Her diagnosis, shocking at first, was far less painless than her symptoms. She quickly searched for treatment from the region’s best physicians and found herself with 5 specialists and over 15 prescriptions daily. She thought she was in a nightmare.
This scenario is occurring for over 5 million Americans – up to 90% of them female. Fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder with symptoms that encompass pain, fatigue, and depression. It mimics symptoms from many other diseases; Lyme disease to chronic fatigue syndrome. It is tricky to diagnose and even harder to treat. A single pill, specific treatment or therapy cannot address the widely varied, individualized symptoms. With diagnosis in hand, patients find themselves in a medical web. Multiple pills treating specific symptoms quickly become confusing and dangerous.
On a positive note, new advances in 4 areas of fibromyalgia treatment offer more options than every before; Sleep Therapy, Movement Therapy, Music Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Fibromyalgia-related sleep dysfunction – the hallmark complaint of sufferers. Pills are usually needed to get a full night rest and success is varied. Studies have proven that fibromyalgia patients get less slow-wave sleep, non-rapid-eye-movement, so their sleep is less restorative. 3 areas of treatment now offer positive outcomes.
First step: make sure your bedroom is the perfect place to sleep by creating the perfect bedroom. Second: firmly establish your times for going to bed and rising the next morning. Thirdly: learn relaxation techniques to reduce nighttime worrying. If you are experiencing restless leg syndrome, RLS, you may need more pharmaceutical assistance and restorative rest. The NIH, National Institute of Health, states that testing iron levels are instrumental in the diagnosing of RLS, where iron levels are characteristically low. NIH Study on RLS Causes
Exercise is vital in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Over 70 published studies prove its benefits. In 2010, the NEJM published a study reporting positive, prolonged benefits for ‘tai chi’, a form of martial arts. Compared to traditional stretching treatments, patients reported definite improvement, particularly in the most severe symptoms and sustained their results three months later. Tai chi focuses on strong mind-body focus through gentle, precise movement. Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia
Love music? Recent research has shown that listening to music once a day may significantly reduce both pain and depressive symptoms. Brain stimulation through pleasant sounds block negative thoughts and enhance positive ones. It helps the brain to process sensory input in a healthy way.
COGITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT)
Because the processing of pain of fibromyalgia patients is not normal, patients can often benefit from behavioral therapy. The American Academy of Neurology reports that consistent self-help steps can reduce or alleviate pain, weakness, and fatigue. CBT can help to retrain the brain to manage symptoms through the replacement of negative feedback loops with positive ones.
Sounds simple? It isn’t. It’s hard – very hard. The good news is the end result – a positive reduction in symptoms. Start today, one area at a time – one step at a time – one day at a time until you have mastered these 4 areas of your life.
I hope this news helps improve the quality of your life,