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Do you know someone with Fibromyalgia? If so pass them this newsletter.
Fibromyalgia has only recently been used as a term to diagnose patients that suffer from a particular series of abnormalities revolving around chronic muscular irritation. When a person has Fibromyalgia, they are more susceptible to a variety of other types of muscle problems such as tendonitis, bursitis, muscle strain, muscle cramping and spasm, thoracic outlet syndrome and many other nerve compression syndromes. FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons – the soft fibrous tissues in the body. Most patients with FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) say that they ache all over. Their muscles may feel like they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch and at other times they burn. More women than men are afflicted with FMS, and it shows up in people of all ages.
The cause of FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) remains elusive, but there are many triggering events thought to precipitate its onset. A few examples would be an infection (viral or bacterial), an automobile accident or the development of another disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or hypothyroidism. These triggering events probably don't cause FMS, but rather, they may awaken an underlying physiological abnormality that is already present. What could this abnormality be? Theories pertaining to alterations in pain-related chemical transmitters (particularly substance P, nerve growth factor, serotonin, and norepinephrine), immune system function (e.g. abnormally elevated levels of cytokines that form the communications link between your immunologic and neurologic systems), sleep physiology, and hormonal irregularities are under investigation.
- The pain of FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) has no boundaries. People describe
the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, and stabbing. Intense
burning may also be present. Quite often, the pain and stiffness are worse in
the morning and you may hurt more in muscle groups that are used repetitively.
Fatigue - This symptom can be mild in some patients and yet incapacitating in others. The fatigue has been described as "brain fatigue" in which patients feel totally drained of energy. Many patients depict this situation by saying that they feel as though their arms and legs are tied to concrete blocks, and they have difficulty concentrating, e.g., brain fog.
Sleep disorder - Most FMS patients have an associated sleep disorder called the alpha-EEG anomaly. This condition was uncovered in a sleep lab with the aid of a machine which recorded the brain waves of patients during sleep. Researchers found that most FMS patients could fall asleep without much trouble, but their deep level (or stage 4) sleep was constantly interrupted by bursts of awake-like brain activity. Patients appeared to spend the night with one foot in sleep and the other one out of it.
Sleep lab tests may not be necessary to determine if you have disturbed sleep. If you wake up feeling as though you've just been run over by a Mack truck – what doctors refer to as unrefreshing sleep – it is reasonable for your physician to assume that you have a sleep disorder. Many FMS patients have been found to have other sleep disorders in addition to the alpha-EEG, such as sleep apnea, sleep myoclonus (nighttime jerking of the arms and legs), and restless legs syndrome. A newly discovered sleep disorder, upper-airway resistance syndrome, is also being evaluated for its association with FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome).
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain, abdominal gas, and nausea represent symptoms frequently found in roughly 40 to 70% of FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) patients.
- Recurrent migraine or tension-type headaches are seen in about 50% of FMS
(Fibromyalgia syndrome) patients and can pose a major problem in coping for
this patient group.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome - This syndrome, sometimes referred to as TMJ or TMD, causes tremendous jaw-related face and head pain in one quarter of FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) patients. However, a 1997 published report indicated that close to 75% of FMS (Fibromyalgia syndrome) patients have a varying degree of jaw discomfort. Typically, the problems are related to the muscles and ligaments surrounding the jaw joint and not necessarily the joint itself.
Other common symptoms - Premenstrual syndrome and painful periods, chest pain, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, numbness and tingling sensations, muscle twitching, irritable bladder, the feeling of swollen extremities, skin sensitivities, dry eyes and mouth, dizziness, and impaired coordination can occur. Patients are often sensitive to odors, loud noises, bright lights, and sometimes even the medications that they are prescribed.
Aggravating factors - Changes in weather, cold or drafty environments, infections, allergies, hormonal fluctuations (premenstrual and menopausal states), stress, depression, anxiety and over-exertion may all contribute to symptom flare-ups.
MSM and Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a condition for which MSM provides some relief. MSM can help with is characterized by severe muscle pain, and pain in the fibrous connective tissues (tendons and ligaments). Fibromyalgia MSM relief is important because the condition is associated with poor-quality sleep and is often accompanied by depression and anxiety. It is also referred to as a syndrome because Fibromyalgia is a group of symptoms. MSM for Fibromyalgia can provide relief even though, unlike arthritis, the joints are not directly affected. Regarding MSM and Fibromyalgia pain, there are natural products that have been shown to be effective in reducing cytokine levels. These include methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) because it is a sulfur-containing molecule found in plants and body tissues that is also known to inhibit inflammation.
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