Everyone has experienced some sort of joint or muscle pain before. From a sprained ankle to muscle soreness after a long run, to falling down and having a sore hip and back, aches and pains can be annoying, but they eventually go away. But for people suffering from fibromyalgia, joint and muscle pain can be chronic and continual, resulting in a vast decrease in their quality of life.
And worst of all, there is no cure for this disorder. It can cause achy pain in the joints and soft tissues of the body, tenderness to the touch, and feelings of general soreness in the muscles and tendons. Basically, any soft tissues of the body — muscles, tendons, ligaments — attaching into any of the joints can be affected. Pain can be felt in a few specific areas but is most likely spread throughout the body.
Doctors do not know why some people get fibromyalgia, and they are unsure of how to help people reduce pain and live with the disease. Current thinking in the medical community is that a disruption in Stage 4 sleep may cause fibromyalgia, and a host of emotional distresses may contribute to it. Lack of sleep and emotional stress, anxiety, or depression can lead to debilitating, chronic, full-body pain.
Certain traits of people suffering from this disorder seem to be common. People with fibromyalgia are often high strung, tend to have a lot of stress, are fatigued, often anxious, and may be depressed. All of these factors can cause or be worsened by a lack of deep sleep, and it is no wonder the body can suffer as a result. Tension headaches and irritable bowel disorders are also common.
While there is no outright cure for the disorder, doctors recommend a number of different treatments to reduce pain and help people live normal lives again. The main focus of these treatments is reducing stress and improving the quality of a person’s sleep. If stress can be reduced or better handled and deep sleep improved, it may be possible to reduce many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
One recommendation is to stretch every day. Especially the muscles that are painful should be stretched daily for at least 30 seconds. Five sets of 30-second stretches should be performed for each affected muscle and joint. Muscles have a stretch-relax reaction built into them through the tendons and nervous system that may help the joints to learn how to relax and stay relaxed without feelings of pain.
Exercise is also recommended by doctors in treating pain and muscle discomfort caused by fibromyalgia. Generally, aerobic exercise such as walking quickly, swimming, or riding a stationary bike can be engaged in by patients. Physical therapies such as massage and applications of heat to the affected muscles may also be used to relax muscles and improve circulation.
Finally, it is very important that sleep quality is addressed in order to reduce pain. People who do not get enough sleep can feel stressed and fatigued — two contributing factors of fibromyalgia. Certain sleep aids can be used, but it is also important not to use any kinds of drugs for muscle pain that may cause insomnia. It may be that improving the quality of sleep will more effective to reduce joint pains.
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