What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, cognitive disturbance, psychiatric and multiple somatic symptoms. Fibromyalgia has an unknown etiology and uncertain pathophysiology.
Fibromyalgia has an unknown etiology. It is triggered or aggravated by multiple physical and/or emotional stressors which include infections as well as emotional and physical trauma. There are pain and sensory processing alterations in the central nervous system. Known risk factors include:
- Most people are diagnosed during middle age and are more likely to develop fibromyalgia with increasing age.
- Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia as men.
- Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Repetitive injuries from repetitive stress on a joint, such as frequent knee bending.
- Illness (such as viral infections).
- Family history
Signs and Symptoms
It is characterised by a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue accompanied by cognitive and psychiatric disturbances.
- Widespread musculoskeletal pain צ It is bilateral and involves both upper and lower parts of the body. The pain may be localized initially, commonly in the neck and shoulders.
- Fatigue צ Especially when waking up from sleep, but is also present in the mid-afternoon. Minor activities aggravate the pain and fatigue, and there is stiffness on waking up in the morning.
- Cognitive disturbances צ The "fibro fog" is characterised by difficulty with attention and doing tasks that require rapid changes in thought.
- Other symptoms - anxiety and/or depression, headaches, paresthesias, IBS, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), dry eyes, dyspnea, dysphagia, and palpitations.
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia is usually done with the help of the patientעs history, physical examination, X-rays, and blood tests. No abnormalities are seen in routine clinical laboratory testing or imaging.
Management strategies for patients with fibromyalgia includes educating them regarding the disease, treatment approaches, and exercise regimen.
The key elements of patient education include:
- Reassuring the patient that fibromyalgia is a real disease.
- There is a role of stress and mood disturbances and the patients are encouraged to learn relaxation techniques as well as be a part of formal stress reduction programs.
- Good sleep hygiene is an essential part of the management of fibromyalgia.
- Exercise - Cardiovascular fitness training is recommended for patients as it helps with pain and improves sleep.
Warning: Above information provided is an overview of the disease, we strongly recommend a doctor's consultation to prevent further advancement of disease and/or development of complications.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein on request, is not to be taken as a replacement for medical advice or diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DO NOT SELF MEDICATE. PLEASE CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN FOR PROPER DIAGNOSIS AND PRESCRIPTION.
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