Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that is characterized by pain in the muscles and soft tissue. Patients experience pain and muscles stiffness. Even though fibromyalgia causes no damage to joints or organs, constant pain and fatigue can have a significant effect on daily life.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
The sign of fibromyalgia consists of sore muscles that extend throughout the body. Usually they are accompanied by: Fatigue, Trouble sleeping, Anxiety or depression, Specific sensitive body areas.
One of the unique aspects of fibromyalgia is present in specific sensitive areas of the body. When these points are pressed, affected people feel pain while healthy people only feel pressure. Pain of fibromyalgia can be intense. Because, normally, no laboratory test can confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, some patients have lived with the impression that pain is “only in their mind.” But the medical community now accepts that the pain of fibromyalgia is real, researchers suggest that it is caused by an error in how the body perceives pain.
Women aged between 25 and 60 years have the highest risk of developing fibromyalgia. Doctors are not sure why, but women were 10 times more likely to develop this condition.
After pain, the most common and debilitating symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue. This is not the classic fatigue after a busy day, but a constant feeling of exhaustion. People with fibromyalgia may feel tired in the morning even after many hours spent in bed. Fatigue can worsen and hamper the affected person to continue their daily chores.
The causes of fibromyalgia
There are many theories about the causes of fibromyalgia, but research still failed to indicate a clear trigger. Some doctors believe that hormonal and chemical imbalances disrupt how nerves signal pain. Others suggest that a traumatic event or chronic stress can increase a person’s susceptibility. Most experts agree that fibromyalgia results from a combination of factors.
The impact of fibromyalgia on daily life
Constant pain and fatigue can trigger irritability, anxiety and depression. It is possible that affected persons can hardly focus on work.
The doctor can diagnose fibromyalgia specialist after watching symptoms and do a physical exam. There is a laboratory test that can check whether it is fibromyalgia. It measures protein levels in the blood and can help confirm the diagnosis.
An important first step is identifying the factors that can worsen the situation. Common triggers include: Cold or wet weather, Exercising too little or too much, Stress, Lack of sleep.
Fibromyalgia and depression
Almost a third of people suffering from fibromyalgia get into a major depression when they are diagnosed. The relationship between these two issues is unclear. Some researchers believe that depression may be a result of chronic pain and fatigue. Others suggest abnormalities in brain chemistry, leads to depression and unusual pain sensitivity.
Physical activity can relieve many symptoms of fibromyalgia, reducing pain. Making some simple exercises three times a week relieves fatigue and depression. It is very important not to overdo the effort.
Some experts say that diet plays a role in fibromyalgia, but varies depending on the individual patient. Certain foods, including aspartame, caffeine and tomatoes appear to aggravate symptoms in some people. To find out what works for you, try to eliminate certain foods and monitor your symptoms.
Some research suggests that massage may help relieve the pain. Practitioners say that applying moderate pressure, through massage, is the key, while the technique is less important.
Official studies produced mixed results on the use of acupuncture in the treatment of this disease, but some patients say it helps relieve symptoms. Many fibromyalgia sufferers say their symptoms and their life quality have improved substantially after they identified the most effective treatments and modify their lifestyle. Even if it is a chronic condition, fibromyalgia does not damage joints, muscles or internal organs.