Fibromyalgia is a disorder identified by full-body musculoskeletal pain, in addition to extreme fatigue, poor memory, restless sleep cycles, and mood swings. Experts believe that fibromyalgia affects the patient’s spinal cord and brain in such a way that pain signals and their reception are amplified.
In the United States alone, about 400 million adults (2% of the population) suffer from fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, there is no clear cause or cure for this disorder. Patients can get temporary relief from some treatments, such as increased hydration.
According to data analyzed by crowdsourcing AI-powered platform StuffThatWorks, drinking more water can be very effective in managing fibromyalgia, with 80% of the users reporting they found it helpful. In this article, we will explore more about fibromyalgia, including how increased hydration can help relieve its symptoms.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms experienced by fibromyalgia patients.
Pain and Stiffness
Fibromyalgia is most commonly identified with widespread pain all over the body. Most patients report a dull agony on both sides of their body, below and above their waist. This pain can last as long as three months.
Fatigue and Tiredness
Even though fibromyalgia patients have reported getting a healthy 6 to 8 hours of sleep, they still feel extreme fatigue and exhaustion. Their sleep is often disturbed due to painful pangs in their body. Moreover, many people with fibromyalgia also have sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea and restless legs.
Lack of Concentration
A phenomenon often referred to as “fibro fog” makes it hard for fibromyalgia patients to concentrate and focus on a specific thing. They usually suffer from unusually short attention spans and have a hard time carrying out mental tasks.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not clear. Many researchers tend to think that if a person goes through nervous stimulation repeatedly, they develop fibromyalgia. This development occurs because some changes (due to the stimulation) are instilled in the brain.
Additionally, the pain receptors in the brain augment some memory of the pain or emotional trauma, becoming sensitized to signals of that sort. Furthermore, these changes can cause disbalance in particular chemicals that signal pain to the brain.
Some of the most commonly suspected causes of fibromyalgia are as follows.
- Genes: Scientists have observed that fibromyalgia runs in families; therefore, there may be some genetic mutation that may give patients a natural disposition towards developing the disorder.
- Infections: Some certain illnesses and infections appear to be connected with fibromyalgia.
- Trauma or Stress: Physical or mental trauma such as the aftermath of a car accident or abuse can lead to a person developing fibromyalgia.
Hydration and Fibromyalgia
As we mentioned earlier, treatments for fibromyalgia can temporarily reduce the effects of the disorder. However, if you are one of those people who are just developing fibromyalgia or the symptoms are not too severe yet, drinking more water and consuming more electrolytes can help. Increased hydration is one of the most effective ways to battle against fibromyalgia, regardless of how severe of a case it may be.
Most doctors prescribe antidepressants, anti-epileptic drugs, and inhibitors to fibromyalgia patients. However, research shows that there are several non-pharmacological routes that one can take to fight against this disorder. These include exercise, hydration, acupuncture, and massage therapy. So, for the patients who prefer to treat their medical illnesses by natural means, increased hydration is their best bet at combating the condition.
Having said that, it is worth mentioning that hydration does not only mean drinking enough water. Consuming electrolytes is equally important. Proper levels of electrolytes in the body are necessary for it to function properly. Many medicinal sources provide electrolytic powders, which patients can add to their beverages to normalize their electrolyte levels. Furthermore, if a patient feels that they are dehydrated, they must contact their doctor to help figure out a proper hydration plan.
How to Hydrate Yourself Properly?
The usual rule of thumb is to drink at least eight glasses of water in one day. The current numbers that are backed by science are three liters for men and 2.2 liters for women. However, this theory also fails to work out in all cases. For example, a big athlete who sweats a lot needs a lot more water to operate properly than a short, lean person, whatever their gender may be. The same can be said when it comes to different weight classes. Due to these confusing standards, it is recommended for chronic patients to consult a doctor to find the optimum hydration level for them.
Having said that, here are the best ways patients can hydrate themselves to combat the condition.
- Drink adequate amounts of water daily. Make sure that you at least consume the recommended quantity for your weight and height.
- Try to avoid caffeine-containing beverages like coffee and tea. These beverages cause higher fluid loss in the body. Moreover, caffeine is responsible for lowering magnesium levels as well. So, if you regularly drink coffee, make sure to drink twice as much water to clear out any toxins.
- Alcohol also dehydrates one’s body; you should cut down on your alcohol intake to make sure that you are perfectly hydrated.
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables as much as possible. High-alkaline foods are not only great for hydration and health in general, but they also prevent inflammation and ease any rough, painful joints.
- If you want to go the extra mile, then drinking special water with a pH of 9.5 is ideal.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder with non-apparent causes and is characterized by symptoms including but not limited to pain, fatigue, restlessness, and sleep issues. There are many medicinal treatments for this disorder; however, increased hydration is the one anyone can safely use to relieve the symptoms. Though not much is known about the condition yet, adequate water quantities and appropriate electrolyte levels are recommended by some studies done thus far.