Causes and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Understanding fibromyalgia (FMS) is difficult. There isn’t any single explanation defining it and causes are unknown. The one common thread is pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons which can last for several months to years. And since the cause of the disorder is unknown, doctors are hesitant to diagnose it. Symptoms vary in severity from person to person, ranging from mild to debilitating. It is commonly misunderstood and misdiagnosed. In fact, this was the norm up until the 1980s.
FMS is a complex, chronic condition marked by musculoskeletal stiffness, pain, generalized fatigue, and sleep disturbance. Sufferers may also experience gastrointestinal disorders, headaches, memory problems and anxiety or depression.Some report having difficulty sleeping and sleep apnea. However, muscle pain is the most common symptom and is usually widespread throughout the body. But, over time, it may start in one general location and radiate to other parts of the body.
The pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia can severely affect work performance, relationships and daily activities. FMS sufferers may also experience chronic fatigue as pain makes it difficult to sleep. Fibromyalgia causes abnormal sleep patterns and lack of sleep can cause a person to become anxious and depressed. About one 4th of all FMS patients require treatment for clinical depression.
Other Symptoms associated with fibromyalgia include:
· Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
· Difficulty with balance
· Chest pain
· Short term memory loss or difficulty with cognitive function, and difficulty concentrating
There is still much that remains to be known about FMS. The exact etiology of the condition has still not been pinpointed. Physical or emotional trauma may play a role. Some evidence suggests fibromyalgia patients have abnormal pain transmission responses which may cause sleep disturbances, which are common in fibromyalgia patients. However, researchers have developed several other theories about what might trigger it. These are:
· Injury or physical trauma
· Emotional trauma
· Lyme disease
· Weakened immune system.
About 8 million Americans suffer from FMS, the majority of which are women.This number continues to grow as health care providers learn more about the illness and its symptoms. Treatment for FMS begins with the health care provider. They will ask questions about symptoms and provide diagnostic testing.
Medications can relieve symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, such as pain and inflammation. Treatment may also involve lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activity, a healthy diet and adequate sleep. Weight loss will reduce stress on affected muscles and joints.
Some common medications used for fibromyalgia treatment include:
· Analgesics: Aspirin or acetaminophen
· Antidepressants: Duloxetine (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac), or milnacipran (Savella.)
· Anti-seizure medications: Gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica.)
· No steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin.
Here are a few tips physicians recommend to relieve FMS symptoms:
· Proper Diet and Nutrition
· Exercise and stretching
· Eliminating diet drinks, coffee and alcohol
· Stress release techniques
May 12th has been designated as “Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.” Most FMS Support Groups will offer seminars and other educational opportunities about fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. Joining a Fibromyalgia Support Group can keep sufferers in touch with the latest events. Find out more in depth information about FMS and joining a group at http://www.fibromyalgia-support.org/ and get involved in their active forums.