Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body. It affects an estimated 5 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The disorder typically starts in middle age and is most common in women, but it can also strike men and people of all ages, including children. People with autoimmune conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are more prone to the disorder than the general population.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), around 5 million adults aged 18 years or over in the United States experience fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not yet known. But it most likely involves a variety of factors working together. These may include:
- Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
- Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
- Physical or emotional trauma. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by physical trauma, such as a car accident. Psychological stress may also trigger the condition.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Symptoms can appear at any time during a person’s life, but they are most commonly reported around the age of 45 years. Common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Widespread pain
- Jaw pain and stiffness
- Pain and tiredness in the face muscles and adjacent fibrous tissues
- Stiff joints and muscles in the morning
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Painful menstrual periods
- Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
- Sensitivity to cold or heat
- Difficulties with memory and concentration, known as “fibro-fog”
The following are also possible:
- Problems with vision
- Pelvic and urinary problems
- Weight gain
- Cold or flu-like symptoms
- Skin problems
- Chest symptoms
- Depression and anxiety
- Breathing problems
Treatment of Fibromyalgia
When used to treat autoimmune conditions, such as fibromyalgia, stem cells have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, they have been shown to protect, heal, and even regenerate neurons in the body, preventing cell death. The result is a decrease in symptom effect, as the stem cells regulate neural functions down to normal levels. Patients have reported a decrease in muscle/joint pain, sensitivity, and other inflammation-related symptoms.
Patients experience mobility and flexibility, as well as a decrease in nerve pain. The results can last for years at a time without the need for another transplant of cells. This treatment seeks primarily to increase the quality of life for fibromyalgia patients by reducing the associated symptoms down to manageable levels and is largely seen as the best natural alternative to drug-based treatment plans.