Part 1 of 5 Part Series – What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal condition that causes pain and fatigue. It affects the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons of around 3 to 6 million Americans, mostly women (80%) between the ages of 35 and 55.
Fibromyalgia has a widespread range of symptoms, so it is often difficult to get a diagnosis, which then leads to delays in getting the right pain relief for this condition. The word fibromyalgia comes from the Latin word for fibrous tissue, such as muscle, with the Greek work for muscle, myo, and the Greek word for pain, algia.
People with fibromyalgia suffer pain at particular points in their body which are known as pain, tender or trigger points. They are on the front and back of the body and are located in the neck, shoulders, arms, leg, backs and hips. Some people feel discomfort at even the slightest touch. Other people find any pressure on one or more of these points to be excruciating.
In addition to the chronic pain, the syndrome can cause other troublesome symptoms which can really damage a person’s quality of life. These symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness/fatigue
- Trouble sleeping
- Restless leg syndrome
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating (fibro fog)
Fibromyalgia is not fatal, but many sufferers feel like they are experiencing a living death because they do not have a good treatment plan in place.
Until recently, fibromyalgia was not only difficult to diagnose, many doctors thought there was no such disorder, and that it was ‘all in the mind’ of the sufferers. Fortunately, doctors with a more holistic approach to medicine are now able to offer new help and hope for those who have fibromyalgia.
Symptoms can resemble a range of other medical issues, such as different musculoskeletal disorders and gland imbalances. Keeping a pain diary can help track down the potential causes of the pain. A pain diary will help you spot patterns, such as pain after certain activities, foods, time of the month and so on.
A holistic approach is also important because show that at least 20% of fibromyalgia sufferers also have depression, which can lead to more sensitivity to pain and poorer health habits and self- care.
If you’ve been suffering unexplained pain all over your body and/or at the tender points, it’s time to make an appointment to discover if it could be fibromyalgia.