Fibromyalgia is one of the most misunderstood disorders in medicine. The information available to patients is repeatedly misdirected, misconstrued, mistaken, or downright wrong. People living with fibromyalgia mostly have to hear from healthcare providers and loved ones that this disorder does not exist, and the pain and symptoms they experience as a result of this disorder is all in their head.
This article will focus on fibromyalgia and the causes and treatment for this disorder.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder known to cause widespread pain and tenderness. The level of pain and the general condition varies from one patient to another and happens differently. People with fibromyalgia also have altered pain processing which means that they experience pain at a higher level than people who do not have fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Some symptoms that can occur with fibromyalgia are
- widespread pain made worse by continuous activity
- tiredness or lack of energy
- sleep disorders and headaches. It may also trigger irritability
- digestive problems
- poor concentration
- forgetfulness(also known as fibro fog),
- sensitivity to cold, sound, knocks and bumps,
- overly sensitive joints and muscles
- increased worry, stress or low mood
- leg spasms/ restless leg syndrome.
A metabolic fingerprint by blood spot test is used to diagnose fibromyalgia. This method of diagnosis applies the use of vibrational spectroscopy to differentiate that patients with fibromyalgia are not wrongly misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus.
To be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a patient must be sensitive in at least 11 of the 18 possible tender points and experience widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for at least two months.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
Scientists do not exactly understand how fibromyalgia works. Fibromyalgia is not an anti-inflammatory or an auto-immune condition. It is also not a joint or muscular disorder. For many patients, fibromyalgia is triggered by different things. For some, an illness sets off the condition. For other patients, a traumatic event that has induced stress, sets off fibromyalgia.
There is a range of medications, treatments, or therapies for people living with fibromyalgia. These treatments will focus on the central nervous system, sleep patterns, and methods to alleviate pain and tenderness. A treatment plan may include :
- Evaluating sleep
Getting a better sleep pattern is key to getting people living with fibromyalgia better. Evaluating sleep includes looking for conditions like Sleep Apnea and a complete evaluation of sleep hygiene. This will help people living with fibromyalgia to get high-quality sleep without the use of medication.
- Physical therapy
A graded program of physical and exercise therapy can improve pain and fatigue in fibromyalgia patients. This may help to increase energy levels and prevent further worsening of muscle cramps or atrophy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Talking therapy may help people living with fibromyalgia manage their cognitive problems such as poor concentration and forgetfulness, by helping to improve their thinking patterns, behavior and reactions to situations.
As fibromyalgia is a long-term condition, recovery varies among individuals. There is no known cure, but there are treatments, therapies and self-management techniques to help manage this disorder.
Pain specialists are able to help with conditions like this. At Lakeshore Pain Center, we work with patients suffering from systemic conditions like Fibromyalgia to develop treatment plans to help ease pain and improve their symptoms significantly. Do schedule an appointment with us today.