Chances are you have heard about Fibromyalgia, but probably don’t know much about it.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain in the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons; and is diagnosed by exclusion only. This means that all other conditions need to be excluded before a patient can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. For this reason, many people are confused and unaware about this condition, and what it entails.
The pain of fibromyalgia occurs in areas called ‘tender points.’ Common tender points are the front of the knees, the elbows, the hip joints and found the neck. Fibromyalgia affects 2-5% of the US population, including children. This disorder might be hereditary, so you may have family members with similar symptoms.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia are primarily increased sensitivity to pain and may also include:
- Pain– The pain of fibromyalgia has no boundaries. People describe the pain as deep muscular aching, throbbing, shooting, and stabbing. Intense burning may also be present. Often the pain and stiffness are worse in the morning.
- Fatigue– This symptom can be mild in some patients and incapacitating in others.
- Sleep disorder– Most fibromyalgia patients have an associated sleep disorder called the alpha-EEG anomaly. Researchers have found that fibromyalgia patients could fall asleep with out much trouble, but their deep level sleep was constantly interrupted.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome– Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain abdominal gas, and nausea represent symptoms found in 40 – 70% of fibromyalgia patients.
- Chronic headaches– Recurrent migraine or tension-type headache are seen in 70% of the patients.
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ)– This syndrome causes tremendous jaw related face and head pain
You may also have feelings of numbness or tingling in parts of your body, or a feeling of poor blood flow in some areas. Many people are very sensitive to odors, bright lights, loud noises and medicines. In addition, you may have dry eyes or difficulty focusing on nearby objects. Problems with dizziness and balance may also occur. Some people have chest pain, and a rapid or irregular hear beat, or shortness of breath.
Although fibromyalgia causes symptoms that can be very uncomfortable this condition is not life threatening, but it is chronic. There is no cure, but you can do many things to help you feel better. Several medications can help relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia. Many of these medicines are taken before bedtime and improve sleep. Patients will begin to notice the benefits of the medications in about 6 – 8 weeks. One of the best things patients can do is low-impact aerobic exercise. This includes swimming or water exercise, stationary bicycling and exercising on ski type machines. Begin at very low level and continue to increase the length and frequency of exercise until it is at least 30 – 60 minutes at last 4 times / week. It is important to cut stress whenever possible and get as much sleep as needed. Avoid alcohol and caffeine that cause poor sleep.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, call our office today and schedule an appointment, (757) 488-3333.
Treatment is available. Life was not meant to live in pain!