A STUDY ON FIBROMYALGIA
Millions of people suffer with fibromyalgia all over the world and of those same people some wonder if what they have is for real. I know that sounds really strange but it is true. In fact not so long ago even medical professionals were examining people with so-called symptoms of a so-called disease and treating the patients like they were imagining having anything at all. Frankly, I think the doctors came short of telling their patients that they were having a hypochondriac moment when in actuality they said “it’s all in your head “and left it as that. I bet that some of these people thought they were going crazy too. After all, just imagine suffering pain that’s hard to describe especially where it’s coming from and adding all or some of the other symptoms related to your suffering and being told it’s just imaginary. Personally, I think I would want the doctors to feel that “imaginary “pain a little bit.
Yes! Fibromyalgia is real and no laughing matter. People’s lives have been altered from this disorder many times over. Losing jobs, unable to attend school, having difficulties with everyday activities including mundane things like grocery shopping, walking the dog, getting dressed, driving a car or riding in one, housework, yard work and other things we normally take for granted pose a real challenge for people who suffer with fibromyalgia.
SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA
The most common symptom of fibromyalgia is the widespread chronic pain all over the body and especially in the muscles and the joints. The very term “fibromyalgia” means pain of the muscles and fibrous tissues. This pain is constant and ranges from a dull ache to a full-blown severe disabling condition that renders the patient helpless in many ways.
Besides the pain there are other symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia such as insomnia (inability to sleep), hypersensitivity to smells, loud noises and lights, fatigue, migraine headaches, anxiety, depression, sensitivity to touch or pressure on the skin and cognitive difficulties in thinking, problem solving and memory, better known as “fibro-fog”. This is not the complete list of symptoms but mainly the better known or most common ones. I’ve been told that there are about 60 total symptoms in all and some of which can also give the impression that there’s another ailment involved.
This can be really challenging because diagnosing fibromyalgia is done by an exclusion method ruling out other disorders one at a time. Consequently, this is a very time consuming method and unfortunately deemed necessary because fibromyalgia could be a byproduct of another ailment or the other disease could be the underlying cause of it. On the average, diagnosing fibromyalgia can take up to 5 years and for some people that is a long time to be suffering.
There is a tender point test that is officially accepted and recognized by rheumatologists and neurologists that help narrow the field in diagnosing this disorder. The tender or trigger points are found in 18 pairs on both sides of the body and located at the front and back of the neck, the base of the neck and upper back area, the elbows and knees, hips and buttocks, the shoulders below the collar bone and in the chest near the second rib and sternum. When pressure is applied to these areas the pain intensifies and seems to radiate to another direction. Also the pain has to be continuous for at least 3 months to even be considered fibromyalgia related.
PATIENT’S OUTLOOK ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA
A lot of patients get diagnosed with anything from arthritis to MS when they go see a doctor for their fibromyalgia and never get treated for it correctly. This can produce a lot of frustration. Many patients feel that cancer and other diseases are more important in research than fibromyalgia. Surveys and questions relative to studies of this disorder seem to lack questions pertaining to other diagnosis’s done prior to their office visit and other things that are important to sufferers of fibromyalgia.
Some people get medications prescribed to them that have side effects listed a mile long and to make matters worse, the doctors don’t really know the side effects of the prescriptions they are giving you. I had first experience with this. Some patients feel annoyed with their doctors and feel they just want to give them dangerous drugs.
Many times doctors don’t take fibromyalgia very seriously. That’s just wrong. With so many people suffering with approximately the same symptoms I find it very insulting to just be given pain tablets and sent home or told nothing’s wrong. Fibromyalgia has no known cure or quick-fix so sufferers of this disorder feel their physicians should be able to help in managing the pain for their patients. That’s why seeking a knowledgeable doctor educated about fibromyalgia is worth looking for.
Another outlet of hope is the support group and for countless patients has proved beneficial emotionally as well as physically. Many people talk long and loud about their support group and if you don’t have one you are missing something good. Most patients will tell you how good it feels to share your experiences with each other and there are many people out there to share with.