What is Fibromyalgia?

In the light of Fibromyalgia awareness day on the 12th of May I am sharing some information and awareness on this condition in the hopes to bring awareness and help sufferers understand their condition better.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder that causes chronic pain all over the body. Other common symptoms also include fatigue, anxiety, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, skin sensitivity, insomnia, numbness and stiffness.

How do you get diagnosed?

People suffering from fibromyalgia either go undiagnosed for years or are misdiagnosed. Due to a lack of research and the difficulty in identifying the factors that cause the illness, many also believe that the disease is psychological and not real. Only 1 in 5 are diagnosed.

For a diagnosis your doctor will usually want to determine whether your symptoms are caused by some other underlying problem, so this may include various blood tests. Your doctor may also perform a careful physical exam of your muscles and joints, as well as a neurological exam to look for other causes of your symptoms. Fibromyalgia is also often characterized by additional pain when firm pressure is applied to specific areas of your body, called tender points. At least 11 of these 18 spots had to test positive for tenderness to diagnose fibromyalgia.

How common is Fibromyalgia?

  • FM is predominantly diagnosed in women between 30 and 50 years of age
  • Most prevalent in women, 75-90% of the people who have FM are women
  • This disorder affects an estimated 3-6% of the world population.

Is there a cure for Fibromyalgia ? no cure

What causes this condition?

  • True cause is Unknown
  • Possible cause of pain in FM:
  • Genetic Factors =  including a genetic susceptibility to microtrauma of the musculature or neuro-hormonal dysfunction, and polymorphisms that affect the metabolism or transport of monoamines, which are important for sensory processing and responding to stress
  • Peripheral Mechanisms =  such as muscle tissue abnormalities and microtrauma
  • Central Mechanisms =  neuroendocrine abnormalities, physical trauma, psychological distress or psychiatric disorders, regional pain conditions, and abnormalities in the central nervous centre(CNS) structures.

What are the associated Risk factors:

  • Your gender. Fibromyalgia is diagnosed more often in women than in men.
  • Family history. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a relative also has the condition.
  • Other disorders. If you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia
  • Major Trauma. Past or current physical or psychological trauma has been linked to FM

Signs and symptoms

  • Diffuse non-articular pain- pain has been described as stabbing and shooting pain, with deep muscular aching, throbbing, and twitching.
  • Multiple tender points
  • Fatigue and waking up exhausted
  • Muscles stiffness and spasms
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Tension headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome(50% of cases)
  • Fatigue is the most limiting feature- 75-80% of people with FM
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Restless leg syndrome or RLS, which is an uncomfortable, creepy-crawly feeling in your legs that often disturbs your sleep
  • “Fibro fog” (or brain fog), a condition that impairs your ability to focus on mental tasks. Some common signs of fibro fog include difficulty with finding a word, short-term memory loss, and disorientation that lasts for 30 to 60 seconds

What are Fibro Flare-ups

Symptoms become worse for a period of time usually for a couple days and may last for weeks or months

Flares can be caused by:

  • Emotional stress
  • Hormones
  • Poor sleep
  • High humidity / very cold conditions
  • Change in seasons
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive physical activity (the balance here is key)
  • External + Internal toxins – chemicals
  • Poor diet – preservatives/ sweeteners/ sulphur dioxide / gluten / dairy

Treatment & Management – a holistic approach

  • There is no cure for Fibromyalgia
  • Individualistic approach to management
  • Combined treatment approaches, including patient education, exercise, cognitive behavioural therapy and pharmacologic therapies have been shown to improve symptoms and function in patients
  • Stress avoidance or reduction
  • Regular exercise
  • Pace activity and rest as needed
  • Applications of heat or massage
  • Medications are commonly analgesic drugs for pain & function, low doses of antidepressants and Lyrica (pregabalin) which has a Anti-convulsant & Ant- Anxiety agents

A Holistic health focused treatment plan can be prescribed by a health professional, that will include lifestyle modification, nutritional guidance, physical activity, specific exercise prescription and medical treatment where needed. Although this route will not guarantee no flare ups but it will make activities of daily living more bearable, it will help regulate energy and will strengthen the individual physically to be able to get more tasks done in a day.

Can someone with Fibromyalgia function normally? – yes absolutely – its about lifestyle modification and small adjustments in your day to day that will allow you to function normally. Once the patient understands their limits and boundaries and sees the impact of changes to their lifestyles, make the necessary changes to meet nutritional needs and become fitter and stronger they can live a full life.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about Fibromyalgia, or have loved ones who are struggling alone and would like to get on top of this condition.

I am here to help.


Published by Marizelle

Hi! My name is Marizelle. I am a Biokineticist, Sports Scientist, Sports massage therapist, trained Specialized Kinesiologist, passionate about Movement, Nutrition and Mindset. I am dedicated to helping and guiding individuals to become the best version of themselves - Mind, Body, Spirit. Thank you for checking in, and welcome! I am all about living a health focused lifestyle, I encourage creating long lasting sustainable habits which lead to living your best life. My mission is to enlighten you about the effects of movement, nutrition and a healthy mental state on well-being. There is no 'one size fits' all approach to living optimally, we are all individuals, but I can guide you in a way that works best for you, your lifestyle and needs. My special interests are educating and helping my patients to better help themselves, I have a huge passion for woman's health and helping woman with hormones issues as well as rehabilitation required for chronic diseases and transforming lives through mindset, movement and nutrition. Get in touch if you would like to learn more.

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