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    Do Stress and Anxiety Affect Fibromyalgia?

    Do Stress and Anxiety Affect Fibromyalgia?Fibromyalgia is a medical condition where an individual feels pain all over the body. The pain is accompanied by sleep disorders, fatigue, anxiety or depression and irritable bowel syndrome. It has been found that fibromyalgia affects 10 % more women than men and is more common between the ages of 25 and 60. Although the pain from fibromyalgia can be severe, it is difficult to detect it by x-rays or lab tests. Fibromyalgia does not damage the joints, muscles or other organs.

    The most common symptom is of course the pain all over the body, but pain is more pronounced in the tender points. There are about 18 tender points in the body, at the back of the neck, above the shoulder blades, inside the elbows and above and below the waist. The other symptoms include, headaches, fatigue, sleeping disorders also known as ‘non-restorative sleep’ where you do not feel refreshed after waking up, irritable bowel syndrome (alternating between constipation and diarrhea), irritable bladder, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, tinnitus or noise in one or both ears originating from the body etc. Another major symptom is called fibro fog or the difficulty with concentration.

    Fibromyalgia is difficult to detect, as the symptoms are very general and similar to many other diseases. Some researchers feel that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain. According to WebMD, hormonal or chemical imbalances disrupt the way nerves signal pain. Traumatic events or stress may also increase individual susceptibility to pain. It is generally believed that Fibromyalgia is caused by a combination of any of these causes. Cold weather, too much or too little physical activity, stress or poor sleep are all found to trigger fibromyalgia. Whether pain is the cause of poor sleep and depression has not been established.

    Fibromyalgia is diagnosed by ruling out other diseases through blood tests, scans and x-rays. If there is continuous and widespread pain for more than 3 months and if there is pain in at least 11 of the 18 ‘tender points’ when they are pressed, it can be diagnosed as Fibromyalgia. There is also a test to measure the level of proteins in the blood to confirm the diagnoses of fibromyalgia.

    Fibromyalgia treatment is to reduce the pain and other symptoms. There are several over-the-counter medicines available to treat fibromyalgia. But there are other natural ways of managing the pain and other symptoms, which have been found to be more effective. Natural remedies do not not have any side effects and can be used safely used for a longer time.

    Exercising at least thrice a week has been found to be very effective to reduce pain and anxiety. Walking, stretching, and water aerobics were found to be effective for people with fibromyalgia.

    Avoiding certain foods like aspartame (artificial sweeteners), MSG ( Monosodium glutamate), caffeine and tomatoes were seen to be effective.

    Massaging with moderate pressure has been found to relieve the pain. Acupuncture (inserting needles at key points) has also been found to be effective in relieving pain. Alternatively, acupressure has also been found to relieve pain.

    Relaxation exercises, yoga, meditation all help improve the symptoms of anxiety and concentration.

    All these lifestyle changes help manage fibromyalgia without the harmful effect of drugs. Also check out some of the natural remedies to cure stress and depression like Mindsoothe as its free from side effect.

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