About Fibromyalgia Syndrome, FMS
All About Fibromyalgia Syndrome – What causes it? Can it be cured?
If you are newly diagnosed I am sure you have dozens of questions racing around in your head.
Not all can be answered to our satisfaction. However as a fellow fibro sufferer, I am all too familiar with what you are going through and as I have been researching fibro for 20 years I will share my in-depth knowledge on this website in the hope I can alleviate your fears and answer your questions.
One thing I do advise is that you be proactive in your health care and treatment. learn all you can about this condition and try various alternative treatments as help is available.
What exactly is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome also known as fibro, FM and FMS is an extremely painful condition with an array of other conditions and symptoms. Fibro – fibrous tissue, myo- muscle, algos –pain, meaning pain of the muscle and connective tissues.The chronic pain you feel is a deep pain of the connective and muscle tissues. It actually feels like the joints are affected but in reality they aren’t.
Fibromyalgia is often referred to as an arthritic condition but it does not cause any damage to the joints like arthritis can. However, joint hyper mobility is an associated symptom and it is also possible to have arthritis as well as fibro.
In fact, it is common for patients to have several other conditions as well as fibro such as chronic fatigue, IBS, restless leg syndrome, Reynaud’s syndrome, skin sensitivity and many more. These will be discussed in more detail later.
Fibro is a chronic condition meaning long lasting. It isn’t a disorder that just runs its course and you are cured!
How common is fibromyalgia?
Very! The American College of Rheumatology states that approximately one of every 73 Americans suffers from fibromyalgia! That is around three to six million people with fibro in the USA alone. 90% of those patients are women. Men and children make up the other 10%.
Certain areas of the population are at a higher risk of contracting this illness, namely those suffering with chronic conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, SLE (lupus) and similar inflammatory, auto immune illnesses.
What Causes Fibromyalgia?
There is no definitive answer to this question. It is a condition that seems to be triggered by several factors.
Some possible triggers for fibro are;
- Emotional Stress – post traumatic stress, divorce, exams, moving home, auto accident etc.
- A virus – the virus seems to trigger heightened responses in the body leading to fibromyalgia.
- Auto immune problems
- Mercury poisoning from dental fillings
- Food allergies
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Intestinal Candida overgrowth
- Sleep disorder
- Adrenal exhaustion
Usually people diagnosed with fibromyalgia can pinpoint the event that triggered their fibro. Something memorable happened and the symptoms started shortly thereafter. Generally it isn’t a case of ‘whammo’ you have full blown fibro symptoms! It usually starts quietly, a pain here or there that disappears for a few weeks or months then returns.
I would get an elbow inflame and it would make life difficult for a week or so then a few months later it could be a knee. Because my symptoms varied and different joints were affected my doctor couldn’t diagnose the problem. Individuals with fibro are super sensitive to many things, light, chemicals, taste etc. Therefore researchers feel something has gone awry in our immune system or brain that triggers the heightened response to events that the average person takes in their stride.
Our system over-reacts to the smallest of things. No matter how hard we tell our brain it’s okay I can deal with this, the body reacts out of proportion causing us to flare.
Fibromyalgia flares are when you experience even more pain and fatigue that can last days to weeks very often making us spend a lot of time in bed. They are caused by over-doing things. This needn’t be things like running a marathon (as if!!) but simple things like grocery shopping or housework.
Together we can win the battle of fibromyalgia, chronic pain and it’s associated disorders.