Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic condition that causes pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. Fibromyalgia is also characterized by restless sleep, awakening feeling tired, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, and disturbances in bowel function. Fibromyalgia is sometimes referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome and abbreviated FMS. Fibromyalgia was formerly known as fibrositis.
While fibromyalgia is one of the most common diseases affecting the muscles leading to chronic pain and disability, its cause is currently unknown. The painful tissues involved are not accompanied by tissue inflammation. Therefore, despite potentially disabling body pain, patients with fibromyalgia do not develop body damage or deformity. Fibromyalgia also does not cause damage to internal body organs. In this sense, fibromyalgia is different from many other rheumatic conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, and polymyositis). In those diseases, tissue inflammation is the major cause of pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the joints, tendons and muscles, and it can lead to joint deformity and damage to the internal organs or muscles.
FMS does not involve the joints. However, it is also different from other forms of soft tissue pain known as myofascial pain syndrome, which largely involves a single muscle or muscle group. The specific diagnostic criteria of FMS include widespread pain for at least three months, affecting both sides of the body, both above and below the waist, as well as the presence of at least 11 of 18 specific tender points, also known as trigger points.
Fibromyalgia affects predominantly women (over 80% of those affected are women) between the ages of 35 and 55. Less commonly, fibromyalgia can also affect men, children, and the elderly. It can occur independently or can be associated with another disease, such as systemic lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. The prevalence of fibromyalgia varies in different countries.
Ayurveda Perspective & Management of Fibromyalgia
There are many factors that can be involved in the chronic pain and tenderness associated with the fibromyalgia condition. These factors are not always the same for each individual. However, in general, as per Ayurveda, the aggravation of Vata dosha (due to margavarodha) and accumulation of Ama (toxins) are the primary causes of Fibromyalgia.
It falls into a subtype of disease known in Ayurveda as vātavyādhi (diseases caused primarily by vitiated Vāta Dosha). Vātavyādhi is a disease of chronic and unpredictable nature, difficult to cure, involving primarily the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, but in time affecting one or more additional tissues. It is described in ancient texts as manifesting with a variety of possible and changing symptoms and signs including pain, stiffness, contracture, fatigue, gradual loss of movement, and mental disturbance. This description is remarkably similar to modern description of fibromyalgia.
Primarily the pathogenesis originates in the gastrointestinal tract (anna vaha srota) then branches out through the madhyama rogamarga, the middle channels of pathogenic process of disease, with special inclination for shleshma sthana especially muscle tissues (mamsa dhatu) and their corresponding channels. Intolerability of even light touch in muscles (sparshasahyata) is a unique feature of the disease. The disease has a chronic course and malaise, anorexia, heaviness of the body, nausea, intermittent fever are responsible for gradually disabling patients.
Fibromyalgia has proven to be a difficult condition to manage due to its complexity.
But at CHARAKA, we are providing an effective treatment for Fibromyalgia.
At CHARAKA, the treatment of fibromyalgia, which is primarily a vātavyadi disease, focuses on both Vāta samshamana (re-balance) and samshodhana (purification) which become deranged due to accumulation of ama (toxins). Our treatment for Fibromyalgia includes a combination of Panchakarma therapies, researched internal medicines, strict Diet & Lifestyle modifications and stress management.