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June 02, 2008

Fibromyalgia And Exercise

Posted in: Diseases and Conditions

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain illness that is characterized by the widespread musculoskeletal aches and pains, includes the pain and stiffness, tenderness of the soft tissues, fatigue, as well as sleep disturbance. The most common spots where the aches and pains occur are the neck, back, shoulders, hands and the pelvic girdle, but in this illness any part of the body can be involved. The pain ranges to different level of intensities and that these differ from time to time. Another very striking evidence is that there are about 3-6 percent of the United States population who are suffering from this chronic illness. The most common gender affected by this illness are the females, but this illness also affects men as well as children.
Fibromyalgia has a tremendous impact on the lives of the individuals who are suffering from the fibromyalgia syndrome. Let us take an example that a woman who was happily married with two kids now is suffering from this illness and she has a lot of responsibilities that she has to do in an entire day, but now due to the aches and pains in her body she is unable to do that and is suffering greatly from them and thus is unable to do any of her responsibilities the way she used to and it is really affecting the lives of the entire family because now her husband has a lot to do around the house as well as go to his job and earn money to make the ends meet. If the woman has a job, she might go on a leave or has to quit that job, so this puts the family under tremendous amount of financial pressure, as well as a lot of chores that are to be done on a day to day basis. Therefore this illness just changes the entire lifestyle of the family and just puts them at increased stress.

Now we are going to look at the symptoms of the fibromyalgia, which includes pain as its first symptom. The pain of fibromyalgia is quite significant and it is present throughout the body and is chronic. This pain just does not stay at one point but can involve any part of the body. If we describe the pain of the fibromyalgia, it will be that this pain is deep and is in the muscles, it is throbbing in nature and stabbing and shooting in character. There is also involvement of the neurological symptoms that include numbness, tingling, burning and this greatly intensifies the pain of the individual. The factors that greatly increase the pain include the change in weather that includes cold and humid weather, disturbance in sleep, either excessive or decreased physical activity or no physical activity at all, as well as anxiety and stress.

Another very striking symptom of fibromyalgia is the fatigue. The fatigue of the fibromyalgia is very different from the fatigue that occurs due to strenuous activity throughout the day. The fatigue that is experienced in the fibromyalgia patients is different in terms that it drains the entire energy in an individual and one feels that they have no energy at all in them to do any of the chores or any activity and this is very much depressing for the individual that they have no energy at all to function.

Along with the above two symptoms that are described above, there is another symptom that just damages the life of these individuals and that is the sleep problem due to the pain that these individuals suffer. The pain can occur at any point in time and that this pain can get greatly intensified and can involve any part of the body and thus the individual going through such pain cannot sleep during the night and cannot maintain sleep because of the pain that they are experiencing so they are up after sleeping for a few hours and this just leaves them unrested throughout the day.

Along with these symptoms, other symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bladder, migraines, headaches, restless legs syndrome, memory deficit, lack of concentration, dry eyes, dry mouth, anxiety, chronic depression, ringing in the ears, neurological symptoms and impairment in coordination.

It is not easy to diagnose a patient who is suffering from fibromyalgia and it is from the history that the doctors gather the diagnosis from. The sites of the tender points and the history of the pain, extent of pain, character of pain, the extent of fatigue are of a major value where the doctors understand that these symptoms are indicative of fibromyalgia. It is important to note here that it takes a longer time to determine as to whether or not the individual is suffering from fibromyalgia. If there is presence of other diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis then the diagnosis of this disease is going to get a lot difficult. There is a diagnostic criteria that needs to be met to label an individual with the fibromyalgia, which includes the widespread pain in all the four quadrants of the body for the least duration of about three months. The tenderness in about 11 out of 18 points in the areas specified for the fibromyalgic points.

Another question that just raises in the mind is that what is the cause of the fibromyalgia. As of now there is no exact mechanism to explain the cause of fibromyalgia but the researchers agree that fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central processing with the dysregulation of the neuroendocrine/neurotransmitter. The patient suffers increased pain due to the abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system. It has also been found that genetics is also responsible for the cause of fibromyalgia. The researches are still conducted to determine as to what are the definite causes of fibromyalgia and how this can be prevented.

One must get the treatment of fibromyalgia from the physician who has a command in that problem so that the right lines are being determined so as to treat these individuals who are suffering from its aftermath. Most commonly pain is the biggest symptom of fibromyalgia and for this reason over the counter pain medications are being prescribed, which includes acetaminophen, ibuprofen. There are certain instances where the individuals do not get any benefit from the over the counter pain medications are being prescribed non-narcotic medications such as tramadol or the low dose antidepressants, which include tricyclic antidepressants, serotonin reuptake inhibitor. If there is excessive pain then the physicians give lidocaine injections in the tender points so that pain can be kept at bay.

Another very important aspect that is gaining a lot of strength these days is exercise because fibromyalgia leaves people totally incapacitated and that causes them to lay down for most of the time and because of this they lose a lot of muscle content and for that matter they need to focus on the different exercises that can help them to build their muscle framework back and that will strengthen them to perform their activities of daily living. The individuals suffering from fibromyalgia might not like to exercise but if they make it their focus to gain their strength and their life back, they can put in all their energies and can regain the strength back and can star to live a normal life.

Therefore it is very important that the individuals who are suffering from fibromyalgia contact their physician or exercise instructor who can tell them about the specific exercises that can help them gain a lot of the muscle mass back in the least possible time. I hope this article would be helpful to you and that you have gained basic information about fibromyalgia. I hope that you get well pretty soon. Best of luck.


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