Fibromyalgia Treatment, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFS
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical issue causing widespread fatigue and pain, stiffness and fatigue. Sufferers often experience sleep problems and psychological disorders, such as anxiety and depression. In addition to affecting the soft tissues and muscles throughout the body, fibromyalgia intensifies the level of pain felt by the patient. Researchers have found that this disorder affects the pain receptors in the brain.
Fibromyalgia often manifests after a trauma, stress or surgery; however, for some, there is no distinguishable trigger event. Additionally, those suffering with chronic pain, IBS, TMJ, tension headaches, anxiety or depression are prone to fibromyalgia. More women than men suffer from this debilitating disease; however, men and children can develop fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The symptoms associated with fibromyalgia can vary from person to person and can include both physical and psychological symptoms. The most common symptoms are chronic pain and stiffness throughout the body, including headaches, stomach pain, neck pain and pain in the extremities. Sufferers may also experience cognitive troubles, such as forgetfulness, confusion and concentration problems. These cognitive dysfunctions are often referred to as "fibro fog." Unexplained fatigue and gastrointestinal disturbances are also very common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. For more details on symptoms, refer to Symptoms of Fibromalgia.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?
CFS causes debilitating fatigue that does not improve with long periods of rest. In order for a confirmed diagnosis, the fatigue must be present for at least 6 months and must be accompanied by at least four other symptoms, such as joint pain, sore throat, weakness, tender neck, headaches, concentration troubles or sleep issues. Our chronic fatigue doctor in Virginia specializes in treating CFS and has received excellent results.
Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID)
Since February 2015, the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) has changed the name of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, or SEID. The new name helps to better describe the conditions. SEID is more than just feeling tired and depressed with patients unable to tolerate normal physical or cognitive exertion.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
The primary symptom of CFS is the debilitating fatigue for which it is named. This fatigue is chronic, lasting for long periods of time, with no relief even after resting. Unexplained muscle and joint pain, along with chronic headaches are symptoms of CFS. Physical symptoms including, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, which are painful, often occur with CFS. Psychological issues, such as poor concentration and memory loss may accompany this medical condition. Although chronic fatigue is not the result of a psychiatric condition, psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, may accompany this condition. Patients may complain of a sore throat that does not improve with treatment and neck pain without any discernable cause. Finally, sleep disturbances are common among sufferers. Complaints include vivid dreams, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, waking up frequently and restless leg syndrome.
Similarities and Differences between Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Although Fibromyalgia and CFS are two different medical conditions, they have numerous common denominators. The two main complaints of these medical conditions are pain and fatigue. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, vivid dreams and unrefreshing sleep are often experienced by both types of sufferers. IBS and other digestive discomforts, along with memory problems and coordination difficulties are the chief complaints in both Northern Virginia fibromyalgia and CFS patients. Finally, chronic headaches and pain of the temporomandibular joint are often experienced.
While both medical conditions have numerous similarities, there are also differences between the two disorders. Physicians often determine which path to investigate based on your chief complaint. For example, if you experience widespread debilitating pain with mild fatigue, the doctor will begin to check for fibromyalgia. Conversely, if your chief complaint is fatigue, then the physician will lean towards a CFS diagnosis and subsequent chronic fatigue treatment. Each condition has its own set of diagnostic criteria to assist the doctor.
The 18 tender points associated with fibromyalgia will be checked to help determine a proper diagnosis, along with any event that may have triggered your condition. Experts have determined that most fibromyalgia cases begin with a traumatic emotional or physical event, such as a death, surgery or an automobile accident.
Causes of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue
Numerous issues can increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia, including certain genetic mutations. Researchers presume that an overstimulation of the pain receptors in the brain can increase chemical levels in the body, intensifying the pain signals from the brain. Additionally, illnesses that compromise the immune systems, along with physical and emotional stress, may increase the likelihood of developing fibromyalgia.
The exact cause of CFS is unknown; however, there are several factors that may contribute to the disorder. Stress, hormonal imbalances and infections may increase the risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome. Researchers have speculated that the Epstein-Barr virus, the human herpes virus 6 and mouse leukemia may increase the risk of developing CFS.
The gender of the patient is one of the primary risk factors for both CFS and fibromyalgia. Women are more likely to develop these disorders than men are. This may be the result of abnormal hormone levels or higher stress levels in women. Those with a family history of the disorders have an increased risk of developing CFS or fibromyalgia. Finally, age, weight and physical activity can increase the risk of these medical conditions. Most patients are between the age of 40 and 50, and are inactive or overweight.
Treatment of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
The treatment for CFS and fibromyalgia often includes functional chiropractic treatments, low level pulsed cold laser therapy, and nutritional guidance to help ensure you are receiving proper nutrition. This may include dietary changes, such as avoiding inflammatory foods. Lifestyle modifications, such as exercise along with relaxation techniques, may be recommended as part of the chronic fatigue treatment process.
Functional chiropractic care can help with the fibromyalgia by gently addressing the root cause of the mechanical pain. This means determining the areas of the body that are affected through specific testing and treating those areas with light stimulatory impulse adjusting as well as pulsed cold laser therapy. Impulse adjusting using the Arthrostim machine is very gentle and easy for the fibromyalgia patient as it does not require any sudden movements or "cracks" associated with regular chiropractic adjustments. The stimulatory pulse can help to regulate nerve firing and muscle relaxation in the area and other areas associated with fibromyalgia while also adjusting the spine or joint.
Pulsed cold laser is a gentle yet powerful tool in the treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia. Cold laser has been around for over 40 years with many variations of the laser over that time. Pulsed cold laser allows for deeper penetration of the laser without the hazardous side effects of other lasers with the same power. When used at specific settings over fibromyalgia points, the laser helps decrease pain by reducing inflammation and pain generated by overactive nerves. This helps to regulate proper signaling from the nerve to the spinal cord and brain which helps reduce the pain overall caused by fibromyalgia.
Studies have shown a link between small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and increased pain perception/ hypersensitivity when you are suffering with fibromyalgia. Addressing the gut microbes and healing the gut can be an important component of management of this condition. Other functional imbalances are also evaluated such as hormone testing and nutritional evaluation testing for a personalized nutritional program.
Physicians may recommend you do not overexert yourselves soon after fatigue treatment - even though you may be is feeling better, since overexertion can cause a relapse. Acupuncture may be offered to help alleviate pain, while herbal formulas and vitamin and mineral supplements may be suggested to help heal your body from the inside out.
If you experience widespread pain, overwhelming fatigue and sleep issues, you owe it to yourself to call Rose Wellness Center. Our experienced and caring staff will guide you through the maze of diagnosis and treatment options available for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. A thorough consultation with our integrative physician specializing in Fibromyalgia treatment in Northern Virginia can be scheduled by contacting us at (571)529-6699.
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