What is Fibromyalgia? This is probably the ultimate question you have if you or a loved one has been diagnosed. This article addresses many different Fibromyalgia related questions as an introduction to Fibromyalgia. However, it is not intended as a be all, end all resource.
The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice or a medical professional. Every person experiences pain differently. Not all treatments will work for every person.
Living with Fibromyalgia, like living with any illness or disorder, is a journey that often requires a team to treat.
This article intends to give an overview that will hopefully help inform you, demystify Fibromyalgia, give you hope to live your life to the fullest, even with the disorder and inspire you to do further research and other in-depth reading on the variety of topics covered on this website.
What is Fibromyalgia?
The first question many people have is simply, what is Fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects many people. The disorder is characterized primarily by muscular pain and tenderness that spreads throughout the entire body though other symptoms may also be present. Also of note, some people spell it fibromialgia.
Fibromyalgia can affect men, women and children but the majority of people diagnosed with the disorder are women. Most people are diagnosed during middle age though the disorder does affect all ages.The causes of Fibromyalgia are still, for the most part, unknown. Some scientists think there could be a genetic link. It’s also thought that stressful or traumatic events, either physical or mental, could cause the disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder may be a trigger for Fibromyalgia. Other illnesses may lead to Fibromyalgia and it possible to develop or have other conditions at the same time that may or may not be related. Physical injury could also lead to the development of Fibromyalgia. In some cases, the disorder develops on its own.
Fibromyalgia might be difficult to treat. Currently there is no cure but there is hope. Research is being done all the time to help people better understand Fibromyalgia and the causes and relationships of the disorder.
It’s important to find a doctor who is familiar with the disorder and treatment options. Family physicians, rheumatologists (a doctor who specializes in joint and soft tissue pain often associated with arthritis) physical therapists, sleep specialists, acupuncturists, holistic doctors and nutritionists or other doctors may be able to offer treatment plans.
Sometimes managing and combating Fibromyalgia pain takes a team effort and more than one doctor or clinic. Lifestyle changes, holistic approaches and prescription medication can all help manage Fibromyalgia pain.
There are many, varied Fibromyalgia symptoms. A person diagnosed with the disorder may have only a few symptoms or they may have many.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are often disruptive. It can be hard to live, work and function while experiencing many of the unpleasant or even debilitating symptoms. It’s important to remember that there is hope. Many different doctors can help you discover a variety of treatment options to manage and live with the disorder.
Sometimes making lifestyle changes as simple as exercising regularly or reducing stress will help with symptoms. In other cases, seeing a medical professional for a care regime may be more successful. There are also prescription drugs that many people take with great success. This website will go into greater detail of treatments in later articles. Fibromyalgia symptoms often include:
The symptom almost all people suffering from Fibromyalgia have in common is pain. Pain can be intense and is often located all over the body though in some cases people experience only localized pain in a specific area. Some people may experience this pain for months at a time.
For some there are triggers that bring on the pain like weather changes, lack of sleep or dietary changes. The pain is intense and sometimes even debilitating and can anywhere in the body.
You might also notice stiffness or soreness in the joints. Many women dealing with Fibromyalgia also experience painful menstrual cycles with extended and very painful cramping and/or pain during intercourse.
Many people experience tenderness or sore spots in their joints or in the areas affected the most by chronic pain. These areas may be so tender that even doing day to day activities or wearing clothing over the sore spot can be very painful.
Along with pain and tenderness, sudden and intense muscles spams might occur.
Headache similar to the intensity of a migraine may occur often or ceaselessly. Often they are brought on by certain triggers.
Many people experiencing Fibromyalgia pain suffer from chronic fatigue. The pain and soreness associated with the disorder often make it difficult to fall asleep or find a deep, restful sleep. Lack of sleep can sometimes be associated with memory loss, feeling foggy or the inability to concentrate. Lack of quality sleep has also been associated with mood swings and depression.
People who suffer with Fibromyalgia symptoms often become discouraged or depressed. Dealing with chronic pain does affect a person’s thoughts, mood and happiness. If pain seems endless or is excoriating it can be difficult not to fall into depression or suffer mood swings.
Bowel and Stomach Issues
Many people may experience symptoms that mirror Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There may also be a connection to IBS and Fibromyalgia. IBS causes pain in the abdomen and trouble having normal bowel movements.