Q & A: FIBROMYALGIA
Q. My sister has fibromyalgia.
She feels miserable, has muscle pain and is always tired. I would like
to be supportive and help her by finding effective treatments. What do
the experts in this field recommend to relieve symptoms?
A. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic disorder
characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and nonrestorative
sleep. Your sister is tired because she is not getting good quality sleep.
Therefore her body is not able to replenish her energy and get the rest
provided by deep sleep. Her constant muscle pain, fatigue and the many
other symptoms associated with FMS interfere with her ability and motivation
to complete necessary chores, perform effectively at work and socialize.
You are helping her by giving your compassion, support, and understanding.
Most of the treatments outlined in this column
are recommended by FMS experts. However individuals with FMS are unique
in how they experience their symptoms and how they react to the suggested
treatment. Therefore it is wise to work closely with your medical treatment
team. Also, keep trying proven methods in different dosages and degrees
and stay current with the research by reading credible newsletters and
Treatment for FMS requires a comprehensive,
and interdisciplinary approach to control symptoms. Each person's recipe
for relief will be different, and there is no definitive answer to why
some things work well for one person and not at all for another. However,
if you look at medicine in general, the trial-and-error approach is used
for many medical conditions. There is no one-plan-fits-all, nor is there
a cure. For more information on research and treatment update attend the
educational conference, Fibromyalgia Awareness Main Event, or F.A.M.E.
2000, at the Universal Sheraton Hotel, Universal City, CA. on May 19-21
and check out the Arthritis and Fibromyalgia web sites and newsletters
in this column or attend the International Awareness Day For FMS May 12.
The following nonpharmacologic treatments are just a few ways to manage
the symptoms of FMS:
Educate yourself. The more you learn about
FMS the more you understand and the less frightening it is. With time
you will realize that it is a treatable and valid medical condition that
is not life threatening. Itís important to have a self-help, self-care
philosophy and join a FMS support group. Support groups offer current
information, physician referrals, validation, acceptance, networking,
goal setting and reinforcement. You can also attend an ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION
FIBROMYALGIA SELF-HELP COURSE. It's a education course designed to provide
skills and support to people with FMS or sign up with the FRIENDS HEALTH
CONNECTION. They help individuals cope through the power of friendship
and the empowerment and mutual inspiration that friendship can offer.
Eat healthy. Choose supplements that meet
your dietary needs. Many nutritional supplements are effective in reducing
FMS symptoms. Supplements such as SAMe, Magnesium, L-carnitine and NADH
are just a few. It is critical to follow a balanced diet and take a multivitamin
containing at least 50 milligrams of the B-complex vitamins. Beyond these,
consider adding L-carnitine a natural fatigue fighter and NADH a natural
energy producer. As the cells become more energized the body becomes stronger
and more vitalized. Recent studies indicate that people with FMS have
low levels of magnesium. NATURAL CALM, an organic magnesium drink with
superior assimilation, replenishes those levels as it relaxes the body,
reduces muscle pain and promotes sleep. FMS individuals using a combination
of malic acid and magnesium hydroxide report improvements with reduction
of muscle fatigue, soreness, and pain, and an increase in exercise tolerance.
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