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Fibromyalgia and Pain

Updated on October 22, 2012
Chronic Pain Illness
Chronic Pain Illness

What The Heck Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition whereby a person experiences chronic wide-spread body pains, stiffness and many more other symptoms.

Fibromylagia and pain go hand in hand, if one has fibromylagia then you will undoubtedly experience widespread pain and if you are experiencing this kind of pain then you most likely have Fibromyalgia but need to be diagnosed by a Rheumatologist.

Fibromylagia should not be confused with arthritis because it does not lead to inflammation or damaging of muscles, joints and other tissues.

Majority of Fibromyalgia Victims are Women
Majority of Fibromyalgia Victims are Women

Who are most likely to develop Fibromyalgia and pain caused by it?

Studies and researches have found that almost 5 million people are affected by fibromyalgia. The age groups mostly affected are 18 years and older.

Between 80 and 90% of those who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women though men and children still do report some cases.

Strong Familial Link

Several studies have shown that women who have a family member diagnosed with fibromyalgia are more likely to develop it also.

Some Rheumatic diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, Systemic Lupus Eryrhematosus and Spinal arthritis increase the chances of one being diagnosed with fibromyalgia too.

So what can cause Fibromyalgia to Start?

The following are possible factors that can lead to triggering the onset of fibromyalgia:

1. Psychological factors such as Depression, Anxiety and Post traumatic stress.
2. Physical trauma such repetitive injuries.
3. Genetic inheritance.
4. Hypodopaminergia or dopamine dysfunction.
5. Poor sleeping habits.
6. Abnormal metabolism of serotonin.
7. Insufficient growth hormone secretion.
8. Neuro-immunoendocrine disorder.
9. Sympathetic hyper activity.
10. Abnormalities in cerebrospinal fluids.
11. Polymodal sensitivity.
12. Immune system response to intestinal bacteria.
13. Poor nutrition.
14. Changes in weather.
15. Sleeplessness
16. Surgical Procedure
17. Trauma to the body

Pain and Depression of Fibromyalgia
Pain and Depression of Fibromyalgia

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Now that you know what can cause fibromyalgia to start, i am sure you are interested to know what are the symptoms are or how they display themeselves when they develop. The following is a list of symptoms to help you out:

Like i have said before Fibromyalgia and pain go hand in hand so the first symptom is wide-spread body pain in the joints and muscle tissue.
Other symptoms include:

1. Fatigue.
2. Memory and cognitive dysfunction.
3. Sleep disturbances.
4. Swallowing difficulty.
5. Abnormal bowel and bladder movement.
6. Numbness or tingling sensation.
7. Severe headaches.
8. Restless leg syndrome.
9. Body stiffness when waking in the morning.
10. Painful menstruation.
11. High sensitivity to temperature differences.
12. Heart palpitations.
13. Reduced exercising ability.
14. High sensitivity towards loud sounds or bright lights.
15. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
16. Depression

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is a difficult process because most of the symptoms overlap with those of other medical conditions.

Doctors often use the "Ruling-out-diagnosis method" which is that they rule out other possible medical conditions that might lead to the patient experiencing same symptoms,and once the doctor has carefully ruled out any other possible cause then he/she can make a verdict.
So one should seek a qualified doctor "Rheumatologist" who has a lot of experience when it come to handling fibromyalgia patients.

Blood and urine tests can be carried out to rule out other other medical condition which show similar symptoms.

For one to successfully be diagnosed as having fibromyalgia and pain related to it, one must experience at least three months of wide spread body pain in the muscles and joints and tenderness between 11 to 18 different body regions which include:

i. Elbows
ii. Knees
iii. Lower back
iv. Neck
v. Chest
vi. Shoulders
vii. Rib cage
ix. Thighs.
x. Chest.

Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates
TENS units
TENS units
Therapeutic Ultrasound For Pain and Healing
Therapeutic Ultrasound For Pain and Healing

How can fibromyalgia be treated?

Treatment of fibromyalgia is a difficult process because it mostly deals with symptom management and also not all doctors are familiar with it and don't know what treatment to administer hence one should seek the help of a qualified fibromyalgia specialist.

Fibromyalgia treatment is usually a team process requiring the combined help of your doctor, your physical therapist, chiropractor, other health professionals and most importantly you.

Natural means of treatment include:

a. Physical therapy.
b. Massaging and other relaxation techniques to relieve stress.
c. Exercising.
d. Good nutrition.
e. Acupuncture.
f. Practicing good sleeping routines.
g. Avoiding caffeine.
h. Heat Ultrasound
i. Laser light therapy
j. Spinal adjustments
k. TENS unit therapy
l. Acupressure
m. Yoga
n. Meditation

These many treatments can be combined through chiropractic care, physical therapists and other health professionals.

If these natural treatments fail then your doctor nights decide to give you drugs.

Duloxetine (cymbalta) , Milnacipran (Savella)and Pregabalin (Lyrica) are the only three medications approved by the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to be used in the treatment of fibromyalgia.

Though many other drugs can be used to manage the symptoms such as:

1. Anti-Depressants

These are drugs that help in treatment of depression by elevating levels of certain brain chemicals that are associated with depression, pain and fatigue.

2. Muscle relaxants

These are drugs which come in various forms like sprays, ointments and pills to help relax ones body muscles reducing stiffness.

3. Analgesics or pain-relievers

Analgesics also popularly known as pain killers range from over the counter painkillers to prescription medicine to even stronger narcotic painkillers.

4. Sleeping aids

These can be in the form of drugs or some foods which induce sleep.

Many times, drugs will be combined with natural treatments and may have to be adjusted at when the body gets used to one combination and it stops being affective.


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    • Victoria Wallcot profile image

      Victoria Wallcot 5 years ago from New York

      Great piece of writing or i would rather say a gem :-) keep the good work up

    • lmw5 profile image

      lmw5 5 years ago

      Great article on fibromyalgia. I was placed on Lyrica for control of this condition and I'm one of the lucky people that it actually works for. I don't think I could function without it. The pain and fatigue it causes leaves you able to do nothing but lie on the couch.

    • mreynolds4 profile image

      mreynolds4 5 years ago

      Thanks Ms Dee. I am grateful for your input. I have had it for years too and it's great to stick together and share as much information as possible.

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      Nice overview of Fibromyalgia. As one who has had it for years, I'd like to recommend a book by a doctor who has the disease, "Figuring Out Fibromyalgia: Current Science and the Most Effective Treatments" published last year (2011) by Ginevra Liptan. Even though I'd read a lot about FM, I learned quite a few things from the book. One is that the cause of the pain is not being able to get enough deep sleep due to the body being stuck in the 'fight or flight' mode. Also explained is that the pain is not in the joints and not really in the muscles but in the fascia in which the muscles are encased--much more painful than muscle pain.