An estimated 10 million people suffer from fibromyalgia here in the U.S., and up to six percent of the population worldwide have this condition, reports the National Fibromyalgia Association. While the disorder does occur in men and children, up to 90 percent of people who have fibromyalgia are women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people are first diagnosed with fibromyalgia during middle age. Painful and baffling, fibromyalgia is a condition without a definitive cause, treatment, or cure.
The two tell-tale signs of fibromyalgia are muscle pain and fatigue. People who have fibromyalgia report having “tender points” at various locations on their body. These tender points cause pain when pressed. Common tender points are between the shoulder blades, sides of hips, sides of the neck, top of the shoulders, back of the head, inner knees and outer elbows.
Other than muscle pain and fatigue, other symptoms and/or coexisting conditions of fibromylagia include:
The pain associated with fibromyalgia (often reported as a dull ache) is typically widespread, occurring both above and below the waist.
Chronic and sometimes debilitating fatigue is a very real problem for fibromyalgia sufferers. People who have fibromyalgia wake frequently during the night. It’s thought that these people’s brains are aroused by brain activity which disrupts their deep stages of sleep. In addition, fibromyalgia patients often have trouble falling asleep, mostly because their sleep is disrupted by their pain. Either way, fibromyalgia sufferers miss out on the restorative sleep their body and minds need.
In some cases, patients who have fibromyalgia have other sleep-disrupting disorders, like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Patients not only complain of daytime sleepiness, but also feeling like they are in a fog.
While it is important to follow your doctor’s orders regarding treating your symptoms of fibromyalgia, there are some lifestyle and home remedy tips that can help alleviate your discomfort.
Because the totality of fibromyalgia is still a mystery, more studies are being conducted on the life-altering changes this painful condition can cause. It is hoped that in the near future, scientists will uncover the origin and effective treatments for fibromyalgia and its associated sleep disturbances.
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