Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Lourdes Salvador volunteers as a writer and social advocate for the recognition of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). She was a passionate advocate for the homeless and worked with her local governor to provide services to the homeless through a new approach she created to end homelessness. That passion soon turned to advocacy and activism for people with MCS and the medical professionals who serve them. She co-founded MCS Awareness in 2005 and went on to found MCS America in 2006. She serves as a partner for Environmental Education Week, a partner for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), and a supporter for the American Cancer Society: Campaign for Smokefree Air.
Lack of Balance in Fibromyalgia
by Lourdes Salvador
When it comes to bad balance and frequent falls, we tend to think of the frail and elderly as being at the highest risk. However, new research shows that patients with fibromyalgia have significantly impaired balance and increased fall frequency.
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University believe that peripheral and central mechanisms of postural control may be affected in fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a disease process characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, non-restorative sleep, fatigue, headache, morning stiffness, poor memory, difficulty concentrating, paresthesias (numbness and tingling) and overall impaired functioning in both social and occupational settings. The severity of the pain is typically more constant than other forms of pain and may come and go rapidly, move around to various parts of the body, and worsen with touch.
Fibromyalgia is the 2nd most common disorder seen by rheumatologists, affecting roughly 2% of the population of the United States. Middle aged women are afflicted at a higher rate, with a prevalence of 3.4% for women, and 0.5% for men.
The study subjects were aware of their balance problems in this study.
There are several recommendations which may help to maintain and improve balance.
Examine your Medications
Some medications may increase dizziness or reduce blood pressure. Certain medications may interact with one another to create additional effects. Be sure your doctor knows all the medications and supplements you take and ask about any suspect medications.
Both regular exercise and balance specific exercises may be helpful. Before beginning any exercise program, check with you a doctor. Weight training will help improve muscle strength, which can improve balance. Tai chi, yoga, Pilates, and dance are all fun ways to work on balance, strength, and flexibility while improving core strength for postural stability. Specific exercises may help with balance, such as practicing walking on a line heel to toe forwards and then backwards.
If you know that your balance is not good or suffer from dizziness and/or orthostatic hypotension, take a look around your home for obstacles which may cause a fall. Arrange furniture to leave plenty of floor space for walking, keep the stairs clean, locate the bedroom on the ground floor to avoid the stairs, check for sharp objects which could cause injury in a fall, avoid area rugs which may be a tripping hazard, and install no-slip grip strips or no skid mats in the bathroom and kitchen.
Jones KD, Horak FB, Winters-Stone K, Irvine JM, Bennett RM. Fibromyalgia Is Associated With Impaired Balance and Falls. J Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Dec 19.
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2008 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America