Fibromyalgia is a long-term chronic disease that causes the following problems: Pain in muscles and bones.
Irritable and pain in sensitive areas.
Sleep disorders and cognitive disorders.
It is difficult to diagnose even for doctors because its symptoms are very similar to other diseases. And there is no specific test to confirm the disease. As a result, the disease is usually not diagnosed.
Treating this disease is challenging, but taking medication, lifestyle changes will help control the symptoms and improve the quality of life to some extent.
Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia causes painful areas in the body. The pain felt in these areas is constant pain. If a person feels pain in 4 of the 5 areas identified for the disease, the doctor will diagnose that he or she has the disease. The type of pain that is felt in this disease is called diffuse or widespread pain. To diagnose the disease, the emphasis is placed on specific areas of the body that have musculoskeletal pain and the severity and duration of the pain.
Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
Sleep for a long time, without feeling rested enough.
Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
Pain in the lower torso
Bladder problems such as interstitial cysts
Fibromyalgia in women
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are usually worse in women than in men. Diffuse pain is much more common in women than in men. And they are more likely to show symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and morning fatigue. Painful menstrual periods are also very common. Reaching menopause in women can exacerbate fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia in men
Men also get the disease. But it usually remains unknown in men, as fibromyalgia is commonly recognized as a gynecological disease. Men also experience a lot of pain and emotional changes. The disease also affects their quality of life, employment status, and relationships. Because there is a belief in society that men should not express their pain, the disease usually remains unknown to them.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
What are the pain points in fibromyalgia?
In the past, if people had diffuse pain and the pain occurred in at least 11 of the 18 specific points called trigger points. The disease was diagnosed in a person. Doctors gently apply pressure to these areas to assess the severity of the pain.
Common pain points or triggers include
Above the shoulder.
Above the chest.
The outer part of the forearm.
Defining the type of fibromyalgia pain.
Pain is the main symptom of fibromyalgia. The person feels it in various muscles and other soft tissues around the body. The pain of the disease will be mild, severe, or unbearable. The severity of the disease will determine the patient’s condition in the future. Despite much research, the root cause of the disease has not yet been determined. And research is ongoing.
When fibromyalgia is felt in the chest, the person will feel pain similar to a heart attack. Chest pain in this condition is usually concentrated in the cartilage that connects the ribs to the chest. This pain may also spread to the shoulders and arms. Chest pain in fibromyalgia may have the following characteristics:
It feels like a tingling sensation in the chest
It feels like a burn
And like a heart attack, you may have trouble holding your breath.
The back is one of the most common parts of the body that feels pain. About 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lives. If a person has low back pain, it is not possible to say for sure that it is due to fibromyalgia or another disease such as arthritis or muscle strain. Other symptoms, such as fog and fatigue, can help diagnose fibromyalgia. It is also possible for a person to have a combination of fibromyalgia and arthritis.
Medications that a person takes to relieve other symptoms of the disease will also help reduce back pain. Doing endurance and stretching exercises will help to strengthen the muscles that protect the soft tissues of the back.
There is also the possibility of fibromyalgia pain in the muscles and soft tissues of the foot. Leg pain caused by the disease is similar to the pain of muscle strain and stiffness caused by arthritis and may have the following conditions:
Along with a burning sensation
Sometimes the feeling of pain in the leg is accompanied by a feeling of numbness or tingling. Sudden, uncontrolled movement of the foot, which is a sign of Restless Legs Syndrome, can overlap with fibromyalgia.
Fatigue sometimes occurs in the legs as well, in which case the person feels heaviness in the lower limbs. The patient feels that heavyweights are pulling them down.
Cause of fibromyalgia
Doctors do not yet know the exact cause of fibromyalgia. According to the latest research, this disease probably has a genetic origin and is triggered by a combination of factors such as stress, infection, and trauma. Let’s take a closer look at the causes of the disease:
Previous illnesses may provoke fibromyalgia or worsen its symptoms. Influenza, pneumonia, gastrointestinal infections caused by Salmonella and Shigella bacteria, and Epstein – Barr virus may be associated with the disease.
If a family member has this problem, other family members are more likely to get it. Researchers believe that some genetic mutations may be effective. They have identified several specific genes that affect the transmission of chemical pain signals between nerve fibers.
People who are exposed to mental, emotional, and physical trauma are more likely to develop the disease. Although this condition is associated with post – traumatic stress disorder.
Like severe trauma, stress also can have irreversible effects on the body. Stress may be associated with hormonal changes and eventually lead to fibromyalgia.
Doctors do not know the main cause of diffuse and comprehensive pain. One reason could be that the brain lowers the pain tolerance threshold. If the factor was not painful before, now with these new conditions, it imposes a lot of pain on the person.
Another reason could be that nerve fibers respond highly to pain signals.
Fibromyalgia and Autoimmunity
In autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s natural tissues. If before this system the body was attacking bacteria and viruses, now it is attacking joints and other healthy tissues.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia are very similar to those of autoimmune disorders. These symptoms usually overlap, reinforcing the theory that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease. This claim, however, is difficult to substantiate, as the disease does not cause inflammation and so far no antibodies have been detected in the blood samples of patients.
Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia
Recurrence of the disease may be related to the following factors: Stress
Injury and Diseases such as the flu.
If the chemicals in the brain are not balanced, the nervous system may not work properly and respond in large ways to normal pain messages.
Other risk factors for the disease include Gender: Most cases of the disease are currently diagnosed in women; However, the cause of this disease is not known in this genus.
Age: The disease is usually diagnosed in middle age, however, the older a person gets, the more likely he or she is to develop the disease. Children also get it.
Family history: Therefore if a close family member is infected, the person is more at risk.
Disease: Although fibromyalgia is not inflammation of the joints, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis will increase the risk of developing FM.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
If a person has been suffering from pain for 3 months or more and feels it all over their body, their doctor will probably diagnose that they have FM. Extensive and comprehensive pain is pain that is felt on both sides of the body. And the person feels it in the upper and lower part between the torso and around the waist. After a thorough clinical examination, the doctor should determine if another illness has caused the pain.
No laboratory diagnostic method or imaging can diagnose the disease. Your doctor may use these methods to diagnose the possible cause of chronic pain. Sometimes it is very difficult to diagnose autoimmune diseases from FM because in many cases the symptoms overlap.
There is currently no definitive cure for fibromyalgia. Treatment emphasizes improving the quality of life and reducing the severity of symptoms
Treatment Methods of Fibromyalgia
Medication is an option to reduce FM pain. Your doctor may recommend over – the – counter ( OTC ) pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. These medications can help:
- Reduce inflammation.
- Also, minimize muscular aches.
- Improve sleep quality.
These can help ease pain and fatigue. Discuss the possible side effects of using antidepressants for FM with your doctor. For some people, anti-depressants can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects such as nausea, weight gain.
These seizure medications may also help reduce pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved pregabalin (Lyrica), the first anti – seizure drug for FM treatment. Gabapentin, which reduces nerve pain, may be suggested. But these medications come with possible side effects including dizziness, weight gain, swelling, dry mouth
You may want to try acupuncture for pain relief. It involves pricking the skin with needles to:
- promote natural self – healing.
- Also, encourage a change in blood flow.
- change the levels of neuro transmitters in your brain.
- treat a variety of health conditions like chronic pain.
The risks of acupuncture include soreness, minor bleeding, and bruising after treatment. So always make sure your acupuncturist is licensed to decrease the risk of infection from unsterilized needles.
Physical therapy techniques aim to improve your range of motion and strengthen the muscles. This can also help reduce FM pain. Your therapist will tailor a program to help manage specific symptoms. They can also teach self – care techniques, including FM education, to help you manage the fatigue and pain on your own.
Reduce of Fatigue
Fatigue is a common symptom of FM. You may wake up in the mornings tired despite sleeping through the night. Simple everyday activities can be exhausting. Options for treating FM fatigue include:
In fact, People with FM often have low levels of vitamin D. In a 2013 study, researchers found that people with FM felt physically better and experienced less fatigue when they took vitamin D supplements. Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements, as too much can be toxic.
Physical activity is also an effective way to combat tiredness and improve your energy levels. Exercise increases the brain’s production of endorphins, improves sleep, and reduces depression. Suggested activities for people with FM include walking, biking, and swimming. Of course for some, getting started is difficult with widespread pain; start slow and increase gradually. Exercise is the only solution that continues to show benefits in controlled trials.
You can incorporate alternative treatments to ease FM symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the following options.
Research has shown that people with FM who participated in yoga classes experienced improved mood and less pain and fatigue. The classes included: gentle poses, meditation, breathing exercises, group discussions. Try taking a yoga class. The practice increases muscle strength, incorporates meditation, and teaches different relaxation methods.
Biofeedback is about learning how to control your body functions. This can help reduce muscle tension and FM pain. There are no side effects associated with this technique, but some people can feel overwhelmed or exhausted after a session. Speak with your doctor to see if you’re a good candidate for biofeedback.
This mind – body technique involves deep breathing, meditation, and controlled movements. Tai chi can improve muscle strength, balance, and stamina. It’s not strenuous, but you can develop sore muscles or sprains if you overdo it.
Massages can relax your muscles, improve range of motion, and reduce stress and anxiety. You could experience temporary bruising, also swelling, and pain if your therapist applies too much pressure.
The basis of BT is about helping people set realistic goals. Patients work on identifying dysfunctional thought patterns and developing methods to manage negative thoughts. Therefore the methods you learn through BT can help to reduce or minimize your FM pain.
In fact, Epsom salt is the same as magnesium sulfate. Soaking the body in a tub containing this salt raises magnesium levels. Because FM is often associated with magnesium deficiency. This soothing bath can also reduce pain and relax.
Mix 2 cups of Epsom salt in a hot tub.
Wash your body with it for about 20 minutes.
Do this 3 times a week.