Can collagen help Fibromyalgia patients?

Health, Body

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that can affect an individual’s quality of life in a number of ways. Fibromyalgia affects a significant portion of the population, estimated at about 2%, and this condition can cause significant pain, discomfort, and other symptoms that can impact daily life. 

In this blog, Rejuvenated explores the causes of fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and how it's diagnosed. We'll also be looking at how collagen has been shown to relieve pain, as well as some of the other treatment options and lifestyle changes recommended for managing this condition. Keep reading to gain a full understanding of this condition, to better support a loved one, friend or yourself.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain, tenderness, and stiffness in muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Other common symptoms include fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and cognitive difficulties. Fibromyalgia affects about 2-8% of the population, with higher prevalence rates among women than men.

What causes Fibromyalgia?

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not yet fully understood, but there are several factors that may contribute to its development. Some researchers believe that fibromyalgia may be related to abnormalities in the way the brain and spinal cord process pain signals, resulting in an amplified pain response.

Other potential causes of fibromyalgia include genetics, as it appears to run in families, as well as physical or emotional trauma that may trigger the onset of the condition. Additionally, certain infections or illnesses may also be a contributing factor in the development of fibromyalgia.

Changes in neurotransmitter levels, such as serotonin and dopamine, have also been linked to fibromyalgia, which may affect mood, sleep, and pain perception. While the exact cause of fibromyalgia remains uncertain, it's believed to be a complex interplay of multiple factors.

How can Collagen help?

Collagen is a protein that makes up approximately 30% of the protein in the body and is a major component of connective tissue in the body. Collagen types contain different proteins which serve separate purposes within the body. Collagen Types 1 & 3 support skin, muscles (including ligaments and tendons), bone density and hair and nail growth, and are produced by fibroblasts (cells in connective tissues) and osteoblasts (cells that make bones). 

Collagen Type 2 makes up the fluids and functions in the cartilage and joints and is produced by chondrocytes (the non-cellular matrix of cartilage). A study conducted by Oxford University found that fibromyalgia patients had a significantly lower amount of intramuscular collagen, and this may lower the threshold for muscle micro-injury and result in non-specific signs of muscle pathology. 

Research has shown that collagen hydrolysate supplementation may help alleviate symptoms of chronic fibromyalgia and temporomandibular (which connect your jaw to your skull) joint pain. Collagen supplements are, therefore, one of the top options to treat pain and relieve symptoms in fibro patients. Let’s continue to look at fibromyalgia syndrome and its effects to understand why these findings are so important.The Collagen within all Rejuvenated products, is Type 1 Collagen, which is the precursor for all other types, and therefore will be most effective at supporting those who suffer with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia symptoms

Fibromyalgia can cause a variety of symptoms, which can vary from person to person. It's important to note that not all people with fibromyalgia will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can also vary over time.

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic and sometimes severe pain throughout the body, especially in the muscles and joints

  • Fatigue and lack of energy

  • Sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Morning stiffness

  • Headaches, including migraines

  • Cognitive difficulties, such as trouble with memory, concentration, and focus (often called "fibro fog")

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stomach pain and other gastrointestinal problems

  • Sensitivity to noise, light, temperature, and touch

  • Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet

  • Skin sensitivities or rashes

  • Dry eyes and mouth

  • Muscle spasms and twitching

  • Feel pain and stiffness in jaw (temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ)

What does Fibromyalgia feel like?

Fibromyalgia can cause a wide range of symptoms, as we’ve seen above, but the most common one is chronic pain throughout the body, especially in the muscles and joints. The pain is often described as a dull ache, and can be accompanied by a burning or stabbing sensation. Fibromyalgia pain can also be migratory, moving from one part of the body to another, and may be worse in certain areas, such as the neck, shoulders, back, and hips.

In addition to pain, other fibromyalgia symptoms can also make life tricky. People who develop fibromyalgia can feel tired, fatigued, confused, and uncomfortable. People with fibromyalgia may also be more sensitive to touch and pressure, leading to increased pain with even light touch or pressure on the affected areas.

Overall, fibromyalgia symptoms can vary from person to person, and the severity of symptoms can also fluctuate over time. The pain and fatigue fibromyalgia causes can result in emotional symptoms, sleep problems and emotional stress for the patient. So if you believe a loved one may be suffering from this condition, it is important to see a fibromyalgia healthcare professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan.

How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?

Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be a challenging process, as there is no specific test or diagnostic marker for the condition. A healthcare professional will typically begin the diagnostic process by reviewing a patient's medical history, conducting a physical examination, and ruling out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.

To meet the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, a patient must experience chronic widespread pain for at least three months and have tenderness in at least 11 of the 18 designated tender points throughout the body. However, some healthcare professionals now use a newer diagnostic approach that focuses more on the presence of generalised pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, rather than tender point evaluation.

Additionally, to diagnose fibromyalgia, blood tests may be performed to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Other tests, such as a sleep study, may be recommended to evaluate for sleep disturbances that are commonly associated with fibromyalgia.

Overall, diagnosing fibromyalgia can be a complex process, and it's important to work closely with a healthcare professional who has experience in diagnosing and treating this condition. 

How can one treat Fibromyalgia?

Treating fibromyalgia is possible, though curing it is not. Besides collagen, as discussed above, fibromyalgia can be treated with a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and complementary therapies. 

Medications such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs can help manage symptoms of fibromyalgia. Lifestyle changes, including regular exercise, stress management, healthy eating habits, good mental health and good sleep hygiene, can also play a role in improving overall well-being and reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. 

Complementary therapies like acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic care can also be helpful. Cognitive-behavioural therapy can improve coping skills and reduce the impact of fibromyalgia on daily life. To relieve pain, lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, managing stress and eating a healthy diet can be helpful. It's important to work closely with a healthcare professional to develop an individualised treatment plan that meets your needs.