Many people are not aware that fibromyalgia likely has been around for quite a long time. Fibromyalgia is not a new condition. In fact, fibromyalgia is thought to have a long and complete history.
So why are so many people unfamiliar with the causes, symptoms and treatments for fibromyalgia? It is recently that fibromyalgia has been brought into the spotlight. Fibromyalgia is now being better researched, better understood and accepted as a diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia has had many names over the years. It is believed that in the early 1800’s, fibromyalgia was categorized as a mental illness. Eventually it was given the name muscular rheumatism by medical professionals of that time. It was said to cause some body stiffness, pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances.
More than 70 years later it is believed that “fibrositis” was used to describe the sudden pain phenomenon. Fibrositis was used because it was thought that the inflammation and swelling of the body was the root cause of the pain, hence the name. The condition itself at that time was still a very misunderstood one and various treatments were offered to those suffering from the illness. It’s believed that the success rates for these treatments was low.
As the years went on and more research into the condition was done, the name given to the condition had changed, yet again. In the mid seventies, it was concluded by researches at the time, that swelling of the body was in fact not the cause of the pain and the condition was termed Fibromyalgia, which comes from Latin and Greek words that mean ” fibrous tissue and muscle pain”.
Today modern medicine has made great strides in understanding and treating fibromyalgia. It is now thought that fibromyalgia has more to do with the brain and spinal cord than the body’s other tissues. Those who do suffer with fibromyalgia may experience various sensations of pain as a result of simple touch compared to those who do not have fibromyalgia.
Changes to your lifestyle and possibly prescribed medication from your primary care physician can be used to combat fibromyalgia. The choices we make affect our health. For someone who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, this is particularly true.
A very important part of managing fibromyalgia is the amount of physical activity you incorporate into your daily life. Low impact aerobic exercises such as walking and water aerobics will not only strengthen your muscles but regular exercise has been shown to reduce pain and tenderness, improve mood, and improve the overall quality of sleep at night. Even as little as 30 minutes a day of light exercise has benefits to someone living with fibromyalgia.
Of course for many this is easier said than done. Constant pain, tenderness, fatigue and sensitivity can make even light exercises unpleasant. Start slow and be very gentile with yourself. Know your body’s limits and do not push yourself. Pushing your body too hard, especially when you are just starting out, can have painful consequences. Try just a few minutes of light exercises at first. Even a workout as simple as 5 minutes of walking is a great place to start. Depending on your body, increase the time spent engaging in physical activity every few days to a week. Eventually you find the exercises to be less strenuous, and may even begin to see some changes to your symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Be sure to always speak to your primary care physician before starting a new fitness regimen.
Maintaining a proper diet, rich in the necessary vitamins and minerals also has an important role in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Avoiding stimulants such as caffeine is also important, as stimulants can disrupt your sleep. Poor sleep at night can aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia and have a negative impact on your mood. Before making any dietary changes in your daily life, consult with your primary care physician.
Those who do suffer from fibromyalgia related pains can speak to their primary physician about management options available for them, as well as the potential benefits that lifestyle changes may hold for you if you are living with fibromyalgia.