Fibromyalgia is characterised by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points on the body. The pain and fatigue in most cases are so severe that they interfere with daily activities.
Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect up to 2% of the U.S. population. And women are likely to suffer more than men.
What are the common signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
There is no single known cause of fibromyalgia, but it is thought to involve a combination of factors, including:
Abnormal pain messages
One of the more popular theories is that fibromyalgia people have altered central nervous system processing of pain signals throughout the body.
It might be caused by modifications to chemicals in the brain's nerve system.
The central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) uses a network of specialized cells to communicate information throughout your body.
Because this system is inherently flexible, modifications in its work might explain why fibromyalgia causes constant suffering and sensitivity to pain.
Studies have shown that genetics also play a small role in fibromyalgia. If a person has a family member with the condition, they are more likely to develop it themselves.
Many experts believe that stress may trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia in some people. Stress can lead to the release of certain hormones and chemicals that might affect how the central nervous system processes pain.
Fibromyalgia can lead to negative sleep patterns. It prevents you from sleeping deeply and leads to extreme fatigue (tiredness).
People suffering from sleeping poorly also experience higher levels of pain. These sleep problems also lead to other Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Stiffness and pain around the body are often worse during menstruation in women with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to other hormonal changes, such as low thyroid function and early menopause.
Fibromyalgia can lead to negative sleep patterns (Sleep hypnosis). It prevents you from sleeping deeply and leads to extreme fatigue (tiredness).
People suffering from sleeping poorly also experience higher levels of pain. These sleep problems (Narcolepsy) also lead to other Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Some experts believe that some viral or bacterial infections might trigger fibromyalgia. Many people who develop the condition report having a fever or other infection just before they start to experience its symptoms.
Pain from other conditions
People with other chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, lupus, myofascial pain syndrome, emotional stress…
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary from person to person and even from day to day in the same person.
Some people have constant pain and fatigue, while others have bursts of energy followed by periods of fatigue.
Some people also experience sleep problems, cognitive dysfunction, mood changes, and sensitivity to light and noise.
What are the possible triggers of fibromyalgia?
Any emotional or physical stress leads to the triggers of fibromyalgia. Some of the possible triggers may include:
- Being in an abusive relationship
- An injury
- Breakdown of relationship
- Having an operation
- The death of a loved one
- A viral infection
What are the other associated conditions of fibromyalgia?
Other conditions related to fibromyalgia include rheumatic conditions such as:
- Osteoarthritis – When joints become injured and painful, you might experience joint discomfort.
- Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) – Is a condition that can cause pain in the jaw, cheeks, ears, and temples
- Rheumatoid arthritis – When the immune system mistakes healthy cells in the joints for germs, it causes pain and inflammation.
- Lupus – When a person is immunocompromised, the illness may be spread from one part of the body to another. It can happen when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues in various locations of the body
- Ankylosing spondylitis – Pain and swelling in parts of the spine
What are the most severe symptoms of fibromyalgia?
It is usual for people with fibromyalgia to experience unpleasant emotional responses. Over 43 per cent of persons in the National Health Interview Survey had anxiety and depression that were so bad that they needed medication.
Fibromyalgia pain can be severe and constant. It might be bad enough to prevent you from going to work or engaging in other activities. According to a National Health Interview Survey, 87 per cent of respondents trusted their source.
Fatigue is one of the most significant fibromyalgia symptoms, affecting more than 90 per cent of people afflicted with the disease.
People with fibromyalgia don't just have tiredness; they also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms that are unpleasant such as:
- Belly pain
- diarrhoea and constipation
As many as 70% of individuals have tension headaches at one time or another, frequently severe. Headaches can be caused by unpleasant head, neck, or shoulder muscles.
What are the unusual symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia?
Here are some of the unusual symptoms of Fibromyalgia:
- Chest Pain
- Excessive sweating
- sensitivity to noise, light, or temperature
- easy bruising
- bladder pain
- Jaw pain
- food allergy symptoms like a stuffed nose, wheezing, diarrhoea, or vomiting
- an urgent need to urinate
What is the possible cure for fibromyalgia?
When the immune system mistakes healthy cells in the joints for germs, it causes pain and inflammation. Here are some possible cures for Fibromyalgia:
Medications help in relieving pain and allow you to sleep well. Antidepressants, pain relievers and antiseizure are considered the standard medications.
Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) are antidepressant medications that can help with pain and tiredness in people with fibromyalgia. These medicines may also assist in the rebalancing of neurotransmitters and improve sleep.
Both duloxetine and milnacipran have received FDA approval for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Some people who suffer from fibromyalgia experience pain that is severe enough and constant enough to cause problems with their daily routine. Do not accept discomfort as the only option.
Consider consulting a doctor about strategies to control your condition.
If your pain is mild, one option is to take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
Many of these drugs can help you manage your condition better by lowering pain levels, reducing discomfort, and assisting you in better handling your situation. They may also assist you in sleeping more soundly. Many of them lower inflammation as well.
Tramadol (Ultram) is a narcotic shown to help with fibromyalgia symptoms. However, some experts do not regard it as a traditional opioid, and any possible benefits for fibromyalgia may be due to its serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibiting properties (SNRI).
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) have several side effects, even if they aren't explicitly.
According to research published in 2020, there isn't enough evidence to support or refute the use of tramadol in fibromyalgia. More study on opioids is needed.
Opioids have also been utilized to treat pain. However, according to an analysis by Trusted Source, they do not appear to be effective over time.
Furthermore, individuals on these medications are frequently given a much larger dose than needed, which may harm their health.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave pregabalin (Lyrica) the green light in 2004, making it the first medicine available for fibromyalgia treatment. It blocks nerve cells from sending pain signals.
Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a medication used to treat epilepsy, but it may also help with fibromyalgia symptoms. Gabapentin has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia and is classified as an off-label drug.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but there are treatments that can help reduce the symptoms. These include medications, therapies, and lifestyle changes. With proper treatment, most people with fibromyalgia can lead productive and fulfilling lives.
Researchers are also looking at a few experimental therapies that may be used to treat fibromyalgia in the future.
Sleep medications, for example, which is not FDA-approved to treat fibromyalgia, can help with specific symptoms. Muscle relaxers, which were previously employed, are no longer suggested.
What are the natural remedies for fibromyalgia?
If medications do not relieve your symptoms entirely, you can look for alternatives.
Therapeutic massage, soothing music, and natural sounds can help you relax.
They may also aid in the treatment of both emotional and physical ailments. They may be utilized alone or in conjunction with conventional medical treatments.
Natural remedies for fibromyalgia include:
- Tai Chi
How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
Tender points theory has been abandoned by family doctors in favour of fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Tender points are areas on your body where applying firm pressure generates additional discomfort. At least 11 of these 18 locations had to be painful before fibromyalgia could be diagnosed.
However, because fibromyalgia symptoms may fluctuate, one person's eleven tender points might be decreased to eight the next. And many doctors were unsure about how much pressure to use when examining a tender point.
Several other diseases come with similar diseases. Hence to rule out the chances of any other disease, A medical practitioner may ask for the following tests:
- Complete blood count
- Vitamin D
- Thyroid function tests
- Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
- Anti-nuclear antibody
- Rheumatoid factor
- Celiac serology
A careful physical exam of your joints and muscles and a neurological exam reveal more about the causes of the various symptoms you are struggling with. Your doctor may also recommend undergoing a sleep study if they doubt that you are suffering from sleep apnea.
More clues for diagnosing Fibromyalgia
People with fibromyalgia frequently wake up tired, even after sleeping for more than eight hours. Physical or mental activity may leave them weary for brief periods.
They might also have difficulty focusing and recalling information. If your doctor notices these symptoms, they may want you to rate their severity on a scale of one to ten in terms.
Your doctor may also want to know if any relatives of yours have had similar problems because genetics plays a role in fibromyalgia.
When combined with what you've previously mentioned, this information will give your doctor a clearer picture of what's causing your problems. And it's critical to devise an effective therapy plan as a result of this.
Suggested Alternative Treatments for fibromyalgia
Here are some alternative suggested treatments for fibromyalgia:
Cannabis can help with fibromyalgia symptoms. People who took medicinal cannabis in one research reported reducing their fibromyalgia pain:
- A reduction of pain and stiffness
- An increase in sleepiness
- Improved mental health
- Enhanced relaxation
- Feelings of well-being
Even though medical cannabis is legal in many states, there is still a lot of information that requires further study. Side effects can include poor judgment and attention and long-term consequences that need to be studied.
The goal of the mind-body exercise is to unify mind and body. Deep breathing, meditation, and controlled actions are aspects of this approach.
Tai chi can help you develop muscle strength, balance, and endurance. It isn't hard but sprains, and sore muscles can be possible if you overdo it.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT focuses on assisting patients in setting attainable objectives. Patients practice identifying negative thought processes and learning strategies to control them. CBT may help you reduce or eliminate your FM pain by teaching you the skills involved.
Biofeedback is a method of learning how to regulate your body's activities. It may assist in reducing muscular tension and FM discomfort.
There are no adverse side effects associated with this approach, but some people might feel overwhelmed or exhausted afterwards. Check with your doctor to see if you're a good candidate for biofeedback.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are usually the first signs of fibromyalgia?
Here are the first signs of fibromyalgia:
- Itching, burning, and other skin problems, depression or anxiety.
- Lack of energy.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Memory problems and trouble concentrating (sometimes called “fibro fog”)
- Trouble sleeping.
- Muscle twitches or cramps.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
- Muscle twitches or cramps.
What are the complications of fibromyalgia?
Here are the potential complications associated with fibromyalgia:
- Opioid or alcohol dependence.
- Severe allodynia with high levels of distress.
- Marked functional impairment.
- Obesity and physical deconditioning.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Severe depression and anxiety.
What are the ways to treat fibromyalgia fatigue?
Fatigue is a typical fibromyalgia symptom. Despite sleeping through the night, you may wake up tired in the morning. Simple activities can be tiring at times. You can treat FM fatigue include:
Exercising regularly is an excellent method to boost your energy, but it's also beneficial for reducing tiredness and boosting your energy.
Endorphins are secreted in the brain due to exercise, which improves sleep and alleviates depression. Walking, cycling, and swimming are suggested activities for people with FM.
For others, getting started might be challenging since they suffer from widespread pain; they start small and gradually increase. This post provides choices to consider while exercising is the only beneficial intervention in controlled trials.
Vitamin D levels in people with FM are frequently low. Vitamin D supplements improved physical health and reduced tiredness in individuals with FM, according to 2013 research.
Before taking vitamin D supplements, discuss them with your doctor. Excess vitamin D can be harmful.
The most obvious and, in some cases, the most challenging sign of fibromyalgia is pain. Other symptoms such as tiredness, poor attention, and sadness or anxiety may significantly impact your life.
Please keep track of your symptoms in a diary to ensure that you can accurately describe them to your doctor. If your current therapy isn't working, work with your doctor to discover something that does.