Fibromyalgia is one of those conditions everyone has heard of but few understand. It is one of the most common chronic pain conditions in the world, affecting at least 10 million Americans and around 3%-6% of the world population. It is most prevalent in women, although children and men are susceptible to the disease.
Signs and Symptoms
Many fibromyalgia sufferers also experience other painful conditions like TMJ, tension headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. Often, fibromyalgia patients also experience anxiety and depression. The most common signs and symptoms include:
- Widespread pain characterized as a dull ache lasting at least three months.
- Fatigue, even after long hours of sleep. Sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea are also common in fibromyalgia patients.
- Cognitive issues. Known as fibrofog, fibromyalgia patients often have difficulty with concentration, memory, and focus.
Causes and Risk Factors
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown though experts believe certain factors working together are linked to the development of the disease. These factors include genetics, infection and physical or emotional trauma. You are at an increased risk for fibromyalgia if you have a family history of the disease, are female, and also suffer from other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and lupus.
Pain from fibromyalgia can lead to lack of sleep and other complications, such as disruption to daily life. Fibromyalgia is a widely misunderstood disease that often leads to depression in patients as a result.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are no lab tests that confirm fibromyalgia. Rather, doctors use lab tests to rule out other conditions and diagnose based on symptoms, particularly the presence of chronic pain for longer than three months that is not related to another underlying medical condition.
Treatment for fibromyalgia includes self-care and certain medications including pain relievers such as OTC pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol, or a nonnarcotic pain reliever such as Ultram. Narcotics are not recommended due to the risk of addiction. Antidepressants like Cymbalta and Savella may also help ease the pain of fibromyalgia, along with antiseizure medications such as gabapentin (Neurontin). Therapy including physical and occupational therapy along with counseling is also recommended.
Self-care is key to easing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and reducing stress is essential to fighting symptoms. Medication alone is not enough to keep fibromyalgia in check.
If you think you or someone you love could be suffering from fibromyalgia symptoms, contact EliteCare today to schedule an appointment. Though there is no cure, a proper diagnosis is the first step in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. Dial 662-348-3342 to request an appointment now.