- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Are you affected with Fibromyalgia?
What is fibromyalgia?
The main identifying features of fibromyalgia are chronic pain throughout the body, sleeplessness, tender points that cause intense pain waves at the slightest touch and fatigue. Fibromyalgia affects women more than men with the ratio of 10:1. Research is still being conducted in this field to decipher the mysterious nature of the disease and to find out substantial treatment options for the fibro sufferers. The life altering syndrome has many symptoms which are not consistent. Patients can go on living normally for a week and have unbearable months stretching over them. Fibro patients are doomed to a life of eternal pain and fatigue that not only withers the organs but also dampens the senses.
Some other symptoms of fibromyalgia are
- Morning stiffness: waking up all achy and stiff
- Trouble falling asleep
- Painful periods
- Memory and concentration problems
- Tingling, burning and numbness in the hands and feet
- Constant fatigue and weakness
- Flu like symptoms
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Depression and anxiety
If you have all these symptoms, you need to get a detailed diagnosis to confirm your condition. This is imperative as the treatment will commence upon the diagnosis of the disease.
What are the causes of fibromyalgia?
Some researches point to the fact that people affected with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Lyme disease and deep depression are very likely to develop fibromyalgia. Termination of an illness or some sort of trauma can also trigger fibromyalgia in a person. Multiple sclerosis is also one of the most widespread causes of fibromyalgia.
Other than that, women falling in the age group of 20-50 are at a great risk of developing fibromyalgia. Hormonal changes such as menopause can also cause fibromyalgia.
What are the tests needed to confirm that you have fibromyalgia?
If you have all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, you will be asked to pass through certain tests. These are:
- Previous medical history
- Blood tests
- Tender points examination: Fibromyalgia patient must have tenderness or pain in at least 11 of the 18 known tender areas to qualify for a fibro patient.
- Pain test: The patient must have widespread pain in all the four quadrants of the body for a period of 3 months.
It is important to note that diagnosing fibromyalgia is a very challenging task. Since most of the fibro symptoms overlap with other diseases, coming to the right conclusion takes a lot of time. Fibromyalgia diagnosis can take up to 3-5 years in some patients. Millions of people live with fibromyalgia without even knowing that they have a disease. Their chronic pain is written off as simply a ‘work of the nerves’ or ‘age factor’.
For those living with the terror of fibromyalgia, it is imperative that individual self management techniques be devised and the advice of professional healthcare people be sought to improve the quality of life and to cope better with fibromyalgia.
Accepting the disease and getting emotional help
Once you are aware that you have a ceaseless disease that is incurable, you are mentally flabbergasted. You believe that fate has pulled some joke on you. At this time getting emotional help can do the trick and help you to come to terms with your condition. Finding someone who believes in you and is ready to go with you till the end can be immensely helpful. Moreover, it gives you fresh strength and spirit to deal with the fibro pain and fatigue.
Pain management with medications
Pain relievers, anti-depressants, anti-seizure medications and muscle relaxants can help you to deal with the pain and bring about a reduction in the intensity of the fibro pain waves.
Sleep disorders are the highlighting symptom of fibromyalgia. You can correct your sleeping problems by taking sleep medications, changing your mattress, changing your bedroom, changing room color etc to give your mind a completely altered décor. Scheduling sleep timetables and following them rigidly also helps to correct sleeping problems.
Fighting with fatigue and depression
Fibro patients are always tired and fatigued. They never seem to garner the strength to perform even their favorite things. Though fighting off fibro fatigue is terribly challenging, you can start vitamin and mineral supplements to aid you in covering your nutritional deficiencies. You can start replacing processed and fast food with healthy fresh food. You can get the help of a fibro nutritionist to help you decide which food is best for your condition.
Fighting off depression is just a matter of willpower. The more you think about your disease and your helplessness in defeating off the disease, the more upset and depressed you are going to be. The best thing to keep your mind off stress is to find a creative distraction such as reading books, painting, crocheting, gardening, cooking etc.
Besides a well managed fibro pain plan, you can also try integrating exercise routines such as yoga, meditation, bicycling etc to boost your plan with a potent fitness strategy.