How To Get Relief From Fibromyalgia Muscle Pain
How bad is your muscle pain?
That was the question which my doctor asked when I was not diagnosed with fibromyalgia condition yet.
“It is terrible, and it hurts non-stop,” was my reply.
My doctor recommended me some painkiller and anti-inflammatory medication which as it turned out did not provide any relief at all.
Since then I have seen several rheumatologists and specialist find a solution to my muscle pain and have drastic success in controlling this painful condition.
It is interesting to note that there are several reasons the muscle spasm can happen and fibromyalgia condition is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood cause.
But it does not mean that any time you have some muscle pain, you start suspecting that you have developed a fibromyalgia condition.
We have three types of muscle in the body.
- Heart muscle which pumps blood in the body
- Smooth muscles that move the internal body parts such as muscle in the esophagus, stomach, intestines and muscles parts of large arteries.
- Skeletal muscle to move the body parts such as arms, leg, neck, face, etc.
The first two muscles are critical for our survival, and you should consult your doctor immediately if you experience pain in any of those two muscles as it could be life threatening.
Our focus here is the pain in the skeletal muscles which forms the part of limbs and other body parts. These muscles are attached to the bone either directly or by a tendon.
These muscles contract and relaxes to move the body parts.
Common Reasons for Muscle Pain
There are several grounds for muscle pain. Below are the common causes of muscle pain.
Injury resulting from sports accidents or sprains and trauma causes damage to the muscle fibers.
Swelling and inflammation follow the damaged muscle tissue results in consistent pain.
It is easy to identify if your muscle pain is due to injury and often the rest and prescription medication heals the damage which makes the pain go away
Pregnancy causes many changes in the hormones as the body prepares itself for the delivery of the baby. There is some rapid expansion in the muscles to accommodate the growing baby, and the extra weight causes the muscle to get tired and fatigued.
The lack of nutrients such as iron and the consistent change in hormones can result in muscle pain.
You should be careful taking any muscle pain medication as some of the painkillers and muscle relaxants medicines can be harmful to the unborn baby.
The muscle pain often goes away by taking proper rest, doing light stretching exercises and keeping yourself well fed with nutrient rich diet.
Psychological effects such as stress, depression, and anxiety often cause the muscle pain. Stress produces the chemical in the brain called cortisol which affects the mood and makes you feel tired and overwhelmed.
The persistent stressful state causes muscles to tighten up and makes it remain in the same state for a longer time which results in the muscle pain.
There are several chronic diseases which directly affects the functioning of the muscle or affects the supply of blood and nutrients to the muscles.
Some of the common disease which directly affects the muscles and often triggers the muscle pain are:
- Heart disease
- Chronic Lung Disease
- Kidney disease
- Peripheral arterial disease
Getting treatment for above mentioned medical conditions often treats the muscle pain. So, you should seek treatment for issues as stated above first before you start looking for treatment for your muscle pain.
Why Does Muscle Pain Happen in Fibromyalgia Patients?
Fibromyalgia is a Latin word made from the term fibro which means fibrous tissues and the Greek word for myo (muscle) and algia (pain).
It is no wonder that the fibromyalgia is related to the muscle pain. In our body, we have over 640 different types of muscles which makes as much as 40% of our weight.
In fibromyalgia patients when these muscle tissues are looked under a simple microscope, it all appears normal.
However, when this fibromyalgia affected muscle tissues are observed under an electron microscope, which magnified the tissue thousands of times, several abnormalities have been found.
Research published in J Rheumatol for the Electronic microscopic studies of muscle in fibromyalgia syndrome showed the deposition of chemical, glycogen, swollen and abnormal cells, increased DNA fragmentation ragged red fibers, and smeared muscle cell membranes.
Fibromyalgia sufferers also have low magnesium level in their muscles. Magnesium is vital for proper functioning of our body as it helps in regulating the muscle contraction.
Reduced Oxygen Supply To Muscles
The chronic painful condition and often depression and anxiety caused by fibromyalgia makes most fibromyalgia patients not to maintain an active lifestyle which means not much physical exercise or eating proper healthy diets.
Our muscles need a consistent supply of oxygen to function properly.
If fibromyalgia patients do not exercise regularly or lead a healthy lifestyle, then these muscles do not get enough oxygen.
It increases the higher risk of developing “Angina” of the tissue which produces pain if the oxygen supply is decreased.
Reduced Energy Fuel to Muscles
When we eat food, it converts into energy resources called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It is like gasoline for our body which burns down and releases the energy in the shortest time possible.
It is important to have a proper calcium level in our body as muscle cells require twice as much calcium to relax a muscle than to tighten it up.
It means for fibromyalgia patients, if they are low in calcium, the muscles are more tend to be remain to tighten than relax which increases the fatigue and generates a muscle pain.
Research published in Clinical Biochem states there is a disturbance in ATP, calcium and magnesium level in the fibromyalgia patients.
An enzyme involved in the production of ATP in the muscles may be defective in fibromyalgia patients which cause muscles not very efficient to consume glucose to produce energy.
It causes fibromyalgia patients not to process energy efficiently and send it to muscles thus leaving muscles with no energy and a low tissue pH.
It increases the fatigue and causes muscle pain.Electromyogram (EMG) is a process to test the electrical activity in the muscles.
In a book by Daniel J. Wallace “Making Sense of Fibromyalgia,” concluded that:
- The muscle fatigue in fibromyalgia patients comes from the distorted brain signals to the muscles. More than from muscles itself.
- Muscles in fibromyalgia are hypersensitive than healthy person
- Reduced level of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin causes chronic muscle pain.
- Presence of higher amount of lactic acid in muscles makes muscle less efficient
- Several inhibitory controls occur in fibromyalgia patients muscles which cause pain and fatigue
Myofascial Trigger Points Causes Muscle Pain
The myofascial trigger points cause muscle spasm in fibromyalgia patients. Myofascial trigger points develop when the muscle injuries such as sprain and strain do not heal properly.
The multiple trigger points develop into myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) which causes the 18 hallmark trigger points in the fibromyalgia patients.
How To Get Relief From Muscle Spasm
As we now know that there are several reasons for muscle contraction to happen and the first step is to identify the actual cause of muscle spasm.
For a long term relief from muscle pain, it is important to use multiple approaches toward healing.
It consists of a change in lifestyle, eats more nutrient-rich diet, takes sufficient nutrients and supplements, and avoid muscle pain triggers.
If you are experiencing muscle pain, then the short-term solutions are:
- Take rest and don’t exert yourself too much
- Use heat and ice treatment
- Use pain medications
- Apply topical creams such as Penetrex which relieves muscles pain and inflammation very effectively
- Do gentle light stretching and yoga
- Get professional muscle massage or buy body massager to get relief yourself at home.
- Take Epsom salt baths.
For a long-term solution, you should eat healthy and nutrient rich diet along with change toward more active lifestyle.
There are several food and supplements available in the market. Most of these supplements are not targeted toward any medical conditions.
You can choose supplements which are found to provide effective relief from fibromyalgia condition.
Some of the foods and vitamin supplements found helpful in fibromyalgia patients are:
- Potassium rich foods such as Bananas, cantaloupe, beans, beans, fish and beef liver.
- Foods rich in calcium such as milk and other dairy products
- Vitamin D supplements, as fibromyalgia patients are found to be deficient.
The lifestyle changes which can help relieve the muscle pain are:
- Do light exercise and stretching which relaxes your muscles and increases blood circulations. Be careful not to push yourself
- Dress according to the weather. In cool days keep yourself well covered with warm cloth and not to let muscle freeze
- Keep yourself hydrated as lack of water causes the blood to get thicker which reduces the supply of oxygen to muscles
- Keep up with positive mood and energy. Associate with people who can support you and not let you get depressed
- Improve your body posture when you sit down for an extended period.
- Change your home furniture arrangements such as changing the direction of your TV, so you are not watching it at an angle for a longer period.
- Wear good and comfortable shoes which distribute your body weight evenly
Muscle pain or spasm in fibromyalgia patients is one of the most shared and troublesome conditions.
It is important that we understand the actual cause of muscle pain and combine both short-term and long-term strategies to get relief from muscle pain.
A combination of the use of painkillers for short-term pain relief and change in the diet and use of supplements has helped many fibromyalgia sufferers to get relief from their painful symptoms.
By paying attention to your lifestyle and activities which trigger your muscle pain can help you avoid triggering the muscle pain.
How do you handle your fibromyalgia related muscle pain?
we would love to hear your experience in the comment below.
You can also join the discussion at the Fibromyalgia Pain Cure Facebook page which is dedicated to a discussion of natural treatments for fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions.
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