Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. The disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated % of the. If you're suffering from fibromyalgia, you might feel sometimes like you're completely alone. You might feel like no one seems to understand or. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called abnormal pain perception processing. Fibromyalgia.
Suffer Fibromyalgia Many People How From
Fibromyalgia and its connection to these illnesses should not be ignored. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that impairs the joints and causes chronic pain. Though the symptoms can feel similar to arthritis, it does not cause inflammation at the joints or muscles. Fibromyalgia may cause people to experience sleep problems, headaches, and temperature sensitivity, as well as memory difficulties and numbness or tingling in arms and legs.
Research suggests that people with fibromyalgia are hypersensitive to stimuli that are not painful to others, perhaps due to a reduced blood flow to the portion of the brain that regulates pain.
Often misunderstood, fibromyalgia affects 3 to 6 million Americans — as many as one in Women are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder, and most are diagnosed during middle age. People with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and spinal arthritis are also more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
A person must have widespread pain lasting for more than three months and at least 11 of 18 designated tender point sites on the body, as classified by the American College of Rheumatology ACR. But diagnosis can be difficult because not all doctors are familiar with the condition, and there is no lab test to detect it. Fibromyalgia is also difficult to diagnose because its symptoms of fatigue and disturbed sleep describe several medical conditions.
This could be due to changes to chemicals in the nervous system. The central nervous system brain, spinal cord and nerves transmits information all over your body through a network of specialised cells. Changes in the way this system works may explain why fibromyalgia results in constant feelings of, and extreme sensitivity to, pain.
Low levels of these hormones may be a key factor in the cause of fibromyalgia, as they're important in regulating things such as:. Some researchers have also suggested that changes in the levels of some other hormones, such as cortisol which is released when the body is under stress , may contribute to fibromyalgia.
It's possible that disturbed sleep patterns may be a cause of fibromyalgia, rather than just a symptom. Fibromyalgia can prevent you from sleeping deeply and cause fatigue extreme tiredness. Research has suggested that genetics may play a small part in the development of fibromyalgia, with some people perhaps more likely than others to develop the condition because of their genes.
Fibromyalgia is often triggered by a stressful event, including physical stress or emotional psychological stress. Possible triggers for the condition include:. There are several other conditions often associated with fibromyalgia.
Generally, these are rheumatic conditions affecting the joints, muscles and bones , such as:. Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be difficult, as there's no specific test to diagnose the condition. During diagnosis, you'll be asked about how your symptoms are affecting your daily life.
If your GP thinks you may have fibromyalgia, they'll first have to rule out all other conditions that could be causing your symptoms. These conditions may include:. If you're found to have another condition, you could still have fibromyalgia as well. For fibromyalgia to be diagnosed, certain criteria usually have to be met. If your symptoms suggest that you have another condition as well as fibromyalgia, you may need further tests to diagnose these.
Identifying all possible conditions will help to guide your treatment. Treatment for fibromyalgia tries to ease some of your symptoms and improve quality of life, but there's currently no cure.
Your GP will play an important role in your treatment and care. In some cases, several different healthcare professionals may also be involved in your care, such as:. Fibromyalgia has numerous symptoms, meaning that no single treatment will work for all of them. Treatments that work for some people won't necessarily work for others. You may need to try a variety of treatments to find a combination that suits you. This will normally be a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
You may find it helpful to research fibromyalgia to improve your understanding of the condition. Many people also find support groups helpful.
Just talking to someone who knows what you're going though can make you feel better. Fibromyalgia Action UK is a charity that offers information and support to anyone who has fibromyalgia.
You may need to take several different types of medicines for fibromyalgia, including painkillers and antidepressants. These are described below. They boost the levels of certain chemicals that carry messages to and from the brain, known as neurotransmitters. For information on the side effects of your particular medication, check the patient information leaflet that comes with it. As fibromyalgia can affect your sleeping patterns, you may want medicine to help you sleep. If you're sleeping better, you may find that other symptoms aren't as severe.
They may recommend an over-the-counter remedy, or prescribe a short course of a stronger medication. Some antidepressants may also improve your sleep quality. If you have muscle stiffness or spasms when the muscles contract painfully as a result of fibromyalgia, your GP may prescribe a short course of a muscle relaxant, such as diazepam.
These medicines may also help you sleep better because they can have a sedative sleep-inducing effect. You may also be prescribed an anticonvulsant anti-seizure medicine, as these can be effective for those with fibromyalgia. These are normally used to treat epilepsy , but research has shown they can improve the pain associated with fibromyalgia in some people. Antipsychotic medicines, also called neuroleptics, are sometimes used to help relieve long-term pain.
Studies have shown that these medications may help conditions such as fibromyalgia, but further research is needed to confirm this. There's little scientific evidence that such treatments help in the long term.
However, some people find that certain treatments help them to relax and feel less stressed, allowing them to cope with their condition better. Research into some complementary medicines, such as plant extracts, has found they're not effective in treating fibromyalgia. If you decide to use any complementary or herbal remedies, check with your GP first. Some remedies can react unpredictably with other medication, or make it less effective. For example, additional counselling or medication may be recommended.
If you have fibromyalgia, there are several ways to change your lifestyle to help relieve your symptoms and make your condition easier to live with. Your GP, or another healthcare professional treating you, can offer advice and support about making these changes part of your everyday life. There are organisations to support people with fibromyalgia that may also be able to offer advice.
You may also find it helpful to talk to other people with fibromyalgia on this online community. As fatigue extreme tiredness and pain are two of the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, you may find that you're not able to exercise as much as you'd like.
However, an exercise programme specially suited to your condition can help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health. Your GP or physiotherapist healthcare professional trained in using physical techniques to promote healing can design you a personal exercise programme, which is likely to involve a mixture of aerobic and strengthening exercises.
Aerobic activities are any kind of rhythmic, moderate-intensity exercises that increase your heart rate and make you breathe harder. Some patients may experience excessive sweating. This can be countered by certain medications and if the problem is very bad, botox can be useful. Vitamin D deficiency is common. Speak to your doctor to check your levels and find out if you need to take supplements. Our resident columnist, Robin Dix, talks about living with fibromyalgia-related brain fog.
Most fibromyalgia patients will report psychological symptoms as well as the physical ones such as pain and fatigue. Brain fog is a very common symptom of fibromyalgia, as are depression and anxiety. Brain fog leads to problems with memory, concentration, organizational skills and other cognitive problems. Fibromyalgia is often a secondary condition. Not all fibro patients experience the same symptoms.
There are so many different ways that fibromyalgia can affect a person that patients may suffer a myriad of different symptoms with each having a unique experience of the disease. Eight ways to alleviate morning stiffness. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. I have been living with Fibromyalgia for 8 years.
Just in the past year I have had more pain than I have ever had.
Fibromyalgia is believed to affect about 5 million people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About % of women and. Fact: The majority of people with fibromyalgia are women (about 80%). But, remember that fibromyalgia is a common condition. That means many men are. As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have: It's not clear exactly how many people are affected by fibromyalgia, although research.