Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is very common. It affects people in many different ways, including their soft tissues, tendons, muscles and joints, giving them discomfort in tender points and pain throughout their body. It has been associated with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep issues and fatigue. But what causes it? What are the risks of getting it and how is it treated?
There are no definite or proven causes for fibromyalgia. However, some things can trigger of bouts of it, including:
Brain management of pain or reactions to pain
Emotional or physical traumas
Most commonly women between ages twenty and fifty can get it, more so than men, but men are still at risk. People who have been diagnosed with such things as Lyme disease, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic back pains, chronic neck pains and depression may in fact be suffering from this disease and not know it.
Quite often doctors may miss the signs of this disease because it is not as common as many others. However, in order for a doctor to make a proper diagnosis, patients are usually referred to rheumatology experts, who look to see if you have had any such symptoms for three months or longer and have pain that is not just isolated to one area of your body, but is widespread across your body. This includes tenderness and pain in a minimum of eleven to eighteen specific tender point areas, checking the muscles and tissues in and around the thighs, shoulders, rib cage, neck, lower back, knees, chest, buttocks, arms and elbows. They may run a series of tests, including x-rays to rule out any other potential conditions or diseases with very similar types of symptoms.
Fibromyalgia may be a life-long affliction that you have to suffer. However, doctors have a number of good treatments available. With constant monitoring, stress reduction, physical therapies, coping assistance programs, exercise, medications and referrals to pain clinics, the chances of managing the disease is possible in the majority of cases. If you have been diagnosed, know that you are not alone and research is edging one step closer each day to finding a cure.