Conditions

Facts on Fibromyalgia

Source: MedicineNet
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Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is characterized by chronic pain, fatigue, and sensitivity to touch.  This syndrome is the most common medical source  of chronic pain in the country and affects 2%-4% of people.


The main symptoms of fibromyalgia include chronic pain, fatigue, unrefreshing sleep and sensitivity to touch all over your body.  Additional symptoms include depression or anxiety, forgetfulness and lack of concentration, abdominal pain, dry eyes, chest wall pain, dry mouth, bladder symptoms, pelvic pain, heart palpitations, numbness and tingling, allergies, and weight gain.


Exercising and attaining adequate sleep are important aspects in managing fibromyalgia.  Medications may help with the pain.


The disorder often becomes evident following stressful events.  The stressful event may be emotional, physical, or medical.  Chronic pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and other health conditions may trigger fibromyalgia.  


The way in which the brain and the spine process pain is atypical when suffering from fibromyalgia.  The threshold in which stimuli is interpreted as pain is much lower when suffering from fibromyalgia.  For this reason, certains things that are usually not painful may be a source of pain for someone diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  


Fibromyalgia may be genetic.  Siblings, parents, and children of people with fibromyalgia are eight times more likely to develop the condition.  Studies have shown that half the risk of developing fibromyalgia is caused by genetics, while the other half is due to environment.  Other risk factors involve autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis, as it has been found that people with these diseases are more likely to have fibromyalgia than the rest of the population.


Medication is often recommended to address the pain and sleeplessness faced by fibromyalgia patients.  However, it is the non-medication treatments that serve as the foundation for treating the condition.  These non-medication treatments include education, exercise, and stress reduction.  The non-medication therapies are the cornerstone for treating fibromyalgia.  Without focusing on sleep hygiene, decreasing stress, and utilizing exercise, it is difficult to  improve, even with the use of medication.