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What Is Fibromyalgia Syndrome, And How Do You Treat Its Painful Symptoms?

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

Doctors and experts have done extensive research on rheumatic diseases for many years.

Characterized as conditions that affect the joints and muscles, they can stem from many reasons, including failures in the immune system.

But unlike arthritis and other more commonly combatted rheumatic conditions, there is one chronic condition that has had little time in the spotlight: fibromyalgia.

Affecting roughly 4 percent of the American population (80 percent of whom are women), fibromyalgia most often is a danger to those between the ages of 35 and 55, according to MedicineNet.

In an exclusive guide below, we’ll take a close look at this condition, and its symptoms, lifestyle implications, and alternative treatment methods.

Because doctors are still not entirely sure about the causes of fibromyalgia, there are few products out there that target its treatment. Nevertheless, doctors recommend a few simple ways to treat pain relief.

Scroll further to learn about the pains and aches brought on by fibromyalgia, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

What Is Fibromyalgia?

What is fibromyalgia
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Fibromyalgia is most commonly explained as a rheumatic, chronic disorder that causes widespread pain, tenderness, and muscle discomfort on the body.

According to the NIH, it is often thought to be related to arthritis. In reality, fibromyalgia is not a form of arthritis, because it doesn’t cause inflammation or real damage to the joints or tissues.

However, it can cause a severe amount of pain, strain, and fatigue on the body, and can hinder daily life and activities.

Doctors are still trying to understand the true cause of fibromyalgia.

What Are The Symptoms?

What is fibromyalgia
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According to WebMD, symptoms of fibromyalgia can act up during various time of the day. Symptoms are also noted to be the worst during mornings, and early in the evening.

Aside from dull, widespread pains and aches throughout the body, other notable symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Extreme fatigue and lowered energy levels
  • Insomnia
  • Stiffness when sitting or standing
  • Difficulty remembering and concentrating on tasks
  • Sensitivity to sharp smells and noises
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Cramping in the lower abdomen, bloating, and nausea
  • Frequent urination

What Are The Tender Spots?

What is fibromyalgia
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There are certain “Fibromyalgia tender points” on the body that are especially painful to the touch.

These pressure points are generally located around the shoulders, elbows, knees, the breastbone, the back of the head, and the hips, according to MedicineNet.

These tender points don’t necessarily have to be touched in order for pain to be triggered. Instead, these areas are constantly a focus of pain and tenderness.

Fibromyalgia can be tricky to treat. Not all doctors are familiar with the condition, so it’s crucial to consult with a physician who is well-versed.

Below, we go through some simple lifestyle changes you can make to help with pain relief.

Treatments For Pain Relief
Treatment #1: Movement Therapies

What is fibromyalgia
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There are several alternative therapy methods that can reduce pain and stress in the body.

Consider giving yoga and meditation a try, as they have been proven to help people with chronic illnesses.

Tai chi is another great alternative movement therapy: it combines meditation with deep breathing and slow, gentle movements to help control fibromyalgia symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Treatment #2: Massages

What is fibromyalgia
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Massage therapy is known to help ease muscle pain and tension in patients suffering from rheumatic conditions.

According to WebMD, massages can help improve circulation and promote the production of serotonin, a “natural painkiller” in the body.

Treatment #3: Acupuncture

What is fibromyalgia
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Acupuncture has been used as a trusted alternative treatment for centuries.

The ancient Chinese method uses thin needles to ease pain and tension in certain pressure points, and to balance blood flow and prevent stiffness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Treatment #4: Improve Sleeping Habits

What is fibromyalgia
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Fibromyalgia has been linked to sleep problems and intense daytime fatigue, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Getting enough sleep is essential to reducing the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia, so make sure to practice good sleeping habits.

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and do your best to limit naps during the day, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Treatment #5: 5-HTP Amino Acids

What is fibromyalgia
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5-HTP is a natural amino acid that promotes the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that also acts as the body’s “natural painkiller.”

Healthline reports that the supplement has been proven to improve symptoms in fibromyalgia patients, and has helped reduce their pain, fatigue, and body stiffness.

Treatment #6: Keep A Daily Food Journal

What is fibromyalgia
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As with most other medical conditions, diet plays a significant role in managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Though research hasn’t indicated any foods that patients should either avoid or add to their diets, it would definitely be helpful if patients were to monitor their food intake carefully, to see if there are specific foods that seem to aggravate their pain.

Try keeping a daily food journal, to keep track of everything you eat.

In addition, try not to drink alcohol or coffee right before bed, so that you can have a more rested sleep.

Please SHARE these crucial tips for fibromyalgia pain relief with friends and family who have body aches and pains!