For years, the medical community did not believe fibromyalgia was real. But in the last decade, the condition has slowly gained acceptance. And although scientists do not yet know what causes it, new treatment options are helping patients lead a normal life.

Nobody is the same when it comes to fibromyalgia, says Paulette Zielinski, a native of Montreal who was diagnosed with the disease in the early 1990s.

Chronic disorder that has been baffling doctors for decades, can cause fatigue and, ironically,  sleep problems  , as well as memory and mood problems. But there is a symptomatic patients can all agree: pain.

Paulette was 50 with a type A personality and had been traveling to work on high voltage paper industry when he succumbed to what he thought was a bad case of the flu. Then his muscles began to ache, and pain will not go away. “All I knew was that hurts me,” she says.

Your GP and specialists were mystified. “Doctors at the time thought it was a mental diagnosis,” she says. Paulette was prescribed antidepressants, but her symptoms did not improve. In fact, they got worse, then it intensified when their work situation became more stressful.

“I got so dizzy that I could not move,” says Paulette. I was forced to get a note from your doctor saying she was burned. But instead of giving up, he spent months going from doctor to doctor unsuccessfully searching for answers. It was only when she ended up in consultation with a neurologist, two years after the first symptoms experienced that Paulette finally got a diagnosis: fibromyalgia.

After gently touching different parts of your body known as sensitive spots and witness wince, he said, “I think you know what you have.” Paulette was relieved; she finally understood why antidepressants had not worked it was not a  mental health issue –  and why he felt much worse when I was stressed out , because stress can aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. But there was no new avenue of treatment for medical condition were still beginning to understand. The neurologist had solved the mystery, but he can only refer to a rheumatologist, who handed him a pamphlet about fibromyalgia. Paulette remembers thinking, I have a diagnosis, but I do not know what to do about it .

This is because fibromyalgia has been accepted as a valid medical condition in the last decade, says Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, associate professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at McGill University of Montreal professor, who vividly remembers the days in that fibromyalgia is not an acceptable diagnosis was considered. “Twenty years ago, the question was: ‘Is it real?’ ” she says.

Why did it take so long for the medical community to take seriously fibromyalgia? “Complaints are purely subjective. There is no measurement test target any single blood, no single test to diagnose this, “says Dr. Fitzcharles. Instead, doctors rely on patient reports muscle diffuse pain, “brain fog”, migraines, intestinal type irritable complaints, sleep disturbances, menstrual pain and tingling in fingers and toes syndrome . Even great doctors could not make the connection, or they may feel reluctant to offer fibromyalgia as an explanation of the patient’s complaints, so obtaining a diagnosis is often reduced to the amount of tenacity has a patient. But as time has passed,

Search for the cause
Although fibromyalgia affects more than 500,000 Canadians of approximately two percent of the population, according to the Arthritis Society -and most commonly strikes women in middle age, who still do not know what causes neurological system to malfunction, changing the way the brain processes pain. Research has legitimized the condition, although it is still early when it comes to studies on the causes, risk factors and treatment. Dr. Fitzcharles says that, for some people, there may be a genetic component, so if someone in your family has, increases your chance of developing fibromyalgia. A serious viral infection,  chronic stress or even a period of intense stress can also trigger the disease.

Dr. Pamela Cuddihy, a specialist in fibromyalgia and the owner of Fibro Pain Clinic in Bolton, Ontario anesthesiologists., Says muscle biopsies have shown that mitochondria or power plants of cells that fuel the muscles and ensure that are made, they are scarce in people with fibromyalgia, leading to increased muscle fatigue.

And it is that lack of energy, and pain in muscles and soft tissues which is also a hallmark of the disease. Nikki Albert was 20 years old when he began to experience severe fatigue, pain and insomnia. “I was trying to keep up with people my age,” says the woman based in Edmonton, now 40, who blogs about fibromyalgia in He ended up staying on as his friends participate in study sessions or night ,, they left even more disappointing holiday. “I could not keep up.”

After undergoing tests for lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, Nikki made an appointment to see a rheumatologist, who told him he had fibromyalgia-diagnosed his father had received the 35 years she has spent the last 20 years be your own advocate, handling flares and periods of remission and trying to find what works best for your symptoms. Meditates, exercises regularly and sees a psychologist who is helping regular mental pain. She also takes supplements, such as vitamins B12 and magnesium, and has been prescribed medication to help her sleep. “As long as your own pace and moderate things, it can handle pretty well,” she says. “If you do not pace himself, it comes back to you.”

Treat yourself
At the moment, there is no magic solution to alleviate fibromyalgia, a function of the relatively recent acceptance of the disease by the medical community and the still preliminary investigation. “No new drug on the horizon , ” says Dr. Fitzcharles. Instead, patients and their doctors need to take an individualized approach to treating the condition, often through trial and error.

“The essence of all treatment is self – management. Know how to pace yourself , how to reduce stress and what your triggers are , “advises Dr. Fitzcharles. She believes that exercise outperforms all other possibilities. “Physical activity has the strongest evidence for effect , ” she says. However, ” it has to be a  physical activity make it comfortable for the person to do. “She favors tai chi and meditation says is an effective way to help control the pain strategy. Dr. Cuddihy tells his patients to start with a small amount of aerobic exercise every day, whether walking, biking or swimming, and work up to 30 minutes a day, if your strength allows. “This is to keep within its current capacity and based on that,” she says. She also advises his patients, most of whom are women “who do everything all the time,” not to overdo it, especially on good days when your symptoms are minimal. “Otherwise, it will be a long recovery.”

Sleep management is also an important part of fibromyalgia. Because the dream has not been implicated in the disease, Dr. Cuddihy often prescribe drugs to help patients get enough rest.

There are only two drugs approved by Health Canada for the treatment of fibromyalgia: duloxetine, an antidepressant, for some people, provides an energy boost, and Lyrica, an anticonvulsant medication is sometimes prescribed off-label to provide relief pain. muscle relaxants mild and opioid analgesics also be used off-label for pain control. However, the doctor says Fitzcharles opioids that 30 percent of fibromyalgia.

What you want to see
though if each person is unique, many people with fibromyalgia experience these symptoms.

– generalized muscle pain

– Disturbed sleep or waking up feeling unrefreshed

– Fatigue and lack of energy

– an inability to concentrate, also known as “fibro fog”

– digestion problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome or cramping

– The painful menstrual periods

– Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet

– Restless Leg Syndrome

Getting help
fibromyalgia symptoms often other health conditions overlap. And because of the lack of a definitive test, getting a diagnosis can be difficult. But if you are experiencing symptoms, you need answers. Here’s how to get them.

Listen to your body. If you are in pain and have symptoms of fibromyalgia type, consult a doctor.

Not take no for an answer. “So far, general practitioners have been unsure about making a diagnosis , ” says Dr. Mary-Ann Fitzcharles, associate professor of medicine at McGill University of Montreal. If this happens, change doctors until you find one that investigates your symptoms.

Be persistent. Paulette Zielinski Montreal and Edmonton both Nikki Albert visited many doctors before being diagnosed.

Forgetting quick solutions. “There is no treatment that corrects all the symptoms , ” says Dr. Fitzcharles. “And everyone responds differently.”

Tak  ae an active role in their treatment. Start an exercise routine, pace yourself and work on sleep hygiene.


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