What is Fibromyalgia, and how does it affect you?
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, which means it’s a collection of indications, symptoms, and medical issues that tend to occur in groups but aren’t linked to a single, identifiable cause. There are no visible symptoms of Fibromyalgia, yet it causes widespread pain, exhaustion, sleep disturbances, and a wide range of other symptoms such as cognitive impairment and decreased physical function.
The nature and intensity of these symptoms and their consequences might vary from person to person and day today. Many individuals have flare-ups from time to time when their symptoms worsen unexpectedly.
People with Fibromyalgia often report that exhaustion’s the most challenging aspect of their disease. They can’t seem to think clearly or recall things correctly (a condition known as ‘fibrofog’ or ‘brain fog’).
Fibromyalgia is more common in women than males, with a current ratio of at least 6:1. Though persons between the ages of 50 and 70 are more likely to be diagnosed, people of all ages have been diagnosed, and the frequency is equal across nations, cultures, and races.
A variety of factors can cause Fibromyalgia
Nobody knows for sure what causes Fibromyalgia at this time. According to current beliefs, Fibromyalgia is thought to be caused by abnormal activity in the central nervous system. This is because the pain it produces seems to be made by the brain’s processing of pain signals rather than actual or mechanical abnormalities in the body (e.g., a fractured bone, a pulled muscle, inflammation). This implies that pain-relieving medications have little impact on many individuals, and pain cannot be cured.
People living with Fibromyalgia may find it difficult to accept that the etiology of their illness is unknown. People, on the whole, want to know why they are suffering from a medical issue. Some patients claim that the fibromyalgia diagnostic procedure is complicated and time-consuming due to a lack of awareness of the illness among medical professionals, such as general practitioners.
A stressful life experience often triggers Fibromyalgia. Many persons with Fibromyalgia say their symptoms started after an illness, accident, surgery, bereavement, relationship breakdown (e.g., divorce), or even after delivering a baby. People often say that these events and experiences make their fibromyalgia symptoms worse.
What are the Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
Symptoms differ from individual to person. The most prevalent symptom, however, is persistent discomfort. Muscles and the places where muscles join bones are the most often affected areas, and Ligaments and tendons are what you’re looking for.
Pain in one area of your body, such as your neck and shoulders, may begin. Any area of the body, however, might be impacted. The pain varies in intensity from moderate to severe, with “flare-ups” and periods of relief. Fibromyalgia pain may be described as burning, soreness, stiffness, aching, or gnawing pain, with painful patches in specific areas of your muscles. The discomfort may resemble arthritis, and it does not, however, harm muscles or bones.
Other frequent fibromyalgia symptoms include:
- Tiredness ranging from moderate to severe (fatigue)
- Exercise endurance is reduced.
- Nighttime sleep disturbances
- A depressed state of mind
- Irritable bowel symptoms, such as bloating and discomfort in the abdomen (abdominal), diarrhea, and constipation
- Restless legs
- Menstrual periods that are excruciating
- Having difficulty thinking clearly (called “fibro fog”)
Fibromyalgia is Diagnosed in a variety of ways
Fibromyalgia is being diagnosed faster and more often as research progresses. Because there is no actual test for Fibromyalgia, clinicians must typically rule out other possible reasons for similar symptoms before diagnosing it.
The primary symptoms, pain and exhaustion, coincide with various illnesses and are not testable until they produce damage or inflammation.
There are currently no particular blood tests, x-rays, or scans that can confirm a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Most persons with Fibromyalgia will have normal findings.
Until recently, certain sensitive spots in specific body locations were used to diagnose Fibromyalgia. When establishing a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, healthcare providers are now urged to examine the following factors:
General discomfort that lasts three months or more prolonged tiredness and waking up tired issues with thinking functions such as memory and comprehension (cognitive symptoms).
What is the treatment for Fibromyalgia?
Because Fibromyalgia is a condition, there is no known cure, and it might be challenging to manage at first. There are, however, several approaches to properly controlling your symptoms. Your primary source of therapy will be your doctor, GP, or rheumatologist, who will be able to recommend treatments and therapies to address particular features of the illness.
Drug treatments are vital but physical, and another therapy is as important — if not more so – for persons with Fibromyalgia. If you decide to attempt these treatments or supplements, keep track of how well they appear to work for you. If you observe any improvement, decide whether or not to continue taking them.
If necessary, your doctor or rheumatologist will refer you to additional health specialists such as a psychologist, physiotherapist, or occupational therapist. Importantly, you will be expected to take an active part in managing your Fibromyalgia, collaborating with all of your healthcare providers.
What is the best way to deal with my Fibromyalgia?
Because each person’s fibromyalgia symptoms and experiences differ, treatment methods vary and frequently combine medical and self-care measures.
Medications are seldom effective in treating Fibromyalgia. However, they may help with pain and sleep. They are as follows:
In Fibromyalgia, pain relievers like paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are typically ineffective. However, they may still benefit from arthritic pain.
Low dosages of tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and nortriptyline promote sleep and strengthen the body’s natural pain-relieving capabilities.
Nerve pain (neuralgia) is treated with anticonvulsants such as gabapentin and pregabalin, which have been demonstrated to aid persons with Fibromyalgia.
Moving your body may help you feel better, fight tiredness, build muscle tone, improve blood flow, alleviate digestive issues, and sleep better. Stretching, strengthening, and cardiovascular exercise should be included in a fitness regimen. It’s important to start slowly, particularly if you’re in discomfort. Walking, swimming and Tai Chi are all excellent types of exercise, but it is essential to warm up first.
It’s essential to balance exercise and relaxation and listen to your body. Plan ahead of time and divide things into tiny, doable tasks with frequent pauses to decrease stress. This can help you avoid feeling exhausted and will reduce your discomfort. To relieve muscle tension and anxiety, learn basic relaxation methods. These might include the following:
- Packs that are both hot and chilly
- The heat produced by infrared radiation
Because fatigue is a common symptom of Fibromyalgia, obtaining adequate sleep is critical. It’s also crucial not to lie in bed for long periods since this may be physically and mentally hazardous. Instead of taking extended naps, take frequent 5- to 10-minute micro-breaks throughout the day.