The word fibromyalgia consists of three elements:
* Fibro, which refers to fibrous tissue
* My, which means muscle
* Algia, which means pain
Fibromyalgia is a common medical condition that can involve discomfort all over the body. It can also involve other symptoms such as chronic tiredness and lack of concentration that can make life for the individual uncomfortable. Some people may be tempted to use alcohol as a means of escaping the discomfort. This is never a good idea because drinking can actually exacerbate the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can include:
* Stiffness and muscle spasms
* Mild to severe fatigue
* Lack of sleep – even if the individual did sleep all night they can still feel tired because the symptoms may prevent deep sleep
* Pain can appear almost anywhere in the body, especially around the back and neck
* Excessive sensitivity to touch
* Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet
* Depression and anxiety
* Cognitive problems, sometimes referred to as fibro fog.
* Feeling too hot or too cold – struggling to regulate body temperature.
* Restless leg syndrome can also be associated with fibromyalgia
* A reduced ability to engage in exercise
* Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
The symptoms that people experience with this condition vary considerably. Some people find that the condition comes and goes, or that it disappears altogether over time.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
So far, no precise explanation has been found for why people suffer from this condition. The most likely causes for fibromyalgia are listed below:
* Individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing the condition. It is common for people with fibromyalgia to have relatives who also suffered with this complaint.
* It seems that those individuals who have suffered a traumatic event are most likely to develop fibromyalgia. Many people with post traumatic stress disorder also suffer from this condition.
* It is suggested that people with this condition have a higher sensitivity to pain. This is because the brain reacts more strongly to any pain signals – a condition known as central sensitization.
* The reason why people are more sensitive to pain could be because they have low serotonin levels in the brain.
* A chemical known as substance P may have something to do with increased sensitivity to pain.
* It is suggested that emotional stress can play an important role in the condition
* The condition may have something to do with hormonal or chemical imbalances in the body. These imbalances may be impacting pain signaling.
* An infection or illness can exacerbate fibromyalgia.
Alcohol Intolerance and Fibromyalgia
Most individuals who are dealing with fibromyalgia will find that they no longer have much of a tolerance for alcohol. This is because the body of people with the condition does not seem to be able to manage a toxin like alcohol very well. It can lead to inflammation in the body and an exacerbation of the symptoms. Some people with fibromyalgia do manage to have the occasional drink without too many problems, but any more than this and it can worsen their symptoms.
Alcohol Abuse and Fibromyalgia
Those individuals who are dealing with fibromyalgia may be tempted to turn to alcohol for some type of temporary escape from their symptoms. Alcohol does allow people to switch off from their problems, but this can come with a price. Alcohol abuse can lead to many negative consequences not only for the individual but also for those people close to them. So not only will the individual be likely making the symptoms of their fibromyalgia worse, but they will also be damaging their life in other ways as well. If people are struggling with the effects of this condition there are much better alternatives than alcohol for managing the symptoms such as relaxation techniques.
Treatment for Fibromyalgia
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but the symptoms can just disappear and not come back. The aim of any medical treatments will be to help the individual to manage their symptoms. These are some of the available options:
* Medication can work well for treatment of these symptoms. Some individuals will find that acetaminophen (paracetamol) will be enough to manage the pain. Other individuals will require a strong analgesic such as codeine.
* Some people will benefit from physical therapy.
* Antidepressant medication can also be used for treating the condition. In this case the medication is not given to combat depression but to boost the levels of certain neurotransmitters.
* Certain anti-convulsion medication can help lessen the intensity of fibromyalgia symptoms.
* Some physicians will prescribe muscle relaxants or night sedations as these can help the individual sleep more deeply.
* Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help the individual deal with the negative thoughts associated with the condition.
* There are claims that alternative medicine such as acupuncture may be of value when dealing with the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
* Relaxation techniques such as yoga can also be a great help. Anything that helps the individual deal better with stress can be beneficial.
* The individual may also find that regular physical exercise helps them a great deal with managing this condition.
Fibromyalgia in Recovery
Dealing with uncontrolled symptoms of fibromyalgia can make life unpleasant and difficult. Those who are recovering from an addiction may find that this is preventing them from getting the most out of sobriety. Some may even view it as justification to relapse back to their old habits. This will always be a mistake, but when people are dealing with a great deal of pain it can interfere with their ability to make rational choices. It is therefore vital that people with fibromyalgia work with the medical professionals to find ways to better manage the symptoms. There almost always will be a way to do this, but sometimes it may involve a bit of experimentation to find out what works best.