A STUDY ON FIBROMYALGIA
The disease called fibromyalgia can best be described as a painful condition affecting the muscles and connective tissues of the joints as well as other main areas of the body. Stiffness coupled with sleepless nights, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, cognitive problems, fatigue and tingling or numbness in the limbs are all additional symptoms of fibromyalgia. Once thought to be a psychiatric disorder, it is now recognized as a real condition and not “all in your head” like so many medical professionals once thought.
Characterized by widespread body pain, fibromyalgia affects millions of people worldwide and of all ages. The exact causes of this ailment are unknown and there is no known cure for it.
Doctors diagnose it with great difficulty, which can take years, because of the similarities in the symptoms of other disorders. There are two kinds of fibromyalgia, primary and secondary. Primary fibromyalgia is sometimes referred to as idiopathic, meaning it’s from an unknown cause. Secondary fibromyalgia is associated with other disorders.
While the exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known there are some reasons why fibromyalgia occurs and please keep in mind that they are all speculative in nature. Abnormalities in the functioning of the chemicals in the brain coupled with hormonal fluctuations, malfunctions in the muscles and insomnia have been linked to the possible causes of fibromyalgia. The flare ups of this disorder could be brought on by other ailments or conditions as well as some disorders being the underlying origin of fibromyalgia such as Lyme disease and hypothyroidism. It can be very perplexing when you study just how interconnected fibromyalgia is with other disorders. I wouldn’t want to be a doctor trying to diagnose this ailment. After reading all of the symptoms involved or ones that could be linked to fibromyalgia, I would high-five the doctors that would be able to correctly diagnose this ailment in their patients.
Some of the general symptoms of fibromyalgia are weight gain or loss that is unexplained, feeling achy after physical activity, migraines or regular headaches that sometimes brings about visionary problems, feeling achy after stressful events, cravings for chocolate and other carbohydrates and the most common symptom is having a family history of fibromyalgia. Yes, it is thought to be hereditary.
Let’s talk about pain which is the number one symptom. Did you know that there are 3 different types of fibromyalgia pain? I didn’t. My neck starts aching when I sit too long in one position. That doesn’t mean I have fibromyalgia, however, since I do not display any other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. My point is to use this information as information only.
The first type is termed hyperalgesia which means an excess amount of pain. This pain is described as a sharp discomfort much like a knife stab. It is excruciating and can be debilitating for some people. Many days of work or school have been lost because of this type of pain.
Allodynia is the name of the next variety of pain. It is not very common and associated with other disorders such as neuropathy, shingles and migraines. Actually it is the super sensitivity to pain of the skin when touched. The skin on our bodies is the largest organ we have. Anything and everything touches it everywhere at one time or another. Now multiply that with pain felt with the touch of clothing or a handshake. It’s almost like having a bad sunburn all over your body all of the time. Allodynia comes in 3 forms: mechanical, which is the feeling of something going across your skin, tactile, which is the gentle touch or massage from fingertips or thermal, which is cold or heat felt by the skin but not severe enough to damage the skin. Allodynia is considered to be the result of the increased sensitivity associated with fibromyalgia.
Painful paresthesia is the last form of pain accompanying fibromyalgia and is best described as a weird crawling, tingling or itching feeling across the skin. It makes you feel like you have a bug crawling on your leg. Sometimes these sensations can be very painful at times.
Treatments vary for fibromyalgia and care must be taken to not aggravate the pain involved. Talking to your doctor would shed some light as to all the available remedies. Support groups can also be beneficial. Just remember, fibromyalgia is a disease of unknown depths. Everyday research is turning up new information on the subject and who knows, we just might have a cure for it. So hang in there and do the best you can, after all, it’s all we can do.