Fibromyalgia is one of the most misunderstood chronic illnesses of today. Experts still don’t fully understand the exact causes or physiological changes of this illness which has led to mass confusion and further isolating effects on those who suffer in silence.
With better public education, more compassion, and further efforts dedicated to research, the 4 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia and many millions more globally stand a far better chance at enjoying comfortable lives despite their chronic illness.(1) On this note, here are 5 important things to understand about fibromyalgia.
1) Fibromyalgia is a Nervous System Disorder
Fibromyalgia is an illness stemming from abnormalities in the central nervous system. The central nervous system is comprised of the brain and the spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system refers to everything else within the nervous system.
A fibromyalgia diagnosis often comes with a range of symptoms including long-term chronic pain, aches throughout the whole body, extreme fatigue, poor mental health, cognitive issues, headaches, and sleeping problems.(2)
2) Fibromyalgia Has No Known Cause
Fibromyalgia is thought to have genetic factors as well as environmental factors that can lead to its occurrence. Physical or emotional trauma, car accidents, repetitive injuries, viral infections and post-traumatic stress disorder can all increase one’s risk of experiencing this illness.(3)
Low levels of B vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, E, K, magnesium, selenium, and zinc are also associated with fibromyalgia, though there’s no evidence proving that these deficiencies potentially are a cause of the illness as of yet.(4)
3) There is Currently No Cure for Fibromyalgia
Despite fibromyalgia being a relatively common and often debilitating condition, there are still no viable cures. Since the illness is complex and not well understood, coming up with root-cause solutions has thus far proved impossible.
Instead, treatment revolves entirely around symptom management so patients can live as pain-free as possible to support their overall mental health and well-being.
4) Treatment Involves 3 Components: Lifestyle Education, Mental Health Support, and Pain Medications
Since the symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread, several avenues of treatment are necessary to holistically address the patient’s quality of life.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress-reduction techniques and other movement therapies can all be extremely beneficial.
On top of this, patients will generally require some amount of mental health support. This could be cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressant medications, or a combination of both.
The final and arguably most important component of treatment is pain management. A combination of massage, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, pain medications, or natural vasodilators such as D’OXYVA® can all be viable strategies for addressing associated long-term chronic pain.(5)
5) Understand Fibromyalgia Can Impact Vascular Health
Though fibromyalgia is a nervous system disorder it can also cause constrictions in regular blood flow, thereby slowly deteriorating cardiovascular health.(6) This means fibromyalgia patients must pay particular attention to taking excellent care of their heart through regular physical activity, blood flow improvement treatments, and heart-healthy foods.
Overall, those living with fibromyalgia can still enjoy long, healthy and fulfilling lives with good mental health and well-being if they are given the support and education they need to care for their symptoms.
We understand fibromyalgia-associated long-term chronic pain can be a heavy burden to bear, but with plenty of assistance from well-suited therapies, patients can learn to live with these challenges and be a source of inspiration for others suffering from similar ailments.
- L Neumann. (2003). Epidemiology of fibromyalgia. Current Pain and Headache Reports. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11916-003-0035-z
- DJ Clauw. (2009). Fibromyalgia: An Overview. The American Journal of Medicine. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002934309008237
- P. J. Furness. (2018). What causes fibromyalgia? An online survey of patient perspectives. Sage Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2055102918802683
- G. Bjørklund. (2018). Fibromyalgia and nutrition: Therapeutic possibilities? Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0753332218309697
- R. Siracusa. (2021). Fibromyalgia: Pathogenesis, Mechanisms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options Update. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/8/3891
- B. F. Kocyigit. (2022). Coexistence of fibromyalgia syndrome and inflammatory rheumatic diseases, and autonomic cardiovascular system involvement in fibromyalgia syndrome. Clinical Rheumatology. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10067-022-06385-8