Fibromyalgia FAQs

Q. What is Fibromyalgia Syndrome? [FMS]

A. A chronic pain disorder characterized by diffuse, muscular aching and stiffness. Non-restorative sleep is thought to contribute significantly to this complicated syndrome that is in evolution. There are [3] types: primary [idiopathic], secondary [associated with another disorder] and post-traumatic [onset initiated following bodily injury].

Q. What causes Fibromyalgia Syndrome? [FMS]

A. FMS is a very complicated condition that appears to have more than a single cause. FMS can be activated by a physical or emotional injury or can follow an illness like the flu. To date, the underlying true etiology remains a medical mystery.

Q. Is FMS inherited or contagious?

A. Recent studies suggest genetic predisposition could play a role in the condition. There is no evidence to suggest that FMS is contagious.

Q. Who does FMS target?

A. The condition strikes 8 times as many women as men and mid-life is the targeted age group, but it can occur at any age to either sex.

Q. How severe is the pain?

A. A medical research team from Finland has reported that the pain intensity from FMS is twice that of rheumatoid arthritis.

Q. How is FMS diagnosed?

A. Laboratory or x-ray findings are not needed to diagnose FMS, however, often times numerous tests are conducted to rule out other conditions. According to the American College of Rheumatology the 1990 criteria requires a history of widespread pain [minimum 3 months]. The pain pattern must include both right and left sides of the body, be located above and below the waist and also include the axial skeletal region. On digital examination pain must be noted in at least 11 of 18 characteristic tender point sites.

Q. What aggravates FMS symptoms?

A. The symptoms of pain, stiffness and soreness are often aggravated by cold or damp weather, anxiety or stress, over-use or repetitive activity and poor sleep. Long periods of inactivity will also activate symptoms.

Q. What treatment is recommended?

A. Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms not curing the underlying condition because the etiology at present is not known. FMS has no well defined or universally accepted therapy regimen. A combination of massage, exercise, stress manage- ment techniques and medication are considered the most effective treatments now available.

Q. How about exercise?

A. When muscles are inactive they become shorter and weaker. Also, tendons, ligaments, bones and cartilage are more prone to injury. FMS patients MUST get at least a few minutes of exercise each day despite the pain. Stretching, strengthening and cardiovascular are 3 forms of needed and recommended exercises.

Q. Does stretching help?

A. The muscles of FMS often feel tight, stiff and ropelike. Both stretching and massaging the involved muscles brings relief. The Intracell Stick provides the benefits of stretching and massage. I use it before and after exercise. It is extremely helpful during sudden flare-ups.

Q. What about nutritive supplements?

A. I know of no controlled studies evaluating a nutritive supplement’s effectiveness for FMS. Yet there is a metabolic hypothesis that MIGHT offer relief. This includes CO-Q-10, Magnesium and Malic Acid . . . ask your doctor.

Q. Does massage help?

A. Research suggests that fibromyalgic muscles fail to receive adequate oxygen. Massage increases circulation and augments the uptake of oxygen. It is better, however, to have several short massage sessions than to have a single extended session. When it comes to therapeutic massage the answer is MORE OFTEN not just more. This is why I prefer the Intracell Stick muscle device.

Q. How is sleep involved?

A. Most people with FMS fail to achieve restful, restorative sleep. If you feel sore, stiff, tired and unrefreshed upon waking, you have typical symptoms of FMS. The quality (depth) of sleep is more important than the quantity (hours) of sleep. Most FMS people are deprived of an adequate number of deep [Delta] sleep stages.

Q. What about FMS research?

A. In 1993 the US government spent 3 cents per patient on FMS research but lobbying efforts increased that figure to 28 cents per patient in 1994. Recent Senate Subcommittee testimony estimated fiscal impact on the US economy to be $9.2 billion per year.


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