Fibromyalgia is a chronic, painful, non-inflammatory syndrome of unknown cause. This syndrome effects 2-4 % of the population, primarily women.
The four major symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- Severe pain in 11 out of 18 specific points on the body
- A feeling of severe fatigue
- A pattern of non-restorative sleep (waking as often as 2 to 29 times a night)
- A feeling of stiffness throughout the body
Other symptoms include headaches, memory loss, loss of concentration, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome, and sensitivity to light, cold, smell, and humidity.
Although this condition does not progress, the pain can become so debilitating, it can cause a person to be unable to function at home and at work.
Things can be done to gain control over this syndrome. Helpful solutions include the following:
- getting a proper diagnosis
- getting a good night's sleep through medications prescribed by a doctor
- changing your eating habits to 5 small meals a day, eaten at the same time each day
- eating foods with melatonin, such as oats, rice, tomatoes, and bananas
- eliminating caffeine and nicotine
- adding gentle and regular exercise - too much can worsen symptoms
- using relaxation and breathing exercises to reduce stress, such as Yoga, Tai-Chi, and listening to relaxing music
- trying massage, heat, ultrasound, TENS, available from a physical therapist to reduce muscle pain and spasms
A new development proposed by Dr. R Paul St. Amand, MD, from California, has been presented to the Fibromyalgia community. He believes fibromyalgia may be a retention disease (i.e. gout), where the body accumulates an excess of inorganic phosphate in the cell of the muscles. Dr. Amand believes Guaifenesin, the active ingredient in cough medicine, appears to eliminate the excess phosphate in the body.
Dr. Amand recommends that each patient start with a mapping session of the body, then start with oral Guaifenesin. Mapping is done by a qualified health care professional. The health care professional uses palpation to map the tender spots in the body, documenting the findings on a diagram. The patient is put on Guaifenesin by a doctor and mapped each month to follow the progress of the new medicine. Dr. Amand states there is an increase of pain during the first few weeks with the new medicine, then the pain decreases significantly.
Give us a call at (302) 478-5240 or (302) 655-5877 to speak with us about how our physical therapy and fitness and wellness programs can help you manage your fibromyalgia pain. We'll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists.