The very name of fibromyalgia means pain in the fibrous tissues and muscles. Before actually getting recognized as a “real” ailment of some kind, many physicians told their patients that it was all in their head, to put it mildly. I’m sure many people who suffered this chronic painful disorder told them, in more ways than one, just exactly what they thought of their so called “diagnosis”. At least in later years fibromyalgia did get accepted as a real disorder, much to the chagrin of some doctors. It is interesting, however, to note that rheumatologists and neurologists along with a few endocrinologists struggle a little over who would retain possession of fibromyalgia.
It never ceases to amaze me about how the so called medical professionals argue about the name or of how a disorder is classified. Fibromyalgia was at one time called a neurological disorder, or musculoskeletal disorder. The name of fibrositis was also given to it. This doesn’t make any sense because fibromyalgia doesn’t have inflammation associated with it and the very term (fibrositis) means inflammation of the fibrous tissues. Other sources claim that it is a form of soft tissue or muscular rheumatism causing pain in the muscles and soft tissues; however, that might have come up because of the similarities of the symptoms between arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Then there’s the use of the words “syndrome and disorder”. Funny as it might sound, when describing an ailment having an exact cause the term used would be “disease”. When describing an ailment having no known cause, as in the case for fibromyalgia, the terms used would be “syndrome or disorder”. Since fibromyalgia has no known cause I’ll use the term disorder but I know a lot of people still think it’s some kind of disease.
Fibromyalgia has also been classified as one of the many pain syndromes and given a fancy name called musculoskeletal pain syndrome, better known as MSPS or pain amplification syndrome. What a mouthful! Now that’s changed too because with recent research fibromyalgia has been found to be a central nervous system disorder in which the nerve endings concerning pain in the skin send messages to the brain where the signals get processed abnormally thus amplifying pain where there shouldn’t be pain at all. Hats off to the researchers!
GETTING IT RIGHT
Fibromyalgia is a disorder (or whatever you want to call it) that is characterized by chronic widespread pain in the fibrous connecting tissues and muscles on both sides of the body. When seeing a physician, make sure the examination includes pressure applied to the 18 pairs of pressure points. For example: I had a friend whose doctor just made her walk, then later told her that she didn’t have anything wrong. After another opinion and a thorough exam by a physician educated about this disorder, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. What do you make of that?
I know that diagnosing fibromyalgia can be a prolonged ordeal often encompassing multiple tests in order to rule out other diseases or conditions that have similar symptoms. It can be really frustrating for sufferers to get diagnosed and for some it might take a few years. Because this disorder is still trying to be understood by doctors the methods used for treatment are not only difficult but also complex.
SOME ENCOURAGEMENT FOR FIBROMYALGIA
More and more people are talking about fibromyalgia. I know everywhere I’ve been there was always at least one person with this disorder. I can’t help but cringe at their descriptions of what an ordinary day is for them. So, when I asked them what they do for their painful ailment the answers were quite varied.
Most people want fibromyalgia to be easier and quicker to diagnose. There isn’t an actual test for fibromyalgia and lots of doctors just use a trial and error form of diagnosing it. Also the relief of the stress that rides along with fibromyalgia is important to reduce the pain involved.
Doctors don’t seem to realize the stress that goes along with this disorder. The loss of a job because of fatigue, the inability to stand for several hours or sit for long periods of time, cancelling vacations, missing school or just trying to get out of the house are all difficult for people who have fibromyalgia.
For most people support groups and teams of therapists make all the difference between a bad day and a good day. Seeking physical therapists, occupational therapists and alternative medicine physicians that are well trained and knowledgeable about fibromyalgia can be very encouraging. Add to this list of people the changes in lifestyle along with cognitive therapy and you can achieve your goal to relieve the pain and live a normal life as much as you can. Fibromyalgia isn’t going to go away and the best thing to do is manage it as best as you can.