Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is often associated with a variety of additional unexplained symptoms, such as psychological depression, and diminishing quality of activities of daily living. Fibromyalgia affects the soft tissue in your body causing muscle stiffness, constant fatigue, disturbed sleep, pain and cognitive “slowing”, and is most prevalent in young or middle-aged woman. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1What is Fibromyalgia?
  • 2Is Sleep apnea one of the risks factors of Fibromyalgia symptoms?
  • 3What are the signs for Fibromyalgia?
  • 4What causes Fibromyalgia?
  • 5What is the link between Fibromyalgia and Sleep Disorders?
  • 6What treatments are available for Fibromyalgia?
  • 7How would you increase anti-oxidant protection and mitochondrial support?
  • 8What can you do to prevent Fibromyalgia?

In the past this serious condition was brushed off to be psychological, without exploring the medical causes. In this case they lacked an objective of medical findings on screening laboratory tests and medical imaging procedures. Through recent research it has been identified that the underlying nervous system pathology for fibromyalgia, is currently believed to be a central sensitivity syndrome.

Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome but poorly understood, characterized by widespread pain lasting for at least 3 months, muscle discomfort, tenderness and complains of chronic fatigue.

This syndrome is more prevalent in women, especially after menopause, and the age of the patients is between 30 and 50 years of age.

There are a lot of patients with Upper Airway resistance syndrome, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome experience rheumatic manifestation and fibromyalgia symptoms.

The most common signs of fibromyalgia is widespread pain in muscles and joints.

  • Inadequate sleep,
  • Insomnia,
  • Early morning awakenings,
  • Fatigue,
  • Dizziness,
  • Mental-concentration difficulties,
  • Memory fog,
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Fibromyalgia occurs:

  • After a trauma - like a car accident,
  • Due to some viruses who can attack the nervous system,
  • Sleep deprivation - this can increase pain sensitivity,
  • A lot of patients with upper airway resistance syndrome or sleep apnea also have symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Primary sleep disorders, Upper Airway resistance syndrome, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy and periodic limb movements can also be found in patients with fibromyalgia.

One encouraging fact is that patients with successful Upper airway resistant syndrome treatment can diminish or even cure the symptoms of fibromyalgia. When the patient sleep quality increases using the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy and/or brace therapy the pain intensity decreases, if therapy is stopped the chronic pain will reappear.

Natural treatment for fibromyalgia is:

Good sleep hygiene, keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule, ensuring adequate sleep time, avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, which can interfere with sleep.

Exercise, although regular aerobic fitness and strength training are significantly beneficial interventions, numerous patients are unwilling or unable to adhere to these regimens (due to pain), and have to try less strenuous alternatives.

Education: Education on the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia is very effective. Educational interventions are particularly beneficial for fibromyalgia patients that have lived with fibromyalgia for many years, and were always told that the symptoms were completely psychological. Having told that their symptoms are in their heads can cause individuals with fibromyalgia to feel rejected, but also result in significant stress, which can potentially worsen symptoms. Therefore, once diagnosed patients should become well-informed about the disorder. It will ease the fear of the unknown, but it can also produce a significant therapeutic effect for them.

Book a consultation with our Health Renewal doctors for Fibromyalgia.

Dietary Considerations: It is well-know that obesity can also be associated with fibromyalgia, and therefore it is not a strange thought that ones’ diet should be conducive to a weight loss program and prevent unnecessary weight gain. It has noted through various studies that a vegetarian diet can be particularly beneficial for decreasing the pain associated with fibromyalgia; not only because they can induce weight loss, but also because they are rich in antioxidants. This vegetarian diet is recommended based on evidence that oxidative damage (caused by, free radicals) plays an important role in the development of fibromyalgia. However, adherence to a specific dietary pattern may not be necessary if antioxidant-rich foods are consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet.

Nutraceutical support: There is no individual dietary supplement that is effective for relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, the following supplements have either been linked to symptom improvements: Magnesium: Research has revealed that low circulating levels of magnesium may be implicated in the development of fibromyalgia in some individuals. Patients who take supplements with magnesium as part of a treatment program has been shown to reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia, thus making it a frequently recommended supplement.

Melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. We have found that some fibromyalgia patients often have low circulating levels of melatonin, which can lead to disruptions and unbalanced sleep cycles. Patients with low melatonin secretion, that have been using melatonin supplementation has been shown to decrease symptoms of fibromyalgia.

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe): SAMe is a natural compound made from methionine (amino acid) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Supplementation with SAMe has shown improvements in morning stiffness, fatigue, quality of sleep, and clinical disease activity among fibromyalgia patients. Other studies have shown that SAMe provides relief from depression, which can be a psychological symptom of people with fibromyalgia.

D-ribose: This is a sugar compound that helps increases cellular energy synthesis in muscle cells. It was found that fibromyalgia patients that uses 5 grams of D-ribose three times daily significantly improved energy, sleep, mental clarity, pain intensity, and general well-being. Another finding was that 3 grams of D-ribose twice daily improved exercise capacity, vitality, and mental outlook in adults aged 50 and older.

Chlorella: The Chlorella is a genus of single-cell green algae. The green algae grows in fresh water and contains high concentrations of important vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, nucleic acids, amino acids, enzymes, and other substances. Because this potent combination of ingredients, Chlorella has been shown to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an essential component of healthy mitochondrial function, as well as a powerful antioxidant. CoQ10 has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties. We believe that low CoQ10 levels may play a role in the development of fibromyalgia symptoms because CoQ10 has been found lacking within the blood cells of many fibromyalgia patients. Subsequent CoQ10 supplementation (300 mg/d for 9 months) will show a significant improvement in symptoms.

Acetyl-L-carnitine: This amino acid is an acetylated version of the amino acid L-carnitine, which is a mitochondrial membrane compound that aids in the generation of metabolic energy and guards against oxidative damage, often caused by free radical activity. It has been suggested that fibromyalgia syndrome may be associated with metabolic alterations including a deficit of carnitine.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can only be synthesized to a limited extent by the human body, but are vital for normal metabolism. Omega-3’s can lessen several cellular properties and have been shown to reduce inflammation as one of its benefits. Among fibromyalgia patients, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has been linked to significant improvements and alleviation in pain severity, tender point counts, fatigue, and depression.

Vitamin D: Patients with fibromyalgia often have impaired mobility and therefore get less exposure to sunlight. This lack of sun exposure contributes to the vitamin D deficiency frequently observed in this population. In one trial involving 100 women with fibromyalgia, 61% were found to be vitamin D deficient (blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D <30 ng/mL). Upon supplementation with vitamin D, 42 (69%) of those women reported significantly improved symptoms when their vitamin D levels reached ≥ 30 ng/mL; the improvement became more significant when their vitamin D levels exceeded 50 ng/mL. Fibromyalgia patients should have their vitamin D levels checked regularly. Health Renewal suggests that a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 50 – 80 ng/mL should be targeted for optimal health among most aging individuals. 

Superoxide Dismutase (SOD): This endogenous antioxidant is found in decreased amounts among fibromyalgia patients. Superoxide Dismutase occurs in plants and can thus be extracted from them, to make effective supplements. In one double blind trial, supplementation with 1,000 mg/day of a plant superoxide dismutase extract significantly boosted SOD activity and decreased CRP levels in athletes compared to placebo.

Vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral Zinc: Vitamins & Zinc mineral provide antioxidant protection. In one of our findings, fibromyalgia patients had lower blood levels of vitamins A and E, as well as increased lipid peroxidation when compared to healthy controls.

B-vitamins: Vitamin B is an important cofactors in a variety of metabolic events and it has been founded to be used by 25% of fibromyalgia patients. Homocysteine is a damaging metabolic by-product whose levels are kept in check by adequate vitamin B intake. We have found in women with fibromyalgia to have higher levels of homocysteine in their cerebrospinal fluid than healthy controls. Other ways of intake such as intravenous infusion of several vitamins (i.e., B-complex vitamins), may be useful in fibromyalgia.

NADH: Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) is a coenzyme that supports numerous metabolic reactions critical for optimal cellular functions in the body. NADH helps recycle CoQ10.Supplementation with NADH has been shown to improve energy in people with chronic fatigue syndrome, in additional NADH usage will relieved sleepiness and cognitive deficits in people suffering from jet lag. 

The importance of early management of any condition cannot be overstated. Once certain conditions set in and damage to organs occurs, complete recovery may be difficult to attain. Best results for prevention and longevity is early detection of a possible problem combined with conventional treatments, nutritional supplements and a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Listen to your body. You will have good days and bad days with fibromyalgia, start each morning assessing how you feel. If you didn't get any sleep l the night before, plan your day accordingly and arrange to do less. Do more if you feel well rested and your pain is tolerable. You will never know when your condition will flare up, so listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.

Exercise regularly. Moving may be the last thing you feel like doing. However, moving can make you feel better and more energized. Regular and very gentle exercise can help ease pain, stress, and other fibromyalgia symptoms. You need to start slowly and try activities like walking, swimming, and stretching, even if it's only for a minute or two at a time. If you feel good, you can increase how long you work out and how hard, once again, listen to your body in this regard.

Massage. Massage has been used since the early days as a way to ease muscle pain and reduce stress. Massage is also used to improve a range of motion and deal with symptoms of depression and anxiety. If you can tolerate vigorous forms of massage, it can help relieve deep muscle pain. You also can try yourself: try massaging painful areas with a tennis ball or other firm object and easing the tension knots

Hot & Cold. Heat, especially moist heat, may relieve soreness and stiffness by boosting blood flow to the places where you hurt. Apply a warm, moist washcloth to the painful area or even try and take a shower or soaking in a bath. You also can reduce the deep muscle pain with a cold pack.

A good night’s sleep. Fibromyalgia can often disrupt sleep due to pain or restless legs syndrome. It is essential that you try to establish good sleep pattern. This includes trying to set a sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day with no naps. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine, reading relaxing book or taking a warm bath. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, cool, and free of distractions like TV and computers.

Set boundaries. It may not be easy, but you may want to be a little bit selfish with your body and time. It is essential that you learn the “no” word, especially when you are pressured by too many demands. This will mean not accepting every invitation, you might even have to back out at the last minute once in a while. Sometimes you need to put your own needs first, and your friends and family will understand when you just don't have the energy for everything, rather stay at home and rest so you can build your energy levels for the next excursion.

Supplementation. Some will suggest that certain over-the-counter herbs and supplements (such as magnesium, melatonin, and SAM-e), can help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms. It's very important you talk with an HR doctor before trying any supplement, and avoid self-medicating. Some of the supplements can have harmful effects if combined with other drugs.

Reduce your stress. Too much stress will trigger and worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms. Reducing stress will help to ease depression, anxiety, and fatigue and even improve sleep quality. It is essential that you make time for wat you love, whatever it takes for some guilt-free time to de-stress.

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