Fibromyalgia was a word that didn’t officially exist until 1990. That was when the American College of Rheumatology identified a list of health factors that suggested a condition that they termed “fibromyalgia”.
How can fibromyalgia be best defined? Nothing can better describe the effects of this condition than can the simple term “chronic pain”.
Previously known for over a century by a number of terms such as fibrocitis, psychogenic rheumatism, chronic muscle pain syndrome or tension myalgias, fibromyalgia is a condition of chronic pain in the fibrous tissues of your muscles, tendons and ligaments.
No one is quite sure about why it occurs, or even how many contributing factors there are to this frustrating condition.
One thing is sure, though: It hurts.
It is estimated there are over 6 million sufferers throughout North America alone. Over 80% of these are women.
If you suffer from fibromyalgia take comfort from what is known about this condition. This disorder is not crippling, nor will it lead to disability. It is unlikely that you will ever face the prospects of an operation for cure.
Do not feel however that the suffering you may experience as a result of this health disorder is taken lightly.
Symptoms are quite varied. Most noticeable is a deep muscular pain, sometimes sharp and stabbing, sometimes burning, throughout many areas of the body. 18 “hot spots” have been identified throughout the body, including the neck, shoulders, elbows, thighs and knees in connection with this condition. To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia one needs to experience intense and long-lasting pain in at least 11 of these areas for a period of not less than 3 months.
Other symptoms may also occur:
- Sleep disturbance
- Chronic fatigue
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Sensitivity to light, noise, smells, food and weather
- Jaw and facial pain (TMJ)
- Numbness or tingling in the appendages
- Irritable bladder
- Dryness of mouth and eyes
- Concentration difficulties
- Muscle stiffness in the morning
- Mood changes
Diagnosis is not easy. As one can see from the list of symptoms above, fibromyalgia often mimics the symptoms of other conditions. Identifying an actual case is often a matter of eliminating other conditions through a series of medical tests.
Firstly it should be established that a single cause of fibromyalgia has never been established. Doctors believe that this health problem may have a number of contributing factors:
Sleep Disturbances. Perhaps more than just a symptom after the event, some believe that pre-existing sleeping problems may contribute to the onset of fibromyalgia.
Chemical imbalances in the brain. Studies show brain and spinal fluid chemical anomalies in sufferers of fibromyalgia, particularly in relation to serotonin, substance P and somatomedin C. Alterations to the normal regulation of these chemicals can cause depression, migraines and a heightened sensitivity to pain.
Heredity. There is some evidence that you may be at a high risk of developing fibromyalgia if your mother suffers from it.
Physical trauma or injury. Some patients have appeared to develop fibromyalgia following an injury in the upper spinal area.
Bacterial or viral infection. Some theorize that fibromyalgia may be triggered by some such infection, although no link has ever been proved.
While little is really known about its underlying causes, conventional treatments focus on minimizing the symptoms and improving the overall state of health. There is no known cure for fibromyalgia.
Medications may include standard over-the-counter pain relievers (such as aspirin), and anti-depressants. Sleeping pills may also be prescribed to cope with the disruption of sleep at night. Eye-drops can often be used to minimize eye irritation from any dryness.
Self-help treatment is also encouraged, often including:
- Regular exercise including low-impact aerobics and hydrotherapy to cope with the muscular problems associated with this health problem
- Establishing regular sleep patterns along with regular rest periods throughout the day
- Diet high in fiber and low in animal fat
- Physical therapies including massage, chiropractic, osteopathy, acupuncture and acupressure, heat, ice and ultrasound
- Stress management
Relief from an unexpected source
Hundreds of years ago Jungle Balm was discovered on 2 small islands of Indonesia. Considering there are more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia, this makes Jungle Balm very rare indeed!
Over 400 years ago villagers discovered that rubbing a leaves from the Cullilawan tree on swollen & painful joints brought considerable relief. It wasn’t long before they discovered the art of distilling the oil from the leaves and bark of this plant, becoming known as Jungle Balm.
Over a period of time other uses were discovered. For example, many doctors stationed in Indonesia in the late 1940’s used Jungle Balm to relieve pain for injured soldiers when morphine was in short supply with exceptional results.
Jungle Balm is a naturally derived oil from a tree and is thus impossible to artificially replicate.
Jungle Balm is a natural oil, not a human formula, found to be effective for the temporary relief of pain caused by fibromyalgia and other painful conditions.