The Basics: What is Fibromyalgia?

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain that affects the muscles and soft tissue. The exact cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, but is believed to be through genetics.

Approximately 2-4% Americans are living with Fibromyalgia (about 4 million American Adults). Women are more likely than men to get Fibromyalgia.

What are the Common Symptoms?

Common Symptoms include: Chronic Muscle Pain Fatigue Sleep Problems Painful Tender Points Trigger Points Depression Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Pain is the most common symptom of fibromyalgia, and is usually felt in muscles tendon and ligaments around the joints. Unfortunately, the challenge with diagnosing Fibromyalgia is that, the symptoms overlay with a lot of other health conditions. It takes an average of five years for a fibromyalgia patient to get diagnosed.

People with Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis are more likely to develop Fibromyalgia. This is a risk factor that is likely to cause the onset of Fibromyalgia.

What are the causes of Fibromyalgia?

As we mentioned earlier, the cause of Fibromyalgia is not entirely known, but evidence highly supports that the cause is linked to genetics. There is also belief that the onset of Fibromyalgia can be triggered through physical and emotional trauma.

Why does it hurt?

According to the NIH.GOV, researchers believe that a person’s genetic makeup regulate a person’s response to painful stimuli. A person’s pain is dictated by the repeated nerve stimuli from pain receptors. People who develop Fibromyalgia, experience change with their nerve stimulation. This involved with an abnormal increase of level of neurotransmitters that signal pain. As a result the brain’s receptor develop a sort of memory path of the pain, becoming more sensitive and over reactive to pain signals.

How is it Diagnosed?

As we mentioned earlier, diagnosing Fibromyalgia can be tricky because of its general symptoms that are common to other health conditions. Your doctor may require you to complete a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test to rule out any serious illnesses. In addition, Doctors may require you to have thyroid test be done to check for hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a gland responsible for signaling the release of many important hormone is your body to function and regulate. Hypothyroidism, which is an underactive thyroid, can cause problems similar to Fibromyalgia, which includes fatigue, muscle aches, weakness and depression.

Treatment:

Currently there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, however, Doctors may prescribe medicine to treat symptoms.

Doctors can prescribe pain relievers to help reduce the muscle pain, or even antidepressants to treat depression.

Alternative therapy to help Fibromyalgia patients are massage treatments and aerobic exercise.

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