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Fibromyalgia is sometimes mistakenly thought to be a rare disease. In reality, it affects anywhere between 2% and 8% of people worldwide.
Fibromyalgia pain severely decreases the quality of life for the people who suffer from it, which is why efficient treatment is of the essence so that they can achieve a pain-free life. Red light therapy is a simple and natural type of treatment that can bring substantial relief.
Fibromyalgia syndrome is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. It can have a debilitating effect on the lives of affected patients. The symptoms can appear gradually, over time, or have a sudden onset, for instance, after an illness, an episode of extreme stress, or a case of physical trauma.
The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread pain and increased sensitivity to touch. Other symptoms include:
Symptoms can vary in their severity, from mild to severe. One study classified pain levels in fibromyalgia patients using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. They found that almost half of fibromyalgia sufferers experience severe pain and need frequent pharmacological interventions.
Diagnostic tests for fibromyalgia are based on diagnostic criteria that include not just pain severity but also pain duration and how widespread the pain is. This pain affects all or most of the body and is chronic in nature.
The widespread musculoskeletal pain and other symptoms can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. Without effective treatment, a patient might find it difficult or impossible to lead a normal life.
There is no firm consensus yet on the cause of fibromyalgia. Some scientists believe that it might have something to do with increased neural stimulation and damage to small sensory nerve fibers.
This means that the central nervous system as well as pain receptors become overly sensitive to pain. What is more, they propose that the central nervous system develops pain memories, and has overly strong reactions to painful and non-painful stimuli.
Sometimes fibromyalgia seems to be triggered by illness, surgery, or a physically or emotionally traumatic event. There is also evidence to suggest that it might be hereditary.
There is mounting evidence that we need to look for causes of fibromyalgia on a cellular level. Research shows that there is a correlation between oxidative stress happening in the body’s cells and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Mitochondria are a part of the cell which produce energy that the body uses for all of its processes. During the process of energy production, the mitochondria also release oxygen through cellular respiration.
A certain amount of harmful free radicals is a normal byproduct of these processes. However, when their numbers are too big, they can lead to mitochondrial damage and dysfunction.
Long-term mitochondrial dysfunction commonly causes chronic, sometimes hereditary diseases. Among these are various diseases that are caused by dysfunction of the immune system or the nervous system, such as fibromyalgia.
Not all pain is the same. There are several types of pain all of which have their characteristics and mechanisms. The type of pain associated with fibromyalgia is called nociplastic pain.
Nociplastic pain is sometimes considered to be a variety of nociceptive pain – the pain you feel from damage or inflammation of tissue.
Nociplastic pain is pain that is a condition in and of itself rather than just a symptom. This means that pain is the defining, pervasive characteristic of fibromyalgia, and not just a symptom.
Fibromyalgia sufferers usually require professional medical attention and treatment. They also frequently need to make adjustments to cope better. The one bright side is that this condition is not fatal and does not affect a person’s life expectancy.
Apart from managing the pain, a patient might see a beneficial effect from relaxation exercises and meditation. Cognitive behavior therapy might also be helpful for dealing with the emotional and psychological consequences of the pain.
Pain severity in fibromyalgia varies, but, in general, it is crucial that fibromyalgia sufferers find effective ways for pain reduction. Here are some ways to improve symptom relief.
There are several types of medication that can decrease pain severity in fibromyalgia sufferers.
The first and most obvious type of medication that might help are over-the-counter pain medications. In case over-the-counter painkillers don’t bring positive results, there are prescription pain medications that can be taken instead.
However, while they are a viable alternative, caution is advised when there are prescription pain medication treatments administered because they can cause an addiction.
Other types of medicine that sometimes help with fibromyalgia are antidepressants and muscle relaxants.
Lifestyle changes can make a big difference when it comes to chronic conditions. While fibromyalgia does not cause acute tissue inflammation of the muscles, it is accompanied by increased inflammation markers and there is evidence of neurogenic inflammation in the sufferers.
Dietary changes can lower inflammation levels. Fibromyalgia patients are advised to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
It is crucial to avoid processed foods as much as possible. A reduction in meat and animal product consumption could also be beneficial. Eating a healthy, balanced, plant-based diet can lead to a significant reduction in inflammation and pain.
Exercise is highly recommended for people who suffer from fibromyalgia. It’s important to choose appropriate types of exercises which won’t exacerbate the condition. Light low impact aerobic exercise such as swimming or walking is the most beneficial.
Doctors also recommend introducing exercise gradually. Doing too much can bring on an episode of extreme fatigue which lasts for days. This phenomenon is called post-exertional malaise.
Massage can bring pain relief to fibromyalgia patients. In fibromyalgia, the blood flow to the muscles is reduced and that contributes to the pain and stiffness. Massage stimulates blood flow and also relaxes the muscles.
Getting a good, healthy night of sleep can be hard to achieve. Regular exercise, red light therapy, and good sleeping habits can help. Try to maintain good sleep hygiene by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day.
Red light therapy or low level light therapy is a well-tolerated treatment for fibromyalgia pain management. If you’re wondering how red light therapy works as a treatment for fibromyalgia, the answer is complex.
Red light therapy devices deliver red light and near-infrared light to the human body via light-emitting diodes. Because low-power laser therapy devices are very popular for the treatment of skin conditions, there is a misconception that light therapy is only skin deep.
In actuality, the red light of particular frequencies can penetrate deep through the skin, to the tissue, muscle, bones, and even organs. The various mechanisms of red light therapy make it a viable and useful therapy for fibromyalgia. Numerous placebo-controlled trial studies have determined its efficacy, which makes it the most promising therapy for fibromyalgia.
One of the biggest benefits of red light therapy for fibromyalgia happens on the most basic level, in the cells. Red light therapy stimulates the mitochondria, and even supports their proliferation. This results in more energy, less oxidative damage, and a higher level of tissue oxygenation.
The trouble with sleep is a common symptom of fibromyalgia. The pain from the condition often leaves patients unable to sleep, and the lack of sleep exacerbates the pain. The modern way of life doesn’t help – too much light from the blue spectrum leaves you feeling alert and can worsen insomnia.
Red light therapy treatment for sleep feeds the body with red light which is present mostly at dawn and dusk, and which signals to the brain and the endocrine system which hormones to produce. A dose of red light at the appropriate time can help reset your circadian rhythm and allow you to have restful sleep.
Red light therapy improves blood circulation and helps bring more oxygen into tissue. In fibromyalgia, especially the muscle tissue is low on oxygen, and that is part of the reason for the musculoskeletal pain.
Due to its collagen-boosting effects, red light therapy also facilitates the formation of new blood vessels. When circulation improves, it has an anti-inflammatory effect too, because there’s better drainage of fluids and a better supply of immune cells to the affected areas.
Red light laser irradiation stimulates the production and release of dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals improve mood and help with the psychological effects of living with chronic pain. But that is not their only role in the treatment of fibromyalgia. They also have a pain-dampening effect, which makes them a valuable addition to therapy for fibromyalgia.
One of the benefits of red light therapy for fibromyalgia is that it can boost your overall energy levels. That happens because red light therapy stimulates the production of ATP, the energy currency the body uses.
However, red light therapy has another mechanism which can improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. When the red light hits the skin, it stimulates the release of nitric oxide into the bloodstream.
Lower than normal levels of this chemical are often cited as one of the main reasons for fatigue in fibromyalgia. Using red light therapy for fibromyalgia can naturally increase its levels.
Red light therapy is a great way to achieve both targeted relief and an overall boost for the entire body. The beneficial red light properties are easy to enjoy at home.
Home use red light therapy devices like FlexBeam have changed the game. In the past, red light therapy was only available at clinics. However, now red light therapy devices are small, portable, and wearable.
This means that you can use red light therapy as often as you need to, with no inconvenience or planning involved, without leaving the comfort of your home.