Fibromyalgia is very difficult to diagnose because it shares the symptoms of other ailments such as Lyme disease and certain cancers. It takes time and testing to rule these out before fibromyalgia can be diagnosed and treated.
These Are The Facts On Fibromyalgia
- More than 12 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia.
- Women are ten times more likely to suffer from it and it usually appears between the ages of 25 to 60 although it can affect anybody, including children.
- There is no cure and the treatment focuses on improving quality of life by relieving pain.
- The characteristics of fibromyalgia include pain in the joints, muscles and tendons.
- Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and similar diseases have a greater chance of also suffering from fibromyalgia.
- Many factors can trigger symptoms including changes in the weather or cold and drafty conditions.
Causes And Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
Doctors and researchers don’t know for sure what causes it but one cause may be an imbalance of key chemicals in the central nervous system. It is a chronic disorder that could also be brought on by emotional or physical trauma or possibly by an infection. This is one of the reasons that fibromyalgia is so hard to diagnose and treat. Doctor’s don’t know for certain exactly what it is that they are treating. It can have signs and symptoms similar to bursitis, osteoarthritis and tendinitis. One of the main differences though is the fact that pain suffered to joints and muscles is more widespread for those with fibromyalgia.
Genetics may also play a role in determining who suffers from it and it has also been linked to post-traumatic stress disorder. Repetitive injuries may also be a cause of fibromyalgia.
The following are all signs and symptoms but do not all necessarily appear in every case.
- Unexplained pain in areas of the body usually deep muscle pain.
- Tender points that become very painful with even the slightest touch.
- Dryness in the mouth, nose and eyes.
- Chronic headaches.
- Jaw pain related to muscles and ligaments around the jaw.
- Abdominal pain.
- Hypersensitivity to cold or heat.
- Fatigue and sleep problems.
- Memory problems or being in a fog like state sometimes.
- Constipation or diarrhea.
- Anxiety or even depression.
- Stiff and achy neck and shoulders.
There are a variety of medications available that can help to treat fibromyalgia. Antidepressants can be used to help ease the pain and help with fatigue and sleep. Over the counter pain relief such as Motrin and Tylenol may also be used to help with muscle pain.
Because fibromyalgia has been linked with stress and trauma there are lifestyle changes that can help manage the symptoms such as meditation, yoga and other stress exercises. Avoiding stressful situations and participating in mild regular exercise programs may help. Overcoming insomnia will go a long way in strengthening the immune system and keeping you healthy along with a healthy diet free of processed foods and sugar.
In order to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia certain conditions and criteria need to be recognized.
There are 18 specific areas that are most sensitive to the touch and during a physical examination at least 11 of these must feel pain to be considered a case of fibromyalgia. Another criteria would be that at least 3 areas of the body have caused pain for a period of three months or longer.