Fibromyalgia – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Fibromyalgia is a frequent and chronic syndrome of persistent generalised pain, stiffness, mental distress and sleep/memory problems.

It is possible to confuse the symptoms of fibromyalgia with those of arthritis or joint inflammation. However, arthritis, it has not been found to cause inflammation or breakdown of joints or muscles such as arthritis. It is considered a rheumatic disease, which causes pain in the soft tissues or myofascial pain.

As reported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), approximately 5 million adults aged 18+ in the United States have fibromyalgia, and 80-90% of fibromyalgic patients are female.

  • Fibromyalgia leads to generalized pain, fatigue and other kinds of problems.
  • The symptoms are similar to those of arthritis, but fibromyalgia affects the soft tissues rather than the joints.
  • The cause is unclear, but the risk factors are trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, and genetics.
  • No permanent treatment is available, but medication, exercise, acupuncture and behavioural therapy can help reduce symptoms and improve sleep quality.

Symptoms

Commonly occurring symptoms include:

  • painful menstruation cycles.
  • tingling and numbness in palms and feet.
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • cold or hot sensitivity.
  • generalized pain and tenderness.
  • pain and stiffness of the jawbone.
  • pain and fatigue in the muscles of the face and adjacent fibrous fabrics.
  • stiffness of articulations and muscles in the morning.
  • headaches
  • uneven sleep patterns
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • problem with memory and concentration, known as “fibro-fog”
  • fatigue

Other conditions are as follows:

  • skin issues
  • chest symptoms
  • depression and anxiety
  • vision issues.
  • nausea
  • pelvic and bladder problems.
  • weight gain
  • dizziness
  • cold or flu-related symptoms.
  • breathing problems

Symptoms may appear at any point in the person’s life, but they generally arrived at the age of 45.

Treatment

Medical care is needed because fibromyalgia may be hard to control. Since this is a syndrome, each patient will experience a different set of symptoms, and an individual treatment plan will be critical.

Treatment can have all or a portion of the following effects:

  • chiropractic care
  • massage
  • physical therapy
  • gradual exercise treatment.
  • acupuncture
  • psychotherapy
  • biofeedback
  • hydrotherapy
  • cognitive behavioural change therapy.
  • antidepressants in low doses, although this is not first line treatment.

People with fibromyalgia need to seek medical attention to develop a treatment plan that works best.

Drugs

Drugs may be suggested to treat certain symptoms.

They may include over-the-counter painkillers (OTC). However, the European League Against Rheumatic Disease (EULAR) treating fibromyalgia in its updated 2016 guidelines.

Anti-depressants, such as duloxetine, or Cymbalta, and milnacipran, or Savella, can help alleviate pain. Antiseizure medications, such as gabapentin also known as neurontine, and pregabalin, or Lyrica, can be prescribed.

However, an examination suggested that patients usually stop taking these medications because they fail to relieve pain or because of their negative effects.

Patients must notify the physician of any other medication they take for avoiding side effects and interactions with other medications.

Exercise

Pain, sensitivity, stiffness and sleep disturbance may be reduced by following a combination of aerobic and strength exercises, or Some patients have force training.

If exercise helps relieve symptoms, it should be followed regularly to note improvement. Training with a partner or personal coach can help keep the exercise plan consistent.

Acupuncture

Some patients improved their quality of life after starting an acupuncture treatment for fibromyalgia. How many sessions are required will depend on the symptoms and their severity.

In one study, one in five people with fibromyalgia was diagnosed with acupuncture within two years of diagnosis. The researchers came to the conclusion that it can improve pain and rigidity. But more detailed research is needed.

Behavior modification therapy

Behavioural Modification Therapy is a form of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) intended to reduce negative effects, habits that promote stress or pain and enhance positive and sensible behaviour. This includes learning new coping skills and relaxing activities or yogas.

Causes

The exact cause of fibromyalgia has not been determined. However, the present thinking in the field of recomended rheumatology that fibromyalgia is a problem with the central treatment of pain in the brain, where there may be an increased awareness or perception of pain at a given trigger.

There are a variety of potential risk factors that include:

  • a stressful and traumatic physical or emotional occurrence, such as an accident.
  • reccuring injuries
  • rheumatoid arthritis or other auto-immune illnesses, such as lupus.
  • central nerve system (CNS) problems.
  • how our genes handle how we treat pain stimuli.

Fibromyalgia can also become hereditary. Women who have a family history of fibromyalgia are more likely to experience it themselves.

persons with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or spinal arthritis, common ankylosing spondylitis, have a higher risk of contracting fibromyalgia, as do patients suffering from some other rheumatic conditions.

Diagnosis

It may take a while to confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia that the symptoms look like those of other conditions, such as hypothyroidism or arthritis. These conditions should be notified prior to making the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

There are no laboratory tests for the condition, and that, too, can lead to a delayed or failed diagnosis.

The American College of Rheumatology has confirmed 3 criteria to diagnose fibromyalgia.

  1. pain & symptoms during the week, out of 19 recognised body parts and fatigue levels, Sleep disturbance or cognitive impairment.
  2. symptoms that have remained for at least three months.
  3. there are no other health conditions to explain the symptoms.

Earlier, call-in points were used to identify the disease. However, these are no longer recommended for use as a diagnostic of fibromyalgia.

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