It makes a lot of sense when it is said that the brain works differently in people who live with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition where the people who have it feel pain in different parts of the body, especially in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms and legs. And these points feel pain when they are touched. Several areas of the brain are continuously activated while feeling the pain, so it can easily bring about feelings of tiredness. It is a condition more common in women than men, and there are some people who are at greater risk of suffering from it. Between 2% and 5% of the population worldwide suffer from this condition.
Fibromyalgia does not have a cure, but it can be treated by taking medicines, by having a healthy diet, and doing regular exercise. Fibromyalgia is also linked to people who have anxiety, depression, and people with moodiness. Studies say that negative feelings and the activation of certain areas of the brain are totally related to pain. First symptoms may appear after turning 20 years old.
Pain signals in the brain
The brain is a complex part of the body, and generally when it has something different or when something doesn’t work properly is when illnesses, effects or conditions start to appear. Everybody is different, so we have variations in the brain. Some of these variations can lead to limitations, and in some of the cases it has no negative effects on the individual.
Fibromyalgia can be described by one short word, "pain". And the pain the body feels, said by researchers, is a glitch in the way the body sends all the information to the brain to be processed. This glitch makes the brain feel pain stronger, and normally, the real feeling is not painful. The brain in people with fibromyalgia has less blood flow to certain parts of the brain, and that flow is what makes it easier for the body to deal with the pain.
Scientists have found that people with fibromyalgia have a different brain form and more clear, that the gray matter is denser and a different location of the gray matter is in several parts of the brain.
“Fibromyalgia is more than feeling pain”. That is how people with it describe it. They are always feeling tired, at any moment or place. People with fibromyalgia are constantly thinking about pain and desperately thinking about how to relieve it. It is always wishing to be in your bed sleeping, but when you are actually there trying to sleep, you can’t. Patients are always complaining about forgetting where they put their glasses and their keys; they forgot to buy something; and they say it is hard to find the correct words to speak. They also say it is very hard to concentrate on one thing or when trying to read a book.
That is why fibromyalgia has a big relationship with the brain; it interrupts a lot of important processes that we always need to use in our daily routines. If a person works, studies or both, imagine how hard it is to live with the condition. It is a big shame that there is not still a cure for it. But, there are a lot of ways to improve how to live with it, and scientists are looking for real solutions. They are doing big researches on the nervous system and how the brain processes all the information it sends. Today, with technology and science working together, it is just a matter of time until we find the cures to plenty of diseases including fibromyalgia.
Tips for fibromyalgia patients
As we know, fibromyalgia does not have a cure, but we have a lot of activities to fight back, so please read this and take note of the following recommendations:
- Take your stress away: Stress is one principal factor of pain, so get into outdoor activities like yoga and meditation; those are great options. Other activities you can do are going out for longs walks and going to painting or drawing classes. Relax yourself by being alone and listening to your favorite music.
- Exercise your brain: If you are feeling tired and it is affecting your concentration or memory, you can try playing memory games. That way, you won’t feel totally lost. It is a good idea to write down a to-do list and you will always have everything on hand.
- Burn some energy: People with fibromyalgia should do some exercise, but watch out, as they should only be low-intensity. This will help you to reduce stress and decrease pain. It may help you to get a better sleep.
- Try alternative medicine: In these cases, the best thing to do is be relaxed. The alternative medicine is a wonderful treatment with several options: acupuncture (the needles can make important changes in blood flow), massage therapy, yoga, and tai chi.This ancient medicine has been practiced for thousands of years having incredible results. Those practices are totally safe and they have a big acceptance in mainstream medicine because of the real results.
- Deep breaths: Try to make several deep breaths during the day. This is a powerful anti-stress technique and helps you to have a clever mind and be in a better mood.
- Taking hot baths: Having a bath with warm water must be the most relaxing activities of all, as it can relax all your muscles, relieve pain and it will help you to move easily. You can try a sauna, too.
- Try to leave some beverages: It is a good idea to quit beverages with caffeine, because it increases anxiety and insomnia. So try with natural beverages like tea, natural juices, water or beverages that are “caffeine-free”.
- Keep your brain active: Think about yourself more often; take some time to do things you like; rest; get a hobby; try to get a pet. You can do whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed. Trying to play an instrument is also a good idea.
- Your job is taking too much energy: If it’s a flexible one, you can try working from home. Try to make changes to your office. You can incorporate relaxing elements, paint it with light colors, and buy a super comfortable chair.
- Don’t keep it to yourself: Try to share it with your beloved ones. Tell them what would make you feel better, and don’t be afraid to ask anyone for help.
- Alone time: To feel okay sometimes it is better to be alone, quiet and relaxed. So, take away stressful activities and reject things you don’t want to or don’t need to do.
- Change night habits: Put away all the electronic devices, TV, computer, and change your room into a palace only for sleeping. You can make it darker and keep it fresh. Having enough sleep is another important key, so go to bed and wake up at the same hours every day and don’t nap at all.
- Look for help: Look for support groups where you can share all your experiences, and share what makes you feel better. Know what other people do and what you can use for help.