Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder. In fibromyalgia, people feel pain in the muscles, bones and areas of tenderness. There is no proper medical test to determine whether a person is suffering from this chronical disorder. That is why fibromyalgia is generally misdiagnosed as another disease. This disorder is accompanied by lack of sleep, feeling of tiredness, mood swings and memory problems. It has been noticed that women are more prone to this disease than men. As of now, there is no cure for fibromyalgia. Still, there are a lot of medicines that can help you to control the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The sufferers feel acute pain in muscles like one feels after doing the workout even though they have not done the workout. Sometimes the muscles will burn due to the pain. Other times they have pain in the joints in neck, shoulders, back and hips.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Pain: In fibromyalgia, a person feels pain all over the body. The pain is on the left side and right side of the body and also, below and above the waist. The pain is in the areas of tenderness. The pain in muscles, bones and areas of tenderness lasts at least for 3 months.

Fatigue: The people suffering from fibromyalgia generally have the feeling of tiredness. Due to tiredness, people have sleepless nights which make them exhausted and frustrated.

Trouble in sleeping: Though people suffering from fibromyalgia sleep for a long duration their sleep is distorted due to the acute pain. The people suffer from various sleep disorders like sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and more.

Fibro fog: Fibromyalgia can lead to fibro fog, type of cognitive dysfunction. It is also known as brain fog. Due to this, people face problems such as difficulty in concentrating, confusions and memory deficits.

Causes of Fibromyalgia

It has not been known even to the doctors as what are the exact causes of fibromyalgia. But there are a lot of factors involved together that likely to cause the chronic disease of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can occur due to genetics, infections and mental or emotional trauma.

- Genetics: If someone in the family has suffered due to the chronic disease of fibromyalgia there are higher chances of other family members of getting suspect with this disease.

- Infections: Due to some prior illness, a person may be triggered by the fibromyalgia.

- Stress: Stress could also be one of the major causes of fibromyalgia. If a person has a stress for a long time then it can lead to the disturbance of hormones which contributes to fibromyalgia.

Physical or emotional trauma: Fibromyalgia can occur to a person due to the physical or emotional trauma. If a person has some kind of psychological stress then he or she may be triggered by the fibromyalgia. Physical trauma can happen due to a physical accident which can also lead to fibromyalgia.

How is it diagnosed?

If a person suffers acute pain in muscles, bones and areas of tenderness for at least 3 months then he or she should immediately find a doctor . There is no lab test that can help in determining that whether a person is suffering from fibromyalgia. Many times it has been noticed that this chronic disease is misdiagnosed with other diseases. In the earlier times, doctors used to press firmly 18 specific points in the body in order to diagnose whether a person suffering from fibromyalgia. But as per the newer guidelines, there is no requirement to conduct the tender point exam. Complete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, cyclic citrullinated peptide test, rheumatoid factor, and thyroid function tests are some of the blood tests that are done by the doctors to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.

Prevention of Fibromyalgia

It is not easy to prevent fibromyalgia. But there are certain habits that can help you in reducing the chances of getting attacked with fibromyalgia.

- You should get adequate sleep. Early to bed and early to rise is something that saves you from many diseases including fibromyalgia.

- Meditation also helps you in getting a good sleep.

- Any kind of stress can lead to a hormonal disturbance which contributes to fibromyalgia. So, you should avoid taking a lot of stress on your head. There are some techniques that help in reducing the stress. Meditation, relaxation, acupuncture and deep breathing techniques can help you to minimise the effects of stress that can create a problem in the long run.

-It is important that you do the moderate intensity exercise daily. Daily exercising keeps your muscles and joints fit and healthy. Walking is also very good to keep you active.

-Eat a balanced diet. You should minimise the intake of caffeine, fried foods, food high in sodium.

Treatment of Fibromyalgia

You can definitely improve your health attacked by fibromyalgia. For this, you need to minimise the effects of various symptoms of fibromyalgia. Remember, all the symptoms do not have a single treatment. The health can be improved by the medication and self-care which is most important.

Medications:

Many drugs are available in the market that can help you to minimise the effects of various symptoms of fibromyalgia such as trouble in sleeping. There are certain medicines that help you to take proper sleep.

- Pain relievers: Many over the counter pain relievers are very helpful including acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil and others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve and others). Your doctors may advise you to have the pain relievers including tramadol (Ultram). You should not take narcotics as they can harm you if taken for a long period of time and can also lead to dependency.

- Antidepressants: Antidepressants are given to reduce the effects of various symptoms of fibromyalgia. If a person has the symptoms of depression then antidepressants are given. Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) are given to give you relief from the pain and fatigue a person feels in fibromyalgia. Antidepressants also help you in having a good and proper sleep.

- Anti-seizure drugs: Seizure is an uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Anti-seizure drugs are given to treat epilepsy, seizure disorder and it may also help in reducing the effects of symptoms of fibromyalgia. Gabapentin (Neurontin) can prove to be very helpful sometimes in reducing the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. The first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of fibromyalgia was Pregabalin (Lyrica).

Therapy:

Many therapies are used to reduce the effects of fibromyalgia symptoms on your life and body. Physical therapy, occupation therapy and counselling are some of the most used techniques for treating the people with fibromyalgia.

- Physical therapy: Physical therapy helps you to build your strength and stamina. Water-based exercises are proved to be very helpful for the people suffering from fibromyalgia.

- Occupation therapy: Occupational therapist provides you support in overcoming all the obstacles that come in your work area without taking too much stress.

- Counselling: Counselors are very helpful as they help you to believe in your abilities. They also tell you various ways about how to deal with stressful situations.

Self-care:

Self-care is as important as the medical treatment or therapy.

- Enough sleep: It is important that you take enough sleep. You should fix your time of going to bed and getting up from the bed. Improper sleep can lead to fatigue which is one of the major symptoms of fibromyalgia.

- Take less stress: Write down all the activities that you have to do in a day so that avoid the overexertion. It is important to relax for some time instead of working always. Whenever you are in stress, perform stress management techniques which include deep breathing exercises.

- Exercise regularly: You should do the exercises of moderate intensity daily. In the starting, you will feel pain in doing the exercises. But, with the time it will be normal. Walking, swimming, biking and water aerobics are some of the exercises that are very helpful. Remember to not exhaust yourself with a lot of exercises, do it in a limit. A physical therapist can help you in creating a plan for daily exercises.

- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: It is important that you maintain a balanced diet. You should eat healthy food. Limit the amount of caffeine intake. Say no to the fried food. Also, limit the food that is high in sodium.

Complications

- Disruption of lifestyle: Due to joint pain, it becomes tough to move around. Continuous pain can lead to fibro fog which is also known as brain fog. All of this creates disturbance in the work-life reducing the quality of life. It becomes hard for the people to enjoy the things happening around due to the pain and tiredness.

- Lead to various related diseases: Chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, depression, tension headaches, lupus, osteoarthritis, restless leg syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome are some of the diseases related to fibromyalgia. No one knows that whether these diseases occur due to fibromyalgia or because these diseases fibromyalgia occurs. But, all these diseases are related to fibromyalgia.

- Depression: It has been noticed that 90% of people who suffer from fibromyalgia also have depression. The pain that a person faces in fibromyalgia can lead to depression. Therapy is very helpful for the people who suffer from depression due to fibromyalgia. Therapy helps you in understanding your thoughts and controlling them at the same time so that you can improve your health.

Myths

Myths #1: One of the common myths is that you need a specific diet to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The truth is that you need to have a healthy diet. You must reduce the amount of caffeine, fried food, food high in sodium and alcohol intake. Drink a lot of water and include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Myths #2: Another myth is that you should avoid doing exercises in fibromyalgia. Walking, biking, swimming, and water aerobics are some of the activities that are very helpful to reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. You will surely feel the pain in muscles and bones when you would start with the exercises. But with the time it will become your routine and you would enjoy it without any pain.

Myths #3: The symptoms of fibromyalgia can disappear with the help of medicines. It is not possible. The symptoms can diminish but not disappear. Medicines work for a very few people; you can say, medicines work for one out of four or five sufferers.

Myths #4: You can do nothing about fibromyalgia. It is true that you can not make the fibromyalgia symptoms disappear. But, you can actually work to minimise the effects of these symptoms. Over the counter pain relievers, meditation, self-care, balanced diet are some of the most commonly used practices for treating fibromyalgia.

Conclusion:

Fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder in which a person feels pain in the bones, muscles and areas of tenderness. Fatigue, stress, pain, fibro fog, improper sleep and more are some of the signs of fibromyalgia. If you are facing all or some of these symptoms then you should immediately reach out to the doctors for the diagnosis. Continuous pain in bones, muscles and areas of tenderness for at least 6 months is a great symptom of fibromyalgia which calls for an immediate checkup from the doctor. Medicines, therapy and self-care are used together to reduce the effects of symptoms of fibromyalgia. You should avoid eating fried food. You should also reduce the amount of caffeine intake. It is important that you take a balanced diet so that your health can improve with the time. Walking, biking, swimming, and water aerobics are the activities that are helpful for the people with fibromyalgia disorder.

If you are looking for the meaning, causes, symptoms, treatment, diagnosis, complications and myths of fibromyalgia then please refer to the above-mentioned information.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

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