Fibromyalgia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Fibromyalgia, despite its prevalence, is a poorly understood condition. It causes extensive discomfort throughout the body, with sore patches around key joints. Fibromyalgia pain prevents people from functioning regularly, partially because they are often weary. Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long-term) disorder that generally requires years of therapy. It can develop in conjunction with other types of arthritis or on its own. It might happen after an injury or out of nowhere. The majority of fibromyalgia patients are middle-aged women.
Fibromyalgia reasons are unclear, but one thing is sure: you are not making it up. Many patients have been informed by family members or other doctors that it’s all in their heads. People with fibromyalgia are frequently sad, and stress exacerbates symptoms. However, sadness and stress do not appear to be the primary causes of the condition.
Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with other disorders such as arthritis, Lyme disease, or thyroid issues. It might also develop as a result of a significant injury. Fibromyalgia may occur as a result of several problems.
Approximately 80% of all fibromyalgia patients experience sleeping difficulties. Because fibromyalgia is so tightly linked to sleep disruption, it is conceivable that sleep disturbance is a critical contributing element in certain patients. In fact, studies have shown that altering sleep patterns can cause fibromyalgia-like symptoms in healthy persons.
Fibromyalgia symptoms are long-lasting and severe. They can, however, fluctuate from day to day. The symptoms of the condition include:
- Pain and stiffness around the back of the neck, top of the shoulders, centre of the chest, elbows, knees, low back, and buttocks.
- Constant exhaustion that does not improve with sleep.
- Tension headaches
- Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
- A sensation of swelling in the hands
- Constipation, diarrhoea, and stomach discomfort (known as irritable bowel syndrome)
- Severe PMS discomfort in women
Treatment for fibromyalgia will take a management approach until the specific pathogenic pathways are established. Medication and various other non-drug treatments are used as first-line therapy. Unfortunately, there is no miracle drug that patients can use to relieve pain, enhance sleep, or restore vitality. Instead, numerous drugs that can affect the neural system in various ways are accessible for treatment. However, pain medications, whether over-the-counter or prescribed, are rarely effective on their own. In addition, many pain relievers are addictive and should be taken with extreme caution.
It is unknown whether fibromyalgia can ever be cured. That being said, the symptoms of the condition can be treated or managed. Treatment of fibromyalgia is a collaborative effort between the doctor and the patient. To alleviate the symptoms, you must be ready to adopt lifestyle adjustments as well as focus on your psychological wellness. Other therapies or lifestyle modifications that your doctor may prescribe are as follows:
- Exercise (aerobic and strength training)
- Pain medication
- Heat therapy
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
All the studies so far support the necessity for a multidisciplinary approach to this problem. Alleviating symptoms, enhancing the quality of life, and minimising suffering are all achievable goals. Any treatment plan will most likely last for several years. Patients, though, do improve. In an ideal scenario, the patient is the manager who collaborates with other professionals to develop the most successful strategy.