While fibromyalgia is one of the most common conditions that affect your muscles and bones, it is also misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread joint and muscle pain along with overall fatigue and tiredness.
Presently, there is no cure for this condition. However, a combination of treatment, regular exercise, and healthy habits can relieve your symptoms, allowing you to live a healthy and active life even with the condition.
What are the causes of fibromyalgia?
Medical doctors have not discovered the origins of this condition. Some think that the problem is related to the communication process between your brain and spinal cord, in particular how your brain processes the pain signals from your nerves.
There are some factors that may increase your likelihood of getting fibromyalgia, including
- If you are a woman
- Experiencing similar painful diseases, like arthritis
- Suffering from mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety
- Experiencing emotional or physical abuse
- Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
- Lack of regular exercise
- A history of fibromyalgia in your family
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The most common symptom is an all over body ache. More specifically, common symptoms also include the following:
- Muscular pain, burning sensations, twitching or muscle tightness
- Low pain threshold
- Tender points
- Constant fatigue
- Lack of focus and poor concentration
- Memory issues, otherwise known as ‘fibro fog’
- Restlessness and poor sleeping habits
- Depression, anxiety and worry
Fibromyalgia is similar to bursitis, osteoarthritis, and tendinitis. A key difference though is that fibromyalgia isn’t localized to just one part of your body: the pain is most times experienced throughout your entire body.
Other related fibro symptoms may include:
- Digestive and stomach pain
- Bloating, constipation and queasiness
- Headache pain
- Dry eyes, mouth, and nose
- Sensitivity to heat, sound, cold and light
- Urinating regularly
- Numbness in your face, hands, legs, and arms
How to diagnosis fibromyalgia
Consult your Medical doctor to examine your condition. The doctor will ask you some information relating to your past medical problems including other close family members.
Presently, there is no test to detect if you are suffering from fibromyalgia. Instead, the symptoms are similar to other conditions; your doctor will want to check up for infections like dormant thyroid, different types of arthritis and lupus. Your blood sample will be tested to check the hormone levels and sign of inflammation including X-rays.
If your doctor cannot get a solution to your condition, they will use a method called the two-part scoring system to determine how widespread your pain is and how your symptoms affect your daily life activities. With those results, the doctor will come up with a plan to deal with your condition.
Some chiropractors or physiotherapists perform manual therapy to help ease the bodily pain. The idea is that by keeping your body balanced, moving and flexible you may be better able to deal with the symptoms.
Common medications for fibromyalgia
Your G.P. may prescribe pain relievers, muscle relaxers, antidepressants or other drugs that may help you to sleep, depending on your symptoms.
The more common fibromyalgia drugs include:
- Antidepressants (amitriptyline, fluoxetine, nortriptyline, duloxetine, and milnacipran)
- Anti-seizure medications (pregabalin and gabapentin)
- Muscle relaxers such as cyclobenzaprine
Some over-the-counter painkillers may be useful as well. Strong medications such as opioids are not looked upon positively due to their health side effects and addictive qualities.
The best way to control fibromyalgia is through regular and moderate exercise. Also, low-impact activities such as tai chi, Pilates, yoga, and walking are good in that they build muscle strength and increase flexibility. An added benefit associated with regular exercise is the release of endorphins. They are a group of hormones released during exercise. They help to fight pain and stress while and improving your mood and sleep.
Of course, to find out more information about fibromyalgia or for a diagnosis, it is advisable to consult with your local G.P.