The term fibromyalgia is actually a combination of three terms:
- Fibro: the Latin term for fibrous tissues
- Myo: the Greek term for muscle
- Algia: the Greek term for pain
The condition of fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic one and is characterized by several different symptoms, including fatigue, tender points, and widespread muscle and joint pain.
Approximately 3 to 6 million individuals in the USA are affected by this condition. Over 90 percent of these individuals are women- but it’s not clear why.
Some experts believe that it has something to do with genetic predispositions in combination with female hormones.
Others believe it has something to do with the socialization of women in the American culture.
Many times, the condition of fibro is confused with another condition referred to as “myofascial pain syndrome”.
While it’s true that both of these conditions do result in pain in all 4 body quadrants and do have similar tender points, the two are actually completely different.
The condition of myofascial pain syndrome is inflammatory and is a result of overusing or injuring your muscles.
On the other hand, the condition of fibro is due to stress induced changes in metabolism.
Myofascial pain syndrome has a sudden onset and fibro has a slower onset- beginning in early adulthood.
It is critical that both of these be diagnosed correctly due to the fact that they both require very different treatment.
The condition of fibro is a chronic one, meaning it will most likely last a lifetime- but it will not result in damage to internal organs, joints, or muscles.
Following are some treatments for fibro that can help with shoulder pain:
Chiropractic: for those who suffer from the condition of fibro, chiropractic care may be beneficial and can help keep your muscles and spine from losing too much movement.
Since fibro causes muscles to tighten and lose pliability, it causes an overall loss of spinal movement- which results in more tightening and more pain.
The option is to keep adjusting the spine to keep it moving. Often, individuals with fibro will visit a chiropractor up to four times each month to keep them relaxed and mobile.
However, make sure that the chiropractor you choose is familiar with the condition of fibro.
Trigger Point Therapy: the most common symptom of fibro is widespread pain, tender points, and trigger points.
Many times, trigger points are confused with tender points- they are definitely not the same. Trigger points require firm pressure to cause pain and tender points require very little.
Trigger point therapy to treat fibro is very similar to trigger point therapy for treating other pain.
The points are exactly the same, but the intensity is different. Individuals with fibro will require less pressure on trigger points.
Cold Laser Therapy: some of the common traits of fibro are chronic pain and poor healing. Therefore, laser therapy can be an effective treatment. Cold laser therapy stimulates healing of tissue and helps to decrease pain sensations.
Self-Care: believe it or not, your everyday choices have an effect on how much of an effect the condition of fibro will have on your life.
Individuals who have fibro and take good care of themselves will have greater success in controlling symptoms than those who do not.
Making changes in your lifestyle can help to decrease the pain associated with fibro and increase their overall quality of life. Here are a few things you can do to take care of yourself:
Get adequate sleep: getting enough restful, restorative sleep can help to ease the signs and symptoms of the condition of fibro.
However, when you’re fighting with these signs and symptoms, it can be hard to achieve good sleep.
While it can be tempting to reach for the alcohol to help you sleep, it is not recommended as it can keep you from getting restful sleep.
Some individuals with the condition of fibro find that 5-HTP is helpful for helping them get the rest they need as well as prescription antidepressants.
While it’s not recommended to reach for medications, it is hard to function without adequate sleep. Another substance that can help regulate sleep patterns is melatonin.
Get adequate exercise: studies have proven that improving your fitness level through exercise is very effective.
You can easily relieve your symptoms of fibro through aerobic exercise. However, when you have fibro, the symptoms of fatigue and pain can make this quite difficult.
You must remember though, it is critical to be as active as possible. If you’re not already active, start slowly with swimming and/or walking.
This will help to mobilize your sore, tight muscles. The more you exercise, the better off you will be- but pay attention to your body and don’t overdo it.
Make necessary changes at work: in most cases, individuals with the condition of fibro will be able to keep working- but they are likely to require a few changes.
They may need to reduce their work hours, find one that will allow them to be flexible with their schedule, or even find one that is less physically demanding.
If you are suffering from the condition of fibro, you may be able to get an adjustable desk, a special office chair, or even other adaptations in order to make work easier.
If you do have the condition of fibro, speak with your employer about special accommodations to allow you to keep working.
Eat a proper diet: you probably already know that food has the ability to make or break you- it can be harmful or healing.
Foods that tend to be harmful and cause stress include: processed foods, eggs, corn, dairy, wheat, and anything with MSG.
In addition, it is possible that environmental toxins can result in increased stress on your body- so it’s a good idea to avoid fish as well.
Instead, you should be choosing fresh, organic fruits and veggies. Your diet should be built around spelt, soy, nuts, roots, berries, rice milk, legumes, brown rice, and oats.
Nutritional supplements: while you should be getting most of your nutrients through your healthy diet, there are also some nutritional supplements might help with the condition of fibro.
Supplements such as magnesium and malic acid have been said to be effective to controlling the symptoms of fibro.
However, keep in mind that the FDA does not regulate nutritional supplements- so make sure that you do thorough research before taking anything.
If you suffer from the condition of fibro with shoulder pain, speak with your physician about other things you can do to help get your symptoms under control.