Understanding The Triggers & Symptoms That Are Common To Fibromyalgai
The condition of Fibromyalgai is a chronic condition that affects nearly 5 million Americans. Because there are no measurable diagnostic tests or labs that can be ordered to find a specific diagnosis of Fibromyalgai is it often diagnosed by both a process of elimination as well as specifically accounting for two criteria and the symptoms that the patient may be experiencing. The causes of Fibromyalgai are not fully understood but there do seem to be some contributing factors that take place in individuals who are more prone to be at risk for Fibromyalgai. The factors that are often times present include genetics, infections, as well as physical and/or emotional traumas. However, there are also times when Fibromyalgia is diagnoses that none of these factors have taken place. In order for a specific diagnosis of Fibromyalgia to be determined there are two criteria that must be met (1) the patient must have experience chronic and widespread musculoskeletal pain for a period of at least 3 months, and (2) at least 11 of the 18 Tender Points must have been positively identified.
What are Tender Points?
Commonly Fibromyalgia is characterized when and individual experiences additional pain when firm pressure is applied to very specific areas of their body. These specific areas are called tender point locations and at least 11 of the 18 total tender points must be identified in order for a diagnosis to be made. The Tender Point locations are at 9 specific bilateral locations on the body that are exceptionally sensitive to the touch individuals who have Fibromyalgia. It is important that these tender points be located specifically by a physician as each of these tender points are usually no larger than the size of a penny:
- Low Cervical Region (area in front of the neck)
- Second Rib (are located in the front chest )
- Occiput (area in the back of the neck)
- Trapezius Muscle (the back shoulder area)
- Supraspinatus Muscle (the area around the shoulder blade)
- Lateral Epicondyle (the outer elbow region)
- Gluteal (the rear end)
- Greater Trochanter (the area of the rear hip)
- Knee (usually the inner knees)
What are the Symptoms?
The most common symptoms of Fibromyalgia are both pain and fatigue. These are the most complained of symptoms in Fibromyalgia patients. However there are many other symptoms that are commonly known to be characterized among Fibromyalgia patients. Some of the symptoms are anxiety, depression, endometriosis, headaches, or problems with irritable bowel syndrome. Another issue that is common is the pain/sleep cycle that occurs in most Fibromyalgia sufferers. The pain causes a lack of sleep and night, and the lack of sleep only exacerbates the pain symptoms during the day, so if precautions are not taken to properly treat both of these symptoms then they can get out of control and become overwhelming.
What Can Exacerbate The Symptoms?
There are certain triggers that seem to exacerbate the symptoms of Fibromyalgia such as cold or humid weather, too much or too little physical activities, poor sleep, as well as stress. It is important to understand how each of these occurrences can make the symptoms worse and avoidance of these triggers should be practiced whenever possible.
How is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Unfortunately at this time there is no cure for Fibromyalgia. However, there are many different ways in which the symptoms of Fibromyalgai or the underlying causes of Fibromyalgia can be successfully treated in order to provide the Fibromyalgia sufferer with some relief. The traditional realm of treatment involves the use of prescription medications such as Analgesics, Antidepressants, as well as Anti-seizure drugs to help lessen the painful symptoms. However many times these prescription medications can cause negative side effects or become habit forming. There are other options for Fibromyalgia treatment which include the use of specific exercises, diet, massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, as well as stress management techniques such as Yoga or Tai Chi. The most important thing to understand when it comes to Fibromyalgia treatment is that each individual must reach a treatment plan and source of symptom relief on a personal level. There is no one size fits all approach to Fibromyalgia treatment, each Fibromyalgai sufferer must deal with their own personal symptoms and find ways to relieve those symptoms that best works for them.