Fibromyalgia (FM) is most often classified solely as a rheumatic muscular disorder because one of the most prominent symptoms of the FM patient is the chronic, achy muscular pain they experience. However, as we’ve come to learn more and more about this disease, experts are now classifying it as a type of neurotransmitter dysfunction. (Neurotransmittters are chemical agents that the brain uses to tell the body what to do). FM is one of the most misdiagnosed diseases that face physicians today. One of the reasons may be that neurotransmitters affect every part of our body. This can account for symptoms that show up anywhere and that fluctuate from hour to hour.
Research into the causes of FM are still underway. However, there seems to be a genetic predisposition coupled with a trigger event, such as an illness or an accident that stimulates the onset of FM. FM affects approximately 4% of the population and is most common in women 20-60 years of age.
In the FM person, there appears to be an abnormal production of neurotransmitters and other chemicals that affect our mood and sleep patterns, as well as help control pain and the way our immune system functions. The FM patient experiences a domino affect where one symptom and reason for that symptom affect another symptom, etc.
For example, FM patients experience an alpha-delta sleep anomaly. They’re never able to reach the delta or deep sleep stage where your body releases rebuilding chemicals that repair and grow tissues. Growth hormone, one of the most abundant rebuilding chemicals, is released during delta sleep and goes to work repairing and growing tissues. Since FM patients never experience delta sleep, they have low growth hormone levels. This translates to an inability of the body to repair itself. Growth hormone has a powerful effect on connective tissue. Connective tissue is the main repair mechanism in the body and its’ chemistry monitors inflammatory response and delivers fluids, including white blood cells and antibodies, to fight infection. In the FM patient, connective tissues become stiff and tight due to an insufficient movement of fluids through our tissues. Congestion impairs circulation and neural transmission forcing muscles and surrounding organs to be in a constant state of tension. This area of heightened contraction and reduced circulation causes a buildup of wastes in that area which causes one of the classic symptoms of FM referred to as a Trigger or Tender Point. Constant muscular tension coupled with the inability to reach deep repairing sleep, leaves the FM patient experiencing extreme pain in these tender points and an overwhelming exhaustion. When you put it all together, you can see the domino affect that exists and realize how these people truly suffer with this disease.
Although FM is a non-progressive disease, it may seem to worsen if correct diagnosis is not made and treatment is not started. No cure exists for FM, so patients need to be realistic about how they will feel and what they expect from treatment. Start with the basics and try to eat well, get enough rest, realize your limitations and set realistic goals, set priorities and join a support group! Next, add Fibro-X to your daily regime. Olympian Labs Incorporated recentlyintroduced Fibro-X, specifically formulated to help lessen the severity of the painful symptoms experienced by the FM patient. Fibro-X is now under clinical evaluation and results have all been positive. Initial responses have shown a reduction in severity of symptoms and improvements in sleep related anomalies.