Tag Archives: fight fibromyalgia

Alcohol, Fibromyalgia, and Quality of Life

Mar. 15, 2013 — Low and moderate drinkers of alcohol reported lower severity of symptoms of fibromyalgia than teetotallers, finds a study in BioMed Central’s open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy. Too much alcohol reversed this effect.

The chronic pain of fibromyalgia is thought to affect one in 20 people worldwide but there is no known cause or cure. It often goes hand in hand with fatigue and sleep problems, headaches, depression and irritable bowel and bladder problems. Treatment is based around pain management and lifestyle changes.
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This entry is part of a series, my fibro»

Good morning everyone! I’ve decieded to change the format of this blog. I am going to get selfish and make it about me. The heck with trying to keep content fresh in order to attact those who may click on an add and help support me. Sorry I do need the income, but enough of that.
As many know I am one of the few men with fibro, I believe there are maybe a million more that just don’t want to acknowledge it. I understand why and as I am not a football or sports figure, I cannot influence anyone. I am just your average guy.

In todays episode we find Bob sitting at his keyboard cursing the pain in his hands, How can I type with all this pain? I have already taken my morning 9 different meds plus my get out of bed 10 mg Oxycontin with 1/2 10/325mg percoset. Those 2 I take 20 minutes before trying to get out of bed. Hope we never have another fire :) Continue reading


By Jeanne Hambleton ©
The Fibromyalgia Conference and Pamper Weekend in April on the south coast was another great success inspite of cancellations by the Americans. Described as a ‘coalition’ conference many Group Leaders played a major part in collecting stage payments at group meetings over several months, to enable delegates to come to conference. Without the support of those Leaders, many living on benefits would have been unable to come. Others found their local Rotary Club willing to help fund their visit to the conference. So many people pulled together to make it happen and during the ‘fond farewell’ it was clear that they all enjoyed themselves. Continue reading

Men are also fibromyalgia patients

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) — The chronic pain syndrome fibromyalgia, which most often occurs in women, can also affect men — not only as patients, but as caregivers, U.S. researchers say.

“Although 10 percent to 20 percent of fibromyalgia patients are males, few scientific studies have been done in this population,” Lynne Matallana of the National Fibromyalgia Association says in a statement.

The National Fibromyalgia Association and the American Pain Foundation are joining with the Men’s Health Network in conducting an online survey. Continue reading

Mortality in fibromyalgia: An 8,186 Patient Study Over 35 Years


To determine if mortality is increased among patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia.


We studied 8,186 fibromyalgia patients seen between 1974 and 2009 in 3 settings: all fibromyalgia patients in a clinical practice, patients participating in the US National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases (NDB), and patients invited to participate in the NBD who refused participation. Internal controls included 12, 329 patients with osteoarthritis. Deaths were determined by multiple source communication, and all patients were also screened in the US National Death Index (NDI). We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMR) based on age and sex stratified US population data, after adjustment for NDI non-response.


There were 539 deaths, and the overall SMR was 0.90 (95% CI 0.61, 1.26). Among 1,665 clinic patients the SMR was 0.92 (95% CI 0.81, 1.05). Sensitivity analyses varying the rate of NDI non-identification did not alter the non-association. Adjusted for age and sex, the hazard ratio for fibromyalgia compared with osteoarthritis was 1.05 (95% CI 0.94, 1.17). The standardized mortality odds ratio compared with the US general population was increased for suicide, OR 3.31 (2.15, 5.11), and for accidental deaths, 1.45 (1.02, 2.06), but not for malignancy.


Mortality does not appear to be increased in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but the risk of death from suicide and accidents was increased.

Fibromyalgia Gets Worse During Menstruation

By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Laura J. Martin, MDApril 16, 2010 (Toronto) — Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, and a painful bladder condition called interstitial cystitis (IC) seem to get worse in some women right before and during menstruation, researchers report.

All three are disorders of the autonomic nervous system. That’s the part of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves that controls functions such as blood pressure and bladder control; these functions are largely involuntary and below our level of consciousness.

“Since other autonomic disorders like migraine and fainting seem to have menstrual variations, we theorized that these conditions would have these variations as well,” says Thomas Chelimsky, MD, professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

IBS is characterized by abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, and diarrhea, while fibromyalgia is characterized by pain throughout the body, along with tender points.

IC patients have pain in the bladder. All three conditions affect women more than men. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate symptoms of all three, Chelimsky tells WebMD.

For the study, 79 women with IBS, 77 women with fibromyalgia, and 129 women with IC filled out a questionnaire asking about the severity of their symptoms throughout the month.

A total of 25% of the IBS patients, 18% of the fibromyalgia patients, and 9% of the IC patients reported worsening of symptoms during or before their period.

While not addressed by the study, Chelimsky believes fluctuations in hormone levels may explain the findings.

“Estrogen is a pain preventative,” Chelimsky says. Levels are at their lowest right before menstruation and are still low while a woman has her period.

Additionally, 15% of women in the study reported worse pain at menopause, another time estrogen levels drop. In a surprising finding that the researchers could not explain, 37% of women said symptoms got worse at the time of their first period.

Also unknown is why symptoms fluctuate with hormone levels in some women and not others.

The findings of the poster presentation were reported here at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Asked to comment on the findings, Nathan Wei, MD, clinical director of the Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland, says, “This study confirms the clinical impression made by practitioners for many years — that hormonal shifts play a major role in symptom exacerbation.”

Chelimsky says that other research shows that women with IBS, fibromyalgia, and IC who are on estrogen-containing birth control pills seem to have fewer symptoms than other women with the conditions.

“I wouldn’t recommend patients go on the pill [for this reason],” Chelimsky says.

“But if they have bad periods, they may want to get on an exercise program. Studies have shown that’s the best thing you can do to improve symptoms,” he says.

Laser Therapy and Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, also called muscular rheumatism or musculoskeletal pain syndrome, is a chronic disorder of the muscles and other body tissue. A person suffering from fibromyalgia typically experiences muscle pain, fatigue, sleeping problems and many tender points on the body. The pain from this disorder can make everyday activities difficult and seriously disrupt a person’s life. Though scientists believe that injury, trauma, infection, or a chemical imbalance may contribute to fibromyalgia, the cause for this autoimmune disorder is unknown.
Allopathic treatments for managing the pain of fibromyalgia include taking low doses of tricyclic antidepressants, drugs ordinarily used to treat depression. These drugs may work by reducing or blocking the re-uptake of serotonin, the neurotransmitters that affect mood.

Cortisone medication can be injected directly into the site of tender tissue to relieve pain or spasms.
Many people with fibromyalgia are looking for less invasive treatments or to avoid drug interactions and side effects. Laser therapy is a fast-growing treatment option and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for short-term pain management. Several scientific studies have found this treatment to be safe and effective for treating pain, fatigue and other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
What is Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy, also called cold laser therapy or low level laser therapy (LLLT), involves the application of low-intensity lasers to specific areas of the body to stimulate endorphins. These endorphins, naturally present in the brain and adrenal glands, help block transmission of pain signals to the brain and relax the patient. Laser therapy is a non-invasive alternative to needle acupuncture and is said to excite energy between acupoints in much the same way.
When low level lasers are applied directly to tender points, the light energy emitted can accelerate cell growth. This growth promotes healing in painful, damaged tissue. Lasers stimulate blood and lymph circulation, as well as improve nerve function in these areas. Laser therapy is also used to treat other types of chronic or acute pain, especially pain that occurs with conditions such as arthritis, tendinitis, and migraines.
What Happens at a Laser Therapy Treatment Session?
Although laser therapy treatments may vary, the following methods seem to apply to most laser therapy facilities. At a typical session, a practitioner applies a low-intensity or cold laser directly to the skin at certain points of the body. In therapy sessions for conditions like chronic pain, lasers are applied directly to the affected area.
A practitioner will lightly press the laser to tender areas. The application of lasers on the skin emits photons–the carriers of electromagnetic energy in light–directly into body tissue at the cellular level. These photons are then absorbed into cells, where physiological changes can occur. The goal of these changes is to relax the patient, restore a peaceful balance and relieve pain.
A session generally lasts between 10 and 20 minutes, but can vary with the specific conditions being treated. Several treatments may be necessary to relieve the acute pain of fibromyalgia. Laser therapy is not a cure for this disorder—however, its success in the temporary relief of pain has been shown in numerous studies.
Laser therapy is non-invasive and pain-free. A person undergoing laser therapy might feel a tingling or slight burning sensation on the skin, but practitioners say this is normal. The low intensity lasers used in laser therapy do not produce thermal energy and cannot burn the skin. Safety glasses can be worn to protect the eyes from laser light.
Is Laser Therapy Safe?
The FDA has approved the use of low level lasers for temporary relief of chronic or acute pain, including the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Several studies have shown this treatment to be an effective alternative to allopathic methods with few, if any, side effects. One study showed significant improvements in patients with fibromyalgia with daily laser treatments for two weeks. At the end of the study, those who underwent laser therapy reported having less pain, fatigue, morning stiffness, and depression.
You should discuss all alternative or complementary treatments with your physician prior to beginning treatment. A doctor can help you decide which treatments are right for you, and determine their safety based on your individual medical condition. People with certain eye or skin conditions should avoid laser therapy.
Where Can I Find Laser Therapy Treatments?
Some chiropractic practices, physical therapy facilities, and alternative medicine centers offer laser therapy treatments. Check local facilities to find skilled laser therapy practitioners near you.

Pilates for Fibromyalgia

While the true causes of fibromyalgia are still unknown, it is thought to be a neurologic disorder. Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain throughout the body and exhaustion. Specific treatments are lacking, and conventional therapy typically involves a combination of several medications with multiple potential side effects. Pilates offers a complementary or alternative approach to relieving some of the most troubling symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Why Use Pilates for Fibromyalgia?
Conventional treatment for fibromyalgia involves multiple medications to treat specific symptoms: analgesics for pain, antidepressants to improve mood, muscle relaxants, and short-term sleep aids. Pregabalin (Lyrica) is the first drug specifically approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia. About half the time it may reduce pain and improve function. However, the side effects are multiple: dizziness, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, weight gain, dry mouth, and swelling in the hands and feet. In other words, Pregabalin may aggravate many fibromyalgia symptoms, while helping others. Other medications similarly have both mild and serious side effects that can be concerning.
Pilates is a non-invasive intervention that can be beneficial as a substitute for or complement to drug interventions. Pilates is minimal-impact to no-impact exercise and can be individualized to accommodate specific painful symptoms and physical limitations. Pilates improves awareness and functioning of the torso, which enables a client to perform the activities of daily living, such as bending, lifting, sitting, rising, reaching, and many others. It is especially appropriate for maintaining or restoring range of motion and function following underuse or misuse of a joint due to fibromyalgia symptoms.
Pilates also improves proprioception, the body’s awareness of its place and movement in space. On a practical level, for an individual limited by fibromyalgia symptoms, this means training the body to better and more efficiently respond to changes, such as regaining or maintaining balance on uneven ground to reduce falls. Increased adaptability and coordination can help decrease the chance of injury from accidents or improper overuse in a particular body movement.
As flexibility, strength, and functional improvements are made, incorporating other forms of fitness such as cardiovascular exercise becomes safer and easier. Complementing a Pilates program with a cardiovascular regimen can be very beneficial to the overall health and quality of life of a person with fibromyalgia.
Overall, Pilates can be a complementary approach to a holistic treatment plan involving medications, cognitive or other psychological therapy, lifestyle modifications (stress reduction, adequate sleep, regular exercise, healthy diet), and other alternative practices (biofeedback, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic, and osteopathic care).
How Can Pilates Help Relieve Fibromyalgia?
Pilates can help maintain quality of life and the ability to perform daily activities of fibromyalgia suffers through improvements in flexibility, strength and tone, functional use of joints, and body awareness. Specific Pilates movements incorporate safe stretching with resistance work to help improve flexibility and reduce the chance of injury to tight muscles. It increases muscle strength and tone without increasing bulk. Improvements in strength and flexibility can also improve the functional and proper use of joints. Pilates is as much a practice in mind-body awareness as a resistance and endurance training method. Being aware of how one moves and where the joints and limbs are in space improves coordination and balance. As with many forms of exercise, the physical activity of Pilates can also help improve mood and energy levels.
Incorporating Pilates equipment into an exercise plan can be particularly beneficial for those who are at risk for injury or who experience chronic pain, a common problem for individuals affected by fibromyalgia. The Reformer is a supine table that allows for the shoulders and feet to be fixed. The springs can increase resistance or provide assistance through a movement. Performing exercises in this position also avoids the jarring and joint compression that accompanies exercising in standing or other unsupported positions. Another piece of equipment called the Cadillac allows the instructor to guide the client in working one area without engaging another. For example, if muscles are particularly painful and tender in the legs, this equipment can allow for upper-body resistance work as well as supported lower-extremity rehabilitation work.
Prior to beginning any fitness program, it is important to consult a physician. A Pilates instructor will review a potential client’s medical history, current medications, and doctor recommendations for accommodating any health conditions, such as fibromyalgia. While safe for almost anyone at nearly every level of fitness, there are certain conditions or symptoms that must be accommodated or might even be a contraindication to Pilates participation. The instructor will also conduct a fitness assessment that includes measuring the client’s flexibility and strength as well as assessing balance, joint range of motion, posture, and gait. Communicating fitness goals and expectations to the instructor will help him or her to design a safe, fun, and challenging individual program that can help overcome the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
What is Pilates?
Pilates (puh-LA-teez) is a form of mind-body exercise and movement that uses resistance training and balance to improve strength, endurance, and flexibility in the muscle groups of the abdomen, pelvis, and spine, known as the core. The practice uses deep breathing to increase lung capacity and circulation. Pilates can help locate specific weaknesses while protecting vulnerable joints or injuries, especially important with fibromyalgia.
German-born Joseph Pilates developed Pilates while he was interned in England during World War I. Using bed springs and other parts he created resistance training equipment for his fellow internees. He came to the United States in 1926 and opened a studio in the same building as the New York City Ballet. George Balanchine became a major supporter and invited Pilates to instruct his young ballerinas. After many years as a favorite training method for dancers and athletes, Pilates has over the past decade become a part of the workouts in gyms and fitness centers across the country and the recipient of numerous celebrity endorsements.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is thought to be a neurologic condition that causes generalized and widespread muscle, tendon, and ligament pain with tender spots. People with fibromyalgia typically have incapacitating fatigue and exhaustion, sleep disturbances, as well as heightened sensitivity to temperature, touch, odors, bright lights, and loud noises. Other symptoms may include muscle stiffness, chronic headaches, facial pain, TMJ, dry mouth, eye and nose dryness, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), incontinence, abdominal pain, painful menstrual cramps, poor hand and foot circulation (Raynaud’s phenomenon), tingling in the hands and feet, and restless leg syndrome. Understandably, these symptoms may lead to or exacerbate anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue upon rising, and difficulty concentrating. Fibromyalgia is more common in women than men, but it is not progressive or life-threatening.
There is no definitive test for fibromyalgia. Doctors use what is called a “diagnosis of exclusion,” meaning that when similar conditions are eliminated as possibilities (such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis), fibromyalgia may be diagnosed. While the exact cause or causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, the condition is thought to be the result of changes in the central nervous system that affect the way sensory input (such as touch, pain, temperature, sound, and smell) is processed. Contributing risk factors could be infection, injury, hormonal changes, stress, sleep disturbances, genetic factors (having a family history of fibromyalgia), having a rheumatic disease (such a lupus or rheumatoid arthritis), changes in the way muscles make and use energy, or abnormalities in the involuntary nervous system.
Finding a Pilates Instructor
Look for a Pilates instructor experienced in helping people with pain. It is important to inquire about an instructor’s specific expertise in the area of fibromyalgia or other chronic pain and fatigue syndromes.