Fibromyalgia is one of the most common, yet elusive chronic pain conditions worldwide. Medical professionals have been criticised for their inability to shed light on the disease, but breakthroughs over the last three years mean those with the disease aren’t left in darkness.
Better diagnostic criteria allows better differentiation between fibromyalgia and other illnesses. Even more importantly, a clearer origin story about what causes it in the first place is starting to emerge.
3-6% of the global population are known to have Fibromyalgia, it presents primarily in women, who make up approximately 75-90% of those diagnosed.
If you have fibromyalgia, you don’t have to cope with your symptoms alone. Our practitioners at IMI can help develop a personalised treatment plan to support you and help reduce your symptoms.
One of the key symptoms of fibromyalgia are ‘trigger points’. These are regions of tenderness where even light pressure can cause pain.
The pain doesn’t have to be intense. Some only experience a persistent dull ache in areas around the body, but these sensations can be much more intense, causing extreme discomfort.
Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer concomitant symptoms such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety and an inability to focus or pay attention, often referred to as ‘fibro-fog’.
Researchers are yet to fully understand the full origins of the illness. One theory suggests that sufferers' brains and nervous systems may be misinterpreting or hypersensitive to normal pain signals. This may be exacerbated by inflammation in the brain that is caused by dietary or environmental factors over time.
There is firm evidence suggesting that long-term stress and traumatic events are contributing factors in the development of fibromyalgia. Clear links exist between fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fibromyalgia is felt in the body, but it does not exist solely there. It has a complex relationship with our mind, emotions and energy too. At IMI, we will treat these integrated aspects of your condition.
We can carry out tests to shed light on the underlying cause of fibromyalgia, including food sensitivity tests, DNA tests and organic acid tests. From this, our naturopaths can create a personalised dietary and herbal medicine regime for you. They can also diagnose and treat any digestive issues, which are common in those with the condition.
Acupuncture and homeopathy can also help manage stress and symptoms of post-traumatic disorder that so often accompany fibromyalgia.
Osteopathy can be another useful therapy for treating fibromyalgia. By relieving muscle tension, improving joint mobility and using techniques to soothe the nervous system and pain response mechanism, an osteopath can help ease your symptoms. Further investigation can also help unearth which organs and nerves are linked to the root of the condition, so that treatment can tackle the cause of the condition.
Our treatment goes beyond the body. Coping with fibromyalgia can be psychologically wearing. Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand with fibromyalgia. We offer counselling and other forms of psychotherapy, such as mindfulness or somatic (body-based) therapies, such as yoga, tai chi or body-based psychotherapy. These can help you to connect with the pain in order to understand it and develop stronger coping strategies.
When we find something painful, there can be a natural tendency to resist or move away from it. By leaning in gently to the pain, we can get to know it more, and explore how to work with it and find more ease.
We can help you gain a deeper understanding of your triggers and the underlying causes of your condition. If your fibromyalgia is linked to previous trauma, then it is important that you get the right support from a psychologist or psychotherapist who has experience working with trauma or post-traumatic stress disorders.
We can support you in developing coping strategies to reduce the wider impact fibromyalgia may be having on your life.