debilitating fatigue, disturbed sleep and stiffness of the joints, but difficulty with swallowing, abnormal bowel and bladder functioning, muscle spasms, nerve pain, numbness and/or weakness in the limbs, tension or migraine headaches, nausea, dizziness, tingling and cognitive dysfunction have been reported as well.
Fibromyalgia also can bring on anxiety, depression and Post traumatic Stress Disorder, but short and long-term memory problems, short-term memory consolidation, impaired speed of performance, inability to multi-task, cognitive overload and diminished attention span are also very common.
I read that 2 to 4% of the population, mostly women, suffer from this condition and the majority of them have been misdiagnosed. It turns out that there is no specific test to determine whether you have Fybromyalgia or not. It often can take years before you are properly diagnosed, due to symptoms which are common to other diseases as well.
Lab tests are usually done to eliminate any other illnesses and your symptoms might be tested against the criteria set to determine Fybromyalgia. Those criteria are
1. Widespread pain in all four quadrants of your body for a minimum of three months.
2. Tenderness or pain in at least 11 of 18 specific tender points when applying pressure.
When you have Fybromyalgia, you already know there is no cure for it. Most of the times the symptoms are being treated, which could give some relief of the pain and in other areas.
The medications given to Fybromyalgia patients are mainly Cymbalta, Prozac, Savella and Lyrica, as well as Tylonol, Tramadol, aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve and other pain relievers. An exercise program can help in reducing stress and with sleep strategies, while acupuncture and massages may offer some relief of the symptoms.
What can you do?
Supplements might be very helpful. The following are recommended in case you like to try:
- 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) might diminish the depression symptoms, pain and increase deep sleep.
- Melatonin causes sleepiness and therefore might result in a better sleep and pain relief. Be careful when using this supplement until you know how it affects you during the day, since it causes drowsiness!
- St. John's Wort can give some relief with the psychological symptoms like depression, but should NOT be taken in combination with other anti-depressants.
- SAM-e can induce better sleep and alter the mood, but there are some contradictions about the effects. You may want to try it and see if you works for you.
- L-carnitine may give pain relief and improve your overall well being.
- Echinacea, black cohosh, cayenne, lavender, milk thistle, and B vitamins also can have a positive effect relieving Fybromyalgia symptoms.
All of these are over the counter supplements and can easily be found in the stores. Be sure to talk to your doctor first before taking them; some could interact with your current medications.
Even though Fybromyalgia is not a progressive, degenerative, or deadly disease, it is not easy to live in constant pain and suffer all these symptoms. There are lots of support, forums and help groups either online or maybe close to you. Don't hesitate to join one of them; talking and sharing helps coping better with and may give more understanding concerning Fybromyalgia.
Sharing and talking about God's love and word may also give more understanding. It will also make it easier to stay on the path and follow in Jesus' footsteps. Much encouragement and support can be found in our brothers and sisters in Christ. So, don't hesitate to gather together, talk, share and rejoice in the Lord!
that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,