Our Medical Herbalists’ Approach to Fibromyalgia Syndrome
Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a severely debilitating condition that affects multiple systems in the body. Defining symptoms include: –
- Pain Severe burning pain and tenderness felt in muscles and ligaments and sometimes joint pain. Often sufferers experience muscle cramping, numbness and uncomfortable tingling sensations. Some pain is present at rest but intensifies rapidly after little exertion.
- Fatigue/Poor Stamina FMS sufferers feel a marked fatigue that is not much relieved by rest or sleep. They have very low stamina and become extremely exhausted and feel very weak after little effort.
- Sleep Disturbance Typically with FMS sufferers have difficulty sleeping at night but are extremely sleep-prone during the day. Sleep is non-restorative and FMS sufferers wake feeling tired.
- In addition to these symptoms a typical patient might also find it difficult to concentrate, might be hypersensitive to loud noise or visual stimuli and can often note dysfunction in other body systems such as bowel or bladder instability.
- Symptoms vary in intensity but it is not uncommon to see patients having to give up their employment and become increasingly limited in their activities and interests as a result of pain and fatigue. Low mood and increased anxiety are common features of a symptom picture.
- Diagnosis There are no known, identifiable causes of FMS and diagnosis is usually arrived at by eliminating other illnesses that share a similar symptom picture, for example rheumatoid arthritis, lupus conditions or chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Having attained a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia Syndrome from a Rheumatologist or GP people are usually told that there is little that can be done other than using painkillers, trying antidepressant drugs, or emotional therapies.