What is Fibromyalgia?
While doctors do not know what causes fibromyalgia, there are certain lifestyle factors that many of those afflicted with the condition share. The disease is most prevalent in women and you are more likely to suffer from the condition if you have a mood disorder or PTSD and if you lead a sedentary lifestyle with little to no exercise. There does seem to be some indication of genetics playing a role as there is typically more than one family member who has the disease. Symptoms are wide-ranging but boil down to aches and pains throughout the body and crippling fatigue.
Unfortunately, there is no way to detect the presence of the disorder so doctors have to rule out other similar conditions. These tests can be wide-ranging and include everything from X-rays to look for inflammation to blood work to check for hormonal imbalances. The main difference between fibromyalgia and other similar ailments is the feeling of pain throughout the entire body rather than in just one isolated area. Further weight is given to the likelihood of a fibromyalgia diagnosis when several other people in your family suffer from the condition.
Treatment consists of pain management and changes to your lifestyle to engender healthier living. As insomnia is often severe with fibromyalgia patients, this symptom is aggressively treated in order to give the patient some relief and allow the body to enjoy some restorative sleep. Pain medications are also prescribed and anti-depressants can also be considered. There are three medications that are specifically formulated to treat fibro pain with the most popular brands being Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella. You and your doctor can work together to find the proper combination of medications that best relieves your pain and other symptoms, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
Doctors encourage patients that suffer from fibro to increase their level of low-impact exercise and suggest that yoga, walking, swimming or other moderate exercise be introduced into the patient’s daily life. Even the slightest increase in exercise and activity can have a beneficial effect on one’s overall health, from improved mood to deeper sleep. Alternative treatments are also being utilized in the treatment of fibro, with massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic manipulations being used by many medical professionals in their treatment of fibromyalgia. You and your doctor can work together to determine which course of treatment is most effective for your case.
Fibromyalgia can be a difficult disease with which to cope due to the amount of pain that patients endure, coupled with the lack of proven diagnostic tools that often leave patients believing that their ailments are all in their head. Finding a responsive doctor that takes your symptoms seriously and works with you in partnership to find an adequate treatment protocol can make all the difference in your life. Complementary treatments and exercise are two of the most effective ways to deal with fibro pain in addition to traditional painkillers. While fibromyalgia cannot be cured, with the proper treatment, you can continue to lead a full and happy life.