In the United States, approximately five million people suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that’s known for the pain it causes.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia, then you’re all too familiar with the painful aches, muscle stiffness, and consistent pain that can get severe on the turn of a dime. Those who’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia tend to see it develop gradually and it often comes and goes. For women, the pain that accompanies the condition is more widespread, whereas men often feel the pain in one specific area.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Chronic fatigue: You often feel like to you have no energy and can’t concentrate. This kind of fatigue ranges from mild to intense.
- Trouble sleeping: If you suffer from this condition, you don’t find sleep restful or refreshing. In fact, those who have fibromyalgia often say that they feel even more exhausted when they wake up.
- Sensitivity: With this condition, your sensitivities to noise, light, odor, food, and medications can change. Typically, 50 percent of fibromyalgia patients report these kinds of sensitivities.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: Many people who suffer from this debilitating condition report feeling painfully bloated and gassy.
Diagnosing fibromyalgia ca be quite tricky, and what makes it so is that fact that its symptoms mimic other conditions. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, your physician will ask you if you’ve had pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least three months. Your physician will also ask if you’ve had tenderness in at least 11 areas of the body. Such places could be the neck, back, hips, arms, legs, or shoulders, etc.
What causes fibromyalgia?
Cutting-edge research tells us that imbalances found within the nervous system magnify normal sensation. This is why putting on your bra or drying yourself off with a towel becomes extremely painful. It’s also possible that fibromyalgia runs in families. Patients who have elevated levels of a neuropeptide called “substance P,” which plays a role in sending pain signals to the brain, tend to have this illness. Simultaneously, you may have lowered levels of pain-fighting hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
You should know that even if you have the genetic predisposition to fibromyalgia, something triggered the disorder. Whether it was a viral infection you had as a kid, intense emotional stress, an injury such as a broken bone or prolonged exposure to chemicals or drugs, it activated the disorder within your body.
Treating fibromyalgia with functional medicine
Traditional medical advice will offer treatment methods such as painkillers, antidepressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and benzodiazepines (such as Valium) to treat the disorder, but those aren’t the only ways of tackling fibromyalgia. Speak to a functional medicine practitioner in your area about your options and be willing to work with him or her, and on your own, to determine what’s right for your body.
Functional methods of treatment may be:
- Regular exercise
- Good consistent sleeping habits
- Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and breath work
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Don’t continue to suffer from the debilitating effects of fibromyalgia. If you’re in the Eastern Iowa or Cedar Rapids area, call Dr. Tanya Teggatz to set up a consultation today.