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Chronic pain symptoms may indicate fibromyalgia, or one of many other illnesses like pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency. If you constantly feel tired, bloated, nauseous, itchy, and wracked with crushing pain, you might be suffering from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, B12 deficiency, or all of the above…
Fibromyalgia, or fibromyositis, is a condition that causes the sufferer indescribable pain and fatigue for no apparent reason. Doctors are unsure as to the exact cause of fibromyalgia, which is classified as an autoimmune disorder involving the brain’s overreaction to pain stimuli.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Persistent muscular pain in at least 11 of 18 specific “pain points” on the body, including the neck and shoulders
Pain described as stiffness, burning, throbbing
Pain spreads from one tender spot to another
Sleep problems caused by pain and restless legs syndrome
Gastrointestinal woes, like stomach pain, nausea, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, and constipation
Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disorder that prevents your body from producing intrinsic factor, a protein the body needs for vitamin B12 absorption. As a result, pernicious anemia patients often have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12- a nutrient involved in producing red blood cells, protecting the nervous system, lowering homocysteine levels, maintaining healthy cognitive skills, and establishing DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12 deficiency often overlaps with fibromyalgia, as gastrointestinal issues often inhibit vitamin B12 absorption.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Shortness of breath
Painful tingling and numbness in hands, feet, and ankles
Chronic fatigue syndrome shares comorbidity with fibromyalgia. Like fibromyalgia, the cause for CFS is still unexplained. Patients complaining of chronic fatigue receive diagnosis based on their symptoms.
Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
Persistent tiredness that is not caused by physical exertion, loss of sleep, or mental exhaustion
Waking up fatigued, despite sleeping the whole night
Pain in tender spots similar to the pain zones suffered by fibromyalgia patients, only less severe
Myofascial pain is similar to fibromyalgia. While fibromyalgia patients experience soreness in “pain points,” sufferers of myofascial pain syndrome experience pain in “trigger points.” Also unlike fibromyalgia symptoms, myofascial pain does not spread from one point to another.
Symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome include:
Small pain points that occur in tense muscles
Trigger points that produce a muscular twitch when stimulated
Pain points are tiny lumps about the size of your pinky’s fingernail.
Fibromyalgia sufferers often experience chronic headaches such as migraines, tension headaches, daily persistent headaches, or hemicrania continua. Scientists speculate that migraines happen in the same part of the brain as fibromyalgia triggers.
Symptoms of migraine headaches include:
Throbbing head pain, typically on one side of the head
Migraine aura- visual disturbances, vertigo, hallucinations, speech slurring, loss of consciousness, or temporary paralysis
Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, and scents
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)
Exposure to chemicals may cause symptoms that mimic fibromyalgia, although researchers are uncertain if MCS is a physical response or a psychological reaction.
Symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity include:
Significantly lower threshold for chemical tolerance than normal
Pain reaction consistent with various unrelated chemicals
Sensitivity occurs in more than one organ of the body
Chronic pain reaction that occurs repeatedly from exposure to certain chemicals
Removing the chemical trigger ends pain symptoms
Most fibromyalgia patients have experienced clinical depression in the past, and a substantial (but lower) percentage suffers from chronic depression. Depression is also a common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency. If depression stems from fibromyalgia pain, then it does not classify as major depression, but rather a secondary condition of fibromyalgia chronic pain syndrome.
Symptoms of major depression include:
Spells of sadness that last for months
Difficulty making decisions
Sleep problems like oversleeping or not sleeping enough
Feelings of low value or guilt
Weight problems, either excessive weight gain or weight loss
Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease) is sometimes confused with fatigue associated with fibromyalgia or vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. As opposed to hyperthyroid disorder, where the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, hypothyroid disorder involves underproduction of hormones in the thyroid gland.
Autoimmune disease symptoms like lupus may occur at the same time as fibromyalgia or B12 deficiency, making it harder to diagnose. Conversely, patients with lupus often don’t realize that their vitamin B12 levels have dropped to a dangerous low until they start to suffer severe nerve damage.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by ticks. Because of delayed symptoms mimicking fibromyalgia, about 15-50% of fibromyalgia patients receives a misdiagnosis of Lyme disease, and is instructed to take strong antibiotics. A blood test sometimes excludes Lyme disease, but not always.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include:
Itching all over the body
Chills and fever
Numbness and tingling
Restless Legs Syndrome
A significant amount of fibromyalgia sufferers and pernicious anemia patients also experience restless legs syndrome at night. However, other causes of restless legs syndrome are kidney disorder, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or drugs.
Symptoms of restless legs syndrome include:
Uneasy feeling in lower leg
Creeping, crawling sensations
Intense need to shake leg in order to ease symptoms
Achiness that disappears with exercise
Read more about diseases that mimic fibromyalgia and vitamin B12 deficiency
If you feel tired all the time, then join the club- the vitamin B12 deficiency club, which is becoming the top cause of chronic fatigue allover. Vitamin B12 is crucial for brainhealth, and if you don’t get enough, you run the risk of suffering the red blood cell disease pernicious anemia- one of many vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
Why am I so tired all the time?
Fatigue causes you to feel sluggish, slow, confused, and constantly in a “brain fog.” You’re exhausted before you even step out of bed, and all day at work. On the drive home, you catch yourself several times nodding off at the wheel. By the time you’re ready to pack it up and call it a day, you’re almost too tired to change into your pajamas, sorely tempted to climb into bed, clothes, shoes, and all.
Why are you so tired all the time? Many conditions can cause chronic fatigue, and most of them begin with vitamin B12 deficiency.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is of the vitamin B complex vitamins, and occurs in foods like beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk. Some of the best sources of vitamin B12 are organ meat, lean turkey, crabmeat, halibut, and yogurt. Normally, sufficient amounts of B12 are stored in your liver, unless you are prone to vitamin B12 deficiency.
Tiredness is at the core of the most common symptoms of B12 deficiency: depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, short-term memory loss, disorientation, trouble concentrating or remembering words, painful numbness or tingling in hands and feet, loss of balance while walking, muscular feebleness, and insomnia.
Here are some illnesses and chronic conditions linked to vitamin B12 deficiency:
Sometimes, pernicious anemia is the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin B12 helps your body produce healthy red blood cells needed to carry oxygen. With pernicious anemia, you have a shortage of vitamin B12, which leads to a shortage of red blood cells, which in turn causes a severe reduction in oxygen throughout your body, including the brain.
The resulting effect is overwhelming tiredness, lightheadedness, and an inability to concentrate.
Scientists found that a high correlation exists between vitamin B12 deficiency and sufferers of fibromyalgia, an autoimmune disease that causes symptoms such as severe pain, skin sensitivity, sleep problems, and chronic fatigue.
People with gastrointestinal disorders such as IBD- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis- have extreme difficulty absorbing vitamin B12. Symptoms such as sluggishness, diarrhea, and unexplainable exhaustion might be confused with IBD symptoms; in fact, vitamin B12 deficiency is a likely culprit that often is overlooked.
Vitamin B12 supports cognitive functioning- low B12 levels are common among people suffering from severe psychological disorders, including schizophrenia, clinical depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Tiredness is one of many complaints of people suffering from depression and anxiety.
Vitamin B12 helps your body regulate the amount of homocysteine in your blood. High levels of plasma homocysteine are strongly associated with heart disease and stroke. By breaking down homocysteine, and thus reducing the risk for heart disease or stroke, vitamin B12 promotes cardiovascular health.
Treatment for B12 deficiency
A blood test is necessary in order to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency. Not all doctors screen for low B12, so you will need to request a plasma vitamin B12 test. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe B12 injections or sublingual B12.
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue make everyday a challenge. Here are some helpful tips on coping with things people shouldn’t say to chronic pain sufferers.
Fibromyalgia is a battlefield
Chronic fibromyalgia makes everyday a challenge. Painful limbs, achy joints, tiredness, and fibro fog make it hard (and sometimes impossible) to hold down a job, meet my family’s needs, and run a smooth household.
Most days, you don’t accomplish everything you want, or need. Tensions run high, both at work and at home. You try not to wear your pain symptoms on your sleeve, even though you battle with constant fatigue, anger, agony, and sadness.
I haven’t got time for the pain…or for your remarks.
Pain management is one thing, but when you find yourself constantly fielding insensitive comments from people who ought to know better, it’s time to start drawing a line.
Backhanded remarks about your pain medications (You’re like a walking drugstore!), ignorant observations (I thought chronic fatigue was a fake disease), and zingers that were meant to hurt (You’re just lazy, that’s all) should not be tolerated, even from your doctor.
40 things you shouldn’t say to a fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue patient:
With friends like you, who needs chronic pain?
“It’s all in your head.”
“You don’t look sick.”
“Aren’t you feeling better yet?”
“When are you going to lose the cane, already?”
“Come on, it can’t hurt that bad.”
“Are you sure you’re not just doing this for the attention?”
“I’d be sick too, if I saw doctors as much as you do.”
“Just give me a yell if you need something-anything, you hear!”
Some mornings, you wake up feeling wired, achy, and sleep deprived, especially if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia. Here are some beauty tips to give you wide-awake eyes before that first cup of coffee…
CFS and fibromyalgia can make you feel lethargic and achy all day…sometimes, chronic pain wakes you up even before your alarm clock.
On those days, it helps to make yourself look refreshed and well rested on the outside, even if your body is telling you to crawl back under the covers. A few simple beauty techniques are all it takes to revive tired eyes, even your skin tone, and get your sparkle on! Who knows- you might even feel more roused and ready by the time you’re finished!
Try these 7 makeup tricks and treatments, and you’ll be on your toes and out the door in a flash:
#1- Chill out. According to the Mayo Clinic, nothing revives tired eyes as well as a cold compress. As soon as you get out of bed, splash some icy cold water on your face. Next, take a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer; wrap it in a small towel and press gently, alternating between eyes. On the go? Keep a package of Spenco 2nd Skin Moist Burn Pads handy for a quick fresher-upper.
#2- Get your caffeine fix. Only not from coffee or energy drinks, which will just make you crash and burn later. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, so it’s only natural that some of the best under-eye treatments use caffeine to combat puffy, watery eyes. Some good ones to try are Murad Moisture Silk Eye Gel ($49.00), or First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller ($24.00).
#3- Now add milk. The lactic acid in milk brightens your complexion by reducing under eye puffiness and lightening dark circles. Pour yourself a cup of milk on ice. Now, grab a face cloth, dip it into the milk, and wring it out gently. Apply the icy “milk bath” to your face. Repeat.
#4- Ditch the mask. Instead of applying a thick layer of foundation, opt for a light tinted moisturizer. There’s no need to rush out to the makeup counter; save a few pennies by making your own custom makeup cream! Just mix a few dabs of liquid foundation with an equal amount of SPF 30+ face cream. The sunblock will protect you from getting dark spots, and the lotion will alleviate dry flaky skin.
#5- Lighten up. A few strategically placed dabs of shimmery highlighter on the lids will give you that wide-eyed look you’re after. Just remember to keep it minimal- too much shine can magnify fine lines, rather than hide them. When choosing blush, pick out a natural peachy shade, and avoid dark contrasting color, which can give a haggard, tired look.
#6- Do some curls and stretches. If nothing else, take care of your lashes. Long, bouncy eyelashes are the best way to sharpen your look and give you a youthful, fresh appearance. First, curl with an eyelash curler, keeping it as close to the lash line as possible, and holding for 10-15 seconds. Repeat. Follow up with a brownish-black shade of waterproof mascara to the upper lashes only.
#7- Get the grease out. Too exhausted to think about shampooing your hair? Oily, flat hair tells the world that you’re tired, and makes you feel tired, to boot. Go to Walgreens and pick up a can of Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo ($4.99) – it contains oil-absorbing powder to draw out grimy dirt and perspiration, and leave your hair smelling fresh. Alternatively, you can visit Drugstore.com to order a bottle ofKlorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Non-Aerosol Spray ($18.00). Dry shampoo is also an excellent hair-cleansing treatment for bedridden patients.
“Fibro Haze” isn’t an acid rock band from the 70s- fibromyalgia brain fog is what happens when when your physical, emotional, and biochemical elements get together and decide to wreak havoc on your nervous system.
Oftentimes linked with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the symptoms of fibromyalgia are confusion, tiredness and forgetfulness.
Do you have trouble remembering somebody’s name about one minute after she introduced herself?
Do you often forget where you parked your car, or which side of the mall you entered from?
How’s your math- do you have trouble adding up simple calculations in your head?
When you try to read, do you get distracted by every outside noise?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of different factors which can cause fibromyalgia and fatigue, making it all that much more difficult to get to the root of the problem.
1) Insomnia: If you’re not getting enough sleep, then it’s all downhill from here. Sleep disorders make it difficult for your body to produce enough serotonin, which is important for memory. Stick to a rigid sleep schedule, and don’t spend time on the computer less than 1 hour before bedtime. Try to avoid long naps in the middle of the day; twenty minutes should be your limit. If fibromyalgia nerve pain is what’s keeping you up nights, then test out an orthopedic support pillow, test-drive a different mattress, or ask your doctor about safe, gentle sleeping aids. B12 Deficiency Linked to Cognitive Decline, and more
2) Emotional upset caused by nerve pain: Chronic pain takes up a lot of your brain’s attention. It’s hard to focus on all the things that are happening around you when inside, your nerves are on red alert from constant pain signals. Some prescription pain medicines are helpful for alleviating aches. Ice compresses or heating pads are effective, as well. Many fibromyalgia sufferers are also finding that practicing tai chi helps relax their nerves and soothe muscular soreness. Why More Fibromyalgia Patients are Taking Tai Chi
3) Stress, anxiety and depression: Chronic stress and anxiety attacks lower your immunity and tire out your nervous system. If you can’t remove yourself from a stressful situation, then learn to cope- your health depends on it. Try yoga, deep breathing, light exercise and a healthy diet. If necessary, ask your doctor about antidepressants which help to prevent panic disorder. Chronic Depression, Chronic Pain- It’s All the Same, say Experts
4) History of child abuse: Recent studieshave noted a strong link between people who suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms and personal history of physical or mental abuse.
5) Family history: Ask your family members if chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain or fibromyalgia symptoms run in the family. If anything, at least it will help solve the mystery. Teens are No Stranger to Chronic Fatigue
6) Diet: An increasing number of CFS and fibromyalgia patients are finding that switching to a gluten-free diet has helped reduce some of the fibromyalgia symptoms, such as stomach problems, headaches and fatigue. Try seeking out some great non-gluten breads, mixes and sweets in the health food section of your supermarket, and see what happens! Can a Gluten-Free Diet Ease Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue affect 5 million Americans. While there are no cures for fibromyalgia, many sufferers benefit by supplementing with vitamin B12, which supports cognitive balance and boosts stamina.
May 12th was Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. If you suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, learn how vitamin B12 can help alleviate some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgiais a chronic neurological illness which causes excruciating pain and muscular weakness where no sign of injury or inflammation is apparent. Researchers are stumped as to the origin of this disease or how to cure it.
Chronic fibromyalgia pain is lifelong, and often takes a toll on job performance and relationships with friends and family. Medicine for fibromyalgia patients usually consists of pain medication, opiates or antidepressants.
Some common fibromyalgia symptoms are:
Chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain
Short-term memory loss
Numbness and tingling in hand, arms, legs and feet
Irritable bowel syndrome
Sinus/allergy symptoms, such as runny nose, sore throat, coughing and sneezing
Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS is a neurological disorder which causes profound exhaustion.
Unlike ordinary tiredness which can be slept off, chronic fatigue is not alleviated by sleep. Chronic fatigue syndrome shares many of the same symptoms as fibromyalgia, such as insomnia, muscular pain, headaches, sore throat and short-term memory loss.
Non-drug alternatives for chronic fatigue sufferers may include stress reduction, vitamin supplementation and physical therapy.
The CFS-fibromyalgia link
Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are both neurological conditions, and it is common for individuals suffering from chronic pain and fatigue to be diagnosed with both. Studies linking fibromyalgia with chronic fatigue have confirmed a strong correlation.
About 75% of all fibromyalgia patients experience extreme fatigue.
94% of individuals diagnosed with chronic fatigue also report suffering from extreme muscular pain.
Studies linking the two conditions together have also noted that women make up the majority of both fibromyalgia pain sufferers and chronic fatigue patients.
Numerous studies have linked vitamin B12 deficiency with increased risk for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.
While nobody claims that vitamin B12 deficiency causes fibromyalgia, experts have nevertheless noticed improved cognitive and metabolic health when vitamin B12 shots are administered to sufferers of fibromyalgia.
Scientists have also noted low vitamin B12 levels where fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue occur, in addition to elevated levels of homocysteine, another common factor in chronic pain and vitamin B12 deficiency, and a possible risk for heart attack and stroke.
More teens today suffer chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) than ever before, according to Dutch survey of 900 teens who were diagnosed with chronic fatigue symptoms.
Does your teen often complain that she’s too tired to finish her homework, clean her room or clear off the dinner table? She might not be faking it.
A survey conducted by Dutch doctors concluded that 1 out of 900 teenagers suffer from chronic fatigue symptoms, which include fatigue to the point of exhaustion, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, joint soreness, insomnia and muscular pain.
The report, which was published in the Pediatrics journal, states that 90 percent of the teenagers surveyed who suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome confessed to missing large time slots of school time; some admitted that they stopped going to school altogether when fatigue symptoms were high.
Compared to adults, teens are less likely to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
354 general practitioners in the Netherlands participated in this national survey on chronic fatigue syndrome.
Dutch doctors estimated that roughly .012 percent of teens are diagnosed with CFS every year, while for adults the rate is 1 percent.
The actual percentage of chronic fatigue sufferers is probably much higher. In previous scientific studies on chronic fatigue syndrome, 80 percent of adults who participated suffered from CFS, but were never diagnosed.
The average age for teen chronic fatigue is 15 years.
Half of the teenage survey participants suffered chronic fatigue syndrome for approximately 1 1/2 years before receiving diagnosis or treatment.
Girls are 5 times more likely to suffer chronic fatigue than boys.
Because of the rarity of chronic fatigue syndrome in the teenage years, sufferers are often misdiagnosed.
According toLivestrong, chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by depression, anemia, hypothyroidism, sleep deprivation and mononucleosis (“mono”).
Says Dr. S.L. Nijhof, co-author of the Dutch survey, “Fatigue is a common complaint among adolescents, with a good prognosis. Chronic fatigue syndrome is much less common, but with serious consequences.”
Chronic fatigue is one of many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. If you or your teen is suffering any of the symptoms described for chronic fatigue, see a doctor immediately and request blood screenings for low B12.