FACTS ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA
A neurological disorder or syndrome, as it is sometimes referred to, associated with pain of varying degrees usually located at certain areas on both sides of the body, aptly describes fibromyalgia.
This disease is real, not imaginary, as some would say “it’s all in your head”, well, it’s not! As with all illnesses, you do have your “good” days as well as your bad days. Fibromyalgia is certainly a condition to deal with. Some medical professionals consider this syndrome very lightly while others take it very seriously. Through no fault of their own, physicians may not be fully aware of all the properties, causes or remedies pertaining to fibromyalgia. This is why the importance of conducting research on this disorder cannot be stressed enough.
THE SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA
The first and foremost symptom of fibromyalgia in most people is chronic widespread body pain, which can be persistent and often described as a deep muscular ache that is throbbing and burning, frequently producing soreness and immense stiffness, which is usually felt in the morning upon awakening and easing up as the day progresses. A tingling or numbness is also felt in the legs and arms. The pain can be mild to extreme and sometimes can be aggravated by other factors such as insomnia, exposure to cold or dampness, activities involving repetitive movement or stress. There is no visible inflammation at the areas of pain.
In the early stages of fibromyalgia, the pain is centralized in the neck and shoulders. Eventually with the progression of this disease the pain becomes annoyingly intensified and occurring in the upper and lower back, knees, elbows, hips and in the chest or rib cage. Actually there are nine pairs of areas, also known as pressure or trigger points, on both sides of the body that are very painful and sensitive when touched even with the slightest of pressure from the fingertips so when pressing down on one of these points, the pain seems to radiate to another direction, thereby, confirming the possibility of fibromyalgia. These points are recognized by physicians and helpful in the diagnosing of this condition.
Other symptoms include gastro-intestinal upsets like diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and abdominal pain. This along with painful bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis), which causes urinary frequency and bladder pain, is pretty common for people who have fibromyalgia.
Migraine headaches are also associated with this condition and care must be taken to differentiate the origin from tension or from fibromyalgia.
Some people with fibromyalgia suffer from temporomandibular joint syndrome. A popping, clicking, or snapping noise along with limited jaw movement and pain in facial or jaw muscles around the ear characterize this syndrome.
90% or more of people suffering from fibromyalgia have difficulty with sleeping. Restlessness, waking up often during the night, very light or not sleeping at all are commonly felt and results in feeling tired and exhausted all day. Sometimes sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can be tied to fibromyalgia sufferers, but only extensive tests will prove the origin or overlapping of these conditions.
Depression and anxiety, dizziness, vision problems and coordination difficulties, together with chronic extreme fatigue, which is classified as profound exhaustion and poor stamina, are also related to fibromyalgia. Other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism have also been linked with fibromyalgia. All these symptoms have such a debilitating effect on the patient.
CAUSES OF FIBROMYALGIA
Some think that a genetic defect is responsible for this condition. A family history of fibromyalgia, while accepted as a cause of this syndrome, doesn’t mean that everyone will develop the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Besides being hereditary, the exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. It is very complex and often misunderstood. Outside stimuli affecting the muscles and soft connective tissues around the joints cause pain. Walking, stooping, housework, yard work, or other activities common in everyday life can be the source of a lot of pain.
Nutritional deficiencies have also been suspected in contributing to fibromyalgia. A lack of sufficient magnesium, food poor in vitamins and minerals, genetic modified organism (GMO) found in the food, have all been questioned as potential sources.
SOME TREATMENTS OF FIBROMYALGIA
Pain relieving medications are often prescribed for fibromyalgia and usually used first. Other methods of managing the pain include light exercise, stretching and extra activities to keep moving. Being active while suffering pain can be really challenging, however, it is mandatory in order to alleviate the annoying stiffness often accompanying this disorder.
The use of physical therapy, hot baths, and gentle massage may all have positive effects and should be tried to see which one works best for you. The most important thing to remember is to have a positive attitude and not expect miracle cures, because outside of coping and managing the pain, there is no cure.