Fibromyalgia is generally considered as a syndrome since it presents a collection of signs and symptoms that are common enough in a lot of disorders. Additionally, the specific cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown to medicine despite the countless research and studies conducted, and often, the condition is also misdiagnosed, leaving the patient suffering from the condition for a prolonged period of time.
Aside from intense pain, fibromyalgia also poses a lot of signs and symptoms that collectively distinguish the syndrome from other conditions, and these include:
- Fatigue or excess tiredness that feels like your body is weighted down with heavy objects at times even subjecting you to immobility and lethargy.
- Memory and cognitive impairment that is often referred to as fibro fog; this can sometimes lead to the inability to retain new information or even process mental functions.
- Exercise problems or the incapability to do any active activity can also render you immobile if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia.
- Chronic headaches and migraines that can visit you every week.
- Temporomandibular join dysfunction or jaw problems have become apparent in fibromyalgia.
- Sleeping problems that pertain to non-restorative sleeping also happens, robbing you of the refreshed feeling that usually results after a restful time in bed.
- Irritable bowel syndrome that ranges from diarrhea, bloated stomach due to gas, constipation, and abdominal pain.
- Palpitations or erratic heartbeat, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
- Painful menstrual cycles or dysmenorrhea, premenstrual pains, and vulvar pain in women.
- Extreme sensitivity to light due to vision problems, to pain due to soreness of the muscles, and to certain foods and chemicals due to nausea.
- Various skin problems and more.
When you feel that you are suffering from these symptoms and you experience prolonged pain that is more than three months in the running already, there is something wrong with you. Approach a medical practitioner who is an expert and experienced enough about the treatment and new research developments on fibromyalgia.
Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
Although you may have the telltale signs of fibromyalgia, it’s not a guarantee that you are suffering from one. This is because the symptoms of this syndrome are so common that it may be mistaken for another disorder.
In the years before advanced scientific research, it was practically impossible to appropriately diagnose fibromyalgia. Today, it is still quite difficult to do so, but at least there is already a good chance that a proper diagnose can be made even if there is no absolute test to diagnose the condition.
At the onset of the symptoms mentioned above, you will be thoroughly examined by your doctor. A process of elimination will then be conducted coupled with an in-depth consultation of how your symptoms are affecting your everyday activities.
Medical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis should all be ruled out first before finally deciding that you are afflicted with fibromyalgia. In order to eliminate these conditions, an X-ray exam, blood tests, and other laboratory exams will have to be conducted.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia’s causes are unknown; therefore, there is no cure available for it too. However depressing this may sound, there is a multifaceted approach to treatment for this condition. The main objective of the treatment is to lessen the impact of the symptoms, but most of all, it is to provide you with a more improved way of life despite the symptoms you are suffering.
Your fibromyalgia treatment will be decided by your physician as well as yourself, taking into consideration factors as available options, your preferences, and alternative treatments. At times, other specialists like a neurologist and a rheumatologist will also be involved in the treatment plan. The treatment will consist of medications, alternative treatments, self-helps, and lifestyle change to work since fibromyalgia has a lot of symptoms.
Medications – various kinds of medications are needed for an individual who suffers from fibromyalgia. The most common medications are antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and painkillers. Medications for sleeplessness will also be prescribed as well as anticonvulsants.
Alternative treatments – these include natural remedies and alternative therapies such as psychotherapy and physiotherapy. Acupuncture is also another alternative treatment that could greatly relieve you of the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Physical therapy is also one way of coping with the pain of fibromyalgia, and it also helps you become stronger.
Lifestyle changes – in a recent survey, it was found that there is a high likelihood of fibromyalgia for individuals who smoke, drink, and do drugs. If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, you are advised to shy away from all these habits, and turn your lifestyle into a healthier and much more productive one.
Another thing that would keep your hopes up and give you the will to keep on living is by joining support groups. Knowing that there are a lot of people who are suffering from the same condition as you have and being able to draw strength from one another can make the journey to recovery a better one!