Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic condition which predominantly affects women. The latest statistics show us that 9 out of every 10 sufferers are women. Fibromyalgia used to be known as fibrositis, however, as more is learnt about this condition, it was re-named to Fibromyalgia.
While this condition does not affect the sufferer’s life span, full recovery from Fibromyalgia is very uncommon and where this happens, the likelihood of a recurrence is very high.
What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The main symptom of Fibromyalgia is that of pain, tender areas of the body and tiredness. However, the symptoms which each patient suffers from vary in both number and degree. The severity of the symptoms can vary due to the level of stress or sometimes the weather. None of the most common symptoms are visible outwardly. All this can make diagnosis of Fibromyalgia very difficult.
There is a big list of the most common symptoms which includes
- Fatigue, severe tiredness and a significant lack of stamina
- Headaches and facial pain, often as a result of neck, shoulder and jaw muscle stiffness
- General pain and stiffness especially in the trunk and abdomen.
- Specific soreness and tenderness
- An itching or burning pain accompanied occasionally with a muscle spasm
- Irritable bowels or bladed, also a need or urgency to pass urine.
- Anxiety and depression
- Poor concentration
- Restlessness in legs.
What is the cause of Fibromyalgia
We don’t know what the cause of Fibromyalgia is yet. There appear to be a number of factors which are common in a significant number of the sufferers of Fibromyalgia though.
- change in sleep pattern
- serotonin deficiency (the mood and sleep regulating hormone)
- some kind of viral infection
- a psychological disturbance
- a lack of exercise
How to treat Fibromyalgia
Due to the fact that we don’t know what causes Fibromyalgia, the treatment generally consists of relieving the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. As with most conditions, there are two sides to treatment which are not necessarily exclusive but should be done in tandem. They are via a variety of medical methods, plus there are a number of things which you can do to help relieve the symptoms.
The self-help methods include
- Increase your level of exercise. It has been shown that those patients with high levels of aerobic fitness generally suffer less from Fibromyalgia
- Regular stretching or yoga
- Avoid using nasal decongestants and also reduce your consumption of coffee and alcohol
- Sometimes more easily said than done, but by controlling your emotions and behavior, hopefully this will reduce your stress levels.
On top of these self help methods, your doctor will probably be able to reduce your symptoms by
- prescribing low dose tricyclic anti-depressants to deal with the serotonin deficiency. This will help to promote better sleep and hopefully reduce the pain
- Local anesthetic mixed with corticosteroids for local pain relief
- Pain killers e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen
- In some cases, stronger narcotic painkillers may be used.