In its website, the University of Michigan Health System provides us with small insight on Fibromyalgia which briefly describes the condition’s symptoms, diagnosis, and effects. The article describes fibromyalgia as a “chronic (ongoing) condition of widespread pain, tenderness and fatigue.”
Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome that affects a high number of the U.S. It is estimated that approximately 3-6% of the U.S. population suffers from Fibromyalgia. Although a higher percentage of women are affected, it does strike men, women and children of all ages and races.
The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but research points to two fundamental problems: the way the spinal cord and brain process pain signals, and the lack of the cortisol hormone. Some of the possible triggers of fibromyalgia include infections, physical trauma, psychological stress, and hormonal alterations.
The mainly symptoms of fibromyalgia are pain, fatigue, and sleep difficulty. There are other symptoms like digestive problems (irritable bowel and bladder), headaches, rashes, and even impaired coordination.
Fibromyalgia pain can be widespread and chronic. It can be in any parts of the body and changes in intensity. Victims of fibromyalgia describe the pain as a deep muscular aching, and stabbing. Neurological complaints such as numbness, tingling and burning are often present and add to the discomfort of the person. The severity of the pain and stiffness is often worse in the morning. Some of the factors which can affect the pain a Fibromyalgia patient feels include cold/humid weather, bad sleep, physical and mental fatigue, excessive physical activity, physical inactivity, anxiety, stress and depression
The fatigue to a fibromyalgia victim is much a lot more than being tired; it interferes with even their simplest of their daily activities, this exhaustion can leave the patient with a limited ability to function mentally as well as physically.
There are no laboratory tests available for diagnosing Fibromyalgia. Health Care providers rely on patient histories, self-reported symptoms, physical examinations and an accurate manual tender point examination.
X-rays, blood tests, and muscle biopsies are normal in people with fibromyalgia. The health care provider focuses on your features of pain and tenderness to distinguish it from other rheumatic disorders. The health care provider may test the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and the ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) values to rule out other conditions.
As for many other sicknesses, treatment for fibromyalgia should include education, medication and exercise. Alternative therapies may also be helpful.
It is very important that a patient suffering from fibromyalgia recognizes the need for a lifestyle change. By educating themselves about fibromyalgia s the patient has a higher potential of improvement. Some over-the-counter pain medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be helpful for relieving fibromyalgia pain, however the most important aspect of pain management could be the implementation of a regular program of gentle exercise and stretching, which helps maintain muscle tone and reduces pain and stiffness.
To achieve a better sleep, the patient should implement a disciplined sleep regimen like s going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, making sure that the sleeping environment is encouraging to sleep (like a comfortable bed with a quiet room) avoiding caffeine, sugar and alcohol before bed, doing some type of light exercise during the day, avoiding eating immediately before bedtime and practicing relaxation exercises as you fall to sleep.
It is also important that the fibromyalgia patient sets time aside to relax and distress. Only by developing regular fun distractions, like reading, watching TV, going out for walks, or developing a hobby, can greatly help patients, person to relax and let their mind rest of the daily routine and worries.
There is no known way to prevent fibromyalgia. However, as with many other medical problems, staying as healthy as possible with a good diet, regular exercise, and good rest are the best recommendations for fibromyalgia patients to live well. As the cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, it is important to always educate ourselves and become aware of the many treatments and possibilities that become available with the time.