Fibromyalgia – Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Fibromyalgia – Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

There are a variety of factors leading to the development of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and it is important to determine the underlying symptoms. If anyone experiences symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as the ones listed below, a timely diagnosis has to be made before treatment can be initiated.

Fibromyalgia symptoms checklist
The following are some of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia:

Widespread pain
A dull ache that has persisted over 3 months is not supposed to be concluded as a symptom of fibromyalgia. The pain must be present on both the sides of the body as well as below and above the waist.

Fatigue
Even after getting sufficient sleep, patients who are suffering from fibromyalgia have complaints of fatigue when they wake up. In most cases, patients with fibromyalgia symptoms could be suffering from other disorders such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.

Difficulties with cognition
Patients with fibromyalgia suffer from “fibro log” which leads to an impairment of the ability to focus, problems in paying attention, as well as concentrating on tasks involving the mind.

There are certain coexisting health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, various types of headaches including a migraine, interstitial cystitis which is also known as a painful bladder, as well as disorders of the temporomandibular joint, so these can be considered symptoms of fibromyalgia as well.

Risk factors that can cause fibromyalgia
There could be a plethora of factors that could lead to the development of fibromyalgia:

Genetics: One could be prone to acquiring fibromyalgia through various gene mutations which tend to run in the family.

Infections: Fibromyalgia can often be triggered by certain illnesses.

Trauma: Traumatic incidents like car accidents could contribute to the development of fibromyalgia as well. It could also occur as a result of psychological stress.

Gender: The ratio of the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is higher in women as compared to men.

Family history: If there is a case of fibromyalgia in the family, the chances of developing fibromyalgia are higher.

Other existing disorders: One could also suffer from fibromyalgia in the case where one is already suffering from disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis.

Reasons why fibromyalgia causes pain
When affected with fibromyalgia, a change in the brain’s functions occurs. There are certain receptors in the brain—that help provide signals related to pain—which show an abnormal rise. With a rise in such chemicals and receptors, the neurotransmitters overreact due to oversensitivity whenever the body experiences pain. This is one of the major reasons why this condition causes extreme pain in the body.

Complications associated with fibromyalgia
Since fibromyalgia disturbs the normal sleep pattern of sleep, one might experience major problems in functioning normally either at home or at work. One could also feel depressed as a result of feeling lethargic all the time.

Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
When one has been experiencing persistent pain for over a period of three months and the underlying cause of the pain cannot be identified, there is a possibility that one could be suffering from fibromyalgia. Blood tests are done so that the possibility of other disorders having similar symptoms can be ruled out. These blood tests include a complete blood count, ESR, anti-CCP antibody, rheumatoid factor, as well as tests for thyroid function.

Treatment options for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is often treated with a combination of medication as well as self-care. The objective is to minimize the symptoms and enhance the overall improvement in one’s health. There is no common treatment that works for all.

Medications for fibromyalgia
These medications are intended to reduce fibromyalgia-related pain and cause an improvement in sleep. Medications that are commonly used for relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia include the following:

Pain relievers: Acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen are pain relievers that are available over the counter. Tramadol might be prescribed by the doctor as well. Narcotics are avoided as they could lead to dependence and could result in the worsening of the pain in due course of time.

Antidepressants: The resultant pain, as well as fatigue caused due to fibromyalgia, may be moderated with the assistance of antidepressants like milnacipran or duloxetine. To improve the sleep cycle, the doctor may prescribe amitriptyline or cyclobenzaprine, which is a muscle relaxant.

Anti-seizure medications: The pain caused due to fibromyalgia might abate with epilepsy medications. Gabapentin can help one might experience relief from the pain.

Therapies for treating fibromyalgia
The severity of the fibromyalgia pain that impacts the body as well as one’s life could be lessened with the help of certain therapies such as the following.

Physical therapy: Through physical therapy, one’s stamina, strength, as well as flexibility could be improved resulting in the reduction of fibromyalgia pain. One might also benefit from aqua aerobics.

Occupational therapy: It is the responsibility of the occupational therapist to make sure that the necessary adjustments and modifications are done at one’s place of work as well as examine the way certain tasks are executed by the affected individual. This will ensure that the stress caused on the body is significantly reduced.

Counseling: Sometimes one cannot mentally cope with the changes occurring in the body due to fibromyalgia. With counseling, one will have more faith in themselves and understand better on how to overcome the challenges.

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