Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain in the tissues, which are highly sensitive to pressure. Other symptoms can also accompany the tissue pain such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, joint pain and more.
Although it is often referred to as a “medically unexplained syndrome”, the American College of Rheumatology defines the condition as one which has a history of widespread pain in the connective tissues that persist for more over 12 weeks, and which affects both sides of the body and includes above and below the waist.
The medical approach to treating fibromyalgia is centered on anti-depressant, anti-seizure and muscle relaxant drugs. These medications target the nervous system function to reduce pain but can also cause great lethargy and fatigue. When an Integrated treatment approach is utilized which incorporate medication, patient education, aerobic exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy it has been shown to be effective in alleviating the pain and other fibromyalgia-related symptoms.
To take better control over this syndrome, understanding how connective tissue and muscle fibers function in both normal conditions as well as in fibromyalgia states is helpful.
For muscles to move, energy must be produced in each muscle cell to allow the collective bundle of muscle fibers to move. When energy is produced through the Krebs Cycle which takes place inside each cell, crystal like acids are produced as a by-product of energy production.
Lactic and pyruvic acids can build up in the spaces between the muscle fibers if there is a lack of proper blood flow or if the muscles are so tensed that these by-products cannot be removed with normal circulatory function.
The more tense the muscle, the more diminished the circulation, the greater the tissue build up of these highly irritating acids. If this tension persists over time, the surrounding tissues can become highly inflamed and a chronic, painful syndrome is established.
The most effect approaches to treating fibromyalgia include:
- movement or aerobic exercise to assist in flushing out the tissue
- behavior focused therapy to assist in reducing tension in the body
- mild relaxants that do not cause secondary symptoms
- information and education that can offer options for individual to choose from
Fibromyalgia is viewed as a stress-fueled condition. Therefore any approach or techniques directed at reducing stress and muscle tension are highly effective.