Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia - Know It All!

Editorial

All you need to know about Butterfly Children Disease.

Know your ailment well, so you can manage it better!!

Here we come with Fibromyalgia today!

Overview:

Fibromyalgia is also referred to as Fibrositis!

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder which causes widespread pain and tenderness, and many other symptoms. While fibromyalgia is often considered a condition associated with arthritis, it is not really a form of arthritis (a joint disease) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints , muscles or other tissues. Yet fibromyalgia is similar to arthritis:

  • Can cause significant pain and fatigue.
  • May interfere with your ability to carry on daily activities.
  • Impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

The pain associated with fibromyalgia is often characterised as a persistent dull ache that lasted for three months or more. The pain must appear on both sides of your body and above and below your knees, if it is to be considered deep.

People with fibromyalgia often awaken exhausted, even though they report long periods of sleep. Sleep is also interrupted by pain, and often fibromyalgic patients have many sleep disturbances, such as the condition of restless legs and sleep apnea.

A disorder generally referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to concentrate on mental activities, pay attention and focus.

In addition, you may experience a variety of other symptoms including:

  • Cognitive and memory problems (sometimes referred to as “fibro fog”).
  • Headaches.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Morning stiffness.
  • Numbness or tingling of the extremities.
  • Painful menstrual periods.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
  • Sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Temperature sensitivity.

Causes:

The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. Sometimes fibromyalgia seems to occur spontaneously, however researchers believe that a number of factors contribute to the cause, such as:

  • Physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic events.
  • Repetitive injuries.
  • Illness.
  • Problems with how the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) process pain.

Some researchers are researching the role of genes in fibromyalgia, and they have found some genes that occur more frequently when you have the disease. Scientists believe genes that control how painful stimuli are processed in your body. If you have fibromyalgia, according to this theory, you might have a gene or genes that cause them to respond strongly to stimuli that most people may not experience as painful.

Who Develops this disease?

Research suggests that people with a fibromyalgic family member are more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves, but the precise explanation for this — whether it is heredity, common environmental factors or both — is unclear. Researchers are trying to determine whether differences in some genes cause certain individuals to be more responsive to stimuli, contributing to pain syndrome.

Fibromyalgia often coexists with other painful conditions, such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraine and other types of headaches
  • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome.
  • Interstitial cystitis.
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
  • Vulvodynia.

How to diagnose:

In the past, when pressed strongly, doctors would check 18 different points on a person’s body to see how all of them were painful. Latest guidelines do not require a tender point test. Instead, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia will be made if a person has had more than three months of generalised pain — with no underlying medical problem that may cause the pain.

Before you get a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you may see other physicians as the pain and exhaustion, the main symptoms of fibromyalgia, overlap with several other conditions. Doctors usually rule out any possible causes of these symptoms before doing a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Moreover, there is no laboratory screening procedure to treat fibromyalgia. Normal laboratory experiments do not show a pathological motivation for suffering.

A doctor familiar with fibromyalgia, however, can make a diagnosis using criteria from the American College of Rheumatology (ACR):

  • A history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months.
  • General physical symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, and cognitive (memory or thought) problems.
  • The number of areas throughout the body in which the patient has had pain in the past week.

While there is no lab test to confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, your doctor may want to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Blood tests may include:

  • Complete blood count
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • Cyclic citrullinated peptide test
  • Rheumatoid factor
  • Thyroid function tests

Treatment Options:

Doctors usually work with a team of healthcare providers and treat fibromyalgia with:

  • Medications.
  • Lifestyle changes.
  • Complementary therapies.

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat since the fibromyalgia and its diagnosis are not common to all physicians. You will find a doctor who understands fibromyalgia treatment, which may involve several members of the medical team.

Medications:

Doctors may prescribe one of the three medications currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia:

  • Duloxetine, an antidepressant.
  • Milnacipran, similar to other antidepressants, but is only approved to treat fibromyalgia.
  • Pregabalin treats neuropathic pain (chronic pain caused by damage to the nervous system).

In addition, your doctor may also treat fibromyalgia with other medications developed and approved for other purposes.

Analgesics:

Pain relievers are painkillers. They range from prescription drugs to over-the-counter products. Your health care provider may prescribe an analgesic to help relieve your pain. If your pain is serious your doctor can prescribe a prescription. There is, however, no conclusive evidence to suggest that drugs genuinely function to relieve the chronic fibromyalgia pain. Most physicians refuse to recommend them for long-term use because you may become dependent on them physically or mentally.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs:

To combat inflammation, doctors prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin , ibuprofen, and sodium naproxen. Though inflammation is not a symptom of fibromyalgia, NSAIDs can help alleviate the pain. NSAIDs work by inhibiting prostaglandins, a substance found in your body that plays a role in pain and inflammation. These drugs, some of which are available without a prescription, can help to relieve fibromyalgia muscle aches. Also, NSAIDs can ease menstrual cramps and headaches you may experience with fibromyalgia.

Lifestyle changes:

Making lifestyle changes can also help you manage your fibromyalgia, including:

  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Exercising.
  • Making changes at work.
  • Eating well.

Complementary Therapies:

Your doctor may recommend treating your fibromyalgia with complementary therapies, including:

  • Massage.
  • Movement therapies, such as Pilates and the Feldenkrais method.
  • Chiropractic treatments.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Herbal and dietary supplements.

Although researchers are researching fibromyalgia use supplements, there is little, if any, clinical evidence yet that they are effective. The FDA does not control the sale of dietary supplements, so information on side effects, proper dosage and the amount of active ingredients in a formulation may not be well known.

If you are using or would like to try a substitute or alternative treatment, you should first talk to your doctor, who will know more about the effects of the treatment and whether it is appropriate to use in conjunction with your medicine.

Coping with Fibromyalgia:

Do’s:

  • Keep regular sleep habits. You should try to get to bed at the same time and get up at the same time every day — even on weekends and vacations.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the late afternoon and evening. If you consume caffeine found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate you may not get a good night’s sleep. Even though it can make you feel sleepy, if you drink alcohol around bedtime it also can disturb your sleep.
  • Time your exercise. Regular daytime exercise can improve your nighttime sleep. However, you should avoid exercising within 3 hours of bedtime because it can be stimulating, keeping you awake.
  • Avoid daytime naps. Sleeping in the afternoon can interfere with your nighttime sleep. If you feel you cannot get by without a nap, set an alarm for 1 hour. When it goes off, get up and start moving.
  • Reserve your bed for sleeping. Watching the late news, reading a suspense novel, or working on your laptop in bed can stimulate you, making it hard to sleep.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Avoid liquids and spicy meals before bed. Heartburn and late-night trips to the bathroom are not conducive to good sleep.
  • Wind down before going to bed. Avoid working right up to bedtime. Instead try some relaxing activities, such as listening to soft music or taking a warm bath, that get you ready to sleep. A warm bath also may soothe aching muscles.

Exercising:

Pain and tiredness can make exercise and your everyday activities challenging, so it is vital to try to be as physically active as possible. Research has shown repeatedly that routine exercise is among the most effective fibromyalgia remedies. If you have too much discomfort or exhaustion to do hard exercise, try walking or other gentle exercise and slowly improve your strength and intensity.

Eating Well:

While some people with fibromyalgia report feeling better while consuming or avoiding certain foods, fibromyalgia has not been demonstrated to have any particular diet impact. Of course, a safe, balanced diet is critical. Not only can proper nutrition provide you with more strength and just make you feel better, it will also help you prevent other health concerns.

References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3979124

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/fibromyalgia

By,

Gopala Krishna Varshith,

Content Developer & Editor,

Clipo.