Posts Tagged Chronic Pain
Fibromyalgia is primarily characterized by widespread pain. The locations include the right and left side of the body, as well as above and below the waist. However, many patients experience pain in just one or a few places. If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you probably have quite a story to tell about finally getting a diagnosis. One of the main reasons that getting the diagnosis is so difficult is because fibro symptoms resemble the symptoms of other conditions, diseases, and disorders. Widespread pain, for example, is not limited to fibromyalgia.
In your quest for a fibro diagnosis, you no doubt encountered a discussion about rheumatoid arthritis, which is also commonly referred to as RA. The reason you likely encountered a fibromyalgia vs RA discussion with your physician on within your personal research is that, in addition to widespread pain, both conditions produce other similar symptoms as well. These include:
- Muscle pain
- Morning stiffness
- Loss of mobility and range of motion
Another similarity in the fibromyalgia vs RA debate are the flares or “flare ups.” The Mayo Clinic explains: “Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flare, alternate with periods of relative remission – when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.” While the flares are certainly similar, this is one key difference in fibromyalgia compared to RA: fibromyalgia does not cause joint deformation like rheumatoid arthritis does. That’s because RA is rooted in inflammation, unlike fibromyalgia.
Just What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease that attacks the joints. This leads to inflammation which results in swelling and pain around the joints. Over time the inflammation causes damage to the cartilage, as well as a loss of it. This in turn leads to less and less space between joints. The joints then become unstable and painful, even losing their mobility and sometimes leading to deformed joints. This damage is irreversible. So it is recommended that RA treatment is addressed quickly and aggressively.
Fibromyalgia vs RA: What If I Have Both?
Though it is certainly possible to suffer from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis at the same time, these illnesses are definitely different. Even the medications used to treat them are different. In fact, having a correct diagnosis is critical for determining the correct medication. It is equally critical because ignoring RA symptoms and pushing through the joint pain can actually lead to irreparable damage.
If you are one of the few patients who suffers from both, make sure to find a knowledgeable physician who is experienced in treating both conditions. Good places to start are with a rheumatologist, neurologist, or an osteopath. Interestingly enough, the Arthritis Foundation explains that “people with other rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, are at greater risk for fibromyalgia. For example, about 20 to 30 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis also develop fibromyalgia, although no one knows why.”
Other Similar Symptoms
The Mayo Clinic adds that approximately 40% of those with RA also experience symptoms that do not involve the joints. Understanding this helps explain why fibromyalgia vs RA is such a difficult thing to puzzle out. Rheumatoid arthritis effects other structures, including:
- Salivary glands
- Nerve tissue
- Bone marrow
- Blood vessels
Compare those effected structures and how they relate to the following common symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- Skin sensitivities, rashes
- Itching, burning
- Dry eyes, mouth
- Vision problems
- Muscle weakness, aching
- Numbness, tingling
If you’re unsure about your diagnosis, it will be helpful to keep a journal of your pain so that you have specific details to discuss with your physician. Traditionally, women have been most effected by fibromyalgia. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates between 80-90% are women ages 18 and up. But the way it is tested is expanding, so more men are getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia as well. Similarly, the Arthritis Foundation says that rheumatoid arthritis effects nearly three times as many women as it does men. They add that while it does occur with men, it typically happens later in life for them. For women, RA begins between the ages of 30 and 60.
Were you misdiagnosed? Or do you suffer from both fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis?
The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com is posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your doctor.
Our muscles are at the core of fibromyalgia issues, and because of that, our muscles are where we are going to notice the majority of our issues. Controlling our fibromyalgia is based on a lot of factors, but many of them are related to the muscles that are most affected by the disease.
Muscle twitching is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia, and it’s important to deal with it quickly. In this article, we’re going to look at why muscle twitching is such a common issue with fibromyalgia, and how you can cope with it in a manner that allows you to continue to live your life.
Why Does Muscle Twitching Happen with Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disorder where our body is constantly in pain. At this point in time, there isn’t really a single known cause of the disorder, and because of that, it’s often hard to treat. Many times, professionals are just dealing with the symptoms and trying to make it as simple as possible for the person suffering from the disorder to live a normal life – or as normal as they possibly can.
Muscle twitching is just one of many symptoms that may end up occurring in people who are suffering from fibromyalgia. What is a muscle twitch? In short, it’s when the nerves in your body (usually in muscles) start to work without you telling them to.
They shoot off signals and move without you prompting them to. Many people know about the twitch in their eyelids or in their fingers, but they can be a lot worse in those with fibromyalgia. But why do they happen?
There are a number of emotional reasons that we can end up with muscle twitches. Stress and anxiety are probably the two biggest reasons. Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia will deal with one or both of these problems at some point.
Under these conditions, our bodies will start to be tense and they won’t act as they should, thus making it difficult for us to control what is going on with our bodies. We may tremble or twitch, even though we didn’t tell our body to do any of those things.
Anxiety will often make people tremble or twitch, even if they can’t sense the mental part of their anxiety, their body may still react with twitches and trembles. Either way, it can be a bit disconcerting.
Another reason is that of an injury or because of tension in the muscle itself. Injuries can make it so that the nerves don’t fire as they should, and tension makes it so that your nerves may be strained or pinched.
In either of those cases, it’s likely that our bodies will shake and/or twitch, and we won’t really be able to do much about it. It can be scary and sometimes cause frustration, but it’s quite common and not something that you necessarily have to be afraid of if it happens to you or a loved one who deals with fibromyalgia.
How Can We Deal with and/or Prevent Muscle Twitching?
As with anything else, we can deal with muscle twitching (and in some cases, we can even prevent it). Your specialist is the only one who can actually give you a full plan as to how you want to go about it, but here are some suggestions that you can use in order to help prevent and/or deal with muscle twitching that is related to fibromyalgia.
It sounds simple, but staying active can actually play a huge role in preventing muscle twitches as a result of fibromyalgia. If you are exercising (which, even though it can be difficult with fibromyalgia pain, you want to try and do at least semi-regularly), then you are stretching your muscles and making them less tense. Even just doing stretches around the house can really help limber you up.
It will also make it easier for you to move around. Remember – some movement is better than no movement at all, so even a little bit can end up helping you feel a lot better and can help to reduce the spasms and twitching of your muscles. Go and take a walk around the block, or just use the muscle that is causing you the issues – sometimes, just using the muscle is enough to help it work correctly and to turn off the “misfiring” that is going on in your body.
Even if you have fibromyalgia, some muscle twitches could be signs of bigger problems in your body. There are a few reasons that you may want to call a professional and get help if you’re having a muscle twitch that is out of the ordinary.
If you can’t move a part of your body because of the twitch, if you start to feel dizzy or sick, and/or you are in so much pain that moving your body (or at least, the area that is affected) is out of the question. In those cases, you will want to go to the hospital and get treated – there could be some bigger issues going on.
If the twitching is severe and making it difficult to function, your doctor may end up prescribing medications for you. Some of them are muscle relaxers, others are anti-spasmodic medications. It depends on what your doctor believes is causing the muscle twitching in the first place. They may also send you to a physical therapist and/or give you electrical therapy, depending on where the spasm is located and if the technologies and/or techniques have been proven to help your specific area of issue.
Muscle twitching is, unfortunately, a common truth that many people who suffer from fibromyalgia have to deal with. It’s important that we’re not only aware of this issue, but also that we can take care of it when it comes up. If muscle twitching has become an issue for you, talk to your specialist. They can help you with more suggestions and give you a treatment plan that actually addresses the twitching and its severity.
The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and is posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.
Fibromyalgia swelling is a painful condition that many with fibromyalgia experience. Their limbs and joints become painful and inflamed, which makes daily life difficult. But what causes the swelling? And can dietary supplements help you with your symptoms?
Their limbs become swollen with excess fluid, and they find that things, like walking or using their hands, are difficult because of the pain. And that makes it hard to perform basic daily tasks. So fibromyalgia swelling is definitely something that can reduce your quality of life.
But what causes the swelling? And are there dietary supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that help you with your symptoms?
What Causes Fibromyalgia Swelling?
People with fibromyalgia sometimes find that their hands, feet or other parts of their body suddenly start swelling.
Swelling, or edema, is usually caused by fluid from blood vessels leaking into the body and being retained by your cells. The afflicted area then swells up with fluid underneath the skin.
Usually, this is caused by injury, but in people with fibromyalgia, it can also be triggered by stress. Some doctors theorize that the swelling is actually inflammation, which is when your body’s immune system attacks its own tissue and causes it to swell. And if this is the case, it would support the idea that fibromyalgia is actually an autoimmune disease, which is where your bodies immune system begins attacking your healthy cells by mistake.
Either way, there are things you can do to reduce your fibromyalgia swelling, starting with dietary supplements.
How Can Supplements Reduce Your Swelling?
Because swelling is caused by the retention of fluid in your cells, supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that help your cells regulate fluid will help reduce the amount of pain and discomfort you experience.
Your diet actually makes a huge difference in nearly every aspect of how your body performs. And a well-balanced diet will make your body naturally retain less fluid. But if you can’t get all the vitamins you need in your diet, supplements for fibromyalgia swelling are a great way to go.
Some Supplements For Fibromyalgia Swelling
When it comes to choosing the right supplements for fibromyalgia swelling, it’s important to choose vitamins that help your body perform its job correctly. Certain nutrients are important in the way your body regulates the flow of fluid from joints and muscles. So you want to make sure you’re choosing your supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that help create the types of cells that regulate fluid in the body.
And you also want to make sure that you aren’t taking supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that aren’t helping to contribute to the sorts of nutrients that encourage your body to retain water.
There are certain types of foods that naturally make your cells more likely to hold in the fluid that leads to fibromyalgia swelling.
Iron is a vitamin that plays an important role in regulating your blood and cardiovascular system. A healthy level of iron in your blood will help your body naturally improve circulation to the areas where you are experiencing fibromyalgia swelling and pull the fluid back into your blood stream. Iron is a key ingredient in the creation of new blood cells. And a healthy level of iron in your diet will let you create the red blood cells your body needs. That will help drain the fluid away from the area.
Normally, Iron is found in leafy, green vegetables like Kale. But you can also get it in the form of supplements.
Vitamin B normally exists in red meat, meaning that people who are vegetarians will often suffer from vitamin B deficiencies. And vitamin B plays a significant role in the regulation of your bodies circulatory system as it regulates nerves and blood cell creation.
So a healthy level of vitamin B will help your body naturally fight swelling in the limbs by creating the blood cells to carry the fluid away from the area.
Stinging Nettle is a plant with natural anti-inflammatory properties. The plant has tiny spines that release painful chemicals when touched, which gives it its name. But when used as a supplement, the natural chemicals in the stinging nettle reduce inflammation and swelling.
You can also use a compound of stinging nettle directly on the skin to reduce the pain and inflammation you experience. The stinging spines are placed against the area that is inflamed, and after a brief feeling of pain, the chemicals the stingers release actually make the area feel numb.
It’s an effective way to treat a painful limb without using drugs if you’re interested in alternative treatments. And it’s also a great supplement for fibromyalgia swelling.
Turmeric is a spice that is usually used in Indian and Asian cuisines as the main flavor in curries. But it turns out that it also has some medical properties that can help reduce inflammation.
Turmeric contains the chemical compound “curcumin,” which has anti-inflammatory properties. So adding a turmeric supplement to your daily diet may help relieve some of your swelling. The natural anti-inflammatory compounds help your body move fluid out of the affected limbs and back into your blood stream.
Just remember that no matter what supplements you choose to take, make sure that you are getting them from a reliable source. The US Food and Drug Administration is actually not authorized to test supplements for their effectiveness or safety. So it’s important to carefully research any supplements for fibromyalgia swelling you decide to take. And make sure you’re getting supplements that are both safe and effective.
*Some products you find on the internet may actually be full of useless additives, which makes them ineffective. And some products can actually be harmful. Around 23,000 people every year actually end up in the hospital due to taking supplements that contain things like aconite powder, which is poisonous.
When you’re taking supplements for fibromyalgia swelling, make sure you’re careful about the supplements you’re using.
*Bold emphasis added by blogger.
The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your doctor.
If you have fibromyalgia, you know how much of a mental toll it can take on you. Living with that kind of constant, agonizing pain is hard. And not having the energy or the focus to do the things you used to can be even worse. So, it’s easy to understand why so many people with fibromyalgia struggle with depression.
In fact, while fibromyalgia isn’t fatal, the suicide rate for fibromyalgia sufferers is tragically high. Anything we can learn about the unique mental health challenges that people with the condition face is extremely valuable in helping those who are suffering.
For instance, did you know that there are actually many different kinds of depression? Doctors grade the condition based on the cause, symptoms, and duration. And one of the longest-lasting forms is dysthymia. So what is dysthymia, and what can you do to help manage it?
What Is Dysthymia?
Dysthymia, or persistent depressive disorder, is a condition that causes long-term depressive episodes. While other types of depression may strike suddenly and resolve the worst of the symptoms within a month or two, dysthymia can last for years. The symptoms are generally similar though. They include a loss of interest in everyday activities, fatigue, mental fog, irritability, and a loss of appetite.
But the symptoms can be less obvious as well. Usually, people who struggle with depression are consumed by negative thoughts. They get caught up thinking about how they’ve made mistakes, or about how they are worthless. Those thoughts can be so consuming that it can make even getting out of bed difficult some days.
When it comes to dysthymia, these symptoms can often be milder than those of other forms of depression. But they can also vary in intensity. Simply put, some days you feel much worse than others. Think about it like a rain cloud following you. Sometimes, the storm is worse, but it’s always raining.
The main difference between dysthymia and other forms of depression is that dysthymia lasts much longer. The main criterion for a diagnosis is that the patient shows that kind of negative thinking patterns for at least two years. Some days, when the condition is worse, they may also show the physical symptoms as well, like mental fog and loss of appetite.
It’s hard to say what causes someone to develop depression. A number of factors probably play some role like:
- Brain Chemistry- Our brains are formed from complicated systems of chemicals called neurotransmitters and electrical signals. When the system gets out of balance, it can lead to depression. People with depression usually have a lower level of a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which regulates our moods.
- Genetics- There’s a strong link between depression and genetics. People with a family history of the condition are more likely to develop the condition themselves. This is probably due to inherited traits affecting the chemistry of the brain.
- Circumstances- Obviously, negative life events- like developing fibromyalgia- can leave us feeling depressed. But they can also affect the chemistry in our brains, which can lead to clinical depression.
If you’ve been struggling with the condition for a long time, it might actually be hard to recognize it. You adjust to that way of thinking and begin to believe that it is normal. And while it can seem like there’s no way out of those thoughts, there are a number of things that can help.
There are three basic medications used to treat dysthymia: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
They work in a similar way, helping to regulate the balance of the neurotransmitters in your brain. But everyone’s brain is different. And an antidepressant that works for one person may be useless for someone else. Finding the right antidepressant for you usually takes a bit of trial and error. So it’s important to stay in close contact with your doctor about what you’re feeling until you find something that works for you.
But antidepressants sometimes aren’t enough on their own, especially when you have fibromyalgia. The depressing struggles of living with fibromyalgia can’t be medicated away. So, it’s usually best to look for a therapist who can help you find ways to cope with them. A good therapist can help you with new ways to manage the daily problems of fibromyalgia and help develop new thinking patterns that can relieve your depression.
Always remember that if you’re having a hard time managing your depression and feel like you might be a risk to yourself or others, you need to get help. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.
The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.
One of the latest health trends to sweep the internet is Earthing. You may have heard of earthing, or you may have heard another name for it, grounding. Basically, Earthing promises health benefits from putting yourself in touch with the planet.
People who believe earthing is effective argue that the Earth has a natural energy field that everyone is constantly tapping into. In the early days of the human race, people had a more direct contact with this field because their feet were constantly touching the bare ground.
But since we started wearing shoes and living in houses, we have lost that natural connection. Proponents of Earthing think this loss of connection to the Earth’s energy field is responsible for all kinds of health problems. And there’s no doubt that many people believe that Earthing has cured them of these problems.
Of course, it sounds a little unscientific, right? However, many different things, like yoga, that don’t necessarily rely on modern medicine have been shown to have significant health benefits. Is it possible that Earthing falls into this category?
So, let’s talk about what Earthing is and whether or not it works.
What Is Earthing?
Earthing proponents argue that the body is naturally in balance with the magnetic field of the earth. Specifically, they argue that the electrons in the earth’s surface naturally move into the body and bind to chemicals in the body called “free radicals.”
These free radicals do take electrons from your body’s cells, which can damage the DNA.
And according to the theory, your body needs these electrons to keep the immune system functioning properly. Without them, you’re more likely to develop autoimmune diseases, mental health problems, and chronic pain. So, according to the people who believe in the benefits of Earthing, the process can help cure pain, insomnia, and autoimmune disorders.
If you’re interested in Earthing, the good news is that it’s a pretty easy therapy to do. All you really have to do is spend some time putting your bare skin in contact with the ground. But if you can’t find the time to walk around barefoot, many Earthing sites can sell you specially designed beds or mats to help you ground yourself while you sleep.
The idea is that by balancing out the levels of electrons in the body with the electrons in the ground, you’ll get all of these miraculous health benefits.
But is that supported by science?
Does Earthing Really Work?
Earthing is a relatively new theory. And there have been very few scientifically rigorous studies into the benefits of the therapy. The ones that have been published, and are regularly cited by pro-earthing articles, are usually in less reputable scientific journals and written by people with suspicious medical credentials.
These studies do often show a benefit from Earthing in reducing pain and regulating sleep patterns. But be sure to take that with a grain of salt. Most of these studies don’t meet the standards for peer-reviewed medical research.
And the scientific basis behind Earthing is a little shakey. The main benefit, that the Earth gives you electrons to fight free radicals, is based on a misunderstanding about how free radicals work. Yes, free radicals take electrons, but simply putting more electrons in the body doesn’t do anything to fight them. Instead, your body naturally produces anti-oxidants that do that.
There’s little evidence that touching your skin to the ground will suddenly rid your body of free radicals. And there’s no scientific reason to think that it would.
That doesn’t mean that people who practice Earthing aren’t seeing a benefit. The truth may be that they are, and you’ll find hundreds of testimonials from people who argue that Earthing has changed their lives.
But, is that because the therapy itself is effective?
It may be, but there’s little evidence to suggest it is. Instead, these people may be experiencing the “placebo effect.” The placebo effect is well-documented in medicine and essentially, it occurs when someone undergoes a therapy without any proven benefits, and yet they still see benefits. That’s because the brain is capable of some amazing things. People benefit from the therapy simply because they believe they will.
Of course, with so little information on the benefits of Earthing, it may be too early to completely discount it. There may be a real physical benefit to the therapy, but it’s probably rooted in psychology and not in the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s always nice to feel like you’re getting in touch with nature. And the reduction in stress you experience from that feeling may be good for your physical health.
Until we have better studies on the therapy, we simply don’t know what the benefits are, if there are any.
So remember, many of the people on the internet who suggest Earthing has benefits don’t really have the facts to back it up yet. And in many cases, they simply want to sell you products. Always be skeptical of anyone who recommends a therapy on the same site where they’re selling products related to that therapy.
And always do independent research on any therapy before you commit your money to it.
The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your doctor.