What is Fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a common and complex syndrome that affects people physically, mentally, and socially. This syndrome affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and 3-6 % of the world population. Fibromyalgia is most prevalent in women, but can affect anyone.
Chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and often psychological distress.
Causes of fibromyalgia:
There is currently no identifiable cause of this syndrome; however, it is most likely attributed to a variety of factors working together.
• Genetics – Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that make you more susceptible to developing this disorder.
• Infections – Some illnesses appear to trigger or activate fibromyalgia.
• Physical or emotional trauma – Post traumatic stress disorder has been linked to fibromyalgia.
• Rheumatic disease/Autoimmune – Patients with rheumatic disease or autoimmune disorder( i.e. rheumatoid arthritis or lupus) are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
Currently there are no laboratory tests available for the diagnosing of fibromyalgia and doctors rely on patient histories, self reported symptoms, and a detailed physical examination.
Diagnostic criteria includes: widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum of three months as well as tenderness/pain in at least 11 of the 18 tender points when pressure is applied.
There is no cure and treatment aims to relieve symptoms and improve function.
1. Prescription Medications – used to reduce pain and improve sleep.
2. Alternative therapies – Examples include massage, myofascial release, acupuncture, chiropractic’s, herbal supplements, and yoga.
3. Lifestyle Modifications – Rest, pacing activities, stress reduction, practicing relaxation, and improving nutrition to minimize symptoms and improve quality of life.
For more information, please visit the National Fibromyalgia Association at fmaware.org