What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (pronounced ˌfī-ˌbrō-ˌmī-ˈal-j(ē)ə) is a condition that creates widespread musculoskeletal chronic pain and draining fatigue. Only 2-8% of the population experience fibromyalgia, and the symptoms typically begin between the ages of 20 – 55 years of age, although they can start at an earlier age. While mostly women, men are not excluded from fibromyalgia. The symptoms have to last for 3 months or more, and certain tender points need to be diagnosed. Fibromyalgia is still being researched and is misdiagnosed quite frequently because it is misunderstood and there is not enough awareness in the community.
( put something about what causes fibromyalgia in the above paragraph)
What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The symptoms of fibromyalgia vary from person to person, yet most people have certain symptoms in common, which are chronic pain and extreme fatigue along with achiness throughout the upper and lower part of the body.
- burning, tightness and pain in muscles
- flu-like symptoms ( chills, cold/hot, sweats, achiness, burning everywhere)
- low pain threshold
- cognitive memory issues ( brain fog)
- insomnia ( can’t get to sleep, can’t stay asleep)
- never feeling fresh and rested
- restless leg syndrome
- tingling of extremities
- chronic headaches
- irritable bowel syndrome
- abdominal pain and bloating
- GERD’s ( gastroesophageal reflux disorder)
- plantar fasciitis
- dry eyes
- sensitivities to the environment ( cold, hot, light
- urinating frequently
- plantar fasciitis
- chronic sinusitis
- burning feeling all over your body
- vertigo ( dizziness)
- allodynia ( heightened pain through touch)
- morning stiffness throughout your body
- TMJ ( temporomandibular disorder. commonly called lockjaw)
- feelings of anxiety and worry
This is what the symptoms can be like:
Sometimes the symptoms come on all at once and other times they start slowly, yet they always have medical issues that overlap. The fatigue can be so debilitating that lifting your head off the pillow is impossible. Your extremities are so heavy, achy and throbbing that moving them requires gathering up all the courage you have and really digging deep to accomplish this. Flulike symptoms can make you bedridden until they dissipate. You literally ache all over and do not know why. You did not just get run over by a mac truck, although that is what it feels like. Every morning is greeted with difficulty moving because of extreme stiffness. Since doctors think that pain signals from the brain and spinal cord are not being processing in the normal fashion, nerve endings in your entire body seem to zap you with stabbing pain at times for no reason at all. It is always surprising when this happens as you can be feeling okay and all of a sudden you are experiencing extreme pain in specific areas of your body as if you must have a severe broken bone or have just been stabbed with a knife. The strangest sensation is when you feel like ants or bugs are crawling just beneath your first layer of skin, yet you know it’s not actually happening. There are more symptoms not mentioned that people experience, as symptoms differ for each individual and on each day.
How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?
Fibromyalgia does not have an exact test that is used to be diagnosed. An examination from your doctor will include a tender point examination test, questions about your medical history and whether anyone in your family has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Tender points are not in joints – they are in the muscles throughout your body and you feel deep pain when pressure is applied. Different tests, labs and x-rays will be ordered to rule out other illnesses that mimic fibromyalgia or could be the cause of your symptoms. Other illnesses that can create the same symptoms of fibromyalgia are arthritis, thyroid issues, and lupus, just to name a few.
( I would like to put a picture of the 18 tender point here )
How is Fibromyalgia treated?
Treatment of fibromyalgia is dependent upon your symptoms and other health issues or concerns you and/or your doctor may have. Doctors prescribe medicines and different types of therapy to help you thrive through your fibromyalgia journey.
Merriam-Webster online dictionary
Please check out these other articles on how you can live with intention, manage pain, and find balance in your life. ( coming soon)