Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition. It is a health condition that results in stiffness, pain, and tenderness of the tendons, muscles, and joints. Along with these symptoms, one might also experience chronic fatigue, restless sleep, depression, anxiety, and even disturbed bowel function. The cause and the cure of fibromyalgia are a mystery, but there are alternative treatments and medications employed to help manage the condition and reduce symptoms.
Is Fibromyalgia Real?
Indeed, fibromyalgia is a serious health condition. There may be no specific diagnostic tests in medicine developed explicitly for fibromyalgia. But it is certainly a real condition. However, there are no diagnostic tests for the condition that presents doctors with quite a challenge to diagnose fibromyalgia in patients.
What worsens the challenge is that the symptoms of the condition are highly similar to that of many other health conditions, which can easily lead to misdiagnosis.
Fibromyalgia and Arthritis
Unlike commonly believed, fibromyalgia is not a form of arthritis. Arthritis is a joint disease, while fibromyalgia is a disorder in the muscles. Both arthritis and fibromyalgia result in considerable pain as well as fatigue and can interfere with a person’s daily activities.
However, there are differences between these conditions. The symptoms of arthritis typically worsen over time, while those of fibromyalgia does not. This means that fibromyalgia is not a progressive condition. However, fibromyalgia is commonly associated with joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus.
The Causes of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is also more prevalent in women than it is in men. Up to 90$ of people with fibromyalgia are female. Research is underway, but the belief is that it could be due to hormones. However, we are unaware of the exact reason. The cause of fibromyalgia is also a mystery. Although many theories do exist to explain the possible causes of the condition, one theory suggests that a combination of emotional and physical stressors may trigger fibromyalgia, as opposed to a single event.
In some people with fibromyalgia, elevated levels of substance P, which is a nerve chemical signal, were found. This nerve chemical amplifies pain signals to the brain. Research has also been done into the serotonin levels in the brain, as findings point to low serotonin levels in people with fibromyalgia. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter that has a calming and anxiety-reducing effect on the brain. Another observation is that people with fibro have an NREM impairment. In other words, NREM is non-rapid eye movement sleep, preventing them from a deep sleep that leads them to wake up tired. Fibromyalgia could have links to higher trauma, distress, and infection rates.
The Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Pain is a universal symptom of fibromyalgia. Patients also exhibit increased sensitivity to a variety of stimuli as well as an unusually low pain threshold. Fibromyalgia pain is typically widespread and involves both sides of the body. Pain generally affects the buttocks, neck, arms, shoulders, upper back, and chest. The pain may result in aches all over the body as well as tender joints and deep muscle pain. You may also experience neck pain, constant back pain, and even chronic headaches.
It can aggravate the pain and weather change, noise, and emotional stress can also trigger it. Evidence suggests that pain in fibromyalgia is because of low blood flow to the brain. It typically assists the body in managing pain. Symptoms other than pain are brain fog, fibromyalgia fog, including short term memory loss. You could also experience forgetfulness, misplacing objects, and difficulty carrying through a conversation. People also report easy distraction when they’re battling fibromyalgia. 90% of people with fibromyalgia experience fatigue, which can be flu-like or even crippling.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia can mimic conditions like vitamin D deficiency, muscle diseases, low thyroid hormone levels, bone diseases. Besides this, it could also possibly be infectious diseases like hepatitis, or even cancer. There is no simple blood test or X-ray that you could do to diagnose fibromyalgia.
The doctors typically check for tender points on the body and eliminate other causes of the pain. The treatment for it includes reducing stress, educating the patients, medications for muscle pain, and regular exercise. You will also have to make a few changes to your lifestyle to manage fibromyalgia. It ensures that your quality of life does not suffer because of this condition.
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