Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects your muscles and bones. It is the second most common condition that can affect your muscles and bones. But still it is not fully understood and often misdiagnosed. The most common symptoms are fatigue and widespread muscle & joint pain. Unfortunately there is no cure for this condition. But you can manage your symptoms by a mix of medication, exercise, healthy habits and by managing stress. By doing these, you can lead a normal and active life.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
Doctors are not exactly sure of its causes. But some docs think it may be due to a problem in processing of pain signals from the nerves by brain and spinal cord. Your chances of having this condition increases if you
- are a woman
- emotionally or physically abused
- have PTSD
- have a painful disease like arthritis or an infection
- rarely exercise
- If anyone in your family has it
- have any mood disorder like depression or anxiety
Some of the common fibromyalgia symptoms are:
- Sleeplessness or Insomnia
- Feeling depressed, nervous or worried
- Pain in the muscles or burning, tightness or twitching of muscles
- Experience low pain threshold or tender points
- Have trouble remembering and concentrating which is known as “Fibro fog”
The symptoms of fibromyalgia may seem similar to tendinitis, bursitis and osteoarthritis. But there is no concentration of the pain in a particular area. You will experience stiffness and pain throughout the body.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include the following:
- Peeing more than often
- Belly pain, queasiness, bloating, diarrhea and constipation
- Dry nose, eyes and mouth
- Sensitivity to heat, light, sound or cold
- Tingling sensation or numbness in the face, legs, feet, arms or hands
First the doctor will do a physical check up. He will even ask you about any medical issues in the past and also about your other family members. There is no diagnostic test that can confirm fibromyalgia. Since the symptoms are similar to other conditions, your doctor will try to rule out other illnesses like the several types of arthritis, lupus and under active thyroid. So, your doc will ask you to do blood tests as well as X-rays. These blood tests help to check your hormone levels and for any signs of inflammation.
Even then if the doctor is not able to find any reason for your condition, he may go for a two part scoring system. This system helps to measure how widespread the pain is and how much you are affected by the symptoms of fibromyalgia. By making use of these results, you can come up with a plan to manage your condition.
Depending upon the symptoms of fibromyalgia, you doctor may prescribe:
- Muscle Relaxers
- Pain Relievers
- Drugs to induce sleep
The drugs that are approved especially for fibromyalgia pain are Pregabalin (Lyrica), Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Milnacipran (Savella). Painkillers which are over the counter can also help. Some medications like the opioids will tend to work in the long run. But you may become addicted to them.
In order to control fibromyalgia, regular moderate exercise plays a key role. You may also have to do low impact activities like pilates, tai-chi, yoga or walking as well. This will help to build your strength, endurance and helps to strengthen your muscles in addition to improving your ability to move easily. The endorphins released due to exercise helps to fight stress, pain and feeling down. It also helps you to sleep better.