Most people have heard of Fibromyalgia and may even know someone who has been diagnosed with it. Still, there seems to be a bit of confusion in regards to what Fibromyalgia actually is and how it’s treated. In order to shed light on the condition, let’s go over the signs and symptoms, causes, risk factors and available treatment options.
Signs and Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is defined as widespread muscle pain (shooting, aching, burning, throbbing, stabbing) that has no apparent cause or is not the result of a specific injury. In order for a diagnosis to be made, the most important sign and symptom a patient must have is pain on both sides of the body and above and below the waist. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Due to widespread muscle pain, patients can be constantly fatigued—regardless of the quality and duration of rest/sleep.
- Decreased cognitive function. Pain and fatigue can decrease patients’ ability to focus, concentrate, think and perform daily activities, such as driving, cleaning, and working.
- Anxiety and depression. Because fibromyalgia can alter the chemical levels in the brain, mental health problems, most commonly anxiety and depression, can occur.
It’s important to note that no one sign or symptom is enough to definitively diagnose a patient with Fibromyalgia. Usually, a diagnosis is made after other musculoskeletal disorders have been ruled out and a combination of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms are present.
Current research and thought lead to the belief that the condition is caused by any, or any combination, of the following, however no single cause for the condition has yet to be identified.
-Nervous, immune, and/or endocrine system disorders
-Overproduction of specific chemicals/hormones in the brain
The signs, symptoms and causes of Fibromyalgia can vary across affected patient populations. Thus, diagnoses and treatments can vary a great deal. Still, certain people are considered most at risk.
Women between the ages of 20-60 are statistically most at risk. Those with a family history of Fibromyalgia and/or rheumatic disease are also at an increased risk.
There’s no gold standard treatment option. Treatment plans are usually a combination of medications, exercise and activity modification. When a patient adheres to the treatment plan prescribed by a Pain Management or Orthopedic Specialist, they can expect:
-Significant pain relief
-Increased ability to function (physically and mentally)
If you’re suffering from widespread pain and can relate to the information in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our 5 Fairfield County offices to arrange an appointment. Our specialists can evaluate, diagnosis and treat your condition. You’ll be in great hands with our caring medical professionals.