Weighted Blanket for Fibromyalgia
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by a chronic widespread pain and tenderness all over the body. It’s a musculoskeletal disorder that amplifies painful sensations by affecting how the brain processes pain.
Approximately, there are 10 million Americans who suffer this disorder and it is more prevalent among women than men. This condition can affect people of all ages including children. Misdiagnosis can often occur because fibromyalgia is a difficult condition to pinpoint, however laboratory tests can rule out other diagnoses.
The pain can be moderate to severe with cases affecting the individual physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Without proper treatment, fibromyalgia can affect the quality of life for an individual and disrupt daily activities.
What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia include but are not limited to the following:
- Sleep disturbances (sleep apnea or restless sleep due to pain)
- Stiffness of muscles
- Cognitive difficulties and lack of focus
- Depression and anxiety
- Severe migraines
- Tension headaches
- Pelvic Pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJD)
- GastroIntestinal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Overactive Bladder
- Chronic muscular pain on different parts of the body
What are the causes of Fibromyalgia?
There are no exact causes of fibromyalgia but the condition is thought to be triggered by an abnormal level of chemicals in the brain which can affect the central nervous system and neurotransmitters that send pain signals to the brain. But the following are risk factors prevalent among fibromyalgia sufferers:
- Genetics and family history are factors that can cause fibromyalgia. If an immediate family member or relative has the condition, an individual is more likely to be at risk of having the disorder.
- Emotionally stressful experiences such as the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a relationship can cause psychological stress that can affect the brain.
- Physical trauma such as an accident, giving birth, having an injury or infection can cause nerve damage and trigger the disorder.
- Having a disease or infection like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis can complicate and cause fibromyalgia.
- Biological sex is also a risk factor since the condition happens in more women than men.
- Having an operation or surgery can trigger fibromyalgia to occur.
How is Fibromyalgia treated?
Though fibromyalgia has no cure, certain therapies and treatments can be addressed through medication and self-care. Treating the condition on the onset of pain can minimize symptoms and improve overall general health. Since a person with fibromyalgia has several symptoms, varied treatments can be done simultaneously to help ease the individual’s pain.
- Physical Therapy. Having regular sessions with a physical therapist can help a person with the condition through relaxation exercises that can reduce muscle tension, stiffness, and fatigue. Because a person experiencing fibromyalgia often gets little rest, changing their lifestyle and incorporating exercises such as stretching and yoga can let them focus on improving muscle function.
- Occupational Therapy. Some tasks at work or school can be very taxing for fibromyalgia sufferers and occupational therapists can help them make adjustments to improve muscle function and reduce stress on the body.
- Psychological Counseling. Dealing with this condition can be constantly traumatic due to chronic pain thus affecting psychological, emotional, and mental health. Persons with fibromyalgia often feel frustration and anger during episodes of pain, and having a counselor to talk to can help them in dealing with stressful situations.
- Alternative Medicine. Other forms of pain and stress management can be incorporated in an individual’s lifestyle to relieve stress and reduce pain. Some practices that can be conducted are acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, and tai chi.
- Home remedies. During episodes of pain, self-care is critical for management of the condition. Relaxation and giving time for rest is one way of caring for the body. Methods such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation can put the individual in a relaxed mood which can minimize pain.
- Medications. Doctors can prescribe a number of over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For more severe pain, they also might recommend stronger prescription medication such as tramadol. In some severe cases, narcotics are used to treat the individual, but this isn’t advised since this can lead to drug dependence and overdose. Since fibromyalgia sufferers often experience depression and anxiety, antidepressants like duloxetine and milnacipran can help ease the pain and fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia. In some cases, anti-seizure drugs are often used to reduce chronic pain in different parts of the body.
Exercising can initially be painful, but incorporating physical activity can gradually reduce symptoms. Low impact exercises like walking, swimming, and biking are effective ways to combat fibromyalgia.
How can a weighted blanket help individuals with Fibromyalgia?
People with fibromyalgia often have disturbed sleep patterns that can cause symptoms to worsen over time. Fibromyalgia sufferers can experience pain that prevents them from sleeping deeply which causes fatigue and stress.
With a weighted blanket, problems such as anxiety, stress, and pain can be addressed by inducing calmness and relaxation. The glass microbeads suspended in polyester coating are distributed in 6” pockets throughout the blanket. The machine-washable cover is made of a soft and luxurious high quality fabric designed to provide the user with added comfort for better and more restful sleep.
Fibromyalgia sufferers can use a weighted blanket as their go-to therapy when they’re in pain and needing fast relief. This weighted blanket can stimulate the production of serotonin which has a calming effect that encourages people afflicted with the disorder to relax thus resulting in effective pain management.