Part 2 of 5 Part Series – Could Those Aches and Pains Be Fibromyalgia?
Part 1: What Is Fibromyalgia?
If you’ve been experiencing chronic pain recently without any known cause such as an injury, and generally feeling achy, washed out and run down, it might be time to talk to your doctor about whether or not those aches and pains could be fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a tricky condition to diagnose because the typical symptoms are related to many other potential illnesses and there are no lab tests that can give a definitive diagnosis, only rule out or spot other conditions.
Typical fibromyalgia symptoms include:
• Pain throughout the body, but particularly at certain points, such as around the neck and shoulders, lower back and buttocks
• Extreme tiredness/fatigue even when resting and not being too active
• Trouble sleeping
• Restless leg syndrome
• Stiffness all over the body, especially in the morning
• Difficulty concentrating (commonly referred to as “fibro fog”)
• Depression and other mood disorders
In terms of the painful points in the body, called pain, tender or trigger points, the American College of Rheumatology has defined 18 points to be tested. A person who has a history of widespread pain lasting more than 3 months and who tests positive for 11 out of the 18 tender points is considered to have fibromyalgia.
Around 80% of all fibromyalgia cases are found in women, and the most common age grouping is 35 to 55. Men have fibromyalgia too, so it is important for everyone to follow up with any pain that lasts more than 3 months.
If it does turn out to be fibromyalgia, there are a number of natural pain relief options and other self-care methods that can help as well. For example, stress is commonly associated with fibromyalgia pain. Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer from sleep disturbances, such as not being able to fall asleep, stay asleep, or experience refreshing sleep. Studies have also shown that around 20% of people with fibromyalgia suffer from depression as well.
Stress, a lack of sleep and depression can all affect a person’s body, mind and spirit and make them more susceptible to pain. They are also likely to lead to bad health habits and poor self- care. If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and putting everyone and everything ahead of your own health, it’s time to put yourself at the top of the list and get to the bottom of whether or not your pain is due to fibromyalgia.