DO YOU SUFFER FROM FYBROMYALGIA?
Everyone has aches and pains now and then and these do not necessarily mean that you have a condition such as fybromyalgia. Only a doctor can diagnose this condition and if you feel pain that persists over a long period of time, then it is time to consult your primary practitioner. However, knowing the symptoms of fybromyalgia is knowledge that can be useful in tracking the condition and discovering the triggers.
I have composed a check list of fybromyalgia symptoms that can be used to help explain some of the aches and pains experienced by patients with the disease. This list does not replace diagnosis. There are many symptoms on this list that are associated with other conditions other than fybromyalgia. Always consult your doctor with any concerns you may have.
ü Delayed reactions to physical exertion or stressful events
ü Genetic predisposition (other family members with fybromyalgia)
ü Unexplained weight gain or loss
ü Cravings for carbohydrates and chocolate
ü Headaches and migraines
ü Vision changes, including rapidly worsening vision
MUSCLE AND TISSUE-RELATED SYMPTOMS
ü Pain that may move around areas of the body and that ranges from mild to moderate
ü Morning stiffness
ü Muscle twitches
ü Diffuse swelling
ü Fibrocystic breasts (as an overlapping condition)
SINUS AND ALLERGY-RELATED SYMPTOMS
ü Post-nasal drip
ü Runny nose
ü Mold and yeast sensitivity
ü Shortness of breath
ü Earache and itchy ears
ü Ringing in ears (tinitis)
ü Thick secretions
ü Light and/or broken sleep pattern with unrefreshed sleep
ü Sleep starts (falling sensations)
ü Twitching muscles at night
ü Teeth grinding (bruxism)
ü Menstrual problems
ü PMS (as an overlapping problem)
ü Loss of libido
ABDOMINAL AND DIGESTIVE SYMPTOMS
ü Bloating and nausea
ü Abdominal cramps
ü Pelvic pain
ü Irritable bowel syndrome (as an overlapping problem)
ü Urinary frequency
COGNITIVE AND NEUROLOGICAL SYMPTOMS
ü Difficulty speaking known words, other language impairments (dysphasia)
ü Poor balance and coordination
ü Directional disorientation
ü Loss of ability to distinguish some color tones
ü Tingling and burning sensations in the upper limbs
ü Short-term memory impairment
ü Trouble concentrating
ü Staring into space until brain begins to function
ü Inability to recognize familiar surroundings
ü Sensitivity to odors, light, and sounds
ü Sensitivity to pressure changes, temperature, and humidity
ü Sensory overload
ü Panic attacks
ü Depression (as an overlapping problem)
ü Cries easily
ü Free-floating anxiety (not associated with situation or object)
ü Unaccountable irritability
ü Mood changes
ü Mitro-valve prolapse (as an overlapping condition)
ü Rapid, fluttery, heartbeat
ü Pain that mimics heart attack (as an overlapping condition)
SKIN, HAIR, AND NAIL SYMPTOMS
ü Pronounced nail ridges
ü Nails that curve under
ü Mottled skin
ü Bruising and scarring easily
ü Hair loss
ü Tissue overgrowth (non-cancerous tumors called lipomas, ingrown hairs, heavy and splitting cuticles, adhesions)
ü Nose bleeds
Now that you know all the symptoms of fybromyalgia, let’s discuss some of the triggers for this condition. The most common triggers for this condition are stress, lack of sleep, physical exertion, poor diet, and changes in weather.
ü Stress: When stress is there, that tension often builds in the muscles, activating hypersensitive nerves and stress can affect the brain’s ability to filter pain signals resulting in increased pain perception. Regular low-impact exercise if a great relief for stress because of the endorphins released in the body after a good workout. Relaxation techniques and meditation are also good for removing stress.
ü Lack of sleep: While you sleep, the body is repairing itself. However, for those with fybromyalgia, good, deep sleep can be hard to achieve because of the pain. This can be a vicious circle as pain deprives sleep, and lack of sleep keeps the body in pain. To help prevent this, keep regular sleeping habits of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
ü Physical exertion: Although exercise is good to relieve stress and help keep the body limber, overdoing it or just going about normal daily chores can cause flare-ups of fybromyalgia. Gentle stretching and mild exercise is a good treatment. Keep it gentle and start slowly, improving endurance through time.
ü Poor diet: At this time, there is no physical evidence that food affects people with fybromyalgia but many patients report that certain foods do cause flare-ups of the condition. They report sensitivity of gluten, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and preservatives. Maintain a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruit, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Be aware of GMO foods, preservatives, and other chemical additives.
ü Changes in the weather: Anecdotal reports that weather affects fybromyalgia symptoms are everywhere but the scientific backup is not conclusive in this area yet. However, changes in temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation, and wind seem to make symptoms worse. Try to stay within during inclement weather or during extreme temperatures either hot or cold.
Knowledge is your best weapon for fighting fybromyalgia. Knowing the symptoms of the disease and what trigger flare-ups are key elements in winning the battle. Work with your doctor to develop a regimen of treatments that will combat your checklist of symptoms so you can live a more productive, fulfilling life.