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What is Fibromyalgia? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Fibromyalgia causes an aching, all-over pain in its patients that cannot easily be soothed, and it affects nearly ten million Americans. While much is still unknown about this chronic pain condition, some notable symptoms may be a cause to talk to your doctor. If you or a loved one is living with chronic pain, read on to learn if what you are experiencing may be Fibromyalgia.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition. Since its symptoms mimic several other chronic pain conditions (such as arthritis) or mood disorders (such as depression), and there is no laboratory test to determine its presence, Fibromyalgia is often difficult to diagnose. As a result, some patients live with persistent, debilitating pain for years without fully understanding their condition.

What Causes Fibromyalgia? 

Doctors and researchers are still searching for the cause of this chronic pain condition. Some experts believe those who suffer from it experience an issue with how their brain and spinal cord processes nerve pain signals.

Who is at Risk of Fibromyalgia? 

You may be at a higher risk of being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia if you:

  • Are a woman
  • Have been diagnosed with a mood disorder such as depression or anxiety
  • Have been diagnosed with another chronic pain disease, such as arthritis
  • Have post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Were physically or emotionally abused
  • Live a sedentary lifestyle
  • Have other members of your family who have been diagnosed with the disease

What are the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

The most prevalent symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia are muscle and joint pain and fatigue. More specifically, symptoms include:

  • A dull ache all over the body or in specific, overlapping regions of the body including the back of the head, the upper chest, the tops of the shoulders, hips, knees, and outer elbows
  • Muscle pain, tightness, twitching, or burning
  • Designated tender points in your muscles or joints that experience intense flares of pain
  • An overall low threshold for pain
  • Malaise or fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Sleeping for long sessions without feeling rested
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering details
  • Bladder issues such as intestinal cystitis
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Anxiousness or constant worry
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Painful periods (for women)

Treatment for Fibromyalgia

While there is no known cure today for Fibromyalgia, symptoms may improve with some lifestyle modifications, medication, and diet changes. Possible medication options may include pain relievers, antidepressants, or anti-seizure drugs. Physical and occupational therapy have also been proven effective in improving flexibility and muscle strength, which can ease symptoms. Talk therapy may also help those struggling with the day-to-day impact that living with chronic pain has on their lifestyle.

If you are living with chronic pain, and believe that Fibromyalgia may be the cause, talk to your doctor. He or she can assess your symptoms, offer a diagnosis, and collaborate with you on a personalized and effective treatment plan.