Diagnosing and Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a common chronic pain disorder, characterized by widespread muscle pain and tenderness and frequently accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, mood issues and cognitive difficulties. The literal translation of fibromyalgia is “pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons.”
The pain caused by fibromyalgia can be profound, chronic, and widespread in the body. It can migrate to different parts of the body and vary in intensity over time. The pain it causes is often described as stabbing and shooting pain and deep muscular aching, throbbing, and twitching. “Tender points” include specific areas on the neck, shoulder, back, hips, arms, and legs.
Fibromyalgia symptoms go beyond pain. This condition can also affect a person’s thinking ability (also known as “fibro fog”) and energy level. Many people feel fatigued in the fast-paced lifestyle led by New Yorkers. However, the fatigue brought on by fibromyalgia can be a debilitating, all-encompassing exhaustion that interferes with almost every aspect of one’s everyday life.
Although the ultimate causes of fibromyalgia are not yet fully understood, its considerable prevalence and symptoms are well-documented. An estimated 10 million Americans are affected by fibromyalgia. Risk factors include age, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Although fibromyalgia affects people of all ages, including children, most sufferers are diagnosed during middle age. Other risk factors include traumatic events and repetitive injuries, chronic illness, family history of fibromyalgia, and obesity. Women account for between 80 to 90 percent of all fibromyalgia cases, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The most common symptoms of [fibromyalgia] are:
- Pain and stiffness all over the body
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
- Headaches, as well as migraines
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Pain in the face or jaw, including the jaw disorder known as TMJ
Additional symptoms may include: digestive problems, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, restless legs syndrome, impaired memory and concentration, rashes, dry eyes and mouth, ringing in ears, dizziness, vision problems, Raynaud’s Syndrome, other neurological symptoms, and impaired coordination.
A diagnosis can be made if you experience and ongoing and widespread pain for three months or longer. This includes pain that has no identifiable causes related to other conditions.
Treatment options for fibromyalgia symptoms should be informed by a thorough diagnosis by a neurologist or pain management specialist, and ought to be assessed on an individual level according to each patient’s medical history. Treatments are usually focused on managing pain and improving quality of life, which is done through self-care, medication, and controlling comorbid conditions. Medication options may include over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers, antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, and muscle relaxants. Self-care treatments may include physical therapy, yoga, massage therapy, exercise, and diet. Therapy can reduce stress and anxiety that trigger fibromyalgia symptoms. If you suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by a trained specialist that can diagnose your condition and design a treatment plan that is right for you.
If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of fibromyalgia, book your consultation with Cayman Neurology and Pain Management today.