Fibromyalgia comes from Latin and Greek roots which translates to, “pain in the fibrous muscle and connective tissues.” It is characterized by pain in the tissues, which are highly sensitive to pressure and located throughout the body. The condition can also include other symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, joint pain and more.
Fibromyalgia, after decades of research, is referred to a “medically unexplained syndrome.” The condition is clinically defined by the American College of Rheumatology as a history of widespread pain in the connective tissues that persist for more over 12 weeks, and which affects both sides of the body and includes above and below the waist.
Medical treatments are generally centered on anti-depressant, anti-seizure and muscle relaxant drugs. These medications target the nervous system function to reduce pain but can also cause great lethargy and fatigue. Integrated treatment plans that incorporate medication, patient education, aerobic exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to be effective in alleviating the pain and other fibromyalgia-related symptoms.
To better understand and take greater control over this syndrome, let’s look at how connective tissue and muscle fibers function in both normal conditions as well as in fibromyalgia states.
For muscles to move, energy must be produced in each muscle cell to allow the collective bundle of muscle fibers to move. When energy is produced through the Krebs Cycle which takes place inside each cell, crystal like acids are produced as a by-product of energy production.
Lactic and pyruvic acids can build up in the spaces between the muscle fibers if there is a lack of proper blood flow or if the muscles are so tensed that these by-products cannot be removed with normal circulatory function.
The more tense the muscle, the more diminished the circulation, the greater the tissue build up of these highly irritating acids. Over time, the surrounding tissues become highly inflamed and a chronic, painful syndrome is established.
The most effect approaches to treating fibromyalgia include:
- movement or aerobic exercise to assist in flushing out the tissue
- behavior focused therapy to assist in reducing tension in the body
- mild relaxants that do not cause secondary symptoms
- information and education that can offer options for individual to choose from
Clinically, fibromyalgia is viewed as a stress-fueled condition. Therefore any or all options related to reducing stress and muscle tension, along with increasing circulation and relaxation are highly effective.
- Dr. Georgianna Donadio