What is fibromyalgia education

Fibromyalgia: pain with an unknown cause

Status: 02/08/2021 10:46 a.m.

Pain all over the body, digestive problems, a feeling of total exhaustion: the symptoms of fibromyalgia are rather unspecific. The disease is similar to rheumatism and mainly affects women.

Fibromyalgia sufferers are subject to high levels of suffering - also because the disease is often recognized very late. The symptoms can appear in phases and with varying intensity, influenced, for example, by emotional stress or lack of sleep.

Fibromyalgia is a recognized disease. So far, however, there is no clear evidence of the causes. That is why many of those affected are still labeled as hypochondriac or mentally ill.

VIDEO: Therapeutic fasting and eating with a focus on vegetables for fibromyalgia (12 min)

Causes of fibromyalgia not understood

A disturbed pain processing is considered to be a possible cause. Normally, insignificant pain stimuli are already filtered out at the level of the spinal cord, so that only pain stimuli with a warning function reach the brain. In fibromyalgia, this filter no longer seems to work, so that many pain stimuli reach the brain. As a result, those affected perceive stimuli as pain that would not be painful for healthy people.

The reason for this reduced pain threshold has not yet been fully clarified. Genetic predispositions probably play a role. Research has shown that many patients have altered nerve fibers. In addition, severe stress and trauma could trigger fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms: Muscle Pain and Fatigue

Fibromyalgia means fiber-muscle pain - this is the main symptom of the condition. In addition to deep muscle pain, there is often stiffness of the joints, burning, tingling or numbness. Muscles and joints feel swollen. The intensity of this diffuse and chronic pain can vary depending on the weather, time of day, stress and activity.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia often lead to massive restrictions in everyday life.

Headaches and irritable bowel symptoms are also common. Those affected also suffer from extreme fatigue and sleep disorders. Often there are emotional complaints such as depression or anxiety disorders.

Often a long time to diagnosis

Despite the permanent pain in muscles and connective tissue, fibromyalgia does not cause any pathological changes in the bones and muscles. Because of the unspecific symptoms, it often takes a long time before fibromyalgia is finally diagnosed. This is done first with a thorough anamnesis, i.e. a questionnaire on the life situation and medical history, sleep and existing complaints. Special questionnaires and pain scales help with the assessment.

18 pressure-sensitive tender points

During the physical examination, the doctor will particularly test the sensitivity to pain of the so-called tender points. These are defined transitions between muscles and tendons that are distributed throughout the body. If those affected feel pain in at least eleven of a total of 18 points, this is an important indicator of fibromyalgia.

In order to be able to rule out an inflammatory rheumatic disease as a cause, the diagnosis always includes a blood test.

Treatment: relieve pain, not cure

The treatment of the chronic disease is about influencing the disturbed pain perception. Fibromyalgia is not curable, but the symptoms can be alleviated with individual therapy. In addition to the family doctor, pain therapists, neurologists, psychologists and physiotherapists can also be consulted.

Reduce pain with movement

Targeted exercise is an important component of treatment. Light endurance training in particular has proven to be effective. Important here:

  • Those affected should start moving gently - for example with slowly increasing walks - and not overwhelm themselves.
  • The movement units can also cause pain. If those affected accept this and overcome internal resistance, they usually feel better afterwards. This avoids a downward spiral of physical inactivity and pain.

Further therapies for fibromyalgia

In addition to exercise therapy, doctors recommend:

  • activating psychotherapy to change the perception of pain (cognitive behavioral therapy)
  • drug treatment with opioids, cannabinoids and low-dose antidepressants (no anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen, acetylsaliylic acid or paracetamol, as there are no inflammatory changes in fibromyalgia)
  • Relaxation exercises against stress, such as autogenic training, breathing therapy, meditation, tai chi or yoga.
  • Heat therapy

Under certain circumstances, therapy lasting several weeks in a psychosomatic clinic that specializes in the treatment of fibromyalgia can be useful. Day-to-day inpatient measures can also help if outpatient therapy is not enough. Many patients find their way back to a regular everyday life and can continue to do their job. Numerous self-help groups offer tips, advice and contacts.

Relieve pain with diet

A diet with antioxidant and omega-3-containing foods is an important component of therapy.

Targeted nutrition has also made the pain more bearable for many of those affected. It is advisable to switch to mostly plant-based foods, as these have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that many of those affected show increased so-called oxidative stress. Lots of vegetables, fruits and green tea strengthen the body with antioxidants. Inflammatory foods like meat, sugar, wheat, and cow's milk products should only be consumed in moderation.

Fasting for cell cleansing

Therapeutic fasting or individual days of fasting can also have a positive effect, as temporarily avoiding food stimulates the self-cleaning process of the cells (autophagy) and thus reduces pain.

How wraps help with joint pain

Pain in joints caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatism or gout can often be relieved without medication. Home remedies such as curd cheese, fenugreek or cabbage compresses can help. more

This topic in the program:

The Nutritional Docs | 02/08/2021 | 9:00 p.m.