A Diagnosis Of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a condition which is so often times misunderstood. And to have the actual diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and then have to deal with all of the misunderstandings that come along with the condition can be overwhelming at times. However, it is possible, with just a little information to be able to educate the family, friends, and co-workers of individuals who have been unfortunate enough to have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.
The first thing that an individual who has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia should do is find a physician or support group that specializes in Fibromyalgia treatment, because when they say that they understand they truly do. And going through something like a condition such as Fibromyalgia is much easier when not going at it alone.
Most commonly a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia will occur after a cause of specific events such as a trauma, stress (either emotional, physical, or mental), adrenal dysfunctions, endocrine disorders, sleep disorders, Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) dysfunction, low thyroid function, chemotherapy, or even certain types of infections. However, there are also instances where a Fibromyalgia diagnosis has been made where none of these causes were present before the symptoms of Fibromyalgia began to occur. While many aspects of Fibromyalgia are not fully understood it is thought that the condition arises where miscommunications between the nerve impulses of the CNA (central nervous system) take place.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain as well as fatigue, there are many other symptoms that go along with the condition of Fibromyalgia but those are the main two. Typically a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia is at best difficult to find, normally patients will go for years while living with the symptoms before an actual diagnosis is made, again this is because of the misunderstandings that surround the condition of Fibromyalgia. While there aren’t any specific diagnostic tests that can be used in order to identify Fibromyalgia as the cause of the problems and/or symptoms it is usually diagnosed as a process of elimination of other conditions and diseases. Of course there are also a set of criteria that must be met whenever Fibromyalgia is thought to be the cause of the symptoms. In the 1990’s the American College of Rheumatology proceeded to set the criteria for a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. In order for a Fibromyalgia diagnosis to be made all three of the major criteria must be met, and at least 4 (or more) of the minor criteria must also be present:
- Major Criteria
- General aches and/or stiffness of a minimum of 3 anatomical sites for a period of at least 3 months.
- Six or more characteristic, reproducible tender points.
- Elimination of other conditions/disorders that could cause comparable symptoms
- Minor Criteria
- Chronic headaches
- Sleep Troubles
- Complaints being of Neurological or Psychological in nature
- Sensations of Numbing or Tingling
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Symptoms that vary in relation to stress, activity, or weather changes
Of course there are many other symptoms that occur with Fibromyalgia, but this is the list that was comprised by the American College Of Rheumatology in order to more specifically define the diagnosis process of Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia treatment can come in a variety of different avenues from traditional and/or conventional medicine to the more alternative and natural therapy options. Other treatments for relief have been shown beneficial when certain lifestyle changes are made by Fibromyalgia sufferers.
- Conventional Medicine – the conventional route for Fibromyalgia treatment involves the use of drugs such as NSAIDS, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, as well as pain medications. The basic thought process behind the conventional drug treatments for Fibromyalgia is to provide short-term relief to the Fibromyalgia sufferer. The problem with this type of short-term relief is that the results yielded are often times fleeting and the side effects caused by these drugs can create negative symptoms even more than the relief they might be providing.
- Alternative & Natural Therapies – Some of the treatment options that fall into the alternative category include the use of Acupuncture, Biofeedback, Massage, Chiropractic Care, as well as the use of Capsaicin. Another option for natural treatment would be the use of supplements. Supplements such as 5-HTp, SAMe, Magnesium, as well as Melatonin have also been proven beneficial for providing Fibromyalgia relief.
- Lifestyle Changes – changes that can be made to the way the overall lifestyle is lived by a Fibromyalgia sufferer can indeed help to reduce the number of symptoms that are felt. Certain lifestyle changes can include a change in diet, exercise, scheduling, as well as stress management.