Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disease that affects the soft tissue and causes widespread pain in the body. It is prone to be misdiagnosed as there are no accurate tests to confirm the disease. It is advisable to consult a specialist in Rheumatology if you suffer from musculoskeletal pain, regions of tenderness, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
What are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Earlier, some healthcare practitioners questioned the very existence of the disease. But with advanced tests, doctors have understood the condition, and the stigma attached to the disease is gradually going away.
The main symptom of fibromyalgia is the presence of regions of pain called the trigger points. The pain in these regions is dull and persistent. Your Rheumatology specialist will order further tests if you experience pain in four out of the five tender points outlined in the fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria. The diagnosis is based on the site of pain and the severity of pain. Some other symptoms of the disease are as follows.
- Sleep problems
- Excessive fatigue
- Not feeling relaxed even after long hours of sleep
- Unexplained headache
- Problems with focus and attention
- Dull pain in the lower abdomen
- Dryness in the eye
- Some types of bladder problems, like interstitial cystitis
- Brain fog
If you experience a few of these symptoms, consult a rheumatologist in your neighbourhood for proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
What are the Fibromyalgia trigger points or areas of pain?
Patients suffering from fibromyalgia experience constant pain in trigger points. The pain is because of the misinterpretation of normal pain signals by the nervous system and the brain, or their overreaction to the pain signals. Some of the trigger points are as follows.
- Back of the head
- Outer elbows
- The upper part of the chest
- Shoulder tops
What is a Brain Fog, and how does it affect patients suffering from Fibromyalgia?
Brain fog due to fibromyalgia is also known as fibro fog or fibromyalgia fog. It is a confusing feeling that most patients suffering from the disease experience. Some symptoms of fibro fog are as follows.
- Lapses in memory
- Difficulty with concentration and focus
- Inability to stay alert
This mental or brain fog is more upsetting for the majority of the patients. You have to immediately consult a Rheumatology doctor if you experience any signs of fibro fog.
What are the causes of Fibromyalgia?
Experts have still not identified what factors cause fibromyalgia. However, most rheumatologists believe that a combination of hereditary factors, infection, trauma, and stress causes the disease.
What are the risk factors for Fibromyalgia?
According to Rheumatology specialists, certain factors can increase the risk of fibromyalgia. Some of them are as follows.
- Gender – Most patients diagnosed with the disease are women, though the exact reason for this phenomenon is yet to be identified.
- Age – Fibromyalgia is likely to strike at middle age and old age. However, certain genetic mutations can also lead to fibromyalgia in children.
- Family History– If your close family members suffer from the disease, then you are most likely to get it. It is recommended to be under the watchful eye of a Rheumatology expert if you have a family history of fibromyalgia.
- Diseases – Certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus increase the risk of developing fibromyalgia.
What medications do doctors use in the treatment of Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia cannot be cured completely. Specialists use a two-pronged approach that includes medication and therapy. The medications help the patient to manage the pain and other symptoms of the disease. Some of the medications given by rheumatologists include the following.
- Pain Relievers– Doctors recommend using over-the-counter pain relief medications to cope with the dull persistent pain in the target sites.
- Antidepressants – Antidepressant medications are used to treat excessive fatigue and to improve the quality of sleep. Antidepressant medicines also rebalance the neurotransmitters and help to relieve pain, fatigue, and anxiety.
- Anti Seizure Medications-Antiseizure medicines that are used in the treatment of epilepsy are also used to treat fibromyalgia. These drugs block the nerve cells that send pain signals and provide relief from the nagging pain.
Are there any natural remedies to treat Fibromyalgia?
Some natural remedies ease the pain and can help you to manage the other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Few natural remedies approved by the Rheumatology specialists are as follows.
- Acupuncture to relieve the pain at the target sites.
- Meditation to relax the mind and provide stress relief.
- Regular exercise to keep mind and body active.
- Massage therapy to relax the muscles and promote stress relief.
- A healthy diet contains all the nutrients.
- Yoga, tai chi, and physical therapy under the guidance of your rheumatologist.
- Group therapy to meet others suffering from the disease and get support on how to manage the symptoms.
Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disorder of soft tissues. It is characterized by constant pain and excessive fatigue. It is advisable to consult a Rheumatology expert if you experience any symptoms of the disorder.