Fibromyalgia affects two to five per cent of the population. It is a condition that impacts more women than men. It most commonly develops during middle adulthood, but adolescents can also develop this condition..
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from mild to severe. The most common symptoms are:
- increased sensitivity to pain due to a decreased pain threshold
- increased responsiveness to sensory stimuli such as heat, cold, light, smell
- extreme fatigue (tiredness)
- problems with memory and concentration (fibro fog)
- problems with sleep.
It’s important to remember that each person with fibromyalgia will have his or her own unique set of symptoms.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are variable. They can be mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms may disappear for extended periods of time, perhaps even years. Other people have pain every day, or experience variations between these two extremes.
Fibromyalgia is classified as a Central Sensitivity Syndrome. It is non uncommon for people with fibromyalgia to have other CSS conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, irritable or overactive bladder, headaches, and swelling and numbness or tingling in the arms and legs. Living with ongoing pain and fatigue often leads to secondary problems such as anxiety and depression.
Fibromyalgia is real disorder; it is not a psychological diagnosis. There is now abundant evidence that the pain of fibromyalgia and other symptoms result from abnormalities of sensory processing in the nervous system.
For some people fibromyalgia is their main condition. For others it is linked to other conditions such as Vasomotor Rhinitis, Arthritis, Lupus, Migraine, and Autoimmune Disease. Some studies suggest that it is not uncommon for people with mould illness - mycotoxicity (CIRS) to be misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Treating fibromyalgia, primarily involves Self Management programs. For some people the use of supplement protocols like those promoted by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum are helpful. (Note not always tolerated by people with fibromyalgia who also have pseudo allergies - phenol intolerance). The use of medications like low dose antidepressants - tricyclics, and anti seizures medications like Gabapentin can also be helpful to some people, but are not tolerated well by everyone.
Self Management Programs for fibromyalgia include
- The Shine Protocol by Dr Teitelbaum - needs to be implemented with the help of doctor trained in the Shine Protocol - similar may be provided by doctors trained in integrative - functional medicine and the functional medicine matrix
- The Fibro guide - free online program developed by the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Centre
- CFIDSselfhelp.org - offers free online and paid programs for people who have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Note: when doing self management programs it is important to consider any other diagnosed conditions you may have and the recommendations for managing them made by your doctor.