any stiffening of the tissue.  MSM, also known as Methyl Sulfonyl Methane is a natural supplement that is getting a lot of attention due to its role in tissue healing at a cellular level.  It is a natural organic sulfur that comes from rain fall and is found naturally in the human body.  It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the tissues.  See all about Glucosamine and MSM for more information this supplement.  Ice can relieve inflammation, but will constrict the blood vessels and further stiffen the musculature.  Cortisone injections can reduce inflammation, but unfortunately are very caustic and can cause a weakening of the tissue structure and a create more scar tissue.  Dr. Swartzburg, our site editor, worked in conjunction with our sponsor, Relief-Mart, to develop a spray for Fibromyalgia Health called Therapain Plus.  It has all natural pain relievers plus 14,000mg of MSM and Glucosamine. 

Recently, studies on tart cherries have come to light and have shown a great benefit to Fibromyalgia patients.  The reason may be two fold:  First, tart cherries contain significant quantities of melatonin, which help regulate the sleep cycle.  Secondly, the anthocyanins found in cherries contain some of the highest levels of Cox-1 and Cox-2 inhibitors of any known food. Cox-1 and Cox-2 inhibitors play a key role in the inflammation cycle.  According to a recently published research conducted at Michigan State University, 20 tart cherries had a similar effect as Ibuprofen. 

The pressure on the tender points can be reduced while sleeping by using a softer bed topper like a memory foam mattress pad or even getting a new mattress that is composed with memory foam and/or latex foam.  Memory foam and latex foam reduce compression because they are the only substances that conform with the bumps and curves of the body and can thereby reduce the pressure spot by more evenly disbursing the weight of the body.  See the article Sleep and Fibromyalgia for information on this subject. 

Other treatment modalities include electric stimulation for reducing the pain and tenderness of the musculature, percussion massage to increase circulation (regular Swedish and especially deep massage may cause a flair-up of the tender points), Light stretches, and moist heat therapy.

Fibromyalgia Flair-up Prevention

While it may not be possible to ever totally cure Fibromyalgia, preventing flair-ups can be equally as important to leading a normal lifestyle.  It is important for a person with Fibromyalgia to get at the source of any tension, lessen the physical stress placed on the body through improving poor posture and not overusing the muscles.  Staying as active as your body will tolerate, and eating a proper balanced diet are also extremely important components.  In fact, one thing in common that many Fibromyalgia patients who are living more active lifestyles share, is regular an exercise routine. 

 

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