Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

//Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

fibromyalgia pain awareness infographic Monday, May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.

Often called an invisible illness because the symptoms of fibromyalgia are not always easily seen, fibromyalgia is nevertheless a chronic condition that affects approximately five to ten million people in the U.S. Anyone can be affected, but the majority of sufferers are women.

Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain and tenderness in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the body.

It is diagnosed mainly by determining what it isn’t. Often, physicians will rule out other disorders (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) before diagnosis. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from person to person and can also vary in intensity from day to day.

Fibromyalgia sufferers report experiencing some or all of the following:

  • Sleep disturbances (apnea or insomnia)
  • Fatigue
  • Widespread pain
  • Mental health issues (depression or anxiety)
  • Stiffness
  • Cognitive issues (problems with memory and “fibro fog”)

Stress can worsen these symptoms, and sometimes they are accompanied by irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive disorders.

There is no known cause of fibromyalgia, but researchers believe that neurotransmitter dysfunction may play a role. Additionally, genetic studies indicate that certain people may be predisposed to fibromyalgia. In this case, the illness may not begin until a patient experiences considerable stress or trauma. Fibromyalgia can be triggered by other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, in those people who are genetically predisposed.

Patients with fibromyalgia also generally have low levels of serotonin and may experience pain more intensely due to an abnormality in sensory processing in the central nervous system that lowers their pain threshold.

Treatment for fibromyalgia is as complex and individualized as the symptoms themselves.

A combination of prescription and over-the-counter medicines may be used. Exercise, including gentle stretching and strengthening exercise, is prescribed as a way to manage pain and help with sleep and mood disorders that result.

There is no known cure for this illness, but some patients report a lessening of symptoms by using a combination of the above in conjunction with other alternative therapies such as homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, and massage.

Tell us: Do you suffer from fibromyalgia or know someone who does? What treatments work best for them?

Image by mindfulness via Flickr

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About the Author:

Pain Doctor
Pain Doctor was created with one mission in mind: help and educate people about their pain conditions, treatment options and find a doctor who can help end their pain issues.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Debbie Smith January 13, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and it has been going on since approximately 2006…i had major surgery during 2006 and then my home went into foreclosure in 2009. I lost my father in 2012, my job was discontinued in 2013 and my husband beat me in 2016. I had to put my little dog down in 2017. Seems it has progressively gotten worse over these years and now it’s full blown. I am being sent to a psychiatrist this Wednesday. And my anxiety these days is unbearable. Not sure where to turn or who to talk to anymore.

    Best,
    Debbie

    • Pain Doctor
      Pain Doctor January 15, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      We are so sorry to hear this Debbie, but glad to hear you’re going to a psychiatrist for help. We also recommend looking into a support group so you can find others who are dealing with similar challenges. You can find a list of these for chronic pain at https://paindoctor.com/chronic-pain-support-groups/.

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