Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Your Nervous System
Fibromyalgia syndrome is believed to be caused by an over-stimulated nervous system, a response that is a reaction to an accident or trauma. Fibromyalgia interferes with the flow of neurotransmitters between the body and the brain, resulting in pain and chronic muscle spasms.
Because FMS also prevents deep sleep, normal levels of serotonin are not produced. Serotonin is a growth hormone that is usually produced by the body during the deep sleep period. Decreased levels of serotonin interfere with the bodyï¿½s ability to heal itself, and also lead to fatigue and depression.
FMS is closely linked to a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Our nervous system is made up of several components. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spine and is our bodyï¿½s main control area. The peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous system to our organs and tissues, while the autonomic nervous system includes the sympathetic nervous system (which induces a "flight or fight" response in the body) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which reduces heart rate and slows down muscles in order to preserve energy).
In patients with fibromyalgia, the sympathetic nervous system functions at an abnormally high level, while the parasympathetic nervous system functions at an unusually low level; this leads to a constant "fight or flight" response. Studies have shown that this constant state of hyperactivity also leads to an increased heart rate when patients are both standing and lying down. Several studies have found that female fibromyalgia patients can have a particularly severe autonomic dysfunction.
Fibromyalgia leads to changes in the nervous system, such as hyperactivity and a decreased ability to sleep.
The over-activity of the autonomic system in fibromyalgia patients also leads to fatigue, a "pins and needles" feeling, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and anxiety. FMS also leads to an increased susceptibility to panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Joint tenderness is another of the main fibromyalgia symptoms; fibromyalgia temporomandibular joint disorder (Fibromyalgia TMJ) leads to tenderness in various muscle groups, including the neck and shoulders, which are main connecting points for the sympathetic nervous system.
Treating Fibromyalgia Syndrome can help improve a personï¿½s overall quality of life.
Visualization helps to reduce the level of pain associated with fibromyalgia. By visualizing pain as a positive, controllable quality as opposed to a harmful, incontrollable element, the individual can rise above pain and tenderness caused by FMS instead of feeling overwhelmed by them.
Massages, such as herbalized oil massages, can also promote the relaxation of the nervous system, as they create heat and friction, which stimulate circulation and decrease the amount of chemical impurities that lead to oversensitive nervous tissue.
Maintaining a healthy diet can also decrease nervous system imbalances and can reduce sensitivity to pain. A proper fibromyalgia diet should exclude the following foods to decrease fatigue and boost energy levels: coffee, chocolate, fried foods, white sugar and flour, and tobacco.
Natural therapy for fibromyalgia is an excellent way to reduce FMS symptoms associated with the nervous system. Meditation and stretching exercises are also helpful in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia Traditional Chinese Medicine (or Fibromyalgia TCM) uses acupuncture and herbal medicines that treat the liver and blood deficiency which are believed to be at the root of FMS.