What Is POTS??

What Is POTS??

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Fibromyalgia is a condition in which a patient experiences widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep, memory and mood problems. It is believed that fibromyalgia causes pain sensations to be amplified by the way the brain processes pain signals.

It is believed that repeated nerve over-stimulation during some physical or psychological trauma may cause the brain to change the way it functions. This causes an abnormal increase in neurotransmitters which are chemicals in the brain that communicate with the rest of the body. The brain's pain receptors also develop something like a memory of the pain and become over sensitive and overreact to pain signals coming from the body.

The symptoms can sometimes start after physical trauma, surgery, infection or psychological stress. But in some patients, the symptoms gradually progress over a period of time and  it is not readily apparent what triggered it. TMJ/Temporomandibular joint problems, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety.

Fibromyalgia runs in some families indicating that there is some genetic component that makes people more susceptible.  Sometimes illness seems to trigger it. And physical and emotional stress and trauma trigger it. There is also a link between fibromyalgia and PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. People with  an autoimmune disease are also at a higher risk of having fibromyalgia probably because they are in a lot of pain that sets off the process of overstimulation of the brain.

There isn't a cure for fibromyalgia. But there is symptom control. Stress reduction, relaxation, and exercise can be helpful.

Patients describe the pain of fibromyalgia as a constant dull ache and it usually has lasted for three months or more. It occurs on both sides of the body and above and below the waist.

Patients often wake up tired even after sleeping for a long period of time. Their sleep is interrupted by pain and they usually have other sleep disorders, like RLS/restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.

Another common complaint in fibromyalgia is “fibro fog”. Patients experience difficulty focusing, and paying attention and are unable to concentrate on simple tasks.

They also suffer from headaches, pain, and cramping in their lower abdomen and depression.

There are 18 pressure points of the body that when pressed on a normal person don't hurt. But on a person with fibromyalgia they hurt. But doctors no longer have to rely on this test Now a diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be made if a person has had widespread pain for more than three months and has no underlying medical condition causing the pain. Your doctor may still run blood tests to rule out other conditions.

Treatments for fibromyalgia include pain relievers like Tylenol, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium. Tramadol is also used. Antidepressants like Cybalta and Savella help with pain and fatigue. Amytriptalene is often prescribed to help patients sleep at night. It has a chemical makeup similar to the muscle relaxer Zanaflex in addition to being an antidepressant. Gabapentin, an antiseizure drug also helps with pain symptoms. Another drug of this type is Lyrica, and it was the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia.

It is important for people with fibromyalgia to get plenty of sleep. This can be helped by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.

Avoid overexertion and stress. Make time to relax and destress every day. Do something you enjoy. Try to maintain a routine. Deep breathing and meditation can be helpful. Yoga and tai chi are helpful because they include exercise, with meditation and deep breathing to help you relax. The slow movements also help avoid overdoing and causing pain.

Exercise has been found to be helpful. Due to pain. it is best to increase the level of exercise gradually. The exercise can be things like riding a bike, walking or swimming. Physical therapy can be helpful and a physical therapist can teach you how to do exercises at home.

Other forms of therapy that have been found helpful include acupuncture and massage therapy.

Your general activity should be kept on an even level so that you don't overdo. Try to maintain a balance between doing too much and not doing enough.

It can be helpful to find other people who have fibromyalgia and understand what you are experiencing.  National Fibromyalgia Association and the American Chronic Pain Association

After you watch the Fibromyalgia videos, don't forget to watch the POTS videos at the bottom of the blog. You have to scroll down for them.

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