Mar 18, 2019 | Updated: 09:39 AM EDT

Help for Fibromyalgia

Dec 27, 2018 11:05 PM EST

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Fibromyalgia is a condition that can be difficult to diagnose that causes pain in various parts of the body. It is a long term, chronic condition that manifests differently among individuals experiencing it. Other symptoms may include:

  •  Headaches
  •  Fatigue
  •  Brain fog or difficulties with attention, alertness, and memory
  •  Extra sensitivity to pain
  •  Muscle stiffness
  •  Insomnia or sleeping difficulties
  •  Irritable bowel syndrome

It is relatively common, with about 5% or 1 in 20 people affected. Numbers are hard to obtain because it's a tricky diagnosis with common symptoms found among other autoimmune diseases and chronic conditions. There is no blood or other physical test that can detect fibromyalgia, akin to many other autoimmune disorders, as well. Women are diagnosed around seven times more frequently than men. It tends to appear around early to late middle age (30-50). However, seniors and even children can develop the condition. It is not known precisely what causes fibromyalgia, but there are recognized risk factors.

Abnormal levels of chemicals and activity in the brain is one indicator. The central nervous system also processes pain messages differently in these individuals. Fibromyalgia could also be genetic in nature. Those with the condition have often had it triggered by intensely stressful life events, emotionally and/or physically, including trauma and abuse.

There are several medications that can help with the pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. While there is no cure, they can help with symptom management and improve the quality of life of those experiencing flare ups. Some reduce pain and others increase energy and act as a sleep aid. A combination of treatments is often required. Some pharmacies specialize in pharmaceutical compounding, which means prescriptions can be custom-designed to suit the individual.

Professionals at MEDS Pharmacy Group can provide specific dosages not available from other brands. Other alterations can include changing the size, shape, or form of the pill - from a solid to a liquid; adding flavouring to make medications for children, adults, or pets more palatable; combining treatments into one pill; and removing additives or ingredients to help reduce side effects and address sensitivities.

It's important to ask your doctor and pharmacist about side effects and notify them if any should occur. If the side effects are worse than the benefits being provided, you may want to switch to another brand, dosage, or try a compounded formula. It's also important to make lifestyle changes, especially dietary ones, as an integral part of a treatment plan.

Fibromyalgia patients have been shown to benefit from eating:

  •  A Mediterranean diet. It's good for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It emphasizes vegetables and fruits, lean protein like wild seafood, plus whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. These selections resemble a pescatarian diet but may also include other lean meats like chicken. Consuming wild fish and shellfish is important because they contain far fewer contaminants and toxins versus farm fish.
  •  Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants both reduce the impact of oxidative stress and free radicals on the body which can contribute to inflammation and pain. Find them in wild seafood, flax seeds, and chia seeds, plus some nut varieties like walnuts.
  •  Antioxidants are also found in high amounts in herbs and spices, as well as all plant-based foods.
  •  Choose whole grain flour and other grains like quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice.
  •  Absorbing magnesium and vitamin D through foods are the best, but a supplement is acceptable if adequate levels can't be consumed.

Avoid:

  •  Food additives like glutamate and artificial sweetener.
  •  Refined grains that have the bran and germ removed, like white flour and white rice.
  •  Processed foods and fast food.
  •  Too much sodium and added salt.

Nutrition is a foundational basis for health and wellbeing, and what people eat has a direct impact on general health, illness, and lowering the risk of disease. Food choices can lessen the experience of pain, improve sleep, and increase overall wellbeing. Combined with medication, there is help to be found for those with Fibromyalgia.

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